Writer’s Block

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Monday, April 22, 2013. Asian Age / Deccan Chronicle

“When I’m writing, I don’t read anyone else. And when I’m composing I won’t listen to anyone else either. I feel it may compromise me.”

Radha Thomas has spent her life obsessing… about jazz. Writing. Men. Getting the most out of a toothpaste tube. Her son. She thought she was alone. But thanks to Facebook, she isn’t. She is surrounded by a sea of like-minded sociopaths and that makes her feel very secure. Kidding, of course. She is a jazz singer and songwriter. Her first novel, Men on My Mind, the first in a trilogy, was published in December 2012.

  • Q: Describe your favourite writing space.

    Anywhere, really. On the couch, at the dining table, at work — basically any noisy place, as long as people don’t ask me too many questions as I am trying to concentrate.
  • Q: Do you have a writing schedule?

    Yes. Until it’s done. As I said, I’m a bit obsessive, so I write till I am fresh out of anything to say. Then I wait for inspiration to kick in so that I can start again. I don’t like to keep things pending, hanging, so my schedule is dictated by deadlines.
  • Q: Ever struggled with writer’s block?

    All the time. I try not to panic and it usually passes. But I’m always terrified that it won’t.
  • Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a secret trick, or a book/author that helps?

    A snatch of conversation, a thought, a phrase, and lyrics — they help me get started. I note them down faithfully, hoping these “inspirations” are momentous revelations, but most often I toss it all out. When I sit down to write, it all flows in a torrent. When I’m writing, I don’t read anyone else. And when I’m composing I won’t listen to anyone else either. I feel it may compromise me.
  • Q: Coffee/tea/cigarettes — numbers please — while you are writing?

    Club soda. No coffee. No cigarettes. No food. It’s hard to type with sticky fingers.
  • Q: Which books are you reading at present?

    Madeleine Albright’s Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948. I’ve just begun it, but it promises to be fascinating. I’ve had it on my Kindle for a few months, but I couldn’t get to it because I was busy. She was brought up without knowing she was Jewish.
  • Q: Who are your favourite authors?

    P.J. O’Rourke, William Safire, P.G. Wodehouse.
  • Q: Which book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?

    I really couldn’t say. I don’t think it’s fair to comment on something so subjective. People in glass houses and all…
  • Q: Which is the most under-rated book?

    Hmmm. I don’t know if it counts, but I believe the thesaurus? Of course, it’s online now but every English-speaking human being ought to own/use one.
  • Q: Which are your favourite children’s books?

    I loved reading Enid Blyton as a child… every single series I could get my hands on.

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