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.
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…