Dipu Darko’s latest book Bitchweed, a micro thriller set in a dystopian universe, is nothing like anything I have read in recent times. Her fluid language, lucid scenarios and distressed protagonist take you on “an acid trip of sorts.” Set in the fictitious Himalayan kingdom of Kunzang, the writer’s gripping narrative transports you into an alternative universe of full moon parties and surreal fantasies. I truly enjoyed reading this riveting, dark and beautiful tale of Alice Von Durland’s search for her missing sister. You can head over to Deepali Junjappa's blog to read an excerpt from Bitchweed.
I talk to the writer in order to unravel the story behind her fascinating work.
How did Alice Von Durland come to life? What made you set your tale in a dystopian universe?
The idea came by as the initial seed for a movie script and then it slowly morphed into a novel. The character of Alison Von Durland was inspired by Alice in Alice In Wonderland in the sense of spirit, and also her magical adventures.
Well, as I started writing further the story became more fantastical and morbid and then it was a natural option to set it in a dystopian realm.
Your second book is a world apart from your first book ‘The Twisted Twenties.’ Which one was easier for you to write?
Frankly, I'm comfortable with both genres. The first book was a 'Coming of age' fable which I gradually warmed up to and the second one was young Adult fantasy fiction; a subject that I'm extremely comfortable writing about.
Please tell me more about your writing process. What would be your advice for aspiring writers?
Writing should be treated like a day job rather than a hobby. I write about 2000 words a day and complete the first draft of a book usually within 2 months. My advice to aspiring writers would be to start writing short fiction and stories and then gradually proceed to writing novellas and novels. Also, maybe take some time off the phone and social media! (Laughs)
I would eagerly be waiting for your next book! What can I expect from your upcoming ventures?
My next book is titled Alamanda. It's a gut wrenching 'coming of age' story of four teenagers growing up in Shillong in the late Nineties. This book is very dear to me and it's closest to my heart.