Graffiti by Joanie Pariera

Joanie-Pareira-334x336.jpgI received the book Graffiti by Joanie Pariera as a review copy from Writer’s Melon and would like to thank them for the same.  The story is set in Mumbai and Bengaluru in India and Denver and Los Angeles in USA and Sydney in Australia.

The blurb:

Told partly in first person, GRAFFITI is a humorous look at how people fall short of the expectations we have of them, dealing with friends or acquaintances enduring bereavement or similar tragic events. It is the story of Vipin, an Indian techie working in the USA, as he tries to cope with death of his wife. His few friends and colleagues offer little solace, but not for lack of trying. In fact, their well-meaning attempts are a constant source of frustration for Vipin.

Meanwhile he meets Rene, who while on an assignment from Bangalore, almost magically transforms his life. However Rene, a flighty, somewhat silly techie herself, has baggage of her own as Vipin soon realizes. They come in all shapes and sizes. There is Agni, Rene’s ex, Mark, a distant shadow and a formidable contender, and a ‘BFF’ Upasana (Upi), who unwittingly adds to the confusion. Not that Vipin ever acknowledges he’s actually interested in Rene in that special way, but by the time he is ready to do that, doing his own ‘growing-up’, will it be too late?

In an “All’s ‘as best as it can be’ that ends ‘somewhat’ well” tale, Graffiti, explores the raw emotions that the characters go through while being only partially aware that they don’t exist in a vacuum.

The story:

Vipin Roy is an Indian working in a software company in USA. He is married for six months, when he loses his wife, Pournami, in a road traffic accident. Once a confident software programmer, he becomes the doomsday man, a dream dasher, a pathetic loser and a murder and not an accident survivor.

Rene Murthy, the daughter of an IAS officer has grown up like a tomboy along with her two brothers. She works in a software firm which she had joined three years ago, just after her graduation. Her boyfriend Agni had walked out of her life after reneging on his promise to marry her. And he now wants to be her friend.

Upasana Singh/ Patel, Upi, her best friend since college, now her colleague, is married to Harish Patel who works for the Bangalore division of an ad firm. Upi makes her responsibility to bring happiness in Rene’s life and becomes her guardian of sorts. Upi is excited when Rene goes out with Ayub, the boy her parents have selected.

Mark Land, an art director/ ad film maker, is attracted to Rene at first sight when he sees her at an airport in Bombay. He knows she is the one for him and the moment was the one which he would remember forever as ‘when the bells chimed’ moment. He has never been a loser in his life and wants to be successful in his romantic pursuit. He knows he has no competition. Still, his interior decorator, Daisy, tells him that she will help him in his love story.

The book starts with a prologue where someone having a nightmare.

The story starts with Vipin is trying to get back to his life with the help of his friends cum ex-roommates, Subbu and Rohit. He is also the office confidante, with people coming and sharing their sad stories with him. He meets Rene, who is in Denver on her company’s assignment, at Subbu’s house and they become good friends. Once she comes to know of Subbu’s accident, she realizes that her dreams have some significance. When she is in Denver, suspicious activities happen in her office which link her to Kunal Amar Shah, a big success in Bollywood.

What happens when she comes back? Does Mark win? What happens to Vipin? Does he get over his grief? Read on……..

My take:

The story is about complex human relationships. There are many characters in the book, most of them well developed, and each character is linked to another through these relationships like a web. The characters are realistic and so are many situations in the book.

The story has been narrated in first person when it comes to Vipin, but for all the other characters the story has been narrated in third person.

There is tragedy, romance, suspense and humour in the book. The book is funny at times, especially the Vasu episode. I loved Mark’s desperation in trying to woo Rene. I did not like the way Vipin tries to get over his grief.

The best part of the book is the way the stories all converge to one point in the book.

Albeit a bit too long, it took me around a week to finish.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Writers Melon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

 

Advertisements

Fighting for Tara by Sunanda J Chatterjee

ab99b-fftI received the book Fighting for Tara by Sunanda J Chatterjee as a review copy from the author as a part of the blog tour by The Book Club. The book is the story of Hansa and her daughter Tara set in Rajasthan, India and USA.

The Blurb:

How far will a mother go to save her child?

“I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.

But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.

Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.

Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’

Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth?

A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.

The story:

Eleven year old Hansa is married off to a sixty year old man Gyanchand Rathore, Gyani, of Dharni village in Rajasthan. He lets her grow crops, keep her goats and learn to read and write. Rani Champavati, the wife of Thakur Surendra Pratap Singh, gives her lessons in reading, writing and math in exchange for a glass of goat milk.

When she is thirteen and has a three month old daughter, Tara, Gyani dies and she has to marry, Baldev, Gyani’s brother as per the customs. But Baldev tells her to kill Tara because he has no use for girls. But Hansa cannot do it and armed with Tara’s milk bottle, the money she has, a gold coin which was a gift from Rani Sahiba, the locket with the secret chamber that Gyani bought her and the urn containing Gyani’s ashes, she ties up Tara in Gyani’s turban and runs away in the dark of the night.

She takes a bus to Kota, immerses her husband’s ashes in the river, keeping a pinch of it in her locket, takes a bus to Jaipur where she meets Chachi, who runs a home for widows and their children. When she comes to know of her intentions, she runs away from there and she lands up in an orphanage in Delhi and lies to the owners that Tara is her baby sister and that they lost their parents in a fire. The ‘sisters’ are adopted by a childless American couple, Liam and Anne Stewart and move to USA.

There she meets Vikram Singh Rathore, Rani Sahiba’s grandson, who used to hate her in Dharni. He recognizes her but for some reason, unknown to her, keeps her secret. Vikram had migrated to the US with his family from Delhi and is still finding his feet. She meets Wolfgang Olaf, a boy from a broken family, who hates his father because he thinks he is the one who is responsible for his mother leaving them.

They lead a happy life for seven years but, circumstances demand that she speak the truth. Will she do it or will she take her secret with her to her grave? Read on…..

My take:

The cover is beautiful but the story is much more beautiful, the language simple and the book is fast paced and gripping. The flow is excellent that it was impossible to keep the book down. Hansa was in my thoughts every waking moment as I really wanted to know what becomes of her. The characters have been penned beautifully and every character, even the supporting ones have an important role to play in the story. They are so real. Wolfgang Olaf, his parents, Vikram, Rani Sahiba, Sabina, Anne, Liam all have an important role in Hansa and Tara’s life.

Hansa is brave and courageous, protective when it comes to Tara, understanding, helpful and a lot more. Even though Hansa lied to get through, I still did not put her in the wrong. The story has touched on a lot of emotions, like maternal love, friendship, insecurity, religious beliefs, trust, innocence and faith. The brawls, the fights, the tantrums have been realistically described. My favourite scene was the court scene. I was actually crying at the end of it.

I loved the book and want to read more from the author.

A marvelous story. A must read. Highly recommended.

DISCLAIMER: I  received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Spotlight: FIGHTING FOR TARA by Sunanda J. Chatterjee

FIGHTING FOR TARA
by
Sunanda J. Chatterjee
 
 
 
Blurb
How far will a mother go to save her child?
“I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.
Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.
Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’
Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth? 
A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.
Read an excerpt of #FFT here:

 

The soft light of the lantern flickered, casting a dim golden glow in the tiny hut, as shadows danced on its windowless mud walls. Thirteen-year-old Hansa squatted on the floor beside a metal bucket and stared at the glimmering water, dreading the task before her. Her baby whimpered on the floor, struggling in the hand-sewn cloth blanket. Beside the door stood the terracotta urn that held the ashes of her husband.
Hansa heard the grating snores of her drunken brother-in-law Baldev, soon to be her husband, as he slept outside on the wood-framed coir cot in the moonless night. She shuddered.
Just an hour ago, Baldev had yelled at her. “I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
She’d begged him. “I can’t do it!”
That’s when he’d slapped her. No one had ever hit her before… not even her elderly husband.
Hansa touched her cheek, which still stung from the humiliation and fear.
She doubted her courage to extinguish the baby’s life. Squeezing her eyes shut, she took a deep breath, hoping that dawn would bring her luck.
Tomorrow morning Hansa would travel with Baldev and all the goats they could load into his bullock-cart, and leave the village forever. She would go to a distant land, become Baldev’s second wife, learn the household chores from his first wife, and bear him male heirs… Hansa shivered, apprehensive about her future.
But before her new life could begin, she and Baldev would take a detour to the river to disperse her husband’s ashes and discard her beautiful daughter’s body.
Somewhere deep in her heart, Hansa knew none of this was fair. It wasn’t fair that in a country with a rich heritage of brave queens, young girls were still forced into marriage, sometimes to men older than their grandfathers. It wasn’t fair that she’d been born to poor parents in rural Rajasthan, a state rife with archaic traditions. It wasn’t fair that she had matured early and was given to sixty-year old Gyanchand Rathore from the neighboring village of Dharni, whose first wife and child had died in a fire.
She turned her face away from the bucket, her heart refusing to carry out Baldev’s orders just yet. A shiver ran through her body as she tried not to imagine life without her baby. Think of something else! Think about Gyani!
Gyani’s absence filled Hansa with a dark desolation, a sense of doom, as if his death itself was a living, breathing, overbearing entity.
She thought of his kind eyes, his missing teeth and graying beard, the massive orange turban which she’d tied for him every morning, and the long kurta he wore, which never looked clean no matter how many times she washed it…
But Gyani was gone. Two nights ago, his heart had stopped beating in his sleep, while she slept under the same blanket, her baby right beside her. When she awoke at dawn to the rooster’s call, she had found his cold still body. She shuddered to think she had slept with a corpse, oblivious, in the comfort of her own youthful warmth. Her first encounter with death. And if she did as Baldev asked, there would be another. Tonight.
Gyani’s death had stunned her, and grief hadn’t sunk in. She had not wept for his departed soul, and her neighbor warned her that if she didn’t mourn his passing, she would never move on. But did Hansa really want to move on into a future that included Baldev but excluded her baby?
According to the custom of karewa, Hansa knew that a young widow would be married off to her brother-in-law, so that the money remained in the family. Her neighbor had told her it was her kismet, her fate.
Hansa was brought up not to challenge the norms of society, but to follow them. If the combined wisdom of her ancestors had determined that she should move to Baldev’s village and begin a new life, who was she to argue? She had no family left, no other place to go.
Baldev choked on his spit and coughed outside, jarring the stillness of the night, reminding her of the task ahead.
But while it was her duty to follow Baldev’s orders, she would trade the impending task for eternal damnation.
Her neighbor had said that killing a baby was an unforgivable sin, even though she’d herself drowned two of her daughters the day they were born. Women are the form of Goddess, she’d said, crying at the fate of her own rotten soul.
But it was a matter of survival. Produce a male heir or be turned out on the streets to beg. A female child was a burden. Even Hansa knew that; her father had reminded her of that every day of her life.
That prejudice was her reality.
Hansa was terrified for her own soul, but Baldev said, “A mother can’t be a sinner if she takes a life she brought into this world.” And then he had gone and got drunk on tharra.
Gyani had been unlike most men in the village. He had allowed her to keep the baby, to give her a name. The baby’s eyes glittered like stars on a moonless night.
She called her Tara. Star.
Hansa looked at her baby with pride and with remorse, as every fiber of her being protested, and her stomach turned and her throat tightened.
Outside, Baldev stirred.
Time was running out.
Tara whimpered again, and Hansa turned to look at her chubby fists cycling in the still air, throwing outsized shadows on the walls. Hansa’s hands shook and her mouth turned dry. She bit her lip, forcing herself to focus on the imminent task.
The water in the bucket shimmered black and gold, reflecting the dancing flame of the lantern, mesmerizing, inviting. Water, the giver of life…

 

She made up her mind. It was now or never.

Grab your copy @


Amazon USA | Amazon India | Amazon UK


Follow the tour +Pinterest 




About the author


Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.

 

 

 

 

Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.

 

 

 

She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.


 

Stalk her @

 

                  

Play the Game of Rafflecopter to win Amazon Gift Card worth $10  

 


This Tour is Hosted by 

We Promote So That You Can Write 



The Smitten Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

51mukssvvdlI received the book The Smitten Husband by Sundari Venkatraman as a review copy from the author. Thank you, Sundari and The Book Club for the book. This book is the first in a five-novella series MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA that revolves around the characters from The Runaway Bridegroom.

The blurb:

Ram Maheshwari is a successful jewellery designer who has a huge showroom on MI Road, Jaipur. He’s tall, dark, handsome and a billionaire to boot. He’s twenty-nine and falls in with his parents’ wishes when they try to arrange his marriage.

The lovely, stormy-eyed Sapna Purohit is from Pushkar. She’s managed to finish school and makes a living by doing mehendi designs during weddings. She’s always dreamt of a Prince on a white horse, sweeping her off her feet.

One look into Sapna’s grey eyes and Ram is lost. Only, Sapna’s unable to see her Prince in Ram. Being from a poor family, she has no choice but to go along with the tide when the Maheshwaris offer to bear all expenses of the wedding.

Does that mean that the feisty Sapna is all set to accept Ram as her husband? She puts forth a condition, after the wedding. Will the smitten husband agree to it?

The story:

This book takes off from The Runaway Bridegroom. Mohan and Meera Maheshwari live in a sprawling villa in Jaipur. They are rich and have five children, four sons, Ram Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan and one daughter, Chanda, whom we met in the Runaway Bridegroom. In this book, Chanda is happily married to Ranveer and stays in Delhi.

The Maheshwaris are now in search of a bride for their eldest son, Ram and consult an astrologer who suggests the name of Sapna, a priest’s daughter, from Pushkar. He says that Sapna is everything a girl should be, but the only thing lacking is money, which the Maheshwaris have aplenty. So they decide to ask Ram about his take on marriage.

Ram is a successful jewellery designer and owns a jewellery showroom in Jaipur and his turnover is in eight figures. So when his parents suggest Sapna’s name, he agrees to go with them to Pushkar and Chanda also goes with them. He falls in love with Sapna at first sight but Sapna has her reservations. She wants her knight in shining armour to come on a horse and take her away, and not an arranged marriage.

My take:

Sundari, you have done it again.

I loved the book and the characters. Ram is the perfect son, the perfect brother and an understanding husband. He is taken aback when Sapna puts a condition as soon as they get married but he cooperates with her. Sapna is a normal girl who dreams of falling in love with a knight in shining armour, who does not? I feel every girl has the right to dream. The Maheshwaris are down to earth despite being rich, offering to bear all expenses of the wedding. The way she has depicted the feelings of the characters make them so real. The relationship between the Maheshwari siblings has been depicted very nicely.

The language and the flow are good. I wanted the story to go on a little bit more, but maybe, we shall see a bit of these characters in the books to come. I especially loved it that the son-in-law does so much for his in-laws. Highly recommended

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of the book as a review copy from the author. The views are mine. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Spotlight: Marriages Made in India Book #1 THE SMITTEN HUSBAND by Sundari Venkatraman


Marriages Made in India

Book #1
THE SMITTEN HUSBAND
by
Sundari Venkatraman


Blurb
 
Ram Maheshwari is a successful jewellery designer who has a huge showroom on MI Road, Jaipur. He’s tall, dark, handsome and a billionaire to boot. He’s twenty-nine and falls in with his parents’ wishes when they try to arrange his marriage.
The lovely, stormy-eyed Sapna Purohit is from Pushkar. She’s managed to finish school and makes a living by doing mehendi designs during weddings. She’s always dreamt of a Prince on a white horse, sweeping her off her feet.
One look into Sapna’s grey eyes and Ram is lost. Only, Sapna’s unable to see her Prince in Ram. Being from a poor family, she has no choice but to go along with the tide when the Maheshwaris offer to bear all expenses of the wedding.
Does that mean that the feisty Sapna is all set to accept Ram as her husband? She puts forth a condition, after the wedding. Will The Smitten Husband agree to it?
*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.
Read an excerpt…
 
“Good morning!” said a sleepy voice. “What are you doing so far away?” called out Ram, before reaching out with a long arm to pull her to him.
A startled Sapna gave him a shocked look that was lost on her husband, whose eyes were still closed. His arms went around her waist like steel bands, his breath hot against her cheek. “Sapna…” he whispered in her ear as his hard lips pressed into her petal soft cheek.
Sapna tried to pull out of his arms, only to have them pull her closer. Her breasts were flattened against his solid chest. Her traitorous body seemed to enjoy the pressure as her nipples perked up. She did her best to hold on to the control that was slipping fast.
“Ram,” she called out loudly, hoping to wake him up. She couldn’t free her arms that were trapped against her own body, as he held her in a crushing grip. His mouth was busy exploring her face, moving inexorably towards her lips. His eyes continued to remain closed, while his hands moved restlessly at her waist. “Ram…” her voice came out in a whisper, as she felt his tongue trace the edge of her lips. Tortured, she made the final move to capture his roving lips, breaking free her hands to hold his face steady.
“Sapna…” sighed Ram, kissing her gently, his tongue first tracing her upper lip and then her lower one. He gently bit the luscious curve. Sapna instinctively opened her mouth to let him explore the velvety cavern with his tongue. Shyly, her tongue reached out to mate with his, making Ram groan with need.
His hands moved restlessly on her body, her nightie bunching up. His muscular legs tangled with her slim ones, making her sigh with pleasure as his hard and hairy skin brushed against her soft and silky one. His hands cupped her lush bottom, caressing it lovingly.
Sapna suddenly became aware of his hardness pressed against her belly. Coming to her senses, she turned her face away, breaking the kiss. “No Ram.”
His wet lips continued to caress her, his tongue exploring her shell-like ear. Even as her heart thudded loudly, Sapna pushed against him. “Ram, please, will you stop it?”
His black eyes opened a slit, desire and slumber at war in them. “Sapna?” If he hadn’t been fully awake before, he was now, as he stared at her lovely face that was so close to his. He slowly recalled what had been occurring over the past few minutes. He had at first thought he was dreaming about kissing the luscious woman in his arms. How had she landed there in the first place?
Grab Your Copy
 
#TSH #1 Bestseller on Amazon.in
 
Follow the tour in Pinterest 


About The Author

 

 

 

 

 

The Smitten Husband is the eighth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #1 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia many times over.

Play the game of  #Rafflecopter 

 

 


Other Books By Sundari Venkatraman


Stalk her @

 

              

 

   This Tour is Hosted by 
We Promote So That You Can Write 
 
 

The Flaky Mummy by Madhuri Banerjee and Rohini Tiwari

Flaky Mummy[7].jpgI received the book The Flaky Mummy by Madhuri Banerjee and Rohini Tiwari as a review copy from Rupa Publications and would like to thank the publisher for the same.

The Blurb:

Motherhood is supposedly akin to sainthood—a blissful, happy mother looking adoringly at her smiley, chirpy baby. And not a cocktail in sight. But The Flaky Mummy pulls the truth out from under the carpet—in a world full of dirty diapers, the only salvation is a chilled cocktail!
This book is about the journey of six mothers with their quirky parenting styles:
A Punjabi mother stuck in the perils of a joint family while trying to bring her child up;
A tiger mother clawing her child’s path to the top;
A fad-loving disaster of a mother hopping from one ‘parenting method’ to the other;
A lost NRI who makes her way back to her ‘roots’;
A modern socialite with her new must-have accessory of the season—a baby;
A menopausal woman hitting ‘jackpot’ with her last egg.
Filled with hilarious tips and interesting observations, The Flaky Mummy is a witty satire on motherhood, which raises a toast to all the mothers out there struggling, surviving and succeeding at everything life throws their way–with a bit of assistance from their favourite tipple.

The book:

The book is about six mothers who have unique styles and individual issues. And all the six episodes have been written from that particular lady’s point of view in first person. There is one Punjabi mother who struggles to even deliver her child with the constant interference of her relatives. She has no say in anything but she still has her mother-in-law to thank for something. There is an ambitious mother whose child’s life is regimented and more focused than that of an army platoon. Her own life was based on planning and systematic execution like the corporate world that she had even started natural selection of a perfect child by selecting the ideal husband. There is another mother who believes in Attachment Parenting and caters to all the whims and fancies of the child development consultant at the cost of the lifestyle of the entire family. Then there is this socialite mother who wants everything to be on page three right from her wedding to her child’s birth. And even the name she chooses for her son. And then the NRI mother who wants to discipline her children, and that too in India. The sixth mother is a forty plus mother who conceives when jointly the reproductive system of the couple is around hundred years.

All these mothers have something common and something unique.

My take:

What an Idea. To think of writing a book on surviving motherhood through a cocktail guide. And then the different forms of parenting. All this has been written in such a hilarious manner that I was laughing all the way. And when my children asked me the reason, I would say, nothing. How can you read out things to children that they are too small to know.

The language is simple and hilarious and the flow is excellent. The names of the chapters are names of cocktails and the recipe of each cocktail is at the end of the chapter. Also at the end of the book are fifteen cocktail recipes as an index.

A nice, light read, recommended for all mothers, young and old.

Caution: at least somewhere in the book, you would once say to yourself, ‘It happened to me too.’

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the Publisher in return for my honest review. i have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Author Interview: Nikita Deshpande

Nikita DeshpaKS3_Fotor2.jpgnde is a creative nomad. She loves making things and has been involved with things like writing copy for the digital medium since she was 17. She studied English Lit at St. Xavier’s College, and filmmaking on scholarship at FX School in Bombay and went on to assist directors like Mrighdeep Singh Lamba (Fukrey) and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Mirzya). Last year, with a small team and a shoestring budget, she wrote and directed this little 30-seconder film called “Served” that won Pepsi’s Crash the IPL contest. She writes screenplay and last wrote for an animated kids series to appear on Disney channel. Last year, she took a month off work to go assist some amazing teachers with taking Shakespeare lessons at Ashoka University. She loves Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire and good art. It Must’ve been something he wrote is her first novel.

Thank you Nikita for agreeing to this interview.

From a writer of copy, screenplay and poetry, to a novelist, how did this transformation happen, please tell us about it?

I’ve loved writing since I was a kid. In college, I’d cope with boring lectures by writing poetry when I should’ve been taking notes. I’m very shameless about chasing something I think I’ll enjoy doing. So it’s a very natural progression for me. When I read great poetry, I’m inspired to write some on my own. Same for when I see a film or read a book. I was writing something in 2013 when my friend Sukanya told me that Hachette had an open call for manuscripts and that I just had to submit. It was a contest. And we both participated in good faith, knowing that the process would help shape our books even if we didn’t win. There was supposed to be one winner. But miraculously, Hachette ended up picking 3 manuscripts out of some 300 that they received. And Sukanya and I were two out of those 3!

So in a way this has been a very fortunate accident, but also I’ve sort of been inviting it into my life since I was very young,

How do you manage to find time out of your busy schedule to write? How long did you take to write this book?

I’ve actually written quite a bit of this book on the sly. When we were editing a film called Fukrey and shooting some of the songs, I’d actually write whole scenes on the back of our film’s shooting breakdowns. I think the best things often happen on stolen time. And I’d steal small bits of time from the films (or whatever I was working on at that point) to make my notes and email little dialogues to myself while traveling. It was like having a hot secret affair in my notebook.

When I really got into stitching the whole novel together, I’d write after work hours. 12am-2am was my magic hour.

I’ve taken nearly three years to write this book. I had super-patient editors and writer friends who gave me great feedback during multiple rewrites and made this a better book.

Is the book based on someone you know or heard of?

Some of the characters are based on people I met at college who absolutely hate trashy novels and are… well, literature snobs. I steal a lot of stories and anecdotes from my friends – 80% of the people named in the acknowledgements have had a story or line stolen from them for this book.

I also researched some of India’s biggest writers and was inspired by their work and marketing strategies.

Your first book has been published by a big publishing house. How does it feel?

It feels wonderful! Hachette has been a big support through the writing process. They’ve shown huge faith in this manuscript and the idea. People from marketing and sales and editorial even helped me with research, plied me with stories and ideas from the world of publishing. And now they’re going all out to put the word out about a book by this first time writer whom nobody has even heard of – it’s a huge show of confidence in the writing.

 What were the challenges faced while writing the book?

This book was actually my respite from the challenges I was facing in life, to be honest! But to answer your question, it was challenging to make sure I did basic justice to how I represented the world of publishing. Especially since I had little personal experience with it back when I first started writing.

Will there be a sequel to the book?

I’ve thought about it quite a bit. But I feel like I need to try some new voices before I can write Jish and Ruta again.

The cover of the book is an instant ‘pick me up’, did you have a say in designing it?

The cover was designed by Haitenlo Semy and illustrated by Pia Hazarika, who are super talented and experienced at this. I was sold at the first sketches itself and really didn’t need to give too many inputs.

You have majored in English lit and so has Amruta, the main protagonist of It Must’ve been something he wrote. How much of Amruta is you and how much of you is Amruta?

There are loads of tiny bits of me in Amruta. But she’s more rigid, more stubborn, more closed in her ways. I’m much more open and flexible. Or so I think 😛

Also unlike Amruta, I have great respect for writers of popular mass market fiction. I think it takes a lot to write novels in this country, and knowing what the audience wants and delivering on that is a huge skill!

 Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I don’t know if I can call it that but there were many days while writing this book when the words and ideas just didn’t come. But I’d go for a walk, or make silly drawings or watch a movie and try again the next day. That usually works.

What kinds of books do you read? Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite genre? Has any author influenced your writing?

I read all kinds of books. But the honest answer is that I love love stories and I love fantasy. It’s obviously hard to pick one favorite author so I’ll just list all my favorites: JK Rowling, John Green, Anuja Chauhan, Nicole Krauss, Laini Taylor, Brian Vaughan, Matt Fraction, Neil Gaiman, Arundhati Roy, George RR Martin, Caitlin Moran, Liz Gilbert, Rainbow Rowell.

Which book are you currently reading?

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. I love it, it’s a collection of speeches he’s made or essays he’s written on different subjects and it reads like he’s talking right into your head.

What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?

I’m putting together notes for the next novel, but it’s still early days.

 Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Write every day, even if it’s a sketch-like description of a tree outside your window or an entry in a journal. Don’t worry about how good it is and don’t fret about structure; just focus on putting one word after another. When you’re done with one “project”, put it aside for a few days/weeks and work on something else before you come back to it – all writing needs time to ferment.

Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.

Social Media links o9789350099247f Nikita Deshpande for people to find/follow/like:

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikitadeshpandeofficial/

twitterhttps://twitter.com/deepblueruin

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deepblueruin/

blog: www.nikitadeshpande.tumblr.com

Tumblr: http://nikitadeshpande.tumblr.com/
Book Buying links for “It Must’ve Something he wrote”:

Amazon: http://bit.do/imbshw

Flipkart: http://bit.ly/2cWyDDu

 

unnamed1