Monica Bhide is the author of the new story collection The Devil in Us. Her other books include Modern Spice, The Everything Indian Cookbook, The Spice is Right, and In Conversation with Exceptional Women. She is based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Q: Why did you decide to write a collection of short stories, and for how long a period did you work on them?
A: I started on this collection ten years ago. When I quit my corporate engineering job to write, I wanted to write fiction. I sort of fell into food writing! That has really been a blessing for me. However, my fiction has always had a soft spot in my heart and so I decided last year to pursue it and now, here is the collection!
Q: You dedicated your book to the writer Cheryl Tan. What role did she play in the book’s creation?
A: I met Cheryl Tan last year and just fell in love with her work and her words. She actually selected one of the stories from my collection and included it her wonderful book, Singapore Noir.
Her faith in me gave me great strength and hope that I could actually get my stories published. I dedicated the book to her because she gave me the inspiration and strength I needed to move this forward.
Q: Many of the stories feature babies in some way. Why was that one of the themes you focused on?
A: To be honest, it was not! The stories are written over several years and, perhaps, since I became a mom over the years, maybe whatever was on top of mind got reflected in the book!
Q: Is your writing process different depending on the type of work you’re doing?
A: Yes, it is. For my non-fiction work, my writing is very different, very much research oriented and very "proper." With my fiction, I feel I have more leeway to play with my words, experiment with viewpoints, and create glorious magical worlds!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: My two next books. One is a collection of food essays that releases in December and the other is a novel told in stories and that is set for a March 2015 release.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I hope your readers will enjoy the book!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. For a previous Q&A with Monica Bhide, please click here.