December 6, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Lounge Interview: Donna Abraham Tijo(Author- Or Forever Hold Your Peace)

5 min read

Team Kitaab is in conversation with author Donna Abraham Tijo whose story is soon going to be published in TBASS 2021.

Donna Abraham Tijo is mother of two lovely girls, an Instructional Designer and an author. She has been writing educational content for several years now on subjects ranging from IT to finance and soft skills. Though, she loves Instructional Design she also likes writing fiction.

So after returning to work post maternity leave, while she waited to get staffed on a project, she wrote her first novella Or Forever Hold Your Peace. That’s when she also submitted a short story for a contest, which got published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Indian College Students.

She is currently working on her second book and also penning short stories on life, as she sees it. These stories revolve around the little aspects of life that impact people deeply. Her stories are her way of talking to people and reflect various aspects of life. She hopes every reader finds a bit of you in them.

Her short story is soon going to be a part of TBASS- 2021 (Kitaab, 2021)

Team Kitaab: Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Donna Abraham: I write realistic fiction, highlighting the quotidian. I see stories in the smiles, shrugs and smirks that are exchanged between people. It is to shine a light on these matters of everyday living, that I write.

Team Kitaab: Share a bit about your writing journey so far. How did you start? Any roadblocks? Who were your strongest supporters? Any tips to share with aspiring writers who are just beginning their journey or are about to begin it?

Donna Abraham: My writing journey began over 10 years ago, when at the peak of my corporate life, my short story was selected for The Chicken Soup for the Soul, Indian College Students. Soon after, I left the corporate world to care for my babies.

The Full-and-Finals I received from work, I invested in understanding the Publishing industry, its Project Life Cycle, risks and revenue model — I self-published a book. That book helped me acquire new jargon.

I started attending writing workshops, found wonderful mentors and writing buddies, downloaded the B.A. Literature curriculum from the website of universities known for their Literature courses, bought whatever reference books were available on Amazon and self-studied. I also read the Ph.D. theses of authors whose works were of interest and literary criticisms of great works. I still do. I am now pursuing MFA online at the Writers Village University, and read any book on the craft of writing I can find.

My mentors have been my strongest supporters. They’ve always given honest and pertinent feedback, and been ever ready to help with references and reviews. They’ve understood and acknowledged my work.

The only tip I can share with someone about to embark on this journey of learning is, hard-work and persistence will pay.

Team Kitaab: Tell us about your most recent book or writing/editing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Donna Abraham: I am working on a collection of stories from Gurgaon, where I lived till last year. There are various issues that bother the people of Gurgaon. I’m attempting to put together a collection that helps give voice to the men, women and children that make up families in Gurgaon.

Team Kitaab: Describe your writing aesthetic.

Donna Abraham: My fiction deals with the quotidian, its realistic interactions with the corporate world, religion, feminism and politics. I’ve also realized that there is often a child in my stories. Their perspective fascinates me and keeps my stories fresh and timely.

Team Kitaab: What/ Who is your writing inspiration?

Donna Abraham: City life. I love cities, the constant shoving, pushing and jostling. What fun.

Team Kitaab: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Donna Abraham: I attend a writing course.

Team Kitaab: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Donna Abraham: Pantser

Team Kitaab: Who are your favorite authors/screenwriters?

Donna Abraham: I enjoy Indian literary fiction, especially books by Manju Kapur, Amit Choudhary, Rohinton Mistry.

Team Kitaab: What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

Donna Abraham: Since I’m at the first mile of this marathon, most writing is a challenge until I’ve run the course.

Team Kitaab: What’s your idea of bliss?

Donna Abraham: Lounging on a bed by the beach sipping a white rum cocktail, or sinking at zero gravity on a roller coaster at an amusement park.

Team Kitaab: What makes you angry, and I mean all-out-smash-the-china raving mad?

Donna Abraham: When the school sends three hours of homework for an elementary school kid and says it will take only a half hour, while I’m struggling to insert a happy ending in realistic fiction.

Team Kitaab: What books would you take with you on a three-month retreat in the boondocks?

Donna Abraham: Any Indian literary fiction, a book on the craft and my writing notebook.

Team Kitaab: Your house is burning down. What’s the most important thing you’d want to take with you?

Donna Abraham: My passport, wallet and my children. I have packed evacuation bags before.

Team Kitaab: Describe your life philosophy. In a sentence.

Donna Abraham: Do it; one step at a time.

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