Today we have the eighteenth author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – Sunanda Chatterjee. Her story “Jimmy’s Shadow” is a gut-wrenching tale sure to rip the heart out of every parent reading it.
Jimmy’s Shadow is the story of a young mother, guilt-ridden from the death of her four-year old son who drowned in the family pool on her watch, but who has now has returned to haunt her.
What inspired you to write this story?
In this story, the imagery of the house, the backyard, the lawn, and the pool is from my own home. When I moved in fifteen years ago, I was always anxious with my two-year-old daughter playing in the backyard right beside the pool. I don’t write in the horror genre; I write about love, family relationships, and motherhood. Something about a mother’s love for her child, a visceral, elemental emotion that triumphs all else, haunts me. My bestselling novel is about a mother fighting for her child’s life, and I wondered about a world where she didn’t succeed. The haunting in this story is not horror, per se, but more filled with angst, regret, and guilt, and how a mother processes her feelings when faced with the memory of her lost son.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for thirty years, but only in the past ten did I start to send stories and novels out for publication. I finally started publishing three years ago.
What genre do you associate most within your writing?
I write women’s fiction and romance, including romantic suspense. My characters are often multiracial, and many are from India, where I was born.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a series right now, called The Wellington Estate Series, based in southern California. They are romantic suspense (with more romance than suspense), filled with family secrets, romantic love, and scandals, but are ultimately about female empowerment and friendships. I’m done with the first two of the series, which are now with the editor. I will start on the third book soon.
What else do you have published?
I have four stand-alone novels: Shadowed Promise, Fighting for Tara, The Vision, and The Blue House in Bishop.
A novelette: Maggie’s Farm, which first appeared in Cupid’s Bow Anthology and now is published separately. The other novelette Lost and Found, from Cupid’s Bow is based on characters from my novel, The Vision and will be published soon.
Several short stories: A White Christmas and Letters from Carmen in Holiday Heartwarmers Collection; and a few short stories in short-story.net.
What advice would you offer to new writers?
1. Write what you love and what you love to read. You don’t realize the nuances you’ll pick up from just reading a lot on your genre: about character arcs, plot structure, dialogue and themes. Because you may write for yourself, but if you want to make it your livelihood, you must bow to reader expectations.
2. Read about how to write, take a writing course, join writer’s groups or critique groups to solidify your basics, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time re-editing. I know this from experience, because it took me ten years and eight full edits before publishing my first book, The Vision.
3. No matter how well you write, get an editor regardless of whether you want to go the indie publishing route or traditional publishing. You know your story too well and won’t find plot holes, but an outside look by an impartial editor will help strengthen your story.
Links to your writing:
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