Dear friends, today we have Anita Bakshi with us. She is a doctor cum author. Let us talk about her books and writings.
Can you please introduce yourself to the world of literature?
My name is Anita Bakshi and I am a doctor. I am Pediatric Intensivist which means that I work in a Childrens’ ICU dealing with the very sick babies.
When did you start writing?
I am not one of those persons who can say that I always wanted to write though I see so many who say they wrote at 8 years, 10 years whatever. I have had a very busy life and never considered myself as a person who could pen something of worth, let alone a book .
I lost my husband to cancer. After that I had a huge lacuna in my life and also suddenly , it seemed, that I had lots of time with nothing to fill it . I started writing in 2013 in small bits , almost like a diary and that became the first book which I have on Amazon called ‘Living with Merlin’.
Following that I wrote about my passion in life , which is working with children and that book is titled ‘PICU , The Transplant’ and it deals basically with the working of a unit in which the stories of children , their families and their interactions with each other and with the medical fraternity are highlighted . It is a book which deals with emotional and family issues and concerns of parents with children in an ICU. It also serves to highlight the commitment and lives of the doctors and the somewhat callous attitude of the younger ones sometimes . Thought it is written as fiction most of the stories are real .
When you published first?
I published on Amazon Kindle in 2013 and later since it did garner some interest I self-published the same book in 2014.That was done through Partridge publishing and now in retrospect I feel it was not such a good idea.
Describe yourself in day to day life?
I used to have a very busy work schedule with many nights on call . Now I have reduced my hours but basically it is go to hospital, work, come back, walk my dog and do the housework .I go for movies rarely but I enjoy going out for a meal and socializing with my friends or my father .
What are your hobbies apart from writing?
I love music, reading and I love to knit . Nowadays when the art of knitting is so rare I still love to pick patterns and make sweaters , scarves and caps . An old -world hobby but it is very relaxing and makes me feel better than meditation. Reading is a hobby which every writer must have . You have to read to increase your knowledge , your vocabulary and your story telling skills.
Tell us more about your book?
My book is basically about carrying on in life after a huge loss . Everyone will face grief at some point and it can leave you so broken that you feel that going on is impossible. I have tried to look for ways to cope and one of them was to get a pet and that is what the book is named after . But more than that it is a kind of philosophy of life , about the little things that matter , about doing what we want to do now in life rather than waiting for the perfect time which may never come . It’s about all the little things that count , about accepting and making your memories your little stash of happiness .
It is about smiling through tears and finally about leaving the tears behind or learning to turn them into little dewdrops which can actually enhance your life .
No one will see a life which is all happiness and sunshine so there is something in this book which anyone can relate to – it is about managing , it is about living in the moment and not waiting for some great day to turn up to give you happiness. It is about the little things .
How do you manage your writing time?
I am an early riser so write for an hour or so in the morning . If I go many days without writing anything then I put a target for myself like say 500 words every day and preferably 10000 or 2500 words this week – and then I am allowed to write any junk but I have to get the word count . I thing once one sits down to it , its work at the end of it , then it gets done . The quality check can come later.
What do you think of modern day relationships?
Modern day relationships have turned very selfish and superficial. I believe in commitment for a lifetime and I stand by the institution of marriage . But I also believe that for relationships to be good people need to work hard at them – a little caring , a little bit of attention ( or rather lots of it ) and sometimes tolerance . No one can be at their best all the time so you need to show your partner that you care , that you are always there . Today everyone wants perfection and wants it all good – it doesn’t work like that – there will be good times and then there will be bad times .And so you need to stick it out .
Time is what you have to give to make it work – decide that for a few years you will do your best ( and now I am talking marriage ) and then decide to be happy with it – then it will work. Don’t give yourself the choice of opting out in a hurry .
What do you think about cheating in relationships?
It is completely unacceptable . A one off can happen to anyone but that one must tell one’s partner and I am sure he or she will accept it but carrying on with another person while in a committed relationship is going wrong.
How important physical intimacy is in a relationship?
Very important and if you cannot enjoy the physical aspects of the man woman equation then you can forget it . Wont last for long.
What according to you are best marketing strategies for a young writer?
Social media is one option definitely because it gives you some exposure to the public ,actually it pushes information in your face. But at the end of the day it has to be good to sell . Also one must actively try , over and over again for traditional publishing . It takes time and it may happen but you have to try . Carry your book on you at all times and at any opportunity give it to someone – often that’s free but it cant be helped . Go for reading meetups and book clubs and read out from your book .
Don’t hang back , put yourself out . It isn’t easy especially if you are an introvert . Now there are marketing agencies which can help you I have been told and I intent to use them for my next book.
Which is more important to you Content or marketing ?
Both are important and I believe that everyone has a story to tell . How well they tell it is another matter and I am sure one can improve . But if no one reads your book how will you know ?
Your favorite writer and why?
I went through a phase where I loved Chitra Devkaruni because she writes well but her subjects are all Indian and so it gets tedious . I have enjoyed Amish Tripathi’s books .But my favorite is an author called Jodi Piccoult . She goes really in depth into her topics and her books can make you think , they can make you cry . it works for me .
What are your upcoming projects?
My next book is called ‘A prescription for doctors’ and is a rather serious book dealing with my perceptions of the changes in the medical profession over the last few decades . Attempting to understand how we went from a ‘noble profession’ to ‘scoundrels and crooks’ and even as one book says ‘rogues’ . I have tried to analyse where we could have gone wrong and also how the public needs to change its attitude too . Hopefully it will be out in one or two months.
Any tips to the upcoming young generation.
That is simple . Write if you love to write and for no other reason .Write everyday and write about the things you know or if you prefer , fantasise . In every fiction there is some fact and in every fact there is bound to be some fiction in the telling . Publish everything you feel is worth it , put it out there and let others judge it . Don’t be shy and don’t worry – just go on doing it . It will fall into place the more you keep on at it .
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Hardworking and sincere with strong conscience .
Well, it was nice talking to you Anita ji. There is lots of honesty in your words and someday, your writings are going to change the world. I wish you a very best for your career ahead.
If you would like to publish your interview, please drop me a mail firstname.lastname@example.org