• Amy Shannon

May's Featured Author: Uday Mukerji

Uday Mukerji is this month's Featured Author on The Official Blog of Amy Shannon Featured author page at https://writeramyshannon.wixsite.com/amyshannonblog/featured-authors

Amy Shannon: In three words, describe yourself.

Uday Mukerji: Curious. Liberal. Peace-loving.

Amy Shannon: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

Uday Mukerji: I have written only three novels and a few short stories. Two books and a few short stories have already been published. My first literary fiction, Readers’ Favorite Award winner, Love, Life, and Logic was published by Harvard Square Editions in 2016. The second novel, Book Excellence Award Winner, Dead Man Dreaming, was published by Adelaide Books in 2019.

My short stories have been published in both print and online magazines.

Amy Shannon: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

Uday Mukerji: My first two books were literary fiction. I am trying something new with the third book, moving out of my comfort zone. It’s a mystery novel. If all goes well, it should be released next year.

Amy Shannon: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

Uday Mukerji: I don’t have any rule book for that kind of thing. You know what, for the first two books, I started with completely different titles, and I changed them later after I had finished the book. The revised titles seemed more appropriate. However, for the third book – All In – I might just keep the working title.

Amy Shannon: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

Uday Mukerji: Creating David’s character in Dead Man Dreaming, suffering from Huntington’s disease and reeling from the recent breakup, was interesting, but what soon became insanely difficult and challenging, and rewarding at the same time, was tiptoeing his feelings for Jessie. How does a person with an irreversible Huntington’s disease express his love or even dream of a future?

Amy Shannon: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

Uday Mukerji: I love literary fiction. So, I’m good.

Amy Shannon: Without quoting your back cover blurb, tell me about the last book you published.

Uday Mukerji: You know my last book was Dead Man Dreaming, right? But here’s what you don’t know: what motivated me to write it.

In 2016, I came across an interesting article in the US News: ‘Genetic testing before pregnancy should be as common as taking folic acid’. It was written by Shivani Nazareth, a genetic counselor in New York.

She wrote, “…And yet, only 1 in 6 family physicians or OB/GYN providers offered carrier screening in preconception care.”

Her writing got me thinking. Isn’t parenting the hardest job in the universe? Then, why the aspiring parents weren’t doing their part before giving birth? Why do we make innocent kids suffer? Was it the lack of information or something else?

Hereditary genetic disease is a worldwide problem. Many of those diseases have no cure to date, and thousands of people are dying every day. But get this, it’s also avoidable in most cases. Maybe, gene editing isn’t legal yet in many countries, also, kind of expensive for many, but a carrier screening test is legal, and it’s right here. With awareness, maybe, someday we will be able to completely remove many of these single-gene diseases from our gene pool.

Amy Shannon: Quote your favorite line from one of your stories. Indicate the line, and then the book title.

Uday Mukerji: May I give you two quotes – one from each book? It seems I’m neglecting my first book.

“A human touch is explosive. It’s so warm that it melts away everything, including our ego.” – Dead Man Dreaming

“Like we all sync our watches every year, at the start and at the end of daylight saving time, we also need to sync our relationships once in a while.”

Love, Life, and Logic

Amy Shannon: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

Uday Mukerji: I love photography, and I love to travel. My favorite drink: espresso

Amy Shannon: Who are your top THREE favorite authors?

Uday Mukerji: Dostoevsky, Camus, and Milan Kundera. There are many more just as close, though.

Amy Shannon: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

Uday Mukerji: Anne of Green Gables (2nd time) by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I love it. It’s a masterpiece.

Amy Shannon: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

Uday Mukerji: I kind of have a plot in my head, but I don’t usually restrict myself to that. I let it flow as I write.

Amy Shannon: Why do you write?

Uday Mukerji: I guess, I’m just documenting my thoughts. Each one of us is unique, and we all have the stuff to say. One day, somebody might find them helpful.

Amy Shannon: Do you currently have a WIP? If yes, what’s the title, and is it part of a series or standalone?

Uday Mukerji: Now, I am trying my hand at something new – crime fiction. It’s not part of a series. ‘All In’ is still a working title, though.

Hollywood has many secrets. Some are deadly. Set against the backdrop of the city of Los Angeles, the book exposes the underbelly of an affluent, influential society in LA, exploiting the young and beautiful girls who come to the city every day in search of fame and glamor.

Amy Shannon: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

Uday Mukerji: Repeatedly, till it goes to press. It helps me get clarity. But I’m done once it’s published.

Amy Shannon: I play music when I write, and depending on the setting or mood of the story depends on what I listen to. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what genre or artist/band do you listen to?

Uday Mukerji: I love country pop. My playlist includes Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Cassadee Pope, Lauren Alaina, Gabby Barret, and I can keep going.

Amy Shannon: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the blurb that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

Uday Mukerji: For me, It’s always the first line. I think that sets the tone of my book.

Amy Shannon: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or your favorite beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

Uday Mukerji: Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein, and Dostoevsky.

Amy Shannon: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

Uday Mukerji: To be able to move people in a positive way.

Amy Shannon: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

Uday Mukerji: One day, I would love to write a book about how we are all connected to one universal force. I know string theory wasn’t proven, but research in Quantum Physics still suggests that the notion is not just any mumbo jumbo anymore. But I also cannot write about it until someone has proved it. … So, still waiting.

Amy Shannon: I am on a quest to read as many banned, burned or challenged books as possible? What is your feeling or opinion on banning books? It seems to be a new epidemic now.

Uday Mukerji: Absolutely. In most cases, those decisions are driven by ignorance, politics, and fanaticism.

Amy Shannon: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

Uday Mukerji: I’m still learning. I would say, the best thing to do is jump in and get started today, and figure out things along the way. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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