While she is a prolific writer of short fiction, food and travel, and classic cinema, Madhulika Liddle is best known for her books featuring the 17th-century Mughal detective Muzaffar Jang. Excerpts of a short tête-a-tête with the lady:
Your writing schedule?
During the pandemic, I write mostly after my housework is done, around 11:30am, and with few breaks in between, I go on till 10:00pm. Earlier, I used to get a lot of time, as my daughter is in school and my husband goes to office, and I have the house to myself.
Does writing energise or exhaust you?
Writing always energises me. It is emotionally fulfiling.
Writing advice you’d like to give your younger self?
Don’t wait. I was very wary of writing. I started thinking about putting my ideas onto paper when I was 26, but I didn’t offer anything for publication till I was in my 30s.
I was too scared. I used to think that nobody is going to read my writing. One should get over that initial hesitation and just write. Unless you put it out there, nobody is going to know that you can even write.
Literary success vs number of copies sold?
Number of copies sold is a very mathematical thing, but it is important as well. I am a full-time writer and yes I definitely want the increase in the sales.
An increase in the sale figure of a book is a brilliant benchmark of success. On the other hand, if somebody meets me at a book store and says, ‘Oh, you are Madhulika Liddle? I love your books’, that joy is priceless.
Favourite spot/s in Delhi you write at?
I usually write at home but if I had to write outside, I would probably sit at Starbucks. I am addicted to coffee, so I’ll have it next to me with my laptop.