Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Gargi Shukla belongs to Ayodhya and is a Psychology student. She released her first anthology “ Sunsets and Flames” as a compiler and later debuted with poetry collection “ Thoughts of A Sugary Leaf” as author. Her association with various publications houses like Notion Press, The Alcoves and Young Moves led her to open her own line of publication house series Raisin Publications.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“ Thoughts of A Sugary Leaf” is a collection of poems published by Notion Press. It has poetry that talks about nature and minute observations and thoughts that run behind it. A few poems are written with symbolic contrast that has a very unique style of itself. Various seasons are represented with profound imagery and simple language making it a beautiful yet easy read.
I feel the trigger behind writing the book was Lockdown. I saw a lot of anthologies coming up and enquired about self publishing. I did have plans for publishing a book but it was never going to be this soon. Lockdown made me utilise it as an opportunity to write the book. I already had a few unpublished verses so I began writing my book on the same basis.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I feel I have an unusual habit of writing down many poetries at a same time. I keep putting down thoughts as it fits according to the poetry. It is really difficult for me write and concentrate on a single poem at a given time.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I think my basic inspiration in my poems is John Keats because I think my initial journey with reading poetry began with his classic masterpiece “Autumn”. The imagery in words of William Wordsworth and simple writing style of Amish Tripathi are key elements that I try to incorporate in my writings. Ashish Baghrecha and Rupi Kaur are beautiful writers and the way their poetries are so relatable and simple are worth mentioning.
What are you working on now?
I am considering the release of “Thoughts of A Sugary Leaf” as an e-book for now. The upcoming book is yet in consideration however I think I can say it’s going to be about love, sacrifice, emotions and the universe. A few publications as anthologies can be expected soon too.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I feel the best method is to promote the books using online websites that offer free promotions initially because you actually don’t know how your book is going to do. Once you are sure that your book is making its mark, you can start including book reviewers and paid programs to your promotions.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing poetries is neither an art nor it is a skill that you go to some class to master or learn. It is an innate tendency in each individual that just needs to be actualised in order to feel and understand poetry. Based on my personal style of writing, I was very hesitant as a beginner due to my non-preference for usage of difficult vocabulary unnecessarily in poetry. Poetries are usually a thought process, an imitation of what our mind might be thinking in beautiful synchronisation and a normal thought process is very simple in language. If you want your words to sink in deep and be felt by the reader, helping them connect with your poems, it is important to make it easy for them to read and understand, making it feel like a part of their own thought process.
Each poet or author has their own way and style of writing and expressing through poetry. It is therefore invalid to compare our work with someone else or take criticism very negatively. The good reviews are obviously a pleasant part but your expression is your own individual style of writing. Grammatical errors can be corrected but with a lot of changes in your verses you may change your thought process. Also, never lose your confidence in your book by a single negative comment. You have put in your efforts in this book and you know your own expression better. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your expressions and opinions does not make it invalid. So go ahead expressing yourself to the world and enjoy this journey of writing you have embarked on.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I have ever had is that “It is impossible to keep everyone happy and satisfied. Nobody has the responsibility to keep you happy. It is only you who has the responsibility to keep yourself happy and that is what should matter while you hustle.”
What are you reading now?
Currently I am reading “Ikigai” by Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia. I just finished reading “The Ramchandra Series” by Amish Tripathi and it is a beautiful yet extended read.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As I writer, I think I will be focusing more on quality rather than quantity in my books. I have just released my debut poetry collection which was highly appreciated. As a next step, I would like to try writing a short story compilation or may be a novel. Can’t say for sure yet but another poetry collection can be anticipated by year end.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I feel being stranded would give me pretty leisure time. Being a Potterhead why only 4, I would carry all 8 Harry Potter Series books with me. Apart from that Amish Tripathi’s “Shiva Trilogy” is a read I would love going through again. Non-fiction titles like “Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud can be a good read too.
Author Websites and Profiles
Gargi Shukla Amazon Profile