Interview with a Writer – Part One

I have been at this for a long long time. I owe Cheryl an apology for sitting on this. I sat on this for so long that I’m sure she began doubting if I’ll ever get to the day when I actually post this. A little more than a year ago I contacted her on her Facebook to ask he if she would be willing to share her skills and ways-and-means of her writing capabilities. And to my surprise, she agreed. She said yes to a wannabe writer to interview her and to share her secrets. It’s nobody’s guess whose win-win this was.

I started following Cheryl’s blog around the beginning of 2013. I distinctly remember it because I knew where to look. I had messaged her on Facebook asking her the one question that she was probably asked a lot.

If I could remember who had introduced me with this magical episodic journey I would gift them something really good. I have tried a lot to go backwards in the chain of events to identify how I stumbled upon the blog. In all probability, it was thrown at me via the WordPress site itself. Whatever led me to it, I haven’t looked back since.

The first thing that anyone would notice about her blog is the name. “Unbound Boxes Limping Gods” is simply too captivating a name to not warrant a Google search to cross check if it’s got some popular culture reference; or perhaps it has a biblical back-story.

The lady explained to me in the most recent interview session and she says it best, so I’ll let her speak:

“The title Unbound Boxes, is broken into two halves. The box is a reference to Pandora. In this case Pandora is our particle physicist, Anesidor Sumian, (whose middle name is Pandora). She is the inventor of the “Writer” which, as you know, is the device used for storage and transportation etc., hence the word, unbound, as it offers such freedom.

 Limping Gods is based originally on the legend of Hephaestus, said to have been cast to earth by his mother Hera, due to a deformity. Anesidor Sumian has achondroplasia, and a lot of my characters are outsiders, or have disabilities etc. Limping Gods acknowledges the irony, between the immortal Amanojuko and the broken protagonists. I won’t say too much else, but that’s the idea behind the title. I hope that clears it up a bit?”

Yeah. I’d say it does!

Apart from the striking title, the next thing that one would notice is the overwhelming amount of characters, plots and sub-plots. When you read Cheryl, you don’t merely read the characters; you see them too. I’m not using ‘seeing’ as a literary device of exaggerated love for the workmanship, mind you. Cheryl sketches scenes of the posts along with her writing.

So, when she writes, the reader is not left at the mercy of his imagination to give a face to the characters; he can very well see what each and every character looks like. When the reader thinks he has absorbed as much of the astounding information that is possible to grasp in the few minutes before readies himself to dive headlong into the stories penned with exacting emotions and a steady hand, he is a little intimidated by the all-important question of, “Where to begin?”

I was one of them and that’s when I contacted her on Facebook.

“Where to begin?”

She pointed out to Issue #101. If I wanted to read it in the order in which the story unfolds.

The title of the story that Cheryl asked me to begin with was “Issue #101: The Guild Master’s General Part 3”.

Why Issue 101 and, more importantly, why not Part 1?

Cheryl agrees with me that it is a little confusing for a first time visitor, but she tells me that it was easy to keep pace once you know where to begin. The reason for choosing Issue #101 as the launch pad is simply. Chronologically, it is the first episode. It is set in the year 1865.

I’ll pause here for a while and talk about why exactly I fell in love with her blog. My friends know why I write and read. I love story building. Not for the story per se, but for the build-up, the word play, the scenario setting and the communication between one scene and the next. I don’t extol greatness on a book only for the story. The story is important, of course. But it’s not what makes or breaks a book. I think the part that excites the most is the part when I step into the shoes of the writer and think, At least an attempt is made, what twist of genius makes the person take Step 2, Step 3 and Step 4 after Step 1.

While we know Step 1 is important, but any serious writer will know that the steps after the first one are what determines the brilliance of the writer and his ability to create. Cheryl begins her story with The Guild Master’s General Part 3 because it takes place earliest in the timeline; in 1865.

But the bummer is that it isn’t necessary that she wrote that first. Cheryl, not unlike the Guild Master’s General, has the uncanny ability to jump from one time to another. Her stories span centuries and she weaves them like a master craftsman and connoisseur of her art.

Issue 1, for example, is the one she put up first. The date of posting is 25th of June, 2010, but as per the chronological timeline, it’s set in the year 3997. The date of the real launch pad for the story, though, Issue#101, was posted to the website on 4th of September, 2013. The readers wonder, I’m sure, whether she’s got it all written and merely posting it at her will or she’s just as impulsive as it’s possible to be!

That is what got me hooked! Imagine having multi rivulets of narratives running inside your head and being able to hold on to one, work it, and then let go and hold on to another one!

Sounds confusing? Of course, it does.

But readers need not sweat it. Trust me it’s a pleasure to read it in the order in which it is meant to be read in. Also, she promises that it will all make sense when she gets the books published.

There is a very interesting bit of back-story regarding Alexand, her lead charismatic character. She says that Alexand ‘spoke’ to her in her left ear for the first time in 1992 while she was sitting on a park bench. As on today, that was a quarter of a century ago and she has maintained the captivating twirl in her writing regarding Alexand.

When I asked her how she maintained the much-needed perfection for the maintenance of longevity in her work, she compared the creative process to a doorway to another world where the characters come to life and speak to you.

“I can’t see her (Alexand), but she’s real. She exists outside of me, and to this day, I’m so glad I met her.”

Unbound Boxes Limping God is a blog that every budding writer and story lover should read. The boundaryless universe will leave you in awe. After all, her stories are based from London to Calcutta to Nepal to China and Russia!

The ever expanding universe curated by Cheryl is a versatile exercise for a growing writer and I cannot stress the fact enough without sounding like a fanboy.

Siddiqui F.

2 thoughts on “Interview with a Writer – Part One

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