Candid Conversation with Shelma Sahayam

Interview with author Shelma Sahayam

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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Shelma  Sahayam is a senior software engineer who has authored a wonderful book “The Land of Ataraxia Genesis ”. Shelma Sahayam loves to read fan fanfiction.

Q1) How did you understand your calling as an author? What was your first writing experience?

I was always fond of writing random kinds of stuff. As an adolescent, I would look at a bird perched on a tree and write an entire essay about it. As an INFJ, I believe it was always in me to write.

I believe I was a second grader when I was asked to write an essay on Mahatma Gandhi. Back then I knew nothing of Gandhi except that he fought the British, and instead, I wrote a four-page essay about Gandhi fighting the British with swords and sorcery. It was both an embarrassing and an exhilarating experience.

Q2) How did you decide on the plot for “The Land of Ataraxia Genesis”? Give us a short brief about the book.

Ataraxia had been a work in progress ever since I was in eighth grade. That’s like fifteen years ago. I am a senior software engineer for a firm now. I took up writing as a hobby during my leisure. My book follows the adventure of Captain Magellan and his crew on their search for his dying mother’s friend, Sinan. They accidentally breach the land of Ataraxia and are welcomed by the Neoma siblings. However, to get the help that Magellan seeks, he would have to subject himself to the norms of this new land.

The demands of Ataraxia have Magellan questioning his morality and the Academy’s humanity. Whether the crew finds Sinan in this magical land bearing seven different realms hosting different species and cultures is the crux of the story.

Q3) Nowadays a majority of the youth is much more focused on social media rather than reading books. What is your view on this topic?

I’d like to think that social media too ruffles one’s creative bones. I get on Pinterest sometimes and the storyboards there really help in visualizing my characters. And it is through social media marketing that readers find my book. It’s like a necessary evil. But nothing beats a good hardcover book and a cup of coffee—an experience social media nor an eBook could give.

Q4) Kindly attach the links to your books so that the readers can get a grasp on these beautiful reads.

https://www.amazon.in/Land-Ataraxia-Genesis-S-Merce/dp/1685633676

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59834338-the-land-of-ataraxia?ref=nav_sb_ss_2_20

Q5) We know that there is a lot of hard work that goes behind the launching of books. From preparing the final manuscript to writing the first draft till publishing. Tell us how your experience was and to whom would you dedicate your success in this entire process.

Well, I got a lot of people to thank. While serving in the IT industry, I had had my colleagues supporting my bizarre imagination, encouraging me often to write. The story of Ataraxia started to take form from notebook memos to an actual draft on my work desk.

I would like to thank my ever-supportive parents, my brother, and my cousins, Rithu, and Sneha. I also fondly remember my best friend from college, Indhu, with whom I shared most of my stories.

Q6) What would be your advice to the youth of today who wants to become an author?

One word. Write. Whatever your ideas may be; no matter how foolish they may seem; write. Trust the process.

I also ask writers to be true to their morals. I have a character named Panacea in my novel. Panacea is genderfluid and goes by the pronouns they/them. I know that LGBTQ characters are not well-received in the industry but I stood by what I support, and Panacea turned out to be the amazing cook of the Viatrix crew.

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