An interview with fiction writer Sujata Rajpal

Bhubaneswar: Fiction writer Sujata Rajpal garnered much appreciation just with her first book “The Other End of Corridor”, says that her father, who is no more now, was always her first reader. The author’s second book, also a fiction based on sibling rivalry, is expected to release this year. Kalinga TV had a discussion with the writer on her life, books and dreams.

Rajpal was a Corporate Communication & PR professional for 13 long years. Her core job profile was to write newsletters and memos. She said “I strongly believe that I was always destined to be a writer and was not at all apprehensive to take the leap. I have loved every step of it.”

The Other Side of Corridor

In fact it was well-thought career move, she added. And she doesn’t regret the journey, even though arduous. She adds that sitting at home and dedicatedly writing needs way more discipline.

Fictions always had a special place in Sujata Rajpal’s heart. She is a voracious reader and loves to read Manju Kapur, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Khalid Hussaini. Manju Kapur, especially, inspired her a lot. She loves Kapur’s way of writing and the way she deals with her characters.

Rajpal said, “My parents, husband and my sons have been my rock solid poles in my life. Also, my friends are an extended support system.” She also believes that there are people all around us, and even strangers, who can motivate us, inspire us in their own way and hence shape our lives unknowingly. Rajpal credits her dexterity to her mother, who at 83 is an independent and tech-savvy woman.

She said, “I wrote each draft on pen and paper because that way I could be more creative. My 1st book’s very 1st draft was about 1, 20,000 words. My father asked to trim it as it was overly lengthy. And, after successive trimmings the book is in its current form.”

Also, the sheer control over characters’ life and their portrayal accordingly in the story was the “kick” Rajpal needed as a writer.

Sujata Rajpal’s journey was no bed of roses. She was rejected by 24 publishers and it took her 5 years from writing drafts to the book getting published. She took all the rejections up her sleeve and worked harder in achieving her dreams.

About Leela

Sujata Rajpal’s first book ‘The Other End of Corridor’ deals with a naïve woman Leela who goes through loveless childhood and then a violent marriage. The trauma she faces is heartbreaking but it also gives her the strength to achieve to fulfil her dream.

Over our chats, we asked Rajpal how she prepared herself to write about Leela. She said, “As a woman it was easy to relate with another woman. Luckily, I have a loving husband and supporting in-laws and parents, but it took me some time for me to get under Leela’s skin and write about her trials and tribulations.” She added that during the writing of her book, her own mood swings depended on what Leela was going through. This just reflects her commitment to her book.

Next, we discussed if she would like to see her book getting portrayed on stage as a play/ movie. She was extremely enthusiastic at this idea. She said, “I would love to see Kangana Ranaut play Leela.”  Rajpal also loved the idea of being script-writer of the play/movie based on her books. “Getting my books being portrayed on larger screen will be my dream come true“, she said.

Our discussions went on to her second book. It’s about sibling rivalry and that’s all the detail we could coax out of her. When asked about suffering writer’s block she said, “I luckily she did not suffer from any writer’s block while writing my first book.  But, I did suffer from blocks while writing the second book. And reading books from other authors helped me.” These books helped her in zoning out so that she can go back to writing with just more vigour.

Odisha visit in the past and a possibility in the future

Sujata Rajpal reminisced her visit to Bhubaneswar three years ago in 2016 for release of her first book. She said “I loved my time in Bhubaneswar during book promotions. I kept getting calls from fans who couldn’t attend my book-reading sessions and it overwhelmed me”. She was in awe of the literary culture here in. Odisha has always been a state which appreciates and promotes art in every form. Rajpal absolutely admires that.

Sujata Rajpal has promised to put Bhubaneswar in her itinerary when she releases her second book.

While she didn’t have much of a chance of reading any translated works of Odia authors, she did love famous ‘Jagyaseni’ by Pratibha Ray. Rajpal added that she would like to read other translated works of Odia authors if she ever gets that opportunity.

In closing, she advised aspiring writers to “keep going.” She also suggested, “Stick to the decision of writing and eventually you will excel.”

 Sujata Rajpal’s second book is set to be released in 2019. It’s based on sibling rivalry, something that any person with siblings could easily relate to.

Her first book was full of surprises and the second one is much-awaited. Here’s wishing the best for her endeavours.

The book is available on Amazon. One can buy it i paper-back or ebook version. Click on following link to buy the book:

About the author:

Sujata Rajpal holds an MPhil degree in Economics and has studied Mass Communication from Punjab University, Chandigarh. She also writes articles and short stories for publications and journals, such as Femina, Deccan Herald, and Star of Mysore. Her short stories have been published in E Fiction India and Women’s Web. She is a yoga enthusiast and enjoys being a Toastmaster. She currently lives in Mysore.

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