Author Interviews

Meet the seventeen year old novelist, Nityasya Belpurkar

You’re the youngest published writer to be featured on The Asian Writer – do you consider yourself as a young writer? And what perception do people have of you?

Of course I do. I think it’s a bit of a shock for whoever has heard of the book. Also they assume that I’m really smart which is probably completely untrue.

What is your book about?

 It’s about fourteen vastly different girls who study together and by virtue of that they are forced to live and talk and be around each other all time. And it’s about how their lives change on a completely individual level and also because of the people around them.

Where did you find inspiration from to write your book? Is it fiction or fact?

It’s almost completely fictional. There’s no direct reference to anyone to anyplace that actually exists. But I think all writers write from their experiences. The basis for their writing comes from their own world. And this totally holds for me. You’re Not Alone is about a world I know and understand.
I found the premise of You’re Not Alone, an interesting one, but on paper I felt it was a real mess of overladen emotion and angst? Do you think this reflects the experiences of teenagers universally?
I really, really think it does. That’s actually a really good way of putting it because I think if you opened up my mind or the mind of anyone else my age, you’d find a lot of swirling emotions that do not necessarily mix together but they co-exist all the same.

You cover a lot of ground in the novel through a group of young girls, which at times makes for uncomfortable reading – how did you find writing about these difficult and painful experiences? Did you feel like writing helped you to deal with them?

I think while writing it, I was sort of fascinated by this one concept – that people are nothing but layers and you need to dissect them and open up their minds to really, really understand them on a deeper level. So I thought the characters I wrote about needed to have these deeper, more intense facets to them, which is why so many of them are so extreme. Writing is the way I vent and the way I deal with a lot of emotions so honestly writing on this level about my emotions however raw or exaggerated they were, was so helpful. This is exactly why I started writing this book in the first place- to vent!

Looking back do you wish you had done anything differently?

The only thing I wish I could change was my writing. It’s obviously evolved like crazy, since I wrote it over two years ago. I write very differently now, there’s more maturity to it. But otherwise, I know that I needed to get whatever I wrote out there on paper so I’m proud that I managed to do that.

And what response have you had from friends and family who’ve read the book?
It’s been pretty good. My parents have been so supportive about it from the beginning which is amazing and my friends think it’s awesome.

I think its quite shocking to know all these things (underage sex, alcoholism, teenage abortions, attempted suicides) that you think of as western problems are happening in your homeland. Do you think that your depiction of teenage life is representative of the rest of the country?

I think my depiction of teenage life is definitely happening in many parts of India. I can’t talk for the whole country – because that would be too much of a generalization but these things are not that far-off for the reality and the people I know. It happens.
Finally what have you got planned for the future and in terms of your writing where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’m doing my IB right now so after that I hope to go to university and study English Literature. I hope that in five year’s time, I have written and published another book.
Nityasya Belapurkar represented by the Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency is a seventeen year old student based in Mumbai, India. She wrote You’re Not Alone two years ago when she was a student at St. Anne’s High School, Fort. She is currently a student at B.D.Somani International School in Mumbai.

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