Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Interview with Harshita Srivastava, author of Bad Romance!!!

 Harshita Srivastava has been a Blogger since a long time and recently, she published her second book. We found an opportunity of asking her how has been her journey from a Blogger to a published author. Do read to know why her latest book is garnering huge compliments and praises. 

1. Hello Harshita, how has been your experience of switching from being a Blogger to an Author?

Ah! A bit on the sore side. As a blogger, I enjoyed more liberty and freedom of thoughts. I was my own celebrity. I did have a duty towards my readers like I do even now but there was less pressure. Now that the stature has increased, there are added responsibilities. Sales figures, promotions and events have taken a big part of my brains which has left little space for my creative thoughts to swim around freely. That being said, I wouldn’t say that I don’t enjoy being an author. It is my dream come true and the path has definitely become easier since the day Pulkit Gupta came my angel publisher.

2. What do you enjoy most- writing blogs or books? No Diplomacy please!

I like writing stories, doesn’t really matter if it’s my blog or book. However, yes, bringing out a story in the form of book is a tedious task as compared to posting up a blog post.

3. What motivated you to write “Bad Romance”? 

I had been in search of a story after the release of my debut work, One in a Million. While my first book was on a lighter note, I did not want this one to be on similar grounds. I wanted to write something different. I wished to talk about reality, the dark side of our lives, the part we never discuss about. The idea was to bring a character that goes beyond the convention. Fortunately, Kritika came into my life at that point and helped me grow my plot. Gradually, things began to shape up and the story picked up speed.  I researched a lot on victims of emotional abuse, what they grow through and what it takes to conquer the same. The year 2013 and half of 2014 saw me completely engrossed in this story. However, here I’d like to say that Bad Romance wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a few people in my life. 

4. Was it difficult in writing few personal moments of a girl publicly and still trying to sound innocent and genuine? 

Extremely difficult. I had a lot of audience to answer to. I was stuck in the conflict of doing justice to the story or fearing of the consequences such writing could bring about. I am glad I chose the former. Initially I was too hesitant but then after listening to the plot, one of my friends, Pratyush Prakash told me that unless you give your all to the story, you can never be a true writer. Since then I never looked back.

I have faced opposition for what I wrote, being told that it was a publicity gimmick but I have taken it all in the stride because I know that I have spoken for a hundreds of silent hearts. My writing is a struggle against silence. However brutal it may be, it is always honest. 

5. What would be your reaction if you are been treated by your boyfriend like Vikrant treats the protagonist of your book in Bad Romance?

It takes a lot of courage to fight for yourself, to go against a person you love yet hate at the same time. A victim of emotional abuse is too trapped and way too difficult to understand. What revolves in your head and heart never matches. When you’re committed to a man with split personality, you cannot even take help from outside because the picture there is altogether different. It’s extremely exhausting to decide when one minute the man abuses you and the second minute becomes the most lovable man. 

I believe even I’d have needed a lot of strength within to go against a guy like Vikrant. Ages back I learnt something from life, “You and only you can get yourself out of the misery you lie in.”

I tend to implement it every time life throws me its ball.

6. What did you personally went through while writing that rape scene?

Writing the book has been a real depressing task for me. I shut myself in a flat all alone for two months straight to bring this book’s first draft. Every day, I suffered migraine attacks for this book. Every single scene I wrote in this book is a result of extreme control over my thought process. I began to see the dark side of life, I began to think like Kritika, incorporating her ways of life in my life so as to write exactly how she felt. 

Writing the rape scene was a herculean task. I have no idea how many rape stories I had to read. Every victim had their own story and each story was enough to give you sleepless nights. Our country houses a number of rape victims inside marriage or relationships and a few have been courageous enough to speak about it. If they wouldn’t have talked about it, the writing of that scene would have been impossible.

7. What has been the best compliment you have gotten for Bad Romance?

Once I got a mail saying ‘Bad Romance’ motivated a girl to get out of emotional abuse. She profusely thanked me for giving her the strength she thought she never had. What else would I have asked for! If you have contributed towards the betterment of someone’s life, you have definitely succeeded as a human being.

8. Do your parents read your book?

Reading is a habit that my parents had inculcated in me since childhood. My mom and dad are voracious readers. My dad is a scientist and devours books like anything although he’s not into fiction reading. I have never found my Mum without a book in her free time. My mother has read me since I was a kid and she continues to do so. I still don’t know if my dad has read my books or not though I have been told that he picked up my debut novel one night after everyone had slept 

9. What are you thinking to write in your next flick?

It’s too early to say something but yes, there’s a travelogue I am working on (all thanks to my association with a travel portal) and then there’s a another compilation wherein I’ll talk to all the significant and insignificant people of our lives through the written word.

10. Any words for your fans who liked Bad Romance?

It took me a lot of efforts to bring out this book and I am really thankful to all of you for appreciating a story that was so dark. I know we often look for happiness but this book brought around a part of society that people don’t wish to talk about and mostly brush it aside. I am so glad that you put your trust in my words and gave me a stature I had never dreamt of. I am nothing without you guys. Thank you! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Interview with the author, Piyush Naik!!!

Piyush is one of the most youngest authors in India who debuted in the field of literature while they were still in school. He has already written 2 books and run his own book promotional website named The Word Bite with his friend. I got to take his interview at the time of the release of his 2nd book. Let's see what he has to say about his writing career in this very short interview.

1. Hello Piyush. How did it come in your mind to write a novel at the age of 17-18? 

Hi, My girlfriend died, my parents found out that I was into drugs. Okay whatever I said before is a joke, don’t take it seriously. Life doesn't need to be this dramatic for a person to become an author, I started writing because my heart got stories which I needed to tell the world.

2. How much change do you see in yourself since your first book to this one? 

A lot has changed in me, time teaches you a lot. I cannot measure it in numbers or anything but i can just say that some changes happened in me is for good.

3. “Bizarre Emotions” is a very wonderful novel. How did the story come in your mind?

 I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Well it was just a normal day when i heard the news of Nirbhaya on TV and that incident struck me. And call it a gift of God or anything but this story just came to me.

4. How long did it take to write this one? And what approach did you follow while writing this thriller?

 Well the thinking procedure took longer, after the story was in my head; it hardly took some 2 months to pen it down. And talking about the approach, i just did one thing. If it does not amaze me it will not amaze any reader. So till the time i wasn’t happy with the chapter i would keep on writing it again and again. 

5. How hard it is to write a thriller? 

Well it’s not that much hard, you should just know, ‘What to tell?’ ‘When to tell?’ ‘Why to tell?’ & ‘How to tell?’

6. I found a bit of Chetan Bhagat and Ravi Subramanian in your writing and plot. Are you really influenced by them?

 I would not say I’m influenced by them but yes they inspire me a lot.

7. Tell us something about The Wordbite. Is the portal helping you in promoting this flick of yours?

Wordbite.com is an Entertainment site and a marketing company. I along with my friend Rahul Marar have started it. The motto of wordbite.com is that it should have something for everyone. Being my own company it is my promotional partner.

8. Have you started working on your 3rd book? What is it based upon?

 Well yes i’m working on it, it will be a sequel to my first book ‘Oops! I fell in for DON’s daughter’ and second book in ‘oops! Series’ and it will be different this time, and it will have the flavours of oops and hangover of Bizarre Emotions. It will also be a Romantic Thriller with a twisted love story.

9. Any word for your fans who liked Bizarre Emotions? 

Believe in yourself, no matter how bad the time is... it has to change one day!

An Interview with Jyoti Arora, Author of Lemon Girl!!!

    It has been a wonderful experience in working with Jyoti Arora for her books each time she has written one. Each time she writes a book, she ensures that it has some social message in it. Her latest book, Lemon Girl, is been liked by the youths. Let's see what she had to say in the interview I had with her. 

1. Hello Jyoti. Why did it take you so long to complete and release your 2nd book?

I confess that I’m a slow writer. I take my time in conceiving, planning, developing and revising my book. I can’t dash out a book in a matter of months. 
Secondly, since my first novel Dream’s Sake released, I have become much too busy in diverse pursuits. I have a full-time job with a multi-national company and I also have a technology blog called Techn0Treats. These two combined together keep me very busy and so I get little spare time to work on my books. That delayed the publishing of Lemon Girl even more.

2. Weren’t you doubtful about such an unusual title “Lemon Girl”?

I knew that some people might consider the title ridiculous. But I loved it and felt that most readers would find it attractive and catchy. And my belief in the title is being vindicated by the reviews that I’m getting of the book. Most readers feel that the title suites the story, its theme and heroine well. Some have actually told me that there couldn’t have been a better title for such a book. So, I guess, it was a fortunate choice.

3. What exactly made you write this story?

I had this theme in my mind since several past years. Then ‘Nirbhaya’ case happened. And after that, rape seems to have become almost a fashion. Never a day goes when we don’t hear of it in news programs. And what is even more enraging is the way our own leaders and prominent people casually put the blame of all this ‘cultural decline’ on girls and women and offer all sorts of excuses for culprits. I found this disgusting. Seeing and hearing all this made me feel very angry. My health problems don’t permit me to go out and take part in protests. So I decided to raise my protest by way of my writing. That’s what led to Lemon Girl. 

4. What changes do you find in yourself as a writer from Dream’s Sake to Lemon Girl?

When I wrote Dream’s Sake, I was very inexperienced as a writer, in terms of market perspective. I wrote out my story without any awareness of the market demands and trends. I wrote what I enjoyed reading. But since then, I have made many writer friends and joined many writing groups. My understanding of the market and current reading preferences has improved. As a result, my second novel is shorter in length and trendier in tone. Although, it still has the depth, sincerity and the beauty of language that readers appreciated in Dream’s Sake.

5. How hard it was to write a story about a girl who’s a victim of a heinous crime like rape?

Writing of any book involves challenges. While writing Lemon Girl, my greatest challenge was doing justice to the serious theme without making the book too serious and gloomy. Some readers of Dream’s Sake told me that they loved the book but it made them cry. I did not want my second novel to be so serious as well. And yet, it would have been wrong to deal with such an issue as rape in a light and frivolous way. Keeping the balance between poignancy and entertainment was tough. I achieved it by getting the story narrated by two different people. The parts that the heroine Nirvi narrates are serious and thought-provoking. The parts that the hero narrates are lighter in tone. The two together add the required depth and light to the story. 
As for the difficulty of writing about a rape victim, I did a thorough research upon this theme before beginning the book. And that helped me develop the character of Nirvi. Also, I’ve done Masters in Applied Psychology. So I do know a little about the psychological effects of such traumas. 

6. What were you most doubtful about while writing this one?

I was narrating my book from female as well as male perspective. The heroine and the hero narrate the story of Lemon Girl alternatively. I was sure of the parts that the heroine narrated. But I did worry about the tone and the words that I gave to my hero. I wasn’t sure if they were natural enough for a guy like him. Thankfully, the reviews of Lemon Girl have assured me that I have succeed in making the hero Arsh natural and relatable. 

7. Who are your favourite authors whom you feel influenced by?

I enjoy reading classics most. While working as a freelance writer with one publisher, I also abridged 24 classics to make them suitable for pre-teens. And so, I think those books by great masters have left a deep impact on my writing. I enjoy books of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens most. Conventional choices, you might call them. But so it is. I like old things. Old music, old movies and old books. I wouldn’t mind going back to the old world either, if I could take my books, my smartphone and my computer along with me!

8. How genuine do you find the Bloggers and Book Reviewers?

That depends upon who the blogger or book reviewer is and why he or she is reviewing the book. Most bloggers and reviewers give genuine reviews. I do feel sometimes that due to the large number of books they have to read and review, many book reviewers seem to be losing the joy of reading and appreciating a book. Many just summarily jot down the main points of the book in their blog posts, almost as if their only intention was to remove the book from their ‘to-read-and-review’ pile. 
Fortunately, I’m happy to say that my novel Lemon Girl has managed to make most readers and reviewers feel excited about it. Most of the reviews that I got for Lemon Girl rang with the love and excitement that the reviewer felt for the book. And let me tell you, a thousand word review can’t make a writer as happy as one excited exclamation of appreciation from a reader can.  

9. What story are you working on currently? When will your next book release?

I haven’t started working on any book yet. I will try to start on another book soon, but it would probably be another two years when my next book comes out.

10. Any words for the people who read Lemon Girl.

I felt strongly about an issue and raised my voice against it through Lemon Girl. If you too feel strongly about the issue of rape and victim-blaming, I welcome you to Raise Your Voice too on the online spaces I have provided. You can post your messages on my blog, Facebook page or on Twitter. The details of that can be found here:  http://www.jyotiarora.com/raiseyourvoice
Also, do let me know what you think of my novel. I love hearing from my readers. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La (Book Review-4*/5)!!!

      I know it's never a great idea to write the first blog itself in a new series a book review but it's said by far intelligent people than you and me that works come before anything else. :-) And what better than dedicating this new series of posts to my passion of reading by devoting it's first post to reading and BOOKS. Well, I just finished reading "The Amazing Racist" written by the debutante- Chhimi Tenduf-La. I was reading a new book after almost 35 days hence I wanted a great start and I thank author for giving me one of the best experiences of my reading life. Not every debutante fires such a work that makes you burst out all the emotions at different points of story. I am in awe of this book and I recommend it to you before you sign off this post without reading the full post in some hurry. :-) Haha!

          The narrative style of the author is one of the bests I have read in recent times. The way he has captured several difficult moments in ease with the help of command he has on the language makes this book much better than it is. Even though the plot looks very common to what we generally see in our movies but the way things take place after 40% of the book, is torturous for a reader to imagine the protagonist trapped in a messy situation. The characters are so well built up by the author that you get well connected with each of them- either its Eddie who is living a ruined life because of a wrong decision, Uncle Thilak who is the life of this book, Menaka- who portrays the trait of selfishness very well, Kiki- even being a 4 year old child, she speaks everything through author's voice :-) and Caroline- a lady who brings life in the last 30% of the story. As a debutante, I would say there could not have been a better attempt than this considering the plot on which the story is based. And I would significantly like to point out the humorous quotient inserted by the author at right moments which makes you smile even in a tensed situations of the story. That's another USP of the author. 

          At first, I felt that the book is going to be a Western version of Chetan Bhagat's 2 States even when it's based in Sri Lanka but once the plot moves ahead towards what happens after Menaka and Eddie weds and gives birth to a baby girl, Kiki, is unexpected and surprising. The relationship between Eddie and his father-in-law is justified so well that I wish to meet both of them in real and experience the sweetness and bitterness their relation has. One of the difficult scenes to accept is the one when Eddie abruptly picks up Kiki from home for airport. It made me cry like mad considering what Uncle Thilak must be going through. Also the climax is very emotional. Throughout the book I had almost accepted it as 3.5* material. In pre-climax it climbed up by .25 and after the climax, I give this book 4* out of 5 undoubtedly and proudly. Thanks for the beautiful work, Chhimi. Waiting for more books from you. 



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