A Conversation with Jyoti Arora

BLW: Let’s welcome the successful Indian author Jyoti Arora, a post graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology, with two published novels, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc. to Book Lover’s World.

Jyoti Arora: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be able to express my views on such a platform.

BLW: Firstly, congratulations on the grand success of your second book Lemon Girl. Tell us a little about yourself.

Jyoti Arora:Thanks. It is indeed a great pleasure to see Lemon Girl receiving so much love from readers and critics.

When I was a child, books used to fascinate me more than chocolates, toffees or toys.

As for me, I have always loved books. And I am happy that I am able to pursue this love of books and turn it into a career. When I was a child, books used to fascinate me more than chocolates, toffees or toys. Even when I couldn’t read, I loved looking at the colourful pictures in the books. And I loved the fragrance of newly printed books, even if they were just school books.

I am a patient of Thalassemia Major. Due to complications arising from this, I was not able to go to school after class seventh. After that, I pursued all my studies through correspondence courses. Studying on my own meant loss of all my classmates and most of my friends. At that time, books really did become my best friends and kept me entertained and happy.

And now, books are the ones that are filling my heart with dreams and aspirations and giving me a reason to look forward to the future with hope.

Other than books, I love technology and spend a lot of time trying out new gadgets, apps and websites. I also enjoy listening to old Bollywood songs.

I am currently living in Ghaziabad with my parents and working from home with an IT recruitment agency.

BLW: We know that you are one awesome writer. Tell us about your book Lemon Girl, what it means to you, and how did you conceive the idea of writing a Feminist Fiction? How long did it take to write this book?

Jyoti Arora: Well, I did not write Lemon Girl because I wanted to write a Feminist Fiction. It just rose out of my disgust with what I was seeing and hearing around me. I had the basic idea of the story in my mind since many years. But I probably would have picked up a happier and lighter theme for my second novel. But then, the Nirbhaya incident happened. And as shocking as it was, the responses that it got from some people were even more shocking. After that, the sexual abuse of women and blaming them for all such crimes seemed to have become almost a fashion. I felt very disturbed with all this. And that is why the idea that I might have developed as a romance or general fiction ended up being developed as a feminist fiction and raising a protest against the crimes against women.

It took me about a year to write the book and then several more months to revise, revise, revise it.

BLW: Lemon Girl, a feminist fiction, written based on the grave social issues in India. We would like to know the home work you did to write this book.

Jyoti Arora: I researched about the post-traumatic effects of abuse and how a victim of such abuse might behave. What coping mechanisms she might employ. Having done Master’s in Psychology, I was already familiar with these concepts. That helped me in developing the character of Nirvi.

Some scenes of the book are based in Rishikesh. I did some research about that place too. Although, as my father hails from Hardwar, I’m a little familiar with Rishikesh as well.

BLW: What were your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

Jyoti Arora: Since my Lemon Girl released, it has been reviewed by many different reviewers. And all those reviews have taught me how differently one single work can be viewed by different people. Lemon Girl has received much love and appreciation from all reviewers. But surprisingly, different people are highlighting different aspects, portions and sentences of it as their favourite. Some liked the feminist aspect of the book, some like the romantic, some praised its psychological insights and some appreciated the spiritual journey of Nirvi.

The responses I have got for my two novel have also taught me that characters that are too good are considered unrealistic. People like those characters better who have to battle with and overcome natural human weaknesses.

BLW: What inspired you to write this book?

Jyoti Arora: The bitter realities of the way girls and women are still treated in India and the way people still seek to put the blame on women for everything that goes wrong.

BLW: From Technical Blogging to Feminist Fiction, you write different styles and genres. Would you be sticking to one preferred style and genre in future?

Jyoti Arora: My technology blog is more of a hobby for me. I love using internet, computer and smartphones and different apps. And when I come across something remarkably interesting, I want to talk about it. And that’s why I started my tech. blog. Although I do feel now that it’s distracting me from working on books. It takes up too much of my time. But tech. blogging is very addictive and tempting and I love it.

As for my books, I think I would be sticking to General Fiction more. I would like to try out different genes. I want to write fantasy, romance and even horror. But I think General Fiction with beautiful love stories would remain my preferred genre.

I would try and talk about issues I feel strongly about through my books. But they may not always be feminist in nature. For example, my first novel Dream’s Sake tells a beautiful love story based on the theme of the fears and insecurities of people with disabilities and the prejudices they have to face from the society.

BLW: When do you write the most? Is there a favorite place at your home or office where you write the most? Any props that you feel lucky to keep with you when writing?

Jyoti Arora: I write best at night when all is quite around me. I type directly on my laptop. Sometimes, I keep music playing at low volume as I write. Old Bollywood songs especially.

I depend on my smartphone to jot down notes and ideas as they come to me. Mostly it happens that ideas would start pouring in when I’m half asleep. At such a time, a smartphone comes very handy to jot down quick notes without having to switch on the light. I use an app which syncs all my notes online so I can access them from my computer too.

BLW: What are your inspirations? Do you like writing a feminist fiction or a general fiction story?

Jyoti Arora: It’s my love for books that inspire me to write and try and create books that people can fall in love with. And for these books, the inspiration comes from life itself. All that I see or hear happening around me gets translated into fiction in my books.

As for the genre I like writing, I like writing books that tell beautiful love stories and also give a message. Other than that, I follow the demands of the story. I am not averse or partial to any genre.

BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?

Jyoti Arora: I love reading classics. While working as a freelance Content Developer, I abridged about 30 classics. And you can’t read and work upon such great books without getting influenced by them. Even some reviewers of my first novel Dream’s Sake commented that my writing style reflected the influence of classics.

BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?

Jyoti Arora: I am thinking of two ideas. One is a love story, other is more of a social satire. I’m exploring both but am not certain yet which I would choose to develop into my next book.

BLW: What other secret skills do you have?

Jyoti Arora: I used to be good in drawing, painting and handicrafts. When I was in school, I loved making all sorts of handicraft items. I have done a diploma course in Fine Arts too, through correspondence. But it’s been many years since I indulged in any such work. I get no time for that now.

BLW: To be a good writer, one should be a good reader. We know you enjoy reading books? What are the best books you have ever read? Name any five.

I like writing books…
that tell beautiful love stories
and also give a message.

Jyoti Arora: Best books? Well, I have read many great books. But I don’t think I have the right of judging them and trying to decide which of them is better than the others. But I can tell you the ones I love most. I love reading Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre and call them my comfort reads. Every time I feel dull or gloomy, they work well to perk me up. I also greatly admire books like Gone With The Wind, Wuthering Heights, Villette etc.

They are great literature, even if a bit too heavy to be read again and again.

BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?


Jyoti Arora: Nurture your creativity, train your writing talent, and follow your dreams no matter what setback you have to face on way to your destination. There’s too much competition even in literary field now. It’s not easy to succeed and become a best-selling author. But if writing is what you want to do, do it. Just try and get better and better at it.

BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!

Jyoti Arora: Dear readers, your appreciation means a lot to us writers. New writers especially can live and die upon every review they get. So if you liked the work of a writer, please leave a review of it on any retail website of your choice or websites dedicated to books like Goodreads, LibraryThing etc. If possible, send a personal message to the writer. You never know but one kind word of your review can revive the dying dreams of an aspiring writer!

Thank you so much for your time. It’s our pleasure to chat with you…

A Conversation With Anurag Anand

BLW: Let’s welcome the renowned Indian author Anurag Anand to Book Lover’s World.

Anurag Anand was born in Patna. After obtaining his primary education from Kurseong in Darjeeling District, he moved to Delhi. He completed his schooling from Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, New Delhi in 1996. Thereafter he did is B. A. (Hons) in Economics from Delhi University before pursuing his PGDBM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi (2000 -2002). He is a marketing professional with experience across sectors like pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods and financial services. His love for the reading started with his near addiction to comic books during his initial years.

Anand’s writing career began with the book Pillars of Success (2004), a self-help book that owes its genesis to his association during his college days with the Delhi based NGO, UNES. As a part of the Youth Development Program of UNES, he delivered lectures on aspects of personality development to school students across the country and it is the learnings from these interactions that he summarised in his first book. Since then he has written eight titles in with nine published titles in the self-help, general fiction and historical fiction genres.

Anurag Anand: Thank you for having me here. It is indeed a pleasure to be amidst Book Lovers and answering some particularly intriguing questions pertaining to my works.

BLW: Firstly, congratulations on the success of your ninth book Birth of The Bastard Prince – The Legend Of Amrapali. Tell us a little about yourself.

Anurag Anand:Thanks once again!

Once I held the first printed copy of my book in my hands, I knew that this vocation was going to stick for a while. There was no looking back for me thereafter.

The written word has fascinated me for as long back as I can remember and during my childhood I was often reprimanded for spending more time with comic or story books than I should have. It was only natural then that I seized the first possible opportunity to write a book that came my way. I was 24 years old then and the outcome was my first published work, Pillars of Success (Self-help). Once I held the first printed copy of my book in my hands, I knew that this vocation was going to stick for a while. There was no looking back for me thereafter.

On the personal front I am an gregarious and fun-loving person who likes to spend time with friends, meet new people and drop his hair down every once in a while. In fact the contrast my personality presents to the stereotypical image of an author is such that my friends continue to express surprise over my literary pursuits till this day. My day job is with a beverage major in Gurgaon and I stay in the city with my wife and three year old daughter.

BLW: We know that you are one awesome versatile writer. Tell us about your book Birth of The Bastard Prince – The Legend Of Amrapali, what it means to you, and how did you conceive the idea of writing a sequel to the bestseller – The Legend of Amrapali? How long did it take to write this book?

Anurag Anand: Birth of the Bastard Prince is a sequel to my earlier book, The Legend of Amrapali. As the name suggests, the two books deal with the life story of Amrapali – the yesteryear courtesan from the kingdom of Vaishali. While The Legend of Amrapali traces her ascent to the morally depraved yet coveted pedestal of the ‘Nagarvadhu’ or the city’s bride, Birth of the Bastard Prince delves into the later years of her life. From her romantic liaisons with the neighbouring king Bimbisara and the political machinations that saw her being pronounced a traitor of her motherland to her eventual attainment of nirvana under the aegis of Gautama Buddha, the book tells a story that many have found gripping. And I can only be thankful to my readers for that. Also, for those who haven’t read the prequel yet, I have summarized its story adequately in Birth of the Bastard Prince for the book to serve as a standalone read as well.

When I started working on the plot for The Legend of Amrapali, plugging scattered pieces of recorded facts and folklore with a liberal dose of fiction, I realized that the story was likely to end up as a thick, heavy book. This was in direct contrast to my objective of taking Amrapali’s story to the masses as the length of the book would have proved prohibitive for money. Hence, right at the onset I had decided to split the story into two books. It took me about a year to write The Legend of Amrapali and another eight months to script Birth of the Bastard Prince.

BLW: Birth of The Bastard Prince & The Legend Of Amrapali, are written with a contemporary flavour, a fantasy fiction! We would like to know the home work you did to write this book.

Anurag Anand: I wouldn’t term the books as fantasy fiction. In fact they would perhaps be better classified as works of historical fiction.

I had heard tales and snippets from Amrapali’s life during my growing up years, though, none comprehensive enough to qualify as her complete story. The intrigue this resulted in was further heightened when I couldn’t find any comprehensive life-account of her. The recorded facts about her life were abysmal, primarily residing as anecdotes in Buddhist scriptures. It was then that I decided to construct her story around these facts, relying heavily on the threads or folklore and my own imaginings. Hence, while I can’t claim complete factual accuracy of the narrative, it most definitely revolves around history.

The research that went into writing The Legend of Amrapali was extensive. From visiting the historical ruins or Vaishali and the ASI museum which displays artefacts from the era that Amrapali lived, to reading nearly every piece of literature that touched upon the subject, the effort required was actually humongous. However, the toil was placated somewhat by the enthralment that the exercise held in store for me. Today I am glad that I opted to write on this subject as it has left me better informed about the glories of our shared past.

BLW: From Self Help to Historical Fiction, you write different styles and genres. Would you be sticking to one preferred style and genre in future?

Anurag Anand: No, I don’t think I will ever be in a position to commit to a particular genre unwaveringly. A major reason behind my writing is that I derive immense satisfaction from it, and hence, I write what I feel like writing. While I am working on a particular manuscript, I like to immerse myself in it, not permitting my thoughts to waver into what I will be working on next. I guess it’s the financial security offered by my day job that allows me the discretion of putting my own desires over market-based factors like the need to be identified with a particular genre or style of writing. And I am only too happy to make full use of this discretion I have been blessed with.

BLW: When do you write the most? Is there a favorite place at your home or office where you write the most? Any props that you feel lucky to keep with you when writing?

Anurag Anand: I am not particularly superstitious when it comes to writing. From airport lounges to train compartments, I have had the experience of penning my words in a diverse range of places. When I am working on a story, I find myself subconsciously thinking about it at all times. And if I happen across an interesting turn of phrase or an exciting quote, I try to record it at the soonest, irrespective of the time of the day or the surroundings.

BLW: What are your inspirations? Do you like writing a historical fiction or a general fiction story?

Anurag Anand: I am inspired by the world around me – my family, my friends and even my acquaintances who lend my world its true colours. It is also highly motivating when my readers, after reading my works, take the pains of contacting me and sharing their feedback. This is perhaps the most compelling driving force behind my writing.

I find historical fiction
… a far more enriching…
genre to write in.

Historical fiction and contemporary fiction are just as diverse when it comes to writing as they are when one is reading them. While historical fiction allows the author to delve in the past and recreate characters or situations that readers might be, albeit vaguely, familiar with, contemporary fiction provides a platform to carve a story out of the world that the author resides in. However, despite the extra rigour it entails, I personally find historical fiction a far more enriching genre to write in. The feeling of having added your two bits to something that has already carved its place within the pages of history is truly satiating.

BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?

Anurag Anand: As a writer I try and prevent myself from being influenced by other’s writings. I believe that each author has a unique style of writing and he or she is best served by sticking to it. Of course one can look at honing or polishing one’s natural style, but the quest to ape someone else can often prove disastrous.

BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?

Anurag Anand: I have often been approached by aspiring authors seeking tips or guidance about writing or publishing their works, and this is the basis for the project I am currently working on. Tentatively titled – Scripting your Dream Bestseller – this book will serve as a step by step guide for aspiring authors to write, publish and market their works. I am relying on my own observations as well as insights from my author friends to make it a practical and relevant read for those desirous of experimenting with writing. All going well the book should hit the stands by early next year.

BLW: What other secret skills do you have?

Anurag Anand: Oh, I am a highly skilled man… I can touch my left earlobe with my write elbow, I can make paper planes that fly on infinite trajectories and other such. Well, that was just a pathetic attempt at humour – now you know why I refrain from experimenting in the comedy genre!

On a serious note, if you meant to quiz me on my interests other than writing, I do nurse a few. Traveling, playing (basketball & cricket), reading or simply hanging out with friends are some of my favoured pastimes. It is altogether a different matter that I am hardly ever able to find time to do justice to any of them.

BLW: To be a good writer, one should be a good reader. We know you enjoy reading books? What are the best books you have ever read? Name any five.

Anurag Anand: It is difficult to pick only five out of all the books that I have ever read and the list is likely to favour those that I have read more recently. But let me make an attempt anyway. So, my five favourite books, not necessarily in the order or preference, are:-

  1. Animal’s People – Indra Sinha
  2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  3. Freedom from the known – J Krishnamurti
  4. Madhushala – Harivansh Rai Bachchan
  5. Everything that P G Wodehouse has ever written

BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?

Anurag Anand: Well, the space here might prove inadequate for that, I have a book full of such advice coming out you see. However, I will say that if there is something that you really want to do, the best approach is to get on with it instead of intellectualizing over the right approach or process. Once you begin, you always have the option of taking corrective measures if you commit a mistake along the way. However, if you allow your uncertainties to restrain you, there is no telling if and when you will finally manage to take off.

BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!

Anurag Anand: If you are in love with books, you have certainly found the right companion(s) for yourself. Books won’t hurt or abandon you, they will remain by your side when you want them the most and, what’s more, they will continue to enrich you right through your life.

Thank you so much for your time. It’s our pleasure to chat with you…

Book Review: Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora

This book is a bold read!

The Blurb:

‘It’s all your fault.’

Mere words these are.

“But words can possess a shadow invincible enough to rob even a soul of its eternity.”

In a society that finds it easier to mark sins of a victim than the culprit, Nirvi is a young girl punishing herself for the faults she did not do and avenging her hurts by defeating her own truth.

She is scared of her future, and ashamed of her past. She is failing herself, and knows it. She has had a long line of boyfriends, and hated them all. She detests the guy she is living with, runs away from the one she loves , and seduces the one who can never love her.

When Arsh first sees Nirvi, she’s a free and frank girl in whose eyes sparkle the lemony zest of life. The next time he sees her, she is a voiceless doll draped in clothes that cover her body less and shroud her soul more. And Arsh can’t rest till he finds out what made Nirvi give up her own real self.

Nirvi knows she is dragging herself on a path from which there can be no recovery. Can her spirit survive the treacherous downfall? Or is the pull of fear and push of desperation just too strong to withstand for a girl who believes she has “nowhere else to go” but down.

“When it’s time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it,” says Arsh.

But can love survive, when even the self love dies?

Can love survive when respect is no more?

Does true love have the power to revive a dying soul?

Find out in the pages of this brilliantly woven, intense, heart-warming and thought-provoking saga of RISING IN LOVE…

Excerpt:

Though I do believe that target was Kusum, yet the alarm that I rang out was,’Hey, Lemon Girl, watch out!’

The cyclist came up on them just as she swung around towards me. As she swung, her bag of lemons swung along as well and banged into the cyclist. His grin turned into a cry and he sped down to taste dirt. That was good. Fit place for him.
But down too went the lemons as the bag burst and spilled its contents on the road.

For a moment, I was worried about the cyclist, fearing she might get in her head to stamp her foot on his face for trying to collide into her friend. But instead, she whirled up to me.

‘What did you call me?’ she asked.
‘Lemon Girl.’ I should not have grinned as I said that, but some things just can’t be helped.
‘Do I look like a lemon to you?’ she asked.
I looked at her bright lemony tunic and grinned again. Yes, I can go totally out of my head sometimes, grinning at most inappropriate times. That happened to be one of the worst of them.

Her eyes opened wide and glared at me. She probably wanted me to cower down with fear at that glaring look. But that is never my way of dealing with a glare, stare, frown or scowl. Besides, I had lost myself in marvelling at her eyes. I still
wonder if that was because they were big, beautiful and had long eye lashes, or because of the laughter that twinkled in them even when they frowned. Whatever it was, I only know that as they stared at me, I stared back.

‘How dare you stare at me and grin like that?’ she asked.

About the Author:

Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc.

Jyoti started her professional life as an English tutor. After that, she worked for several years as a freelance writer and content developer. Her work as a freelance writer ranged from beginning level books for kids to re-writing Bollywood based non-fiction and spiritual non-fiction. During her years as a freelance writer, she was engaged with two publishers on long-term projects to abridge English classics. In all, she has abridged more than 30 books.

Jyoti feels that working with English classics has influenced her own writing too. In fact, some reviewers of her first novel also noted the impact of English classics in her tone of writing and mastery of language.

Jyoti’s first novel, Dream’s Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.

She chose to self publish her second novel Lemon Girl as the theme of the book gave her an urgency to see the book published as soon as possible. And also, the advancing reach of the ebooks and retail websites gave her the confidence to take this bold step.

Besides, Jyoti loves technology and couldn’t help but try out this new road of publishing where writers were intended to use wheels of technology to propel themselves forward.

Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt reading, by herself, even before she started going to school. And she considers herself most fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.

However, if books are Jyoti’s first love, and she’s still very devoted to them, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of Jyoti’s blogs is a technological blog called Techn0Treats. In 2011, a post in this blog won her the title of Samsung Mobiler when Samsung made her a part of the team of twenty bloggers chosen from all over India through a blogging competition. In this team of twenty bloggers, she was the only woman and perhaps the only one who had studied literature instead of science. As a Samsung Mobiler, Jyoti acted as the promoter and ambassador of Samsung through her blog.

Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. After that, she continued her studies on her own through correspondence courses. She completed her Board level examination from the Patrachaar Vidyalaya, CBSE. After that she did English (Hons.) from Delhi University. Post that, she went on to do post-graduation in English Literature, and also in Applied Psychology from Annamalai University.

Jyoti Arora is currently living in Ghaziabad, India.

Her zest to overcome her medical problems and zeal to achieve success keeps her striving on with her endeavors to make her dreams come true.

My Review:

How can I start this review without praising the author for voicing out against rape and penning down a book that portrays the various faces of society?

Congratulations Jyoti Arora! You have a done a good job! Stay blessed!

The reader’s heart…
The author started the book sinking into the past of the “Lemon Girl”. It sounded so good, to be true. The conversations between Arsh and Nirvi was cute. I loved it so much, but what followed was an unexpected twist at the beginning. Seriously, I was not ready for the twist at such an early stage. It excited me within to read further. I made my mind that it was not going to be a triangular love story, but it turn out to be something else. The image of the “Lemon Girl” got tarnished when I came to know about her relationships. It got me hooked up to the story to know what exactly happened to the “Lemon Girl”. At the start the turn of events sounded okay, but as I progressed, I felt the story was dragged without any reason, and at times, I felt the “six months later” tag was unacceptable. Practically impossible, at least for me, if I was put into such situations. Then came an unexpected twist, most awaited answer from Nirvi, which ignited the reader inside me and made the story glow better. The second set back in the story was unwanted abusing of characters, improper settings and a twist for good at Chapter No. 27. That’s the point I fell in love with the story and “Lemon Girl”. And what followed, was an awesome read!

What I liked?
“Lemon Girl”, the characterisation of Giri, the settings, the final twist.

What I disliked?
Did you feel that I used “Lemon Girl” more than any other words in this review? I felt the same while reading the book.

The chapters between 17 and 27. It could had been better than just bitter experience.

Why should one read this book?
This book, for sure, will tempt the readers and will keep you hooked till the end except for a few chapters in the middle. I must also say the author will make you say “Well, it’s a good read!”, when you reach the last page.

Stars…
It could have been done better, but then that does not take away any of the accolades, I have to give to this awesome book. I give this book a four-star rating.

Rating:
Blurb: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Excerpt: 4/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Book Details:
Title: Lemon Girl
Author: Jyoti Arora
Genre: Feminist Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Self
Language: English
Pages: 170
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 255 Rs.

Buy: Paperback | eBook
Follow on: Facebook | Goodreads Book Page | Goodreads Author Page

“Lemon Girl” is a bold attempt by the author. This book, is full of twist and turns, and at the end, will make you say, “That’s a good read!” A ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Book, A Bold Attempt by the Author, Highly Recommended for all, No Second Thoughts!

This eBook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a four-star rating on Goodreads and FlipKart as I felt nothing less than that would be fair.

A Conversation With Rashmi Kumar

BLW: Let’s welcome the renowned and successful author Rashmi Kumar of Hooked, Lined & Single to Book Lover’s World.

Rashmi Kumar: Thank you for the generous words and a wonderful welcome ☺️

BLW: Congratulations on getting published your second book. Tell us a little about yourself.

Rashmi Kumar: Currently a full-time mother to my two-year-old son, I am enjoying every bit of this phase of my life where I see my little boy grow up right under my nose, right under my care. I thank God for motherhood despite its many challenges.

Before moving to Canada three years ago I was a journalist and worked with many established newspapers and magazines in India. My last job was with Deccan Herald as Features Editor. Other than journalism I also dabbled as a part-time Radio Jockey with 102.6 Rainbow FM and worked as a voice over artist for several ad films. And other than partying very hard over the weekends, I devoted my Saturdays as a volunteer with an NGO for the mentally distressed and suicidal.

BLW: We know that you are one awesome writer. Tell us about your book, what it means to you, and how it all started? How long did it take to write this book?

Rashmi Kumar: Thank you again ☺️. Hooked, Lined & Single draws its inspiration from some of my personal experiences and some from what I have observed within our society. When you get at a certain age, the pressure of marriage increases–societally, physically, mentally and may I say, even spiritually at times. For me, the pressure was more internal. It was external to some extent–not because people around me forced me to get married, but because you live in a society where there is not a single dull moment. And your sense of loneliness heightens during festivals, weddings and other occasions. And honestly, I was no aberration to this.

When I set out to find myself a man to marry I came across such funny and sad incidents that they had to be shared!

When I set out to find myself a man to marry I came across such funny and sad incidents that they had to be shared! Of course, many anecdotes of Alafia meeting various prospective grooms have been spiced up but HLS really is a story of many Indian women and especially those who went through the pain staking process of finding Mr Right–which again, is a myth, of course!

It took me close to a year and half to complete HLS.

BLW: Hooked, Lined & Single is significantly based on ‘Women in India’ and society’s perspective regarding marriage. It’s a sensitive issue you took. We would like to know if there is any real life incident that inspired you to write this book?

Rashmi Kumar: Like I already mentioned, this book germinated in my mind right at the moment I set out to “find Mr Right.” That’s the problem with authors, they see a book in everything and everyone–or at least I do :-/

BLW: Is there a style of writing you prefer? Would you be sticking to the same style and genre?

Rashmi Kumar: Well, I am mostly comfortable doing a style that’s not too literary and yet not too colloquial. While I write for the masses, I also write for the classes. I prefer any writing style that’s real, unpretentious and forms an instant connection with its readers.
No, I would like to keep experimenting and trying out new styles.

BLW: When do you write the most? Is there a favorite place at your home or office where you write the most? Any props that you feel lucky to keep with you when writing?

Rashmi Kumar: There’s no fixed time when I write, but when I do get inspired to write, I do it like someone possessed. Unless you’ve that drive, you can’t do justice.

There really isn’t a particular spot that acts like my “creative hiding place,” (thanks to a two-year-old!) but I would certainly like to retreat in a natural surrounding with just the nature and me for my future writings. Like for HLS, I went on a break to Jim Corbett for many months just to finish the book.

There definitely is something interesting I do before I start writing or before I set of to do any work. I make an air cross across my chest and surrender my thoughts, words and actions to God.

BLW: What are your inspirations? Do you like writing a real story or a fiction story?

Rashmi Kumar: People inspire me. In the past my travel experiences had inspired me a lot. That’s why I give much prominence to places and vivid human characters in my books.

I am neither a stickler for fiction nor for non-fiction. Although, I am most comfortable doing fiction, as an author, I feel the need to be open and adaptive to anything that’s real as well as not real.

BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?

Rashmi Kumar: I have been deeply influenced by the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Having read almost all his literary works, I wish I can emulate his style of writing, but I know that’s only a dream 🙁 The other book that has me gripped is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?

Rashmi Kumar: Currently, I am crushed between two choices. And both are works of non-fiction but have deeply changed me as a human. First one is a chronicle about my motherhood experiences. I am trying to present this in a short story format with tips to new mothers. My second endeavour is something more spiritual. This would be about my journey from India to Canada and the catharsis I went through along the way.

BLW: What other secret skills do you have?

Rashmi Kumar: I have taken on to cooking big time. In future, I might even do a book on some recipes. I am also a trained Hindustani classical vocalist but I don’t have the desire to ever perform publicly.

BLW: To be a good writer, one should be a good reader. Do you enjoy reading books? What are the best books you have ever read? Name any five.

Rashmi Kumar: Of course, I love to read. Without reading well, you can’t write well! My top five books are: Love in the Time of Cholera and Memories of my Melancholy Whores both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Life of Pie by Yann Martel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and of course Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

BLW: On a personal note do you like the author Rashmi Kumar from the person Rashmi Kumar?

To be a good writer
…one should be…
a good reader

Rashmi Kumar: I love ’em both 🙂 Both are incomplete without each other. Both draw inspiration from each other and both thrive on that hope and inspiration. But yes, generally, I am not a very disciplined person. You could even call me lazy! But when I start writing, I am different. I am more focused, more disciplined and definitely a better manager of time. Other than that, I am pretty hopeless in these areas!

BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?

Rashmi Kumar: Write, write, write. Don’t stop no matter what!

BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!

Rashmi Kumar: My strongest and the only message from my heart is: If you want something real bad, it’s easy to chase it, pursue it and run after it! That’s where we go wrong. There is a reason why sometimes something doesn’t work out for you just when you want it so bad. That moment it is important we leave things to destiny or God. Because when we try to change the course of our life to get what we b want, it may not be the best thing for us or may not be the best thing for us at that time. For instance, in HLS Alafia so desperately wanted to get married but as life would have it, she kept bumping into all the wrong men, all the time. But, the moment she decided to let go, she found someone (Ethan) who truly cared for her but she still decided to let it go because she finally realised that it’s important she left the decision to life and God. If Ethan was truly meant for her, he would be hers any way. Even if she decided to leave the chemistry between them in a limbo.

Thank you so much for your time. It’s our pleasure to chat with you…