Jessica Faleiro spends her time on her two passions: writing and international development. She considers herself a “global nomad” and is currently in Delhi working for an international NGO. Her first novel, Afterlife: Ghost stories from Goa, has been published recently by Rupa Publications.
QDescribe your favourite writing space.When I’m working on the germ of an idea, it’s an atmospheric café surrounded by sunlight, chatter and the sound of a cappuccino machine whooshing away that suits me best. When I really need to focus and chisel away at the rough edges of a story, I need peace and quiet. In that case my perfect place is a small beach flat in Goa, where there’s nothing but the waves crashing to shore to distract me.
QDo you have a writing schedule?I’m a morning person. I love waking up to work on my morning pages (automatic writing), making myself a cup of coffee, then settling in to work on the project at hand.
QEver struggled with writer’s block?Nope. If you write about something external to you, it won’t last. Writing has to come from within. One of my favourite poems is by Charles Bukowski called So You Want to be a Writer. It begins: “If it doesn’t come bursting out of you, in spite of everything, don’t do it.” The reality is that there will always be days when the writing won’t come and there are days when the ideas and words come in thick and fast. There’s a natural rhythm you can’t force.
QWhat inspires you to write? Do you have a secret trick, or a book/author that helps?I write when there’s a story that comes to me or a character I want to explore. Inspiration could come from anywhere — a postcard, a book, someone sitting next to me on the bus — just anywhere. The trick is to make something of it and that just takes practice.
QCoffee/tea/cigarettes — numbers please — while you are writing?Two cups of coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon.
QWhich books are you reading at present?Another Country by Anjali Joseph and Touched by the Toe by Alexandre Moniz Barbosa, a Goan writer.
QWho are your favourite authors?I tend to have favourite books rather than favourite authors, but Jhumpa Lahiri and Amitav Ghosh are two current favourites.
QWhich book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?Taste is subjective and banning books is medieval. If you don’t like something, don’t read it or study it and be able to actively engage in a debate about it.
QWhich is the most under-rated book?This is so subjective but the most under-rated writer I’ve recently read is M.R. James who established a name for himself writing antiquarian ghost stories.
QWhich are your favourite children’s books?I recently re-read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to test whether it would stand up to the lovely memory I have of it since I first read it as a child and it did. I also loved the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton.