While still relatively new as an author, it has taken all but a couple of years for Ishita Banik to carve out a place for herself in the world of creative writing. Ishita is also the proud owner of her own clothing brand. True to her reputation as a beauty with brains, she was also crowned Miss Nation India 2020.
Recently, Ishita declared via an Instagram post that her first-ever poetry collection, One and a Half Moon, will soon be out.
Considering the positive reviews garnered by her previous three novels (all of which were fiction) – If We Last, Till We Last, and The City of Tunes – expectations are quite high this time around. Ameya had the chance to discuss this much-awaited poetry collection with her, in addition to what readers can expect from her in her upcoming projects.
The Ishita Banik we know is a bestselling fiction writer. Is fiction still your first love, or has poetry dethroned it?
Fiction will always be my first love (smiles). While fiction feels like living several lives in a single lifespan, in poetry I found solace; it comforts me.
What motivated you to foray into poetry?
Oh, well, I have been writing poems since my childhood. I think I wrote my first piece back in the first or second grade. It is hard for me to pinpoint a specific reason or motivation to pen down poetry. It has always been something very spontaneous for me.
How has writing this poetry collection made you a better writer overall?
I think it has helped me explore and approach my writing in a very new way. My thoughts were better organized. It was a really beautiful experience considering I could actually feel what I was writing.
How did you decide upon the title of this book?
Actually, I love connecting human lives with celestial bodies. My poems involve a lot of metaphors for the universe. I am sure we have all seen both the full moon and the half moon, but titling this book One and a Half Moon was motivated by my desire to represent the point where reality meets fiction.
Did you edit anything out of the book? If so, could you please tell us about it and why?
No, fortunately not (laughs). It flew out pretty smoothly, and everything seemed to fall into place without the need for any fine-tuning.
If you could give a piece of advice to Ishita Banik the writer of, say, a couple of years ago, what would it be?
Well, do not try to be like others, because by doing so, you will end up forgetting the magic that you are. This is something I learned the hard way, and I think it is applicable to everyone.
Any secrets from the book that you would like to share with your readers?
Yeah, of course. Well, my book is divided into three parts – Life Hurts, Life Heals, and Life Gives. I think it is a beautiful road of self-transformation through poetry. I feel this book can teach the readers to fall in love with life and themselves.
We are living in an age where the practice of using a pen name is experiencing a revival of sorts. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym?
No, not yet. I am not sure if I will ever do it, but yeah, no such plans as of now (smiles).
We had a chance to go through some quotes from your book on your Instagram handle, and I know this is going to be a tough question, but what is the one quote from this book that is the closest to your heart?
That’s a really tricky question (laughs). Okay, let me try (thinks). I think it is this one: Be what you seek from the universe.
It seems like the horrors of 2020 are almost over now, but what is your take on the impact the pandemic has had on writing and publishing in general? Have things changed for the better or the worse?
Well, yes, last year was a really tough one. That said, I feel it taught us how fragile we are and how uncertain life can be. It gave us one more reason to not be afraid of chasing our dreams. Since many people stayed home and could afford a break from their hectic lifestyles, more and more people have started reading. That was one of the positives, I believe.
What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of your publishing journey?
All parts are my favorite now, actually. I did face a few rejections at first, and that was a really tough time for me as an author. But looking back, I am really glad I chose this path, and there is nothing I can dislike about my journey so far.
What advice would you give to someone who has just started out writing?
Well, keep writing and be confident about what you are doing. It might take you a while, but you will make it big eventually.
Describe yourself in one word.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
If not a writer, what would you have been?
A physicist (smiles).
How often do you Google yourself?
Once every two or three months, I think.
If you could sit and watch an author write their books and never get bored, who would it be?
Paulo Coelho (smiles).
What is the one thing you would absolutely want to do from your bucket list?
Traveling the world.
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