Purva Grover, is an author, journalist, poetess, playwright, stage director, TED X speaker and creative entrepreneur. She made her debut as an author with The Trees Told Me So (2017); a book of short stories, it draws a poignant picture of love, life and loss with an honest voice. Her second title, It was the year 2020 (2021); a fragmentary novel set in real-time, it dares to speak of the pandemic, waiting to take over our lives, or whatever little is left of it. Her third title, She (2021); is currently making waves for its honest, relatable and fun approach on the topic of womanhood.
Your writing style is beautiful and rapturing. What is your earliest memory of writing? Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I strongly feel that words find us. They found me, early on. My mum-dad encouraged me to write. During my growing up years, I kept a diary, in which I documented all my experiences. I kept writing in it for say 16-17 years. Also, I scribbled songs and poems on little notepads that came free with candy boxes. On many occasions, I wrote letters to my parents, as they sat in the other room. They never threw a single piece of paper or diary away or told me I was being silly. I guess I never knew I wished to be an author, but I always knew that the words and I were going to be a lifelong romance, and now, I am happy to share them with one and all. Today, my words are as much mine as that of my readers.
What does it take to be a fiction writer?
As a fiction writer one has to be many things. You have to be strong enough to not get moist-eyed in times of loss. You have to be weak enough to fall in love with the wrong one. You have to be stupid enough to fall into the trap and make mistakes. You have to be optimistic enough to cry all night and then wake up every morning. You have to be giving enough to accept the strange and different. You have to be forgiving enough to look into the mirror each day. You have to be angry enough to break the glass, hurt the hand and pick up the broken shard again. You have to be happy enough to share the daily cup of coffee with someone you chose. You have to be funny enough to laugh at jokes revolving around you. You have to be courageous enough to swim in dark waters. You have to be beautiful enough to let the zits grow on you. You have to be ugly enough to let anyone hug you, hold you. You have to be confused enough to pull away when to push. You have to be far enough to know what walking a mile means. You have to be close enough to sense the distance. You have to be monochrome enough to note down the day of the rainbow. You have to be small enough to absorb the heights. But most importantly you have to know when to pause enough. Pause and let your character think for itself. Pause and let your character listen to its voice. Pause and let your character question itself. Pause and let your character feel for itself. You have to know when to pause.
How do you write? Do you sit and pen down a short story in one go, in a gust of passion and emotion, or is it more structured than that?
Most of my writing is a gust of passion and emotion. I’m disciplined only in terms of the fact that I write every single day, but I don’t have a fixed hour/s devoted to it in my diary. Emotions can never be structured. Often, they pop up announced. So, I write when they demand me to do so. I complete what I start. I make the words count. I write. Between cotton sheets, between magazines. Between cuddles, between arguments. Between notepads, between laundry piles. I write. At work, at lunch hour. In the car, in the cab. At events, at conferences. In the kitchen, in cubicles. I try very hard not to judge my first drafts, my completed works. I just write. For, “Write, whenever (& whatever) you can, and even when you can’t. And write until you reach the end.” That is the best advice I can ever give anyone.
She’s writing style, approach and subject, of course, is different from your first two titles, The Trees Told Me So & It was the year 2020, tell us more?
Yes, this book comes at a time when my first two titles have been put under the literary sections, stirring emotions (not hormones) of a purely different nature than this one. Why did I write this? As always, I don’t choose the words, the books choose me. So, yes, She, chose me. I simply caved in. As an author, I am always looking to challenge myself hence the unique approach and subject.
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What do you want to tell aspiring writers/authors, who look up to you?
Well, that writing is a lonely job. It is not how it looks from the outside; sitting in the cosy corner of a room on a desk with a hot cup of coffee. It’s not as cosy, comfortable. Some don’t even think it can be a job. It’s about closing the doors to the outside world, to create one of yours. The people who live here are strangers who have all kind of questions and quirks. They make you uncomfortable, at every step with every word. It’s about words that weave tales, change lives. It’s about spending a lot of time staring at the screen, the empty sheet. It’s about getting nervous when you don’t have an answer. It’s about restless nights when the characters refuse to talk back, or when they refuse to stay quiet. It’s about being locked up inside four walls until you reach The End i.e. if there is one. It’s not fancy. It’s a mix of anxiety and insomnia, and a few smiles & sighs too.