Author Q&A with Gargi Mehra
by Christine Nessler
February 16, 2023
This week’s Author Q&A is with Gargi Mehra. Mehra is a software professional by day, a writer by night and a mother at all times. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines online and in print, including Crannog, The Forge Literary Magazine, The Writer, and others. Her short stories have won prizes and placed in contests. She lives in Pune, India with her husband and two children. You can read more of Mehra’s work on her website or catch her on Twitter: @gargimehra.
Mehra’s collection of flash fiction stories, Mothers and Brothers is featured in Issue #10 of The Good Life Review.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m a software professional who writes in her spare time. My first love was programming but writing came a close second. I write fiction in the time between my work and life, and have been doing it for many years now. I have more than fifty stories (including flash and micro-fiction) and twenty essays published online and in print. I have written a novel or two as well, and hope to get them published in the future.
What is your writing process? How do you make it a part of your daily life?
I write most of my stories on weekends and holidays. I use the little time and energy left over after my day job to hunt down markets for my work or write down story ideas and snippets of sentences.
What inspired you to write Mothers and Brothers?
A writing prompt about domestic drama led me to write Blood Brother first, then I wanted to try different points-of-view and formats. This led to the other stories.
Please tell me some unique details related to Mothers and Brothers and what you learned from it.
Each has a distinct viewpoint and offers a different perspective even though the stories themselves vary. In “Things That Happened on Your Birthday” I intersperse historical moments with life moments. This proved fairly challenging and I felt it did not strike the right note until multiple revisions. I learned the art of writing a hermit crab flash fiction and eventually enjoyed the process.
What is your favorite book? Or who is your favorite author?
Writers are voracious readers and can rarely have one favourite book or author! My favourite remains PG Wodehouse, but I do keep up with the modern bestsellers, whether it’s Less by Andrew Sean Greer, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, or The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
What books did you enjoy reading as a child?
Like most readers I picked up the love of books from my parents. I read all the classics, like The Great Gatsby and the books of Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice. I also enjoyed Enid Blyton and the mysteries like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
Do you have a specific genre you enjoy writing the most?
At the moment I most prefer writing literary fiction, but I have dabbled in speculative and humorous fiction too.
What part of the artistic process do you consider to be the most difficult, as well as most satisfying, and why.
Writing the first draft is the part I find most difficult, because the superb ideas in my head simply dissolve to mush on the paper. It takes a concerted effort to put one word after another and bring to life what you thought was a winning story.
On the other hand, I love revising my stories. The process of chiseling and imbuing life into the story, transforming it from plain words into something special and unique – that’s something I really enjoy! Even though it can be as challenging as drafting, at times!
Do you have any fears as a writer?
I do sometimes fear that some of my stories will forever remain unpublished. I fear that if I write and publish a novel it may sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench! But for the most part I remain optimistic about success.
What is your favorite thing about writing flash fiction?
That I can finish drafting a piece in a day, and multiple stories over a weekend! It’s another matter making them publication-worthy. It takes just as long or sometimes even longer than a short story!
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “The Good Life?”
I think of family and friends, and feel complete gratitude.
Thank you, Gargi, for sharing your stories with us and for participating in this Q&A. We wish you the best in life and with all your writing endeavors!