Ask the Author: Payal Kapadia

“Ask me any question you like... I may take a little while to respond as I am in the midst of writing my new book, but respond I will!” Payal Kapadia

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Payal Kapadia I was at a writers workshop where I was asked to develop a memorable character. I came up with Volumina Butt, a school bully with an enormous rear who demolishes her victims by sitting on them. The character sketch made all of us chuckle guiltily, and it got me thinking: Why not write about a horrid school, the world's MOST horrid school, where such a school bully could rule the roost? And why not make it funny and horrid at the same time? That's how Horrid High started out.
Payal Kapadia Nothing inspires me to write as much as reading. When I read my favourite books, my favourite authors, they put me in the mood to write something of my own. I also get inspired to write from observing the world around me, listening to people tell stories, noticing the little tics of behaviour that make us special, enjoying how the light falls on something or how something moves in the breeze. And while everyone talks about how writing is about inspiration, it's equally about discipline. It's about sitting yourself down at your desk on the days when you don't feel inspired and keeping at it, being open, waiting for inspiration to strike. It often does.
Payal Kapadia I'm currently working on Book Two of Horrid High and I'm halfway through. I also have a grown-up book in the pipeline and a book for girls.
Payal Kapadia All aspiring writers must write. It's the thing we most put off doing. I spent years wondering what to write about, looking for stories in journalism and in real life and then finding that some of my most valuable stories sprung from my own imagination. Writing and imagination are muscles, like any other, and demand to be exercised regularly. So keep a diary, blog, work on a manuscript, but keep writing till it achieves a rhythm of its own. And don't let self-doubt get in the way. As I put it in my book 'Wisha Wozzariter', stop wishing and start writing.
Payal Kapadia There are many 'best things' about being a writer. Being able to create your own universe, with its own people, its own rules. Watching that universe develop a life of its own, independent of you. Playing with language, exploring how words sound, how they can shift shape and elude you. And being a master of your own time, of course.
Payal Kapadia I deal with writer's block by biting my nails off and pacing up and down. :) Of course, that doesn't help! Then I resort to long walks, long baths, long reads of other books. Nothing helps writer's block like creative distance. When you find yourself stuck, it's possibly because you're immersed too deep in your work. It's very, very hard to do, but it helps to walk away from it all, for a little while. In my book 'Wisha Wozzariter,' a fable about the creative adventure of any wannabe writer, she faces a writer's block, too.

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