Sweta Chakraborty was born in Kolkata and brought up in the industrial town of Haldia. She moved back to Kolkata for higher studies and graduated from Scottish Church College followed by post graduate studies in Public Relations. Sweta started her career in Marketing where had the opportunity to travel worldwide and explore the culinary culture of various nations. After quitting her job of an advertising agency based in Mumbai, she started exploring her culinary skills — an attempt to create something simple yet tasty. She started writing her own blog and thereafter became popular to her food lover friends. Her blog became increasingly popular and was soon showcased in platforms of national and international dimensions.
A socialite and a writer, Sweta is presently a mother of two. She loves travelling to exotic places and quite fond of photography. Let’s get to know her more-
- Tell us something about your book “The Magical Tiffin Box”
Magical tiffin box is a collection of 110 recipes, easy to follow and cook. It has nutritional notes worked with each recipe. The book is published and marketed by Leadstart Publishing and now it’s made presence in all e -platforms and book stores. The recipes are categorized as – kids’ favorite irresistible bites, vegetarian, non vegetarian, diabetic special and party recipes. It’s got good comments and ratings across all platforms. Those who are still planning to buy please make use of this opportunity.
- When did you start writing, or should I say when did you start cooking?
*Laughs* Cooking was always done out of necessity until I settled as a full time homemaker in 2011 after I quit my job and became a mother second time. Now since I took up blogging as a means of pleasure and pastime activity, soon I began posting new recipes in my blog and started sharing those with my friends. All of them liked it and then my blog was showcased in various platforms of national and international dimension. Soon I was flooded with requests from my food lover friends, and an endeavor engulfed me so as to create something easy and exclusive. My research, experiments led me to a position where I could easily pen down recipes and present it to the publisher as an exclusive collection.
- What is the purpose of your writing?
The purpose of writing is of course connecting with my target audience — friends, food lovers or like minded people. As my core interest has been cooking, my motive was to create new recipes and till day it’s a practice. Food writing is not only about recipes, ingredients but to highlight the history of the food as well. I work out nutritional recipes for the dishes I prepare and help my friends with it. It’s all about sharing my thoughts, lifestyle and innovate new dishes which will support a healthy lifestyle. I pen down recipes meant for the kids as well as for those who are on restricted diet. Writing and sharing new articles gives me immense pleasure, especially being appreciated for my effort.
- Are you a foodie yourself?
Yes, I am a foodie and so is my family. My husband and kids are always on the demand to see new items on the breakfast table. I am quite social and go out with friends. We exchange recipes and discuss a lot so that we do justice to our taste buds and also to our families. And if you are a foodie, you will end up being a very good cook.
- Well yes, I agree to that 🙂
Which of your works have been published so far?
My first published work was ‘Indian cooking for beginners’ which was an e- book and published with the help of a Philippino friend. Apart from that, I am a regular columnist in the Bawarchi section of sify.com and contribute recipes in food communities like ‘Glad to be a girl’ on facebook. I have been a co-writer in various books published by famous organisations. I help in writing and editing in various food sites.
- Given the fact that publishers these days are not so keen to invest their effort into something as volatile as a recipe book, how was this journey of becoming a published author? Give some insights of your efforts on getting your work published.
Yes, actually in the era of internet boom, anybody can search and download a recipe free of cost. Now the search can be very specific but not mandatory that the result has to match the requirement. Every publisher is keen to bring out some exceptionally good books on cooking genre each year. What I believe is that people are really interested to buy books once the requirement matches their key areas of preference.
I remember when I had a written communication with the editor; she preferred to receive some exceptionally good manuscripts that will be of real use to the women of the present era. She supported the idea of tiffin box recipes. Now all recipes need to be tried and tested. I had to cook each and every recipe and note down the ingredients, measurements. I even borrowed ideas from some of my friends who are real smart cooks. A collection of 110 recipes is no joke. Especially a genre like cooking requires a lot of hard cook you see. (pun intended :P)
The nutrition notes were asked to be confirmed by some nutritionist friends. So a book has to be approved from all angles before it’s having a launch pad in the market.
- Have you self-published your work or followed the traditional approach?
No, I have not self published any work of mine and I do not believe in self publishing. I cook because I am a foodie and I write as I am passionate towards it. There is nothing called a ‘commercial gain’ as these come from the core of my heart.
Each time I have been approached by someone to pen down a book or a concept based on cookery and these are a result of my hard work and research. I admit that commercial success is important but monetary gain is not everything that I am eyeing upon. What I gain at the end of the day is immense pleasure when somebody appreciates my new thought.
- Which approach is better according to you and why?
Of course, I think traditional approach is better. It might be time consuming but your patience is paid off once you see your work and name published. In case you are fond of sharing your thoughts with your target audience, blogging is better preferred. Blogging gives you immense popularity.
- What is your take on book publishing as you see the current scenario?
Being a writer, I understand that present day is having many writers in every genre. Gone are the days when readers used to wait for a single writer and his work. The number of authors has even outnumbered the readers I believe. Only established writers are enjoying privilege of a huge media exposure while the others don’t. Media reviews are very important and perhaps that is the deciding factor or the fate of a book. But let’s get out of all these competitive mentalities and assume that writing is communicating one’s idea or speaking for a cause. Even if a single person admires your work you should feel that the purpose is solved. As a writer I have strong confidence in me and I believe that if I write from my heart, the world will follow me.
- What are your forthcoming writings?
After the launch of ‘Magical tiffin box’ I feel hugely applauded by the reviewers and the readers. Being a first time author I feel that the endeavor has been successful. Readers and well wishers have appreciated my work and are expecting more in this genre. I am still on the research job and wish to pen down some easy and tasty microwave dishes. All my work and research is dedicated towards the woman of 21st century who has to manage the 360 degrees of life yet desire the best out of it.
- What are the four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
- The language should be easily accessible and interesting at the same time.
- There should be some value added factor which your target audience should appreciate.
- Your research should be reflected in your work.
- Since a book is communicating with readers, suggestions and improvement should always be appreciated. In fact positive criticism will always help one to improvise.
- What is your favourite genre and why?
My favorite genre is cooking as I have told that I am a foodie, a mother and a woman of 21st century. I believe cooking is a basic necessity. To be a good cook you need not be an expert chef.
Apart from that I also try to pen down some stories from my experience as a socialite. Some of these works are still unpublished but will definitely think of publishing provided it can serve some noble purposes.
- What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
The biggest source of inspiration has been my own life. I have experienced several hurdles being a professional and a mother, jostling between career and family responsibilities. ‘Magical tiffin box’ is nothing but perhaps a solution to regular cooking which somebody could have suggested me at times of challenge. Being a woman of 21st century is no joke as we always justify being the best mother, wife, daughter, daughter in law, friend and also a ‘cook’.
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
For every woman there comes a time when she feels the need to compromise between career and her family life. She is shouldered with new responsibilities when she becomes a mother. I faced the greatest dilemma of life when I had to choose between my career and family. I chose my family but I am happy that I never gave up my interest of writing. I used to take out some time from my busy day schedule and pen down some words through my blog ‘swetawriter’. This was appreciated by my well wishers and my family. But as I have told that my greatest inspiration had been my family and friends. Nowadays I write for about 6-7 hours a day, do my motherly duties, spend time with friends and also cook. In fact I am a happy person now. Writing has given me immense popularity and identity. I will never regret that my education and potential is left unutilized.
- If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I appreciate Nigella Lawson, the British author who has authored various books, CDs and hosted TV shows. Life was not easy with her initially and still isn’t, as she has to face various family issues. But I appreciate her guts, dedication and love towards her work. Being a home cook she has been appreciated as one of the best rated celebrities. I’d want to be like her or a day to live her life.
- Any message for our readers?
Only one thing to say ’Enjoy cooking, enjoy the spice of life’.
You can get in touch with Sweta directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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