Granddaughter of noted Hindi writer Jainendra Kumar Jain, Richa Gupta, wanted to become a writer from the time she wrote her first article, To Solve it by Strikes, in Class 11. "It was on the rampant strikes by the DTC staff, MCD workers, etc. The article was much appreciated by all," she says.
But moving ahead, Gupta got busy with studies, and later a career as a teacher, and could get back to writing only after 2017.
Her first book, Skeins, was out in 2018. The Jamun Tree and Other Stories (published by Bridging Borders) is her third book. This collection of short stories talks about relationships and subjective morality. Excerpts:
Are the stories in The Jamun Tree and Other Stories inspired by real life?
The stories are inspired by real life but take an instinctive course of their own after the initial thought is sown. For example, the story The Jamun Tree is inspired by a jamun tree in the compound of my parents' house, and some episodes in the story are real. But, these are incorporated with fictional elements to keep the reader's interest alive.
Why do you write only about women?
It’s not a planned decision. Also, it is easier to write about women because they are far more invested in life than men, play multiple roles and react to situations with passion. They have a high emotional and intellectual quotient, and face specific challenges in a patriarchal society such as ours
Did you consciously include various sub genres?
No. My stories grow organically after the initial stimulus from a real-life event. I don’t know what course my stories will take. That’s why you find various sub genres like social satire, romance, psychological thriller, suspense, and first-person narrative in it.
You began your writing career with a novel, but moved to short stories?
I started writing another novel after my novel Skeins was published in 2018. However, in late 2018 and early 2019, I got busy with my son’s engagement and marriage, so I turned this novel into a short story titled Knots.
I realised that I could write short stories on the go and in between other activities without worrying about continuity across chapters. So, Slices of Life was born, and with it I discovered my wings in this format.
In the age of Internet, do you think people buy books?
Thanks to the Internet, the book sales have moved from physical bookstores to online platforms. Like any other product, book sales depend largely on visibility and marketing via online social media platforms.
That said, it is difficult to distinguish your book from the large number of sub-standard products being marketed since discerning readers can identify the quality of a book only after they read it.
FAVOURITE BOOKS: The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
OTHER INTERESTS: Travelling and painting