Shruti Swamy

At parties, people ask that polite, getting to know you question often: “What do you do?” I tell them I'm a writer, and they ask me what I write about.

I'm drawn to people struggling with their identities. Being a woman of South Asian descent has made me particularly conscious of the gaps between the way you see yourself and the way the world does. I love looking at the space between people—the ways we try to connect with each other, the ways we sometimes fail. Yet, there is a deep, fundamental mystery we live with every day, each of us: where we come from, where we go.

I write to figure things out. It's another way of trying to think about the world. I write because I love books and always have. I write because it makes me feel less alone, and because maybe my stories will make someone feel the way fiction can make people feel: seen, understood. I write because nothing is unspeakable: not desire, not fear, not the things we're ashamed of. I write because I can't do anything else.

Of course, this isn't the kind of thing you say at parties. So, I say I'm working on a detective novel whose heroine uses math to crack the case.