• Sushma Ramesh

In conversation with Manali Debroy- Author of 'Marigold the golden memories'

Being a budding author, balancing between a full-time banker job, and aspiring to become a writer, author Manali is an inspiration to all the budding writers dreaming of becoming an author. It is an absolute honor for me to have her agree to give me an interview for her successful collection of short stories- 'Marigold the golden memories'. Let us dive right in to read and learn more about the author and her novel.

(Picture credits: Author's Social media Page)

1. When did you realize that you want to be a writer?

Well, to be honest, there was no realisation moment per se. I was always a book aficionado since like forever. I have always been a person with varied interests. Numbers, solution finding, science intrigues me. Equally, literature, fiction and books, in general, fascinates me. I am a student through and through. I take notes from life, every day. There is no satisfaction than performing at your best abilities at the behest of knowledge. You can only attain that when you have read books - absorbed the theories – from different authors and understood them. Hence, my character in this stage of ‘our world’ loves decoding numbers, finding solutions and words, altogether.

2. What was your inspiration behind writing ‘Marigold the golden memories’?

Memories bring back many things, one for all are the knock of emotions and conscience. That is what lead me to write these stories. 3. What is the story behind the title of the book ‘Marigold the golden memories’?

Marigold - The Golden Memories, is not just a random book title that was thought of at the last minute. Each and every story in the book is a reflection of the vulnerability yet the strength behind human emotions. The flower Marigold is a ceremonious symbol and a cherished flower that depicts happiness, freshness, beginnings. Simply put, it soothes our soul, bringing a sense of calmness. Humans are a rare race who can remember the past, bottling them in as memories and inhaling the essence whenever they reminisce. That's what the title of the book conveys. The book is a medium for readers to reminisce their fondest or unforgettable memories.  4. How do you manage time between writing, with your busy schedule of being a full-time banker?

I love my job and I am like a child when it comes to creativity. I am constantly learning new things about me. I do not believe in striking a balance, because there are numerous hats we don every day apart from corporate life or household one. I believe if I am passionate, thrilled and excited enough I can make time for everything I love. I am always looking out for new opportunities and collaborations to bring out the best in me and of me. 5. What is your writing process like? Do you have a fixed schedule or write on the go?

To be honest, I don't really have a defined writing process. As I thinketh I write. When it comes to creativity, I don't think anyone can have a fixed schedule for it. Hence, you will always find a pocket notebook and a pen in my bag. I jot down ideas or even write down pointer / small story leads that come to my mind, literally anytime.  6. What was the most difficult part of writing for you, particularly in this genre of short story collections?

Anything you do where you are putting your work out in the public sending a message and trying to connect with them is an effort. Writing is demanding since it reflects a part of you or your thought, be it short stories or a novel. I won't say managing time was a problem because you definitely make time for something you love. I do not really see anything as an obstacle, rather I see it as an experience. You have to develop a new character each time you write a new story. To put it across to the readers in a coherent and comprehensible way, you require to see the story from the readers' eyes. That requires a lot of concentration, will power and patience, needless to say, vivid and superlative imagination. parallelly, transporting yourself from writing fiction to come back to this breathing life is a piece of work. But it’s a terrific learning process and you keep growing each day.

7. Which is your favorite story from the book and why?

'Happily ever after' as it is an adaptation from the life story of my grandfather and grandmother. It is very close to me and it is surreal to witness such kind of love in reality. I am blessed to know them both so closely. I think that's the reason I am a sucker for romance.  8. Apart from writing, what keeps you happy and grounded in life?

Learning anything new, be it at work or outside. That helps you realise that there are so many things to know, understand and imbibe. I am a seeker and a constant learner.  9. Did you face any difficulties while publishing your book? What do you wish to improve/change in the traditional Indian Publishing market?

It is all part of the process I believe and you learn along the way.  I think the traditional publishing market should be more approachable and they should be more embracing also.  10. Do you read? If yes, your favorite book and author?

I am not very specific about a favorite genre. I love reading books, in general. I can't really be that specific, I mean you have great fictions. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took us into the world of solving mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, J K Rowling took us to a different land and what a journey it was with Harry Potter, Rabindra Nath Tagore poetically charms us, Jane Austen's classic romance helps us to meet the reality, there are so many. And then non-fiction from Yuval Noah Harari and Jean-Paul Sartre helps you to understand humanity and its institution. I am influenced by all these geniuses because you learn so much. I personally love Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.

11. Do you have any plans for your next book? If yes, could you give us a sneak peek?

I am collaborating with a co-author on a poetry/prose genre. But it is still in a very initial phase. Let's see how it pans out in terms of publication. 12. Lastly, any advice to budding writers? I am in the position to advise anyone. I am still a budding writer myself. Maybe believe in yourself and keep that belief alive. Everyone may choose to leave you but it is your faith in yourself and inner strength that keeps you sailing till the end. 

Once again, Thank you so much Manali for giving me the opportunity to have an interview with you, and also for writing the book so beautifully. Reading your interview responses surely will inspire many including me and, I wish you all the very best for your future endeavors.

Reach out to Manali on Instagram, to know more about the author and her book!

Read my review on 'Marigold the golden memories' here, and to buy the book on Amazon, click here.

Until next time, have a good one everyone, and stay safe!