Archive for September, 2010

9/30/2010 ~ Writing this…

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Working on another brutal deadline, and I upped the stakes for myself by taking on the editing for “Madhouse: True Stories of the Inmates of Hostel 4”. This was a wonderful project, and I am very glad I did it. But boy has that got me in the weeds… Still, I will be on target, and deliver my next book by the end of the year.

Some thoughts on writing it:

Why is it hard to write erotica? For sure, it’s hard. A friend asked me, joking, if I am “scared by my own ghost story.” The answer is, it takes so much concentration, such focus on the physical-mental-emotional state of the characters in each story that I forget myself. So no, I am not scared by my own ghost story. Or, to be clear, I am not turned on by my own erotic story. For me, writing sex and sexuality is very much a mind exercise, more than any other kind of writing I have done thus far.

It is very hard to stay where I want to. I don’t want the focus of any of my stories to be on sex or sexuality in an overt way – it has to be part of the story, of the people in the story. And sometimes the characters don’t play along. They do what they want, and sometimes they don’t want to be sexual. Maybe I should not have committed to write to such a narrow spec. But I have, and it’s interesting, to say the least.

This is the first post about writing, I may do more. It is interesting to pay attention to the process this time, something I haven’t done before…

The first thing I did was name the kind of writing I intend for this book. So after I finished my first story, I did just that: I named the book. It helps me to keep this in mind, it keeps me where I want to be.

It will be called

Slither: Carnal Prose by Urmilla Deshpande

Yes, Carnal Prose. My own genre. I am delighted by my own brilliance. I hope it doesn’t end with the title.

9/28/2010 ~ Review Kashmir Blues

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

9/20/2010 ~ Curious Book Fans interview

Monday, September 20th, 2010

CBF: How did you suddenly decide on Kashmir as the main setting for this novel? Was it because of the current political crisis?

UD: I didn’t suddenly decide on “Kashmir” as the setting. This book was written in 2003-2004, not recently. I was interested in individuals who decide to stand against a power much greater than themselves, such as a government. I didn’t know much about it. The other thing I would like to say is that no matter how closely fiction is based on, or resembles reality or the real world, it is fiction. The Kashmir in my book is no more real, I think, than is the Alexandria in Durrell’s quartet or the London that Sherlock Holmes lives in.

CBF: The theme of wealth for protection is unusual. How did you happen to decide on that?

UD: Wealth, power, and distribution of resources is how the world works. Most rebellion takes place where there is an unequal or inequitable of resources. Anywhere in the world, the group with the most wealth has the most protection. I don’t know if it is an unusual theme for a novel – I don’t think it is – but it is certainly not an unusual theme in the scheme of things!

CBF: As most writers are asked, are any of the characters in Kashmir Blues based on people you know?

UD: Every character is based on people I know, or have read about, or have encountered in life, movies, even heard about. Most are composites of all these, and myself       too. Leon is the one I identify with most. Naia, slightly aloof, impenetrable, a catalyst more than a doer, came out just right for me. Many readers complained that she was a “cold, unlikable protagonist” – but that’s how she is, cold and unlikable. And I don’t think the book has a single protagonist. But she represents many people I have known, and found hard to reach, or just plain disliked.

CBF: What inspires you most when you start to write? Is it a person, a newsflash? What?

UD: Hard to answer this question. I think all through life we watch and absorb and think and react – and all of that comes into a book as it gets written. Usually I start a book because of a feeling I have. I’ve written just two, and the starting points for both were quite different. The first – Kashmir Blues – I just wanted to tell a story. The second, A Pack of Lies, had a lot of my own experiences as a starting point. The nextbook I’m working on is almost a challenge from my editor – she wanted me to edit an anthology of erotic short stories – and I said, after hearing what editing meant, “seems easier to write it myself” – and she said I should! I have just finished editing a book of anecdotes from the students of IIT Bombay about their life there in the ’80s – and am starting on the short stories. It’s not easy… but I am enjoying the work. And, I have to deliver the manuscript by the 30th of November.

CBF: Who are your favourite authors?

UD: The list is long, I’ll make it short – Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, Borges, Marquez, Jane Austen, Steinbeck, Asimov, Lawrence Durrell, and – did I mention – Jane Austen!

‘Kashmir Blues’ reviewed on a new site for book lovers (the reviewer didn’t like it much!)

Sunday, September 19th, 2010


Everyone knows a Kashmiri shawl wala or carpet seller – they arrive with the coming of autumn carrying treasures of colour in their autumn leaf brown bundles. And then they disappear with spring for months on end and you occasionally, reading about disturbances in the Valley, you wonder whether they will reappear. At the heart of Urmila Deshpande’s novel is Samaad, a carpet seller who speaks the Queen’s English because he happened to have been educated in England. He is a man with a mission – he has discovered a mineful of priceless Kashimiri sapphires, the Kashmir Blues of the titles and he wants to use the sapphires to ensure peace for the part of the Valley in which he lives….

Read the review at