Monday, February 5, 2024

the 40 But 10 Interview Series: Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar


In 2023, I decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American writer. She is the author of Morsels of Purple and Skin Over Milk. Born to a middle-class family in India, she later migrated to the USA with her husband and son. A technologist by profession and a writer by passion, she won first place in  ELJ Micro Creative Non-Fiction Prize, placed in the Strands International Flash Fiction Festival, and is the runner-up in the Chestnut Review Chapbook Contest. Her stories have been shortlisted in the Bath Flash Fiction Awards and SmokeLong Micro Competition. She is currently a Submissions Editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. More at Reach her @PunyFingers




What made you start writing?

I started writing when I immigrated to the USA from India, about 18 years ago. Moving here provided solitude and time because I came on a dependent visa, unable to apply for a job. My son was two years old at the time, so I created a mommy blog. Then, I started writing about my immigrant experience, the differences in the culture I observed, and the persistent longing to be home. Fiction came much later when my life here settled down into a steady routine.


What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a full-time job as an Information Technology professional. That keeps me busy throughout the day. When I have free time, I read, cook, listen to ghazals, and watch Netflix.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I would love the ability to record and replay dreams. The reels that play in our minds at night are sometimes scary and sad and we’re glad to open our eyes and realize it was not the reality. Other times, they are so sweet that we never want them to end. Dreams could be the perfect fodder for writing as they provide lots of what-if scenarios and alternate realities to spin out endless tales.


How do you celebrate when you finish writing a new book?

It’s hard for me to say it’s finished. The only thing on my mind is editing/revisions to make it better, to change this paragraph or that chapter. I am so mired in doubt and anxiety that I don’t think of celebrating the milestones. Perhaps, I should.


Describe your book in three words.

Poignant, hopeful, real


What are some of your favorite websites or social media platforms?

Twitter:  @PunyFingers

 Instagram: @sara_siddiqui24



What is your favorite way to waste time?

Watching Netflix and not enjoying it—just begrudging the hours I could have utilized better in reading or writing something.


What are you currently reading?

“The Blue Bar” by Damyanti Biswas and  “Aimless Love” by Billy Collins.


What’s on your literary bucket list?

So far, I have published a collection of stories titled “Morsels of Purple” and a novella titled “Skin Over Milk.” Publishing a full-length novel is definitely on my bucket list.


Do you read the reviews of your books or do you stay far far away from them, and why?

I read them to know what the audience thinks about the book. It’s interesting to know what parts resonated with some readers and what elements alienated others. It helps widen my perspective on a new project.




Skin Over Milk tells the story of young Chutki and her two sisters who bear the weight of being unwanted daughters in 1990’s India. Told through Chutki’s eyes, we feel the innocence that is childhood, allowing the gratitude for a crust of bread thrown away by her brothers, or the simple joy in making prank phone calls. We meet characters, such as the father who curses their mother for giving him useless girls, the brothers who don’t seem to appreciate the luxury of education. But we also meet the loving grandfather, Dada, who will die and watch over them like a star in the sky and their beautiful, beautiful mother, Ammi, who does what she can to make all of their lives bearable. Exquisitely written with a jeweler’s eye for detail, the deftest of hands with characterization and storytelling, this is a brilliant and unforgettable read. 

--Francine Witte, author of Dressed All Wrong for This and The Way of the Wind


"The summer of 1990 brought rain and more rain to our little town of Muzaffarnagar." Thus begins Sara Chansarkar's chapbook, Skin Over Milk, an elegantly written and immersive family story told over the course of twelve short chapters and through the collective point of view of the family's siblings. We readers get a strong sense of this particular family's joys and heartaches, struggles and traditions. Chansarkar knows how to weave her stories seamlessly and disarmingly, with heart and humor and tenderness. It is a testament to this writer's mastery that I never wanted the story to end. Highly recommended." 

~Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works

Purchase a copy here:


No comments:

Post a Comment