Opposites Attract – Conversations with Remi Stephanie Rozario

Insider Staff

Insider Staff

In 5 Words

Young writers bring a fresh mind and new perspective to the table. In that regard, Dhaka Insider caught up with the amazingly talented Remi Stephanie Rozario and discussed about her first ever publish a few months back.

1. Who inspired you to write a novel at such young age?

I’ve had a passion for writing since the age of 10 or 11. Back then, little stories or poems assigned in school were my favorite things to pass time with. As my interest in writing began to expand with age and experience, I was told by many that I should consider creating a career in that area. However, my ambition was not to become a writer, as writing was simply a hobby. I tried to gather some knowledge about the art in order to improve my skills. So, I started writing travel articles for a magazine and took up an internship at another one. When I had received an ample amount of praises regarding my writing skills, I felt like there must be something I’m doing right.

Just out of curiosity as to how determined I am to write, I planned to write a book. My source of inspiration, undoubtedly, came from my interest in romantic movies and TV series. I used to watch a lot of TV when I had nothing to do, and that gave me various ideas of how I could put scenes that wandered around my head into words on pages.

Apart from what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard in the form of compliments regarding my writing skills from others played a major role in inspiring me to write a book. To be honest, the biggest dilemma was whether or not to get it published. It required one of my uncles’ encouraging me to go ahead and give it a try.  Now I can proudly say I have my own book.

2. We want a writers’ perspective on this. The book is about love and tragedies or struggles that may follow, or at least that’ what the prologue says. What is your take on depression, or tragedy, influencing literature? Do you think the writing culture is somehow glorifying depression?

As we’ve all most probably heard, “after every rainfall, must come a rainbow”. The beauty of writing is that we often find it in ourselves to express our feelings on paper when we know that writing gives us a sense of satisfaction. That being said, from what I think, some people who fall in depression are unable to express themselves to the outer world and in order to save themselves from judgment of others and words of pity, they choose to keep their thoughts within themselves. To be frank, I cannot dig inside the mind of someone facing tragedy, as I have fortunately, never been in such a state. I do believe that, often, the ones who have been in depression are able to come up with a better piece of writing as they pour their hearts out when they write. I wouldn’t say that the writing culture is glorifying depression, but, it really depends on the writer and their personal life story. Some people use writing as a form to express their feelings while others target that area to interest readers. I think we all have the right to do what makes us feel better, but I suppose using depression as a badge won’t make things any better. I’ve seen a lot of people write Notes on Facebook about extremely depressing situations that would bring tears to the eyes sometimes, but they are probably using this tool to share their thoughts with the world and not highlight the glory of being in depression. I feel like I’m no one to judge when it comes to something like this as my book is simply a fiction and personally, I haven’t come across such a situation. As I step further into adulthood, I may receive a better understanding about the writing culture and its influences.

3. What is Opposites Attract about? Would you please briefly describe what the readers can expect from the book?

Opposites Attract is a romantic book directly from the mind of a teenager. I was 18 years old when I had written the book and we all know what revolves around the mind of a girl in her teen years. As I’ve mentioned earlier, various romantic movies and TV shows inspired me to take a chance at creating a story of my own. It is a fictional story about two completely opposite human beings who fall in love with one another. We’ve all heard of the words, ‘Opposites Attract’, but, we simply look at it as a glorious situation where two individuals with differences in opinion come together, but are we really aware of all the struggles? In my book, I’ve tried to highlight the little problems that a couple may comes across when their minds think differently, at the same time, how they can resolve them. As my intention was to create a story that interests the modern and younger generation, you can expect some very cheesy yet realistic scenes. I feel like a lot of young couples may actually be able to relate to some parts of the story and take inspiration about how to make a relationship work.

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4. It is often believed that every novel is shaped by the environment the author is in. Do you believe it is true? If it is, please do explain to what extent did the environment contribute to your writing and story? If it did not influence, please explain how you would reject the claim.

I’m afraid I do not completely agree with that, but I can’t deny it either. Writers are expected to be imaginative and in order to be so, one does not necessarily require a certain environment to shape their novel accordingly. I cannot speak for others, but, as for myself, my imagination was the most important thing that created the story, ‘Opposites Attract’. I did not deny the belief either, because, as I’ve mentioned earlier, some movies and TV shows did help me out. That is one kind of an environment as well, considering that it was in my surrounding when I wrote my story. Speaking from my perspective, I personally feel that, the idea I have inside my mind regarding love and all the baggage that comes along with it is what shaped my story. My mind travelled to a completely different world when I wrote the book, which is why the environment that I resided in was unable to impact what I chose to write. However, we all have our viewpoints and I believe even if they conflict with one another, we are right in our ways.

5. How does it feel to publish your book in Ekushey Boi Mela?

To be very frank, the feeling is absolutely phenomenal. Ekushey Boi Mela is a very important event for a large number of people in Dhaka. It feels amazing to know that my book was being showcased at a stall there and that people are actually taking interest in it. It honestly took me by surprise to find out that 22 of my books had gotten sold. It could have been because it was published by Boipatro and people trust their book qualities, however, it is also possible that my book somehow caught their interest. 22 isn’t a very large number, but, for a young writer’s very first book, it’s actually great. A lot of people have wondered why an English book is being displayed at a fair which is held to honor Bangla, our mother tongue language. I have a very simple reason behind that, which is, my target audience for the books is the youth and a lot of people who visit the fair from that category are from English medium background who prefer English books, and I felt like this was the right platform to reach out to interested readers. However, there are no restrictions on who can read it, because as it is said, “the heart that loves is always young”.

6. Address the readers.

From the very bottom of my heart, I would give all of those who actually took out the time to read my book, or even took the slightest interest in it, a BIG thank you! I can’t explain in words how much it means to me, to see that, despite being an absolutely unknown writer, people are appreciating my work; it honestly is deeply motivating. At this point, all I really need is feedback from the readers; it doesn’t matter at all whether they are positive or negative. Honesty will be appreciated. In fact, negative criticism would be even more helpful, as it will inspire me to improve myself. Once again, a hearty thanks to the readers, because, without you, there would be no scope for writers to express their feelings through words.