Vandana Singh Quotes

My being Indian is possibly the biggest thing that influences my stories. Not just in terms of settings – most of the settings in my stories are Indian – but also in terms of characters and plot. I think growing up in India grew my imagination in certain ways that would not have happened in any other place. I’m also fascinated by the idea of India, and writing stories allows me to explore this. As for thematic elements, they are probably pretty obvious in my stories. I also hope that my stories bust stereotypes at least to a modest extent.

I write like anyone involved with a family and a full time job: in stolen moments. I’ve had to adapt because I have so little writing time, so I write while dinner bubbles on the stove, and get away to cafes when I can. It is good to have a small laptop to haul around. I wish I could admit to bizarre writing habits, you know, like “I can only write in the presence of my favorite pet elephant, who is my fount of inspiration,” but the truth, alas, is far more mundane.

Perhaps if there is anything remotely interesting about my writing style, it is this: more often than not I have no idea what the story is going to be about. Sometimes I have a fuzzy vision, or a glimpse of one scene, or a character. But mostly all I have is a random first sentence, and I follow it to see where it might go. For me, writing is the process of discovery, of gradually figuring out what happens in the story and how it ends, that makes writing an interesting process for me.

I think my style changes somewhat. The themes I am interested in exploring are mostly the same, but I tackle them differently. My Younguncle books are at the surface comic adventures of the eccentric title character but they are also serious beneath the fun and frolic. And I use Big Words, like “ambrosial,” which bothers some children’s book reviewers. The children’s short stories you mention are mostly quite serious.

I know there is gender imbalance in the spec fic field, and it concerns me very much. We live in a gender-biased world. There have been some fascinating discussions and studies on this on the internet in recent years. There seem to be a lot of women writing spec fic and not as many getting published, or otherwise taken seriously. While it seems there is less overt bias against women writers compared to a few decades ago, there are still institutionalized biases, subtler biases that are harder to discern. I think these are serious issues that deserve examination by the community.