Chronicling Success Stories: Women Writers’ Fest

Women writers fest success stories

The challenge of chronicling success stories can be particularly daunting. Maya Bathija, Sonia Golani and Gunjan Jain spoke to SheThePeople.TV’s founder Shaili Chopra about how to tell the story of someone who is always spoken about, and reveal new information.

Sonia Golani, author of Corporate Divas, and Decoding Bollywood, says that the book’s concept has to be stronger than the connections of the authors. Her new book What After Money and Fame will be released later this year. For her, the most important selection criteria is that the person should command integrity and should have substance.

“Books around a theme make for a different experience from reading coverage,” she says.

Gunjan says she reached out to people without any qualms. Apart from the people she interviewed, she also did 150 reference interviews. The conversations, anecdotes that she got from these is what made the book different

Women also felt comfortable speaking to her because she was of their daughters’ age. “Every story is literally a book in itself,” she says. 

For Maya, whose new book is about the Sindhi community, she already knew some of the people in the book. But the ones she didn’t know, she went and met. There are no archives on Sindhis, she says, and people aren’t willing to give out their secrets, Maya adds

How to deal with successes and failures?

It took me three years to put it together, says Gunjan. “I had big launches and a tour with FICCI FLO. I had my share of the limelight. But fame fades off,” she says.

“With every piece of art, it is about your own self-evaluation. It’s what I become at the end of the journey” Gunjan says. “I am from a protective family in Calcutta — to get out and write to the people in my book — to count on my own credibility to get the appointment was a great validation,” she says. 

“For an author, it’s the journey and growth which is most enjoyable,” Sonia says

Writing rules

“I read about people who have rules — but I write when I feel like,” she jokes. There are timelines and deadlines.

Gunjan, on her part, says she just reached out to people and saw where it went. When she was writing, she woke up at odd hours. Her team was used to receiving emails at odd hours.

“I believe in reading before writing. I also research and set my own timetable,” she says. She also got clearance from every person and shared it with the 150 individuals she had interviewed. 

It’s an all consuming process, says Sonia.

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