My interviewee is Apeksha Harsh whose story Night Watch appears in the Fusion anthology. Apeksha describes herself as a keen poet and a fledgling storyteller. She takes her writing seriously, having studied the MA in Writing at Warwick, and also enjoys imparting the pleasures of writing to others. It’s possible that Apeksha is unique amongst the Fusion authors for having written opera.
What motivated Apeksha to enter the competition? She says, ‘It was nice to see a competition where the entry proceeds were going to charity, that too, in the fantastic genre. And yes, any writer is lying if they say they don’t do it for the recognition or the monetary rewards. I didn’t get a cash prize, but I did get my short story published. That’s one thing off my list!’
And what did she think about being published alongside established authors. Apeksha says she definitely sees it as a positive. ‘You know more people are going to be interested in a collection that has internationally established names. That might be the starting point for most readers picking up a book. But then of course they get to read an entire gamut of stories from new writers… I’d say that’s certainly a positive.’
Apeksha’s Fusion story Night Watch has a vein of macabre humour running through it, so it doesn’t surprise me that when it comes to recommending reading matter for a long-haul traveller, she goes first for comic fantasy, saying, ‘Always Terry Pratchett. I’ve stayed up nights reading the Discworld novels, so I can imagine them being faithful companions on a long, painful flight.’ She adds, ‘My vote is also with the Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton… but his books are so insanely fun you’d finish them all mid-flight. The only solution is for Andy to write more in the series, haha. Are you listening Andy?’
As to her own current writing projects, Apeksha has several. She tells me, ‘One of my projects is a children’s novel that I started work on last March. It’s about a young girl, who doesn’t have many friends, and one day she escapes from her home only to find herself in a more dangerous world.’ She adds that, ‘to say the characters are ‘fantastic’ is saying the least.’ And I imagine this catching the attention of the editorial crew who worked with Apeksha on her Fusion story.
And her other projects? ‘I’m also working on a portfolio of poetry that deals with my current relationship with writing – the tugs and pulls we all feel. Well, the writing is going slow and steady. But one of the most exciting projects has been working as an assistant writer with Naomi Alsop for the Write On! Writing Squad (Polesworth) with Writing West Midlands. We help secondary students develop their writing. Erm, that’s a lot of current writing projects, right…’
It certainly is, and best of luck with them Apeksha. We look forward to seeing them completed.
If you’d like to learn more about Apeksha and her writing, including one her operas, check out her blog post.