Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today, I’m chatting to the horror writer, Ushasi Sen Basu, an author who lives in Bangalore, India. Ushasi, like myself, is one of the writers featured in the Women of Horror Anthology, Vol 3 The One that Got Away published by Kandisha Press
Welcome to the tearoom, Ushasi. I hope your flight in the clubhouse was enjoyable as we try to provide the best service for all our guests. My first question to all my guests is what would you like to drink?
A private jet plane in was quite unexpected, Paula. The tearoom is amazing. A coffee, and hopefully cookies on the side would be lovely, thank you.
Now we have our refreshments I’ll start by asking you, when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I suppose I am a mystery writer now, since I have published that genre the most; though I write all kinds. I gravitated towards writing mysteries because I’ve always enjoyed reading the genre, and I feel human nature lends itself to deception and lies. I’ve always felt I have a radar for deeper undercurrents, and though I do nothing with this ‘skill’ of mine, I write about people who do.
Which writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I would count writing dialogue among my skills, and the ability to keep the pace of narrative going at a brisk trot. Descriptive writing, and language that can be savoured like poetry is a skill I envy in other writers and would like to develop.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Haha, anything between 3 to 5 I would guess! But I’ve accumulated these over many years. I try to see all my writing through to the end, but there are some I have kept aside to revisit and polish up more.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? If you only write short stories, do you plan your story or let the characters lead you?
I start writing and let the characters do their thing. It works well for me. The few times I’ve written a plotline before beginning a book, I have either departed entirely from it or have felt so hopelessly committed to staying to the outline that it became more a burden than an aid.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
This is an interesting question. I can’t say that it does. Except that I might prefer to write introspective passages on a day it reflects my state of mind, and the more vigorous ones on others. When I am too low, I cannot write at all. I feel utterly blocked, so black moods don’t show up on the pages at all.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
They very often are, but each character is always an amalgam of many people I’ve encountered. Very rarely a single person.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I wait for the house to quiet down, with people leaving for work or school and then I begin to write and try to cover as much ground as I can. I unfortunately am still not in that class of writers who can expect to be given a secluded cabin to write in. 😀 Someday perhaps. Till then, I hope every morning that it would be a good day when my fingers fly over the keys and I have a good 3000 words in by the time people begin to demand my attention again.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
Not an exact one, but I am always conscious of the fact that it would be great to have about 3000 done by the end of the day. But those words only count if it takes the story forward. If I keep a word count too much in mind, sometimes it happens that I babble just to fill up the quota and then have to trash it all eventually. That is a criminal waste of time.
How many hours in a day do you write?
I get too distracted (especially after the pandemic hit) by other things on the net. (Damn you, Netflix and YouTube!) Though ideally, I should have a good 6 hours on days I have no other work to attend to (I am a freelance editor and writer too); it ultimately comes down to about 3 hours. I have to find my focus again. Hopefully 2021 will help me start afresh.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I am very bad at writing romance. It is an established fact. But sometimes, the story demands a hint of romance, so I have to go out in my suit of armour and do battle with those scenes.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story?
Both my books took roughly 5 to 8 months to write. I have never been able to write exclusively, since I freelance as well.
Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Ushasi. If you would like to find out more about Ushasi’s writing and books please check out the links below:
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.