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…

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.