1. When did you start writing?
"I started writing when I immigrated to the USA, about 18 years ago. I had always been a reader, and moving here provided solitude and time to write because I came on a dependent visa, unable to apply for a job. My son was two years old at the time, so I created a mommy blog
where I posted his tantrums, his antics, the innocent questions he asked. Then, I started writing about my immigrant experience, the differences in the culture I observed, and the persistent longing to be home. Fiction came much later when my son grew older and my life settled down into a steady routine."
2. What drew you to write short stories?
"I would say the availability of time. After I obtained a work visa and a full-time job, I could write only in snippets of time after taking care of work and family duties. I started writing shorts because once you get a knack for it, they can be written and revised quickly, and yet give the
satisfaction of a completed piece. From the readers’ perspective, a short piece doesn’t demand the time commitment of a novel and still leaves them with an emotion, a realization, or a beginning of something to think about."
3. Where does your inspiration come from?
"From everyday moments, the ordinariness of routine. In my opinion, it’s the small seemingly insignificant decisions people make over the course of a day that differentiates one individual from the other. I often find my stories and characters in quiet, in-between moments. When
waiting for the Keurig to drip coffee into my mug, I think of how I take my coffee black and how my husband needs a cup of sweet tea at the start of his day. And, before I know I have the outlines of two distinct characters that I can fill with their choice of beverage, the time they take to shower, the salad dressing they prefer, etc. The list of possibilities is endless."
4. How did Skin Over Milk come about? When did you realize you had material for a book?
"Skin Over Milk started as a single story set in the backdrop of rain, the relentless monsoon in India that keeps dripping, pouring, and seeping into dwellings and lives. It was a 300-word story of three sisters living in a house flooded by rain. I submitted it to contests and it was shortlisted in a couple of places. After that, I held on to it, did not try to publish it in literary journals. Then I wrote another story about the three girls providing shelter to a dog soaked in the rain. When I
thought about these two stories, I realized I had the beginning and possibly the end of something bigger. With that epiphany, I wrote more stories around rain and the three sisters, added more chapters, and molded the girls’ characters into a logical narrative arc. When I was
10,000 words in, I knew I couldn’t scrap the story. It was meant to be a book."
5. What do you hope people take away from your work?
"I write mostly about girls and women, burdened by unreasonable expectations of relationships, and society, in general. It’s sad that while life on Mars seems like a possibility, gender parity is still a distant and hazy target. Through my writing, I want to give voice to women who are not seen and heard often, women who are not empowered enough to shun their disgruntled lives, women who persevere and do the course of their duties while nurturing within them a quiet, resilient kind of feminism that emerges in a subtle, natural way at the right moment to make the right decisions, trying to make lives right for their daughters or sisters."
6. What’s your favorite writing advice you’ve been told?
"Not sure if someone has told me this but I’ve learned it through my experience: Don’t give up on your work because someone chooses to dislike or dismiss it."
7. Would you like to share what current writing project(s) you are working on?
"I have been working on a novel but haven’t gained the right momentum and motivation. Hope to complete a draft but haven’t set a timeline in my mind yet. Besides that, I continue to write short fiction, whenever the clichéd bulb lights up my brain."
8. And finally, what do you enjoy doing that you don’t talk about enough. Tell me all about it!
"I love traveling and exploring new places. My family takes a lot of road trips. We’ve driven from Ohio to New Mexico, and to Maine. Besides the external sights and landscapes, road trips are also important to the internal machinery of a family. After a while, when phones die and the
music becomes stale, we talk about things that we forget or don't care to mention in the normal course of our lives. The confined space of the car helps us know each other better and the bonus is that the new understanding comes in a natural way, without making a conscious,
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American writer. She is the author of Morsels of Purple and Skin Over Milk. Born to a middle-class family in India, she later migrated to the USA with her husband and son. She currently lives in the suburbs of Ohio. A technologist by profession and a writer by passion, she won first place in ELJ Micro Creative Non-Fiction Prize, placed in the Strands International Flash Fiction Festival. and is the runner-up for the Chestnut Review
Chapbook Contest. Her stories have been shortlisted in the Bath Flash Fiction Awards and SmokeLong Micro Competition. She is currently a Prose Editor at Janus Literary and a Submissions Editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. More at https://saraspunyfingers.com. Reach her @PunyFingers
Amy Cipolla Barnes
Cristina A. Bejan
Elizabeth M Castillo
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar
Emily M. Goldsmith
Lukas Ray Hall
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