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Debdatta’s Interview Questions

Debdatta’s Interview Questions

When I went looking for Bookstagrammers and Reviewers, I came across Debdatta Dasgupta who writes Bookish Indulgences in India. Her blog is on Bookish Indulgences. She said that she couldn’t review a book, but she would post an “interview” of answered questions. The questions were fairly probing.

One of them was: What would you take on a desert island. Well, first of all, I would really want my husband to be with me, but he’s not a thing, so he probably doesn’t count. When I first saw this question, I thought take something to read – a no-brainer. Not clothes, not food, (maybe flares and a blanket to be practical). If there was electricity, I would take my fully loaded Kindle, but the darned things lose a charge VERY quickly. If there was no electricity, I would take three anthologies, that I thought I could read over and over again. It would be hard to choose between “Black Voices” and “The New Negro”. If there was one book that contained all three of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy”, I would take that. And one copy of one of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Sword and Sorceress” books. But then, after I gave it more thought, I realized that I might, instead, take a really long-lasting pen, and a huge journal book. And I would spend my days writing. I would still bring the Octavia Butler Trilogy. I have read it three times now, and it never gets old.

The next two questions from the interview that I chose to answer had to do with writing. First: advice to writers. Dismal but real. If you’re writing because there is something in you and you just have to get it out, and you’re not trying to make money, make sure you have a day job. Writing doesn’t pay and most writers are not successful. If you want a wonderful group of people to critique your book, go to They were a godsend for me. If you have the time, do as much of the work on the book yourself to cut down on costs – Amazon KDP makes a lot of this relatively easy, but if you hope to turn a profit – after you have put together the absolute best possible book, free of errors, and something that really brings joy to a reader, invest in a good marketing specialist. Read reviews, do research, get the best. Trying to market a book yourself is lots of trial, lots of error, lots of spent money and lots of chasing rainbows. It’s not worth it. Get help.

So why do *I* write? I have a Muse, and she comes periodically. Sometimes every few months, sometimes once in a year. When she comes, I drop everything and write, until the story or stories are out. Then I get all excited to share my story… and then the Muse disappears, and I am heartbroken, not knowing when she will come again. Scientifically, I am bipolar, and the Muse may be a result of a manic phase. But she is truly real to me; I love her. And I haven’t seen her for a few years. It’s actually quite awkward if she comes when I’m busy at work because she consumes me and fills me with the story. I cannot think of anything else. My work schedule right now is quite hectic, and I don’t know what I would happen if she came right now… but I know I would make time for her. She is that important to me.

The next question was my bucket list. At 59, I long to retire. There were so many things I wanted to do. Get an MA in Pure Mathematics, take all of the liberal arts classes that I never got to take as an engineer. Do volunteer work with abortion clinics. Do volunteer work with hospice centers. Read to children. Help someone learn to read. Mentor young engineers. Especially black women. Participate in my sorority. And yet you say, is that really a bucket list? Or just things that would be meaningful, but not something to cross off and say, “I Did This”.

Well, I got to talking to some people who said “Tomorrow is not promised. So don’t put off your bucket list. You have an income, you’re fit, make the most of now.” I have really paid attention to this. I have a friend who is seeing the National Forests. She’s still working – she does it when she has time; she makes the time. She has inspired me to fit my bucket list activities into my life. Publishing Afro-Bougie Blues was on the bucket list. And it’s done. I would love for it to be a best seller. I have sold 600 copies in 9 months. That’s actually pretty good for an Indie author. But right now, I sell 2 books a day. It’s just not going to happen.

So, it’s time to move to the next thing. Engineering students don’t take liberal arts classes, and I feel like I really missed out. I want to study philosophy, cultural anthropology, geography, world literature. So, I’m doing it. NOW. At a community college with on-line classes. I plan to take one class per semester. There are about 20 I want to take. And this will take 7 years. Then I can cross it off of my list.

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