Sharon Gupta is a Civil Servant and a writer. She was born in Delhi in 1970, graduated with English Honours from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and went on to acquire a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Delhi University. She joined the Civil Services in 1994 and is currently posted in Chandigarh in the field office of the Ministry of Communications. She is married and has a teenage son.
Sharon began writing at an early age and she was Student Editor of her College magazine, The Stephanian. Her articles and short stories have been published in leading newspapers and magazines and online, too. Her Elizabethan thriller The Shakespeare Murders was released in October 2017 by Tara India Research Press. Her other works are showcased on her website: www.sharongupta.com and on her blog: sharonwriter.blogspot.in. She is represented by the Delhi-based Red Ink Literary Agency.
Besides writing, Sharon loves music. She plays the guitar. She speaks English, Hindi and French.
In an interview to TALKTOBLOGGER.COM, Sharon Gupta gets talking about her books, readers, roaring success, and of course her thoughts on life! Catch the interesting conversation here!
What was the feeling when your first book got published? How did you handle that moment of glory and self-pride, were people supportive or something else?The feeling of seeing my first book in print by a traditional publisher was exhilarating! I was excited and overwhelmed, kept thanking the Lord for answering my prayers! My family and friends were very supportive since they’d all seen me struggle for years. I’d self-published a novel earlier but that did nothing to further my career as a writer. This- The Shakespeare Murders- was my first big break.
How do you take writing novels, as a career or hobby or between both?Writing novels is my passion! It’s definitely more than a hobby. I want to be a successful professional writer so, yes, I hope it becomes my second career. Squeezing out time to write is the biggest challenge due to my responsibilities to my family and work as a bureaucrat. But the struggle is worth it.
For your books you must be doing a lot of research topics and themes. How did you go about it?Ah, research. That’s a double-edged sword these days due to the profusion of material courtesy the internet. I slogged a lot for The Shakespeare Murders, took nearly a year to research the novel. In this case I began first by going back to Shakespeare and re-reading all my favourite plays, particularly Hamlet, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry IV Parts I & II and The Merchant of Venice. Then I studied the great commentaries on Shakespeare by luminaries like Frank Kermode, Andrew Gurr and others. I made exhaustive notes and watched some BBC shows on Shakespeare’s plays, movies, too like Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, the recent Macbeth (with Michael Fassbender in the lead role), and a few others. It was hard work but lots of fun!
What is the best aspect about your writing that you love most?The best thing about writing is the joy of creating new worlds and new characters! It’s the most exciting thing, the ability to create people and their destinies, albeit in an imaginary dimension. Since I write crime thrillers, there’s the added kick of suspense and intrigue.
Is getting published traditionally really tough? Share your views.Yes, it’s hard. Very, very hard for most people. There are a lucky few who get quick breaks but that isn’t what usually happens. One has to develop a thick skin and maintain a dogged determination to succeed. Also, you usually need an agent nowadays. Unfortunately, getting an agent is almost as difficult as getting published. I was fortunate enough to get signed on by the Delhi-based Red Ink Literary Agency but it took many years of searching before I got them.
What do you feel about the Indian literature arena? Do you read Indian authors?Umm, no, I haven’t read many Indian authors except for Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. However, I am aware of the enormous strides Indian writers have made in the recent past. It’s great to see so many writers succeeding.
Tell us about your recently published book or the upcoming book?The Shakespeare Murders is my recently published book. It’s an Elizabethan thriller set in 1602. The backdrop is the London Stage. Shakespeare used to write for a company of players (as actors were called in those days) called The Chamberlain’s Men. They performed at The Globe Theatre in Southwark, London. When my novel opens, there’s a killer on the loose and he’s knocking off Shakespeare’s fellow actors. The company’s patron The Lord Chamberlain hires a valiant young knight called Geoffrey Drake to try and catch the killer. How he achieves this forms the main theme of the novel. The Shakespeare Murders is available on Amazon and in major bookshops across the country. The publisher is Tara India Research Press.
There are many new writers out there who are aspiring to get their work published. What would you say to them?I would quote Sir Winston Churchill and say: ‘Never give up. Never, ever give up.’ I decided I would keep trying for the rest of my life and I’d joke that perhaps I’d be the oldest writer to get published at the age of 80! But there really isn’t any other way. You either write or give up. To me, the latter was never an option because I love writing so much! And, yes, I write in long hand, the first two or three drafts. Only then do I use my laptop.
Check out more about her:Please visit her website: www.sharongupta.com for more details of her writing. She have also uploaded some interesting videos there. Her blog: https//sharonwriter.blogspot.in has copies of articles and short stories including an interview with the rock band, No Doubt! So do check these out.
Thank you so much Sharon, for sharing your experience with us. This will definitely help others to learn from it. If you liked this interview, share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.