Author Interview : Devapriya Roy

“Ideally, no artist should have a full time job ! But what is to be done? Reduce needs”!  

“Publishing scene not prejudiced against women. Pressures of home/job/kids definitely!

Says the creator of some “spunky” and strong women characters Mil , Indira , Apu , Sandhya  in her super entertaining books THEWEIGHT LOSS CLUB &  THE VAGUE WOMAN’S HANDBOOK 

Her current writing project is rather unusual. THE HEAT AND DUST PROJECT is a “book in motion”. a collection of travel stories of  writer & her spouse across India on a very tight budget of Rs.500 a day !

 Presenting , our #SuperWomanWriter (4) Devapriya Roy . Here’s a candid chat with our in house bibliophile PRB. 

PRB : How did you conceive the strong women characters like Indira and Sandhya in both your books?

DP : I think I am deeply enamoured of strong women. While Sandhya is perhaps my ideal, Indira Sen is a more complex real woman: a mix of great strength as well as some amount of quirk, several eccentricities. So really, my women characters are like my relatives. Not friends, mind you. We are blind to some of the flaws of our friends; we have a more wholesome understanding of relatives. I also think that it is very important that strong, off-beat women characters are written about in popular fiction. Fun and feisty – and also deep.  

PRB : How do you perceive your male characters being a woman writer?

DP : At the end of the day, the writerly process is such that both men and women that one writes about are fictions. They come alive only once they are written about. So I approach the men and women in the books in essentially the same way. The trick is to work on the details. In that aspect, perhaps writing women is slightly easier than writing men!

PRB: How would you describe yourself as a woman? What are the traits in yourself that you cherish?
DP: A vague woman, for one. (To know more about vague women you have to read The Vague Woman’s Handbook). Kindness is a trait that I cherish in people; it is the thing that can redeem lives on a day-to-day basis, one’s own as well as that of others. I hope I can grow kinder and kinder though.
PRB : Any weakness that you would like to rectify in yourself?
DP : Hundreds! I would like to be far more disciplined. To be calmer. Eat healthy and exercise everyday. Very long list.
PRB : Did you face any hurdles in the process of being a published writer? How did you juggle your daily job with writing?

DP : So I quit my fulltime job to write my first book. But my academic life and the bookwriting are like squabbling teenage sisters – they exhaust me by their constant warring. 
But then, book-writing is, in any case, an exhausting and lonely profession. So for some the day job might offer some interesting distractions.

PRB : Your message for thousands of women aspiring to be successful writers.
DP : Read, read, read.
And since it’s a difficult path – writerhood – strengthen your minds as much as you can.

Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. 


Aspiring author, frequent blogger, freelance editor, book critic, movie buff, mihidana fanatic. Lives in Pune. Before the above titles, I was a PhD dropout in Soil Science from the US of A, which rather coerced me into switching gears and professions. I work in both English and my mother tongue Bengali.

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