Chirmi Shimray, a 26 yr-old-woman had just published her first novel ‘The Sea and I’. In this exclusive chat with TangkhulOnline, she talks about her life and her new book. Read on….
TangkhulOnline: Can you tell us a little about yourself including your schoolings and college?
Chirmi Shimray: Hi, I’m Chirmi Shimray. 26 years old. I finished my graduation from Patkai Christian College, Nagaland with Honors in English and Masters in English Literature from Mumbai University. Then I worked as a School Principal for two years in Manipur and moved to Thailand to work as a Lecturer in Ubon Ratchathani University. Now I live in Imphal while still working as a teacher and a writer.
TangkhulOnline: You have just published your book ‘The Sea and I’. Can you briefly tell us about it
Chirmi Shimray: The Sea and I holds a very special place in my heart. The story is about the journey and the struggles of a young girl call Afi and the strong bond she shares with the Sea. The story is set in Mumbai which holds a very special place in my heart. Read as the story unfolds with it’s twists and enchants you with it’s innocence and mystic beauty.
TangkhulOnline: How do you come up with names for your characters? Was the character inspired by a real person?
Chirmi Shimray: The protagonist’s name Afi just clicked in my head when I first thought of writing a novel. It’s funny but I have a thing for short names and Afi, Mimi, Jay just attracted me more than Giovanetta or Ramtawonla (laughs)
TangkhulOnline: Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
Chirmi Shimray: I had a huge crush on Jay Sean in my teenage days and so the character Jay came into being, but the Jay Mathews in my book is a little more good looking than the real Jay Sean and he loves Jazz and is an old school.
TangkhulOnline: What does your family think of your writing? Are they supportive?
Chirmi Shimray: My family has always known me as a passionate teacher, and this may come as a surprise for some but some of my family members like my cousins and my close friends have always known me as a writer for a very long time ever since I started writing songs and poems and short stories in my blogs and school and college magazines.
TangkhulOnline: Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?
Chirmi Shimray: My mom is my backbone. She has been with me through thick and thin and supports me in whatever I do. Because of the trust that she has in me, I do not dare look back at my life and waste my time crying. She gives me the strength to move on in life and work harder every single day.
TangkhulOnline: How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
Chirmi Shimray: Patkai Christian College moulded me to form into my true self and inspired me to follow my dreams. I was always passionate about writing from when I was very young and everybody, my teachers, my classmates, my seniors and my juniors were very supportive when I started writing in college magazines, newspapers and other journals.
TangkhulOnline: Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
Chirmi Shimray: My writing place is anywhere when I have my laptop, a table, an empty room or an open space all by myself and a good music.
TangkhulOnline: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
Chirmi Shimray: Interesting question. I would go to Maldives because I love the Sea and the Sun and it would set a great mood for writing a beautiful story.
TangkhulOnline: Picture this: You feel uninspired and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
Chirmi Shimray:Look out of the window! Yes. I look out of the window to feel the cool breeze, to watch the dry leaves of the trees , the lovely sound of the birds and it goes on. Nature is always there to inspire me and lift my mood and I have set a personal rule for my self, to never stop writing no matter what, even when I am uninspired by something, I try to write at least 5 to 6 lines every weekdays.
TangkhulOnline: What has influenced you the most as a writer?
Chirmi Shimray: Me and my struggles in life. I thank God for it, without struggles in our lives we would all be uninspired and forget to appreciate the good things in life which is an outcome of our painful struggles.
TangkhulOnline: Are you working on any new books at the moment?
Chirmi Shimray: I love surprises as much as I love to get one. So I cannot tell.
TangkhulOnline:Can you let us know some of your favorite books.
Chirmi Shimray: I love all of Toni Morrison’s books. The Bluest eyes and Song of Solomon are my favourites. Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is also a favotite and of course I love the Classics too. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is my old time favourite. Right now, I am in love with Rupi kaur and her writings.
TangkhulOnline: Who is your favorite author? What is it that you like about him/her?
Chirmi Shimray: Toni Morrison who specializes in African – American literature. I love her writing because it is bold and her work depicts difficult situations and the dark side of humanity, diving deep into the reality that some writers tend to avoid.
TangkhulOnline: Apart from writing, What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?
Chirmi Shimray: Apart from writing I love teaching and painting.
TangkhulOnline: Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books? Fb, twitter etc
Chirmi Shimray: The best way to reach me is through Email. Chirmi52@gmail.com
TangkhulOnline: Any words for the budding young Tangkhul writers?
Chirmi Shimray: Keep writing! Be bold in your writing. Break the stereotypes and follow your heart. Write what you are passionate about, not what the world wants, because at the end of the day, it is you and your book alone. Not the world. The world can wait but your passion and your time cannot.
Thank you. This has been a wonderful interview.