Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Interview Part II

Location is vital to the heart of your work, how does your relationship with India impact your writing? 
India has had a strong impression on me and my writing and I’ve portrayed the country in many of my novels. But I’ve used other locations as well.

In my latest novel, TulipSeason, the early part of the story takes place in Seattle (then moves on to India). My protagonist Mitra Basu is a Seattle landscape designer and I make frequent use of the metaphor of garden and flowers. Some of Mitra’s ideas and realizations come from her when she’s in the garden, surrounded by nature. A number of readers have told me that they felt grounded by the description of those moments. So I guess the location is most effective in a novel when it can’t be separated from the character.     

You blend writing and cooking - and not just in your cookbooks! How has cooking and food been a part of your life? What drew you to writing about that aspect of life?
Food and cooking has been a major part of my life. I’ve always loved cooking and entertaining. You write what interests you and so it was not a surprise that I’d write about food. If not cookbooks, then essays. Even so, most of my novels aren’t about food. Only Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries, which is set in a bakery, employs food as a metaphor. It’s the “Zen of baking,” one reviewer said.     

What are you working on now?
I am working on a magazine article. It’s a nice break from longer, book-length projects. You can finish it in a short time and it brings you immediate feedback from the outside world.  

FInal Words of Wisdom: Love what you write, whatever interests you the most. It might seem like a cliché, but your readers will tell you that your passion can’t be missed on the pages. 

Scroll down to read Part I!

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