Interview with Author Richa Tilokani

  1. Could you tell us about your book, “The teachings of Bhagavad Gita” released on 15 April 2021?

Well, as the name suggests, the book introduces the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to the first- time readers and also to those readers who had attempted to read it earlier but gave up due to its perceived complexity, language barrier etc.

I have attempted to translate it simply, to showcase the Gita’s treasure trove of wisdom in a clear and easy to-understand manner.

I hope anyone who reads it will be able to use its simple tools and tips to imbibe its core message, which encourages us to be the best version of ourselves and to live life to the fullest.

2. What prompted you to write this book?

Most translations of the Gita are written by great saints and spiritual experts, so many people are wary of picking them up as they think they will be too complex, not relatable, too long or too abstract.

I felt that I could approach it in a way a lay person would understand, as I had the unique advantage of being one myself. I thought I could reach more people in this way and also dispel many myths and misconceptions around it like it is only for the older generation, etc. No, it is relevant and useful to everyone and anyone who wants to live a meaningful, productive life.

We, the smartphone generation, are grappling with so many problems including COVID-19, so anything which can help us manage ourselves better seems to be the need of the hour. (Of course, we were not living in a pandemic when I started writing it.) 

Plus, a woman’s view point on the sacred book was also missing, so I tried to incorporate that as well.

3. How did you undertake the research for this book?

I feel like I have been preparing to write this book my entire life. I was taught the Gita from a young age by my granddad, who was an eminent scholar and prolific author. He and my mother were blessed to have learnt its essence from their Guru.

Growing up, as a family, we attended a lot of Gita and spiritual classes, talks and lectures. I was always making notes trying to understand more about it and a few years back, I felt that if I organised them better, not only me but many others, too, could benefit from it.

For additional research, I read a lot of books on it, searched online and had long discussions with my mother who explained the concepts in detail and shared literature on it. My sister and dad have also supported me in my research.

Even after so many years, I still learn something new from it, every time I reread it. So the most important point is to approach it as a humble student, with gratitude and a devoted outlook. I tried to do that and it made my journey a little less daunting.

Pic of author Richa Tilokani

4. Could you tell us about your publishing journey during the pandemic?

Well, I got a lot of “no’s” when I started out. Publishers said they had already covered the topic, wondered whether it was really necessary or it did not seem to fit their plan.  It’s a tough time for the publishing industry, so the path ahead was not clear initially.

I was, however, not overly worried because I was ready to self- publish. I was not going to let the pandemic stop me, after taking so much from us already.

So, I decided to try one more time and sent the manuscript to Hay House India and to my delight, they were willing to publish it. I am very grateful to them for all their help and cannot thank them enough. The team is very supportive, kind and patient and this is very encouraging to a first-time writer like me. 

5. Could you tell us about your educational background? Has it helped in your writing?

I did my graduation in Commerce from Ethiraj College in Chennai then went to Mumbai to do MBA in marketing from SP Jain.

Writing after MBA is a cliché now after so many similar stories, but if the heart wants to write, write it shall.

I think my MBA background helped me to a great extent- in the sense that we are taught to think about the bigger picture, go deeper into the details and look at innovative ways of analysing any paradigm.

I have tried to apply what I learned- thinking critically, analysing, researching, structuring the learning, editing, examining alternatives and re-learning at every stage.

Learning the art of Marketing was a pleasure and as you may know, it is all about communicating with and delighting the customer. So, it came handy when I decided to write- my aim was to make the content easy to read, relevant and understandable so that my readers could benefit from it. (Especially since the topic is so deep, layered and vast.) From making PowerPoints on the art of management to writing a book on the art of self- empowerment, it has been a rewarding journey indeed!

I believe that whether as a student at a business school or as a student of life, if we can learn the importance of the three types of work- hard work, homework and team work- we can achieve so much more.

6. Do you have lessons to share from your own writing journey?

I have been writing for a long time now. Be it marketing communication, press releases, poems, ad films, columns or books, I love writing them all. So, my key takeaway is if you are passionate about something, just keep at it. Keep honing your skill, don’t give up; try to write every day. All good things take time and yes, even writers block fades away. Even if it may take months or years. (Just kidding! Or not.) Have faith and read a lot – that always helps

7.Name some of your favourite reads?

I love reading Charles Dickens, Deepak Chopra, Amar Chitra Katha, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer, Robin Cook, JK Rowling, Danielle Steel, Sophie Kinsella, Mills and Boon etc. There are just so many books I have enjoyed- both fiction and non-fiction. Earlier, I would read more fiction but now I like to read content that inspires me -like I am Malala, Stephen Hawking, the Ishavashya Upanishad, Rumi’s sayings etc

8. Name some of your favourite literary characters.

My favourite character is Sherlock Holmes because he is brilliant, bold and he can solve any problem. That seems like a much-needed skill today, I suppose. But he should have been written as a woman character- that would have made him even more interesting.

9. What are the lessons you would like to share for writers during the pandemic?

To my fellow writers, I want to say just hang in there. It’s a difficult time and everybody is suffering in varying degrees. The losses are heart-breaking but we have no other choice. Let’s just take care of our loved ones, stay safe and wait it out.
Writing is such a solitary exercise, so we miss meeting people, going to new places, experiencing new things- that’s where we get the energy to keep going.

But we are in no position to complain because so many others have it worse than us. Let’s do what we can to help others and also take care of ourselves. Write, exercise, smile more, dance, read or take a break- it’s not the time to put pressure on yourself.

10. Which is one book (other than your own) that you would recommend to bibliophiles?

It is difficult to recommend one because there are so many wonderful books out there. I would recommend a genre- motivating, inspiring books, because they are very positive, interesting to read, and they have a lot of tips which we can implement in our lives. And that’s great if we can benefit from the wisdom of our fellow beings. Perhaps we can avoid making the mistakes they made and simply make new ones- seems like a win-win proposition to me.   

Book Review of ‘Misters Kuru: A Return to Mahabharata’

‘Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas’ by Trisha Das was released on 22 August 2016. I now received ‘Misters Kuru: A Return to Mahabharata’ by the same author through the Blogchatter book review program. The book is published by Harper Collins India.

Trisha Das is also the author of ‘Kama’s Last Sutra’, ‘The Mahabharata Re-imagined’, ‘The Art of the Television Interview’ and the internationally acclaimed ‘How to Write a Documentary Script’. She has written and directed over forty documentaries in her filmmaking career. Trisha has also won an Indian National Film Award (2005) and was UGA’s ‘International Artist of the year’ (2003). She has also written columns and short stories for ‘Magical Women’ and several publications.

Book Cover

The book opens with Arjuna making love to a nymph and contemplating his own relationships with his fourth wife Subhadra and his first wife, Draupadi. Later, Subhadra informs Arjuna that Draupadi and Kunti have been reborn on earth. When Arjuna brings this up with his brothers, they decide to follow the two women to earth to bring them back to heaven.

Meanwhile, on earth, Amba seems to be experiencing post-partum depression. Draupadi has joined NPTV and become a talk show host. She even has a stalker! Kunti has become the warden of a home for orphaned children. The Bhartiya Youth Mata Centre from Ayodhya has made a large donation to the orphanage.
Kunti says that aeons ago, she had announced the marriage of her five sons to one woman: Draupadi. But now, she grants Draupadi her “freedom.”

The author places Yudhisthira in a position where he is challenged for his life choices by the public and Yudhishthira explains his stance, marking a stark contrast between then and now. Arjuna chances upon cricket being played and finds out he has a knack for the sport. Narada Muni helps out in the kitchen of the orphanage where Kunti volunteers. Bhima comes face to face with Karan, the reincarnation of his former half-brother, Karna in the orphanage. They start a food business together!

The modern-day setting of Delhi serves for a retelling of the age-old epic that is as colourful as the book’s cover. Some readers would be shocked that Arjuna finds a dildo in Draupadi’s bedroom. Parts of the book are more ‘Veere de wedding” and less Mahabharata, but then this is not a mythological retelling, but a creative retelling of the story using the original characters and setting them in present-day Delhi. Whether it’s Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva going shopping for slim-fit jeans and Nakula saying, “They must have balls of brass these days” or Arjuna feeling itchy “down there” one wouldn’t imagine the heroes of the Mahabharata in such situations.

The author has taken absolute creative license with reimagining the Mahabharata. Humorous situations are aplenty and the author lets her imagination run riot with the cast of characters from India’s oldest epic. Some may not take to this book as they might feel it trivialises the heroes of our epic. One needs to have a whacky sense of humour to enjoy the twists and turns this story takes. The book will appeal to millennials and the less sedate crowd.

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon India. This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program.

Interview with Author Chandrika R Krishnan

  1. Could you tell us about your flash fiction collection, ‘Vignettes: A slice of life’?

“Life is happening while you are busy making plans,” said John Lennon.

I think this thought runs through most of my writings as stories are happening as you are living your life!  My writings are mostly experiential – things that can happen to you, neighbour, someone you know.  That’s my theme for this collection. A smile or a chance encounter can make you view life differently.  It’s not just a 6- year old having a puppy follow him home. It can be at 60 too!  What happens if a statue starts talking and says, enough is enough to statue politics? What if our memory decides to take a walk?  Do we ask a visually challenged person if he really wants to cross the road?  What happens when patriarchy meets democracy? Is there an age to offer help or can we become younger and find the purpose of our life by offering that help?  What if an underling has to suddenly step into the giant shoes of his employer without advance notice? All the above and many more make for this eclectic collection of twelve flash fictions.

2. Could you tell us about your writing journey?

I was seventeen and my very first story was published in Woman’s Era. Short of taking out a billboard, I tried to let everyone know that I wrote. I walked a couple of inches above the ground.

It was my mother who noticed my scribbling on the back of the calendar paper and she read the story that talked about a married couple who have teething problems but they eventually iron them out.  She did not know what to make of it considering my age but she was sufficiently invested in it to seek a second opinion from my ‘perpetually procrastinating father’ who was more of a serious reader.  She made me visit the local typist for the story to be typed out, get it re-typed after the edit and then use the ‘snail mail’ enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope in case of a reject.

 It was one hell of a costly affair not to speak of the time taken between writing and publication if at all.  By the time, I finished my college three stories were published in the same magazine and as many faced rejections. Looking back, I believe that despite such early successes I couldn’t capitalize enough because of limited markets for short stories and sending them out was even more of a tedious job. Moreover, I smarted at the rejects. Today, I am happy getting them as it is preferable to silence!

I have published around 300 pieces in both print and online media. Some of the well-known markets have been:  The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Mint, Quint, Jakarta Post among others. Stories have found their way into Good Housekeeping India, New Woman among others and have my stories out in ten anthologies. So, all in all am in happy space.  Recently, I have started my blog and am happy at the way it has turned out to be.

3.What do you enjoy writing the most? – Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, journalistic pieces or some other form? Why?

I started with short stories, moved to poems (though I call myself a reluctant poet!) wrote plenty of articles then ventured into flash fictions.  I think I am hooked to flash fictions particularly after I discovered them

In this blog post, I feature an interview with Chandrika R Krishnan, author, self-confessed 'reluctant poet" and storyteller.
Author Chandrika R. Krishnan

4. What is your educational background? How has it helped you in your writing?

I am a teacher by profession. I have done my MA in English Literature. My reading and teaching of English has helped me quite a lot. Moreover, it provided fodder for plenty of articles based on parenting and academics/ teaching etc

5. What motivates you to write?

To share my thoughts, the high of seeing my name in print…  there must be more to it..but if I don’t write for a couple of days in succession, I feel I am missing something

6.Which are some of your favourite reads?

I have eclectic taste. I like crimes – the kind of Agatha Christie and little known Evelyn Anthony.  I like humour in  PG Wodehouse books.  I love thrillers a la David Baldacci, Alistair Maclean.  I am very fond of court room scenes like the Perry Mason series. I love romance a la Mills and Boons (I am very choosy about authors .I like Carole Mortimer, Janet Dailey, Charlotte Lamb) I discovered Jill Mansell and love her books.  I am not too fond of non-fictions though I do read them but it can never be my first choice!

7. Name some of your favourite literary characters.

Uncle Tom from Uncle Tom’s Cabin

8. Which books on writing would you recommend to aspiring writers?

I liked Atomic Habits..though it is not on writing . It gave me direction

9. Do you have lessons to share from your own writing journey?

Don’t be disheartened by rejections. Write every day and read extensively.  I learnt all of them during the pandemic… so guess the 9th and 10th are interconnected

10. What lessons do you have to share for writers during the pandemic?

We all are in the same boat. Accept that and try and write every day even if you are not too happy with what you write.

KINTSUGI: Flash Fiction First – Volume 1 edited by Abha Iyengar

I’m so pleased to have my flash fiction piece ‘Mended and Precious’ featured in ‘KINTSUGI: Flash Fiction First – Volume 1’ edited by Abha Iyengar.

There are 13 flash fiction pieces by different writers, both new and established, curated in this book. While all the stories are on the theme of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of melding and repairing broken objects with gold lacquer, the way each writer approaches the topic is unique.

Book Cover

Abha Iyengar has declared three honourable mentions and two prizes for the best stories.

The first story ‘Come Lie Down Beside Me’ by Aakshat Sinha got an honourable mention. It’s about how touch can evoke such different sensations, depending on whether it is consensual or not. The story is inspired by the artwork of Sangita Datta.

The second story is the one I wrote – ‘Mended and Precious’ – it’s about finding love when you are broken.

The third story ‘Snow Days’ by Anushree Bose got second place in the contest. It’s about a couple that moves in together during the lockdown.

The fourth story is ‘Line Break’ by Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla and I loved how it ended. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet, so I won’t mention why I loved it.

‘Strangers’ by Kinshuk Gupta was an interesting read since the story reveals how we look at the world through the lens of our own past experiences and schema and how sometimes we misjudge people due to that. This story got an honourable mention.

‘The Broken Glass’ by Ramya Srinivasan also got an honourable mention. The story comes with a twist.

‘Hemingway’ by Sandeep Narayanan also comes with a twist at the end.

‘Sequins’ by Saritha Rao Rayachoti is about how all of us are broken and how some of us manage to feel whole again. The story won the first place in this competition.

‘Golden Touch’ by Smeetha Bhoumik is about a family, a surprise and a reunion.  

‘An Artist’s Life’ by Subhana Sawnhy is about a marriage between Meera and an older man, how it plays out and how Meera finds herself again.

‘Scars to Be Embraced’ by Vaishali Saxena is a story about sexual abuse, which is written in an epistolary form.

‘Never Again’ by Vandana Jena is about Sujata, an older woman who reclaims her life.

‘Slap’ by Vijayalakshmi Sridhar is a story of domestic abuse and how the victim learns to leave.

All the stories are about healing and hope. I recommend this anthology to readers looking for comfort and hope during these turbulent times.

The book is available here and is free for kindle unlimited subscribers. Do read it and leave a review on Amazon. Even a line will do:)

Interview with Author Meera Rajagopalan

  1. Could you tell us about your book ‘The Eminently Forgettable Life of Mrs. Pankajam’?

It’s a diary of a 63-year-old woman, who has just started to lose her memory. The book helps us see her world through her eyes: as a mother, wife, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, and many more relationships whose contours change, sometimes rapidly, over time. The book is available on Amazon.

2. What inspired you to write it?

The seed was sown when my husband’s aunt visited us once, and she could not remember any of us, but she played with my toddler children. We thought she understood who they were, but she simply said,  “Does one need to remember them to enjoy them?” That got me thinking about identity and memory.

3. When did you start working on this novel?

It was late 2016. I was part of Writer’s Ink, a wonderful critique group created by Radhika Meganathan, for which I submitted this.

Author Meera Rajagopalan

4. How long did it take from idea to novel?

Surprisingly, not very long! About 60 days is what the first draft took. That’s definitely an exception for me, though.

5. Could you tell us about your publishing journey during the pandemic?

Actually, not much happened, except that the publication date got pushed. However, the journey was long, as you can imagine.

6. What else would you like to tell us about your book?

Read it!

7. What are your other published pieces? Can you share links to some of them? (anthologies/ articles etc)

I’ve published short stories in a few anthologies.

8. Which are some of your favourite novels?

Oh, there are many. Recently I read and loved The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, and The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. Actually, I was a big fan of non-fiction before I started writing, and have now managed to graduate to speculative fiction!

9. What advice do you have for a writer who is looking to get published?

I am not experienced enough to dispense advice! I am still trying to understand this evolving space. I think it’s important to understand why you write and choose your path accordingly, and also that there is no bad reason to write!

10. Which books on writing would you recommend to aspiring writers?

Who doesn’t love On Writing by Stephen King? And, of course, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which is sort of a manifesto for women’s space in literature.

Interview with Author Radhika Acharya

1. Could you tell us about your books?

The Funny side of it is an ebook on Amazon Kindle. It is a collection of anecdotes on varied general topics – all ranging from mildly funny to hilariously witty. The anecdotes were either inspired by a news item, an event,  or something that I saw or heard somewhere.

The Adventures of the JP family is a paperback published by Mark-Fly publishers from Coimbatore. The book is about a middle-class Indian family and the adventures and misadventures faced by its members, as they go about their daily lives. It is a hilariously funny book and has been well received by readers.

2. Could you tell us about your publishing journey.

I self-published ‘The funny side of it’ on Kindle Direct Publishing. It is a very user-friendly platform and once one gets the hang of it, it is fairly simple. Of course, I did have a lot of valuable advice and suggestions from co-authors and much help from my two sons while doing it.

‘The adventures of the JP family’ was picked up by Mark-Fly publishers from Coimbatore. They brought it out as a paperback for me. Once my manuscript was accepted, the only thing I had to do was approve the cover designs and go along with their strategies.

3. What inspires you to write humour?

To be frank, I really don’t know. It’s just who I am. As far back as I remember, right from my school and college days, all my writings tended to border on the humorous side. That doesn’t mean I never write other stuff. I have written a few articles, poems and short stories where there is no scope for humor too. 

Author Radhika Acharya

4. You also write a humorous column on Kamalamma for TOI blogs. How did that come about?

Kamalamma is typically middle-class and she represents the Indian woman of this generation – quite traditional but at the same time would like to show that she can be modern too.

When I pitched TOI and was selected to be a blogger with them, I thought it would be the perfect platform to launch Kamalamma, given the wide reach of TOI and the brand name. And frankly speaking, I never expected that she would be received with so much enthusiasm by the public and become so hugely popular as she has become.

5. Who are some of your favourite authors?

While I grew up on Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Sydney Sheldon, Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murthy to name a few, I also love reading Jojo Moyes, Chetan Bhagat, Amish, Mary Higgins Clarke. It all depends on what I feel like reading at any given time, but for comfort reading I always go back to my all-time favourites – PG Wodehouse and Georgette Heyer.

6. What advice do you have for aspiring humor writers?

To be honest, I am not that experienced or seasoned a writer to give advice, but having said that, I do recommend anyone attempting humor to not make too much of an effort to be funny. Writing, humor or any other genre for that matter, is an extension of yourself after all, so it should flow naturally from within.

7. What do you do to promote your books?

You have asked a question which is actually a sore point with me. While I enjoy writing thoroughly, I lag behind in networking. That’s where I lost out on a lot of potential readers when I first started my blog Radhika’s diaries with WordPress. I had only so many followers who regularly came back to my posts.  I have reached this stage by being consistent and persistent. But I have realized since, that a writer does not live on an island. We cohabitate with other writers and authors. It’s ‘give and take’ and that’s really wonderful.

8. Humour is difficult to write. Do you agree? What are your views on this?

I don’t know what to say since, as I mentioned in Q. 3, humor has been my forte ever since I began writing; It would be difficult for me to speak for anyone else who attempts to write humor because every writer’s journey is different.

9. Are you writing your next book yet? Tell us more.

To be frank, my publisher Mark-Fly has advised me not to rush things and to concentrate on Adventures of the JP family for some time. I am following their advice and quite enjoying the whole process. But of course, I am working on the draft for my next book and at this stage all I can say is that it’s a romcom based on a real story.

10. How do you find material for your column and books? Do you draw from real life?

While all my characters and situations are fictitious, I draw inspiration from real life people and events around me and then let my over-active imagination do the rest. My mind runs ahead with ideas and sometimes I have to rein it in, keeping in mind the word-count and the patience of readers.

My writerly life for the last couple of weeks

I’m a part of the Himalayan First Draft Club and I’ve been attending their sessions with writers on Sundays. We had an initial kick-off session on Zoom with Chetan Mahajan, who owns and runs the Himalayan Writing Retreat.

So far, I’ve attended zoom sessions featuring Kanchana Banerjee and Vish Dhamija. I’ve watched webinars and Live Sessions featuring Kanchana Banerjee before, but this was my first time attending a session with author Vish Dhamija. Kanchana Banerjee’s novels include ‘A forgotten affair’( Harlequin) and ‘Nobody’s Child’ ( Harper Collins India 2019). She is working on her third novel. Vish Dhamija is an award-winning crime fiction writer who has written about 10 books, mostly legal thrillers. His debut novel was ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ ( Srishti Publishers). His next book ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ is releasing this month from Pan Mac Millan India. It is available for pre-order.

Prisoner’s Dilemma by Vish Dhamija

Writers from all over the country and some outside India, too, are a part of the April cohort of the Himalayan FDC. Many of them are a book old, while some have written short stories and poems. There is a Google Excel sheet where we are all supposed to enter our word count for the day. We are expected to write every day of this month. We are also part of a whatsapp group. I’m halfway through the programme and being in touch with so many writers has helped me stay motivated although I’ve been a silent lurker. I’ve been writing a poem a day, keeping with NaPoWriMo.

I’m also a part of a writers’ whatsapp group by Blogchatter called ‘Help me write a book’. I’d joined that a couple of months back and decided I would write poetry this year. I’d written three poems based on a different theme as a part of this group, but for NaPoWrimo, I changed the theme and I’ve been writing a poem a day on my new theme.

What have you been reading and writing? Do let me know in the comments section.

Interview with Author Sudesna Ghosh

  1. How many books and novellas have you written so far?

I started out as a short story writer. My short stories for children and adults have been published in newspapers and magazines across India. My book publishing career started with two nonfiction books – published by Harlequin India and Collins. After that, I started self publishing my short stories and novellas and there are about 20 of these ebooks right now. Recently, two of my romance novellas were published by Juggernaut Books.

2. Could you tell us about your writing journey?

My writing journey began in school when a teacher encouraged me to write stories and read them out to my classmates. I grew up reading books and always thought it would be wonderful to live in the world of publishing. My idols were authors like Beverly Cleary and P G Wodehouse. So, during my full time stint at a major newspaper, I asked them if I could write short stories for the kids’ supplement. And that’s how my writing career got serious.

The chance to traditionally publish two nonfiction books came a couple of years after I became a full time writer. After that, I wanted to take advantage of self publishing, inspired by Sundari Venkatraman who showed us what a good option it is. And with time and experience, I can say that both paths to publishing have pros and cons. That’s why I recently published two romance novellas with a publisher too.

3. What is your educational background? How has it helped you in your writing?

I am a psychology graduate from University of Rochester (USA) and I’ve always had a keen interest in human behaviour and emotions. My understanding of human nature and my empathy that has come from that, has helped me write characters from the heart. When I write, it is easy to put myself in the character’s shoes/mind/heart.

Author Sudesna Ghosh

4. Could you tell us about your latest book?

My new novella, Mira, is about a woman who has just escaped from a domestic abuse situation. She is eager to find herself. Her estranged husband wants to make things difficult for her and her father isn’t supportive because divorce is looked down upon in society.  But Mira has support and the willpower to build a new life. That includes finding love in an unexpected place.

5. You are a mental health advocate as well. Could you tell us more about the work you do in this area and why you chose to do it?

I chose to speak openly about my struggles with anxiety and depression on social media and with anyone else who wants to talk to me. Twitter has a good mental health community that encouraged me to speak up. Twitter is the place where I found out that I’m not alone.

In my writing, I have protagonists with mental health issues sometimes, including anxiety and body image issues.

6. Which are some of your favourite reads?

I love reading books by Sarah Morgan and Mandy Baggot. I recently read a fun book called Excess Baggage by Richa S. Mukherjee. Reet Singh has a very romantic book with a hot hero called Satin & Sapphire. Loved it.

7. Name some of your favourite literary characters.

Lord Emsworth and Jeeves from P G Wodehouse books. Ramona from Beverly Cleary books. Andrea from The Devil Wears Prada.

8. Out of all your books, which one is closest to your heart and why?

I am a cat lady and a proud cat mom, so Crazy Cat Lady Finds Love is closest to my heart.

9. Which is one book (other than your own) that you would highly recommend to bibliophiles?

This is too hard! I recently loved a nonfiction book about the Jaipur royal family called The House of Jaipur. I rarely read this genre but it was very informative and written in an interesting way.

10. Any words of advice to aspiring novelists?

Find out what works for you – whether it’s 20 minute writing sprints or early morning writing sessions. Don’t try to copy anyone’s style. Be you. And don’t use two words where one will do.

More of this and that

Hi! How’s everyone been doing?

I read ‘Twenty Love Poems and a song of despair’ by Pablo Neruda recently. This book had been on my TBR for a long time – I think a couple of years, in fact. But now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I just expected too much from it.

I’ve been attending the BlogchatterWritFest and so far, they’ve had online sessions with Samit Basu, Sidharth Jain, Amanda Deibert, Pallavi Aiyar, Jenny Bhatt, Jayashree Kalathil and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.

In one of these sessions, I learned about the Pomodoro method of time management. You can read more about it here.

I read Kuzhali Manickavel’s ‘Eating sugar, Telling Lies’ recently. It’s a short and slightly disturbing read. I loved her writing style and also her use of monikers in the story.

I read ‘Three is a lonely number; a story in verse form on Kindle Unlimited. The plot was a bit Bollywoodish, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I loved ‘The adventures of the JP family’ by Radhika Acharya! I’ve been reading the author’s Kamalamma series on her blog for a while now. This book, where she has created new characters of the JP family has her trademark sense of humour on every page. The author makes even an ordinary event appear funny through her skilled writing. It’s a must-read!

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

It was my birthday recently and as is the new practice at the Creative Soul Club by Blogchatter, the birthday girl ( me)  was admin for the day. I shared a picture of Starry Night, the world-famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh and asked the members to a) Use one word to describe the emotion it triggers in them b) Write a brief poem ( even 4 lines was good). c) Try to replicate the painting d) Share a song that it reminds them of. e) Write a story.

I got a bunch of interesting answers! Would you like to try it?

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Hello, everyone! How’s your reading coming along?

A little while ago, I read ‘La Douler Exquise’ by Kavya U Janani. I’d bought this book in December 2020 and read it only recently. The book features poems about unexpressed and unrequited love and makes for a nice read. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited.

I read ‘moon letters’ – micropoetry by Dr. Saumya Goyal with artwork by Namita Jain. I loved some of the poems and all of the artwork.

 ‘Women Mutiny,’ is a collection of stories that were winners of the Muse of the month contest conducted by Womensweb. It is available on Kindle Unlimited. I enjoyed this collection a lot and I know it’s not fair to compare, but I liked this one better than another collection ‘No apologies’ that they’d brought out a couple of years back and I’d read in January 2020.

Image courtesy: Unsplash

I read ‘Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published’ by Carly Berg. The book had some useful tips. I also read ‘Eating sugar, telling lies,’ a short story by Kuzhali Manickavel, which was compelling. I’d read and reviewed her ‘Insects are just like you and me except some of them have wings’ in 2010. Read my review of the book here.

On my TBR list are Kiran Manral’s ‘Kitty Party Murder’, Jenny Bhatt’s ‘Each of us killers,’ Ushasi Sen Basu’s ‘A killer among us.’ I also want to catch up with instalments 2 and 3 of the Mo Mystery series by Ushasi Sen Basu: The Cursed Stone: Readomania Singles (The Mo-Mysteries Book 2) and The Flatmate: Readomania Singles (The Mo-Mysteries Book 3). I know! I know! I seem to be on a murder mystery rampage 😀

I’d set a goal to read only 12 books this year, but seeing that it’s only mid-March and I’ve already exceeded my target, I guess I’m going to be reading a lot more. It’s always better to under-promise and over deliver😊

Do let me know in the comments section if you’ve read any of the books on my TBR. It would be great if you could share your reviews, too!

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