BLW: Let’s welcome the new and sensational Indian author Dr. Madhu Vajpayee to Book Lovers World. The writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world. Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires. When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.
Her debut novel ‘Seeking Redemption’ published by Half Baked Beans is among the top selling pre-order books on Amazon and Flipkart.
Madhu Vajpayee: Thanks for such generous introduction! It’s great to be here at Book Lovers World. My gratitude for such a warm welcome!!
BLW: Firstly, congratulations on the getting published your debut book “Seeking Redemption”. Tell us a little about yourself.
live my passion in those unwritten words
Madhu Vajpayee: Thank you very much! I am a doctor by profession but a writer by passion. Until Seeking Redemption happened I tried to live my passion in those unwritten words that somewhere got lost in hectic schedule of medical profession. But eventually I realized that I need to write those words that were not letting me at peace. They needed to be expressed. For their sake. For my sake. And that’s when I decided to pour my feelings on a large canvass and give those unsaid words life of their own.
BLW: We know that you are one awesome writer. Tell us about your book Seeking Redemption, what it means to you, and how did you conceive the idea of writing on the most trending genre? How long did it take to write this book?
Madhu Vajpayee: Seeking Redemption is a story of every youth of the country who is trying to win a losing battle in backdrop of caste based reservation and corruption prevalent in education and medical sector. It’s their effort to seek redemption from the curse that is eating away the inner fabric of such a beautiful country. However love is the most sublime emotion of life and nothing remain can remain untouched by it. I wanted to bring out the struggle at the professional front that young men and women go through while at the same time dealing with their personal battles in life. Love is such a powerful force that can shape all aspects of our lives. The story is weaved around three main characters, Meera, Aman and Abhay who not only go through myriad of emotional roller coaster ride that is a mix of love, trust, unconditional support and deceit but also their struggle with the prevailing system of the country.
It took me almost a year to write as my busy schedule of medicine left little time to write.
BLW: Seeking Redemption is journey from being a simple, medical graduate to the territories of caste-based politics with well-developed characters. We would like to know the homework you did to write this book.
Madhu Vajpayee: To be honest, I didn’t really need to do any homework. I was living in that very atmosphere, day in and out. The book is fictionalized account of the things that I personally experienced in my life as a doctor from a medical graduate to a fully-fledged medical doctor.
BLW: Meera, the protagonist of the story, is also a medical graduate. Is it a character from your real life or just a piece of imagination?
The story of her journey, specific events of her life,
problems faced by her was not exactly mine,
but her principles, belief and faith are mine.
Madhu Vajpayee: The heroine of my book, Dr Meera was born in those very corridors of hospital where I spent best parts of my life. Although the story of her journey, specific events of her life, problems faced by her was not exactly mine but her principles, belief and faith are mine. I saw myself in her dilemmas, in her pain, in her loss, in her triumph against her own demons. Through this book I also tried to highlight the rampant corruption in medical field and how unfortunately, merit doesn’t always stand a chance in front of mediocrity. Justice eluded her as well as Aman, the man whom she loved, in their struggle for achieving the life they dreamt, the life they deserved. But, ironically while Meera rises in such difficult times, Aman falls. She tries to help him in spite of her own dilemmas but he misunderstands her. And there is Abhay, the other man in her life, a friend but who gives her unconditional support through all the ups and down. Through Meera, I was perhaps trying to tell my inner child that life doesn’t always follow your plans. It follows its own path and pace. And instead of resisting it, we must embrace it.
BLW: Starting from self-published book to traditional publishing, what were your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
Madhu Vajpayee: This is really interesting question. I really dwell upon it a lot. Believe me, the whole process of publication of a fiction work was an eye opener to me. I found to my utter surprise that it was much easier to be published in medical journals and books as a medical doctor. I worked in the field of HIV/AIDS care and management and I have lot of publications in prestigious national and international journals. However it was much easier to get published there in comparison to publication of fiction books. You have no idea what’s going to click with publishers here. It’s completely uncharted territory where nothing is defined. You just need to keep going with passion and determination in your heart without thinking of any consequences. To survive, you have to let go of failure, learn from it and move forward with enhanced determination. In the end, it’s all about the passion. You do it because you love it irrespective of success or failure.
BLW: What inspired you to write this book?
Madhu Vajpayee: Any crisis in life is also an opportunity to know an indestructible part of you hitherto unknown to you. Incidentally a professional crisis in my life that almost changed the course of my life including my relocation to a foreign land forced me pen down the things that was until now remain buried in life’s ongoing drama. For me, this was one such opportunities. Instead of losing myself in confusion and dilemma, I tried to channelize my energy into something that I always loved but never got enough time to pursue. And the book Seeking Redemption happened.
BLW: Did relocating to Australia helped you write this book?
Madhu Vajpayee: In a sense, yes! I am not working full time now and able to devote lot of time to writing. Although the first draft was written while I was still in India but further modifications, editing and polishing was only done later after my relocation here.
BLW: What was your biggest learning from writing this book?
Madhu Vajpayee: You have to believe in yourself. World can’t do that for you. You have to believe when there is nothing left to believe and keep going. Failure can only be temporary setback but eventually, if you believe in yourself, it can become a stepping stone in your journey. Every day is a new learning experience and we should be ready to learn for coal needs to be polished to become a diamond.
BLW: Seeking Redemption is a romantic – fictional love story. Would you be sticking to one preferred style and genre in future?
Madhu Vajpayee: As I said previously, love is essence of our lives. Nothing can remain untouched by it. I am not sure if I would stick to this particular genre for I like to experiment with different styles but love would certainly remain one of the main ingredient of my stories.
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?
Madhu Vajpayee: No particular time. Whenever my creative instincts push me to play with words and create some magic in the process, I spontaneously start scribbling. When not writing, most of the time, story is going on in my head and I am busy creating and recreating the scenes and dialogues. My favourite place is my study that is located in the upper floor of my home. From here, I get the most beautiful view of picturesque Melbourne that helps me to relax and write.
BLW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Madhu Vajpayee: Always, wanted to be a doctor. I always wanted to serve people who are going through difficult times.
BLW: What are your inspirations in life?
Madhu Vajpayee: My elder brother, Vipin who suffered from cerebral palsy and unfortunately who is no more in this world. From him, I learnt how to never to give up in life. He inspired me to give your best whatever may be your limitations. He inspired me to laugh in adversities, spring back after defeats and maintain equanimity in success and failure.
BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?
Madhu Vajpayee: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini, Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Exodus by Leon Uris, Fault in our stars by John Green to name few of them.
BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?
Madhu Vajpayee: Thanks for letting me share my dreams! I have already completed ‘I Owe You One’ that’s again a romantic-fictional story where I have tried to focus on Hindu-Muslim harmony as well as the divide in the country. Finger-Crossed, it’s under consideration for publication. The next that I am currently writing is pure romantic story where nothing except love is felt, lived, suffered and eventually conquered. I am really enjoying writing it. To my surprise, most out of all three until now.
BLW: What other secret skills do you have?
Madhu Vajpayee: Nothing special, I am a very regular person who enjoys dressing up, showing up and accepting whatever life offers. One little secret though, learning to cook after moving to Australia as I never got the opportunity to do that in India.
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.
Madhu Vajpayee: 1. Love Story by Erich Segal
2. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
3. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
4. Fountainhead by Ayn Rend
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?
Madhu Vajpayee: Never give up. We are bigger than anything that can happen to us. Write because you love it. Not because you want to become author like everybody else. To get opportunity to be a published author will just be a coincidence and perhaps also your good fortune!
BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!
Madhu Vajpayee: I owe my father for inculcating the habit of reading from my early childhood. I consider it as best possible gift to any child. So all the book lovers in this world, you are so fortunate to be able to enjoy reading for nothing can match the magic of written words that not only transcend us to an amazing world, stimulates our thought processes but also challenges our ideas and beliefs like nothing else.
Thank you so much for your time, Madhu. It’s our pleasure to chat with you… It’s our 25th author interview. We’re super excited! And to the readers stay back for more. We’re going to interview the lead characters of the book Seeking Redemption, Meera, Aman and Abhay in a short while. We hope you will like reading the response. Stay Tuned!