Interview with Author Shalini Mullick

  1. Congratulations on your book ‘Stars from the borderless sea.’ Could you tell us about it?

Thank you so much. “Stars from the Borderless Sea” is a collection of three non-linked novella length stories, each of which has a strong, mature woman protagonist at its center. On a usual day in their busy, well settled lives, the morning newspaper takes them back in time. They recall the loves of their lives and their relationships, which shaped their lives today. Through their life journeys, the books explore different facets and nuances of love. It also shows how these women overcame their challenging circumstances and lived life on their own terms.

2. What prompted you to write ‘Stars from the borderless sea’?

Love is the most universal emotion. Everyone craves it, searches for it, laments not finding it. Yet, if you ask them what love is, each will have a different concept or a definition. As the quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park goes “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” This book showcases some of the many facets of this universal and powerful emotion. The overarching theme of this book is love-and its myriad forms.

The book started as a short story, which is now the third story of the book-Humraaz. As I wrote the story, I began to outline the other two stories showing different relationships between the protagonists.

Romance is one of my favorite genres as a reader, but most of the books focus on peppy young protagonists with a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending. I wanted to go beyond that etch out characters who have matured through their life journeys and explore the concept of soul mates

3. How did you arrive at the title of your book?

Both the stars and the sea are not defined by any borders we may construct. They are eternal and infinite. And that is exactly what love is-immeasurable, infinite, impossible to define. The water in the sea below and the stars in the sky above are not limited by borders or divisions; in fact, they defy them. Similarly, love does not conform to conventions, definitions, or stereotypes. However hard we try; we cannot limit it to our rules.  That is the premise of the book.

4. How long did it take you to write the book?

I started this book in June 2020 as a short story. But then I put it aside, mainly because I didn’t have the confidence to develop it into a longer form. A few months later, the story kept haunting me, asking to be told, and I returned to it. By February 2021, I had almost completed the first version of the manuscript, which was ready for feedback and beta reading. But then the second wave of the pandemic happened, and I wasn’t able to make any progress, so again there was a gap a few months. Later, more round of edits and revisions continued. By August 2021, I was ready with the final manuscript.

5. Could you take us through your writing journey?

I am a late entrant to the world of writing. In 2019, I started writing small pieces and some poetry mostly on Facebook. A few friends encouraged me to write more often, and I began writing short stories and flash fiction. I enjoyed participating in the “Muse of the Month” contest organized by Women’s Web, where the prompts given were very thoughtful and inspiring. I also wrote some poems and non-fiction pieces relating to the pandemic. I really enjoy writing short stories, and even while I was working on this book, I regularly wrote short stories alongside. Five of my short stories have been published in three anthologies.

6. Could you tell us about your publishing journey?

The publishing journey is as much a learning journey for an author as is the writing journey.

Once the manuscript was complete, I began querying with literary agents and publishers both. I finally signed with Readomania Publishers in December 2021.

7. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Favorite authors change with time and stages of our life journeys, and it is not possible to select a few. But I have always enjoyed reading non-fiction and memoirs, in addition to general fiction. Some books that have left an indelible mark on me are “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E Frankl and “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. Gawande and Oliver Sacks are authors whose words I have devoured for many years.  “Love Story” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” are two books that I can return to any number of times

For the last few years now, I have been making a conscious effort to read more and more contemporary Indian writers, and it is a pleasure to discover the wonderful body of literature they are creating, especially the brigade of women writers!

8. What is your current read?

‘I am reading Stolen focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’ by Johann Hari and ‘One True Loves’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

9. What were some lessons you learned while writing this book?

I learnt how important having a writing routine can be. Writing daily, even for a short while a day, helped me complete this book and write many other pieces. I also discovered so many online platforms and writing communities which were very encouraging for me.

10. If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be and why?

Alice. It would be such an adventure to follow The White Rabbit into the magical garden. And be a guest at the tea party along with the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and Dormouse. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to play croquet with the Queen of hearts? And enjoy as life got curiouser and curiouser? 

6 thoughts on “Interview with Author Shalini Mullick

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    1. thank you so much for stopping by and reading about my journey. it would be an honour for me to have you read my book. I would be grateful if you picked up the book and shared your feedback!!

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