Mahesh Rao, author of One Point Two Billion, shares his thoughts on writing short stories.

I was lucky enough to meet this amazing author whilst attending The Kumaon Literary Festival. His new book, One Point Two Billion, is a fantastic collection of very powerful short stories. I’m extremely chuffed to have my very own signed copy!

Mahesh has been kind enough to take some time out of his very busy schedule to answer my author questions.

Mahesh Rao was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, and has lived in the UK and in India. His short fiction has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Baffler, Prairie Schooner and Elle. His debut novel, ‘The Smoke Is Rising’, won the Tata First Book Award for fiction and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Crossword Prize. ‘One Point Two Billion’, his collection of short stories, was published in October 2015.


What form does your writing take?

I’ve become addicted to writing short stories but I may have to wean myself off for a while and return to my incomplete novel. There are very different pleasures that attach to each form.

How often do you write?

I try to write on most days but there is definitely an ebb and flow. If events or promotions or admin tasks crowd in, there will be far less writing. Sometimes travelling can be really productive: I’ve written quite a bit on trains and planes.

How does writing make you feel?

Depends on how the day has gone. Sometimes elated, sometimes queasy, sometimes depressed. And some days, like the Dorothy Parker quote: ‘I hate writing. I love having written.’

Where/when do you write?

In my study. I start in the mornings and then it’s anyone’s guess when to stop. I’m also often scribbling things in a notebook wherever I am.

What do you write about?

Anything that takes my fancy!

What’s the best thing about writing?

Being happy with a sentence that you feel you can’t better.

How long have you been writing for?

Six years.

If you would like to purchase one of Mahesh’s fabulous books, click on the link below.

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