Slices of Life is a collection of stories that explore life from various perspectives. Where do you find your mind often wandering when writing?
When writing, my mind wanders to several places, people, events and incidents I have either witnessed or heard about, any of which may trigger my imagination to create a plausible scenario. Sometimes, an idea or an issue I feel passionately about acts as the trigger, and I develop the characters and events subsequently. Writing each of the 12 stories in the collection from October, 2018 to April, 2020 has been a distinct process usually based on contemporary incidents. While the initial episodes described in ‘The Young Visitor’ are inspired by my own experiences while searching for a suitable cook, ‘Dusk’, written in April, 2020, is based on the tribulations of migrant workers during the lockdown due to the pandemic in India. My mind also wanders to the different genres of fiction I have read. So, while ‘Future Love Story’, in the tradition of Sci-Fi, depicts a future dystopian society in the year 2090, ‘Knots’ is a whodunit, in the genre of detective fiction, in which the murderer’s identity is revealed at the end.
My favorite story from the collection was ‘The Incomplete Story’. Do you have a favorite story from the book?
It’s like asking a mother who is her favourite child. I am deeply invested in each story and want my readers now to tell me which story appeals to them most. Each reader gives me a different answer. So, I would like to believe that there’s something in it for everyone.
What were some themes you wanted to explore while creating your characters?
Some themes I wanted to explore include the suppression of a woman’s individuality (‘Mother and Daughter’ and ‘Watershed’), the aftermath of infidelity (‘Disclosure’ and ‘Knots’), a society based on eugenics and social distancing (‘Future Love Story’), tribulations of the marginalized section of society (‘Dusk’ and ‘The Theft’) and misguided priorities in life (The Choice). In a few other stories, the intention was to create authentic vignettes of life that evoke hilarity and social satire (‘The Young Visitor’ and ‘Bridal Wear’).
Are you continuing to write short stories? Will you be publishing another collection of stories in the future?
I love the process of writing short stories, which is a different experience from writing a novel. The gestation and maturation of a story is a shorter process, and I can write it on the go. I will definitely bring out another collection of stories in the future, but I am still deliberating on what will be my next publication.
Slices of Life’ is a collection of short stories or vignettes that provide an immersive and entertaining experience of diverse scenarios of life in motion. They are slivers of existence with the ingredients of plot and characters, sprinkled with human emotion, pervaded by the aroma of human dilemmas and served in the platter of lucid language. Sometimes searing with agony and often pervaded with beauty and yearning in the midst of travails in a contemporary or futuristic reality, they explore relationships and the human struggle to find meaning amidst chaos. They describe the consequences of our choices and characters who are at the threshold of a discovery or have reached the zenith of tolerance. The universal themes and enduring images of commonplace individuals in the swirl of life are embedded in a mixed bag of genres ranging from bathos and futuristic SciFi to grim Realistic fiction and a suspenseful Whodunit.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fiction, drama, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, life, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, richa gupta, short stories, short story, Slices Of Life, story, womens fiction, writer, writing
Slices of Life holds a collection of riveting short stories that explore contemporary life from the perspective of compelling people living their life. Within every story we explore different themes through the varied challenges characters face. The drama is grounded, but the emotions are palpable. Richa Gupta is able to capture how life feels with stimulating language that evokes a range of emotions. It’s a sentimental collection of stories about life and the people in it.
What I liked most about this book was the way in which it portrayed people; they were always authentic and I could empathize with the characters in the story. Some stories explore how choices and shape our lives, while others probe the depths of passion and pain. I couldn’t nail down the genre of this book because its a combination of so many. Which is a perk for the reader as you are surely guaranteed to find a story that you like, a story that you will love, and a story that you can see yourself in.
Slices of Life can is perfect for reading on the go. You can get through a short story while waiting for the bus or waiting in line. Richa Gupta is able to achieve a high level of accessibility with her stories with simple language, short stories, and thought-provoking themes. Each story is vibrant, just like the book cover.
Richa Gupta has written a phenomenal piece of literature that holds something for everyone. This book reminds me of the documentary indie film Life in a Day by Kevin Macdonald and Loressa Clisby. A snapshot of intriguing people overcoming obstacles we can all relate to.
Pages: 184 | ASIN: B08CCB6J8M
Skeins follows a group of Indian woman as they travel through Europe learning something about life, each other, and themselves. What served as your inspiration for this uplifting novel?
Both my novels relate to a world well-known to me: urban educated India. I have been travelling a great deal for the past 14 years and I undertake at least one group tour overseas each year. Though the itinerary for the tour described in Skeins is similar to that of a group tour I undertook with Cosmos© in 2015, the similarity ends there as the tourists in the latter included men and women of varied nationalities. Also, when I had traveled to Ireland in 2016, my suitcase had not been transferred in time to the connecting flight by the airline staff at Munich airport during transit. These experiences sparked off my imagination, which led to the birth of Skeins.
There is a great collection of women from several generations in this group. Who was your favorite character to write for?
It’s like asking someone who is your favourite child. Each woman character is alive in my imagination with her own distinct personality, dreams and circumstances. They are all resilient as I don’t sympathize with whiners. I like women who get back on their feet after a hard tumble and find their own path in life without seeking sympathy or support. However, I particularly empathized with the characters Sandra D’Souza and Vidya Rao who are caught in a conundrum and need to make tough decisions.
I enjoyed how the characters each had their own story that contributed to the depth of their character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?
Though the novel is a breezy read, it deals with serious societal issues related to women. I feel very strongly about the thwarting of women’s emotional, professional and intellectual independence and expression by a patriarchal society and a dominant partner who limit her role to that of a mother and a comfort provider. The novel also depicts the generic issues of social hierarchy, aspirational lifestyles, the violence within and without our homes, loneliness and dementia.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have a few ideas that I am exploring. When that creative spark is ignited, I know I will not take longer than two months to pen the story and edit it.
With a galaxy of identifiable characters from modern urban India depicted with light-hearted mirth in a travel environment, the novel explores serious issues, such as the quest for an independent identity and economic independence, the violence within and outside our homes, the loneliness of old age and the need for constructive channelization of youthful energy. Spanning events across a little more than a year, Skeins depicts how self-expression and a supportive environment trigger a cataclysmic effect and stimulate the women to realize their dreams.
Posted in Interviews
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Skeins by Richa Gupta is the story of a large group of globe-trotting Indian women who take a trip to see the sights in Spain and Portugal. The women are similar in heritage, but vary widely in age and experience. Even though they are from the same general area, they also differ in culture and socio-economic status. As the women grow closer, they let each other into their personal lives. They confide in each other and share secrets, regrets, hopes, and dreams. However, it’s not one big happy slumber party. Some of the women find some serious trouble along their journey.
Overall, Skeins was a pretty easy read. The grammar and sentence structure is impeccable. I didn’t find any errors at all. If anything, there were only a few turns of phrase that only suggested that the author’s roots were different than my own. That’s not a bad thing.
If I have any complaint, it’s that the cast of characters was very large. I found it hard, at times, to keep the names of characters and their story lines straight. There seemed to be so much going on at once between all of the background stories.
I enjoyed the diversity of the characters. I especially enjoyed the diversity paired with the camaraderie that the women enjoyed. They came from all walks of life, different social classes, and different customs to form one big, instant family. They seemed to get along very well. They will make readers hope for these kinds of quickly formed but long lasting friendships.
Readers will also identify with the problems that the women face. They discuss the not-so-perfect aspects of their lives without giving the story too heavy of a feel. The story doesn’t bog down or get lost in their troubles. They simply state what’s going on in their lives, but characters don’t seem to dwell too much for the most part. For a story that deals with adultery, a crime ring, decades old grudges, etc., it is a decidedly uplifting tale. The women tackle their problems instead of becoming victims of circumstance.
I liked that Gupta showed the women as strong, powerful, and independent. None of them were “just a wife” or “just a mother.” None of them were leaning too hard on anyone but themselves. In a country where women aren’t generally in hierarchical positions, it was refreshing to see these women being so self-sufficient. Still, they walked the line between traditional arranged marriages and living their dreams, while sometimes doing both with one foot in each world. They seek out independence, their wildest dreams, and love all at once.
The book feels light-hearted in nature. I enjoyed that combination woven with real-life issues. I enjoyed the cultural journey following the women from India touring the Iberian Peninsula. The characters felt real. I’d love to see one of the characters step forward to star in a sequel.
Pages: 312 | ASIN: B07HP6ZPYM
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, daughter, dream, ebook, family, friends, goodreads, hope, ilovebooks, india, indian, indiebooks, inspirational, journey, kindle, kobo, life, literature, love, marriage, mother, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, regret, richa gupta, secret, shelfari, sisterhood of the traveling pants, Skeins, smashwords, story, travel, wife, writer, writer community, writing