Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Interview with Rochelle Potkar

I got a chance to interview Rochelle Potkar, author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other stories and I asked her questions related to her book, world and reading in general. She answered the interview questions candidly and I am sure you will enjoy reading them. Click on the link to read the Book Review : The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other stories - Rochelle Potkar

-- Interview with Rochelle Potkar --

Q: How and when did you decide that you wanted to be a published author?
A: The day I realized I had enough tales wanting to come through me through novels, novellas, and poems. I did not want to become a warehouse of my written work. I wanted to be a retail boutique store with my works stacked neatly, labeled, and sold.

Q: What do you do other than being a writer?
A: I am a mother to a 6-year-old. Other than that just a day-dreamer supported by her family and friends.

Q: What made you write the book “The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other stories”?
A: I had written many short stories and when I thought of carving out a book I realized some stories went together better than other stories. They seemed to be of the same flock. The genre of those other stories were speculative, women-oriented, and general-life themed, which you will see in other books.

Q: According to you, what is better? Short stories or a novel?
A: Well, some ideas beg to be told in a small word count or frame, and some have many characters, a lot more details, twists and turns, and want to be told elaborately. So the idea decides what it finally becomes. Not to say that a short story doesn’t have a lot of detail. I like both forms. Also, size doesn't matter in the instance of creating. A short story is a compressed novel. Even a haiku is sometimes a super-super compressed story. It is in the readership... what do the readers want?

Q: Which other books have you written in the past and what can we expect in the near future from you?
A: I have a novel with a lot of magic realism in it. It’s called Dreams of Déjà vu. It might release next year (2016). I have another book of prose and poetry that should release before this novel. There are few other books in progress.

Q: Do you read as much as you write?
A: Yes, I read quite a lot and quite randomly. As I write I need to replenish with reading. For me (and sorry for this feminine example) the writing-reading process is like lactating. You feed the new born. You thirst. You drink gallons of water, juice, and tea. (You read.) Then you feed the new born again. When I am not feeding, I am not reading, but day-dreaming and watching people’s faces.

Q: Which other writers inspire you?
A: Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, William Trevor… Chekov is a bedtime favorite, and many others. A few writers please me with some of their works but not all of their works. That can get disappointing. Because I belong to the writing community, a lot of my writer-friends stoke my energy and motivation levels all the time. My current batch of high inspiration comes from the writers, poets, and filmmakers who are with me as Fellows at The International Writing Program, Fall residency 2015, Iowa city.

Interview with Rochelle Potkar - Author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other stories
Rochelle Potkar - Author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other stories

Q: Which are your favorite books?
A: Too many to name or even remember by titles or authors. I get hypnotized by craft, story, and style. But my all-time favorite is Kafka on the Shore. I think I read it at a time in my life when it fell like rain on parched earth.

Q: Two things that you like and dislike the most about this world?
A: The world is never short on hope, opportunities, or a new day to rectify an error or mistake made the previous day. You can course-correct your life in a day, just by one simple decision and the discipline to stick to it. What I dislike the most is its insensitivity and discriminatory practices, and its shallow reasons for waging wars.

Q: You prefer reading e-books or you love the traditional paper/hard back books?
A: I prefer reading online fiction the most, because there is high quality stuff happening online and it is easy and inexpensive. But the smell of paperbacks, hard covers... ummmm, ah!

Q: Other than writing, what are your other interests?
A: I don’t think I am left with any other interests not pertaining to storytelling or the arts, but maybe meeting new people, watching movies, travelling. But those are going after stories again, no?

Q: What are your thoughts about movies being made out of novels & books? Who benefits more out of it? The book or the movie?
A: I have no first-hand account of this, so quite clueless really. I have liked a lot of international movies made from books. The Namesake being one, Brick Lane, Memoirs of a Geisha. I have enjoyed even Ayn Rand’s fast-paced movies: Fountainhead and Atlas shrugged. The best was Les Miserables and so many others. I think I don’t compare, just enjoy both the forms. I’m exceptionally greedy here.

Q: During the course of writing this book, did you ever face a writer's Block? How long did it take for you to complete the book?
A: No, I did not face a writer’s block during this book, but I do face the halt sometimes. Then I do other projects. Writing is such a demanding job… where is the time to mourn over blocks. Though I do have, sometimes, 3-day blocks that can put me into a low mood, I do remember patterns of emerging with good ideas after that.

Q: One message that you would want to convey to our readers?
A: If you happen to read my book, please review it. Don’t think your review won’t matter. It is important to me. I read candid reviews with great interest.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?
A: or better still add your email address through my website and stay tuned. I will be communicating with you shortly.

-- End of Interview with Rochelle Potkar --
12:07:00 PM / by / 2 Comments


  1. ": The world is never short on hope, opportunities, or a new day to rectify an error or mistake made the previous day. You can course-correct your life in a day, just by one simple decision and the discipline to stick to it." Brilliant. It made my day.

    1. Dear Sarojkanta, Thanks for your comment. Glad that you liked the interview. Keep reading, thank you :)


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