Interview with author P. G. Van

Author P.G. Van lives in San Francisco. Ever since she published her first novel, Destiny Decides in October 2015, she just cannot stop writing. Let’s chat with her today about her book and writing in general.

destiny-decides

  • Welcome P.G. Van! Please tell us what inspired you to write Destiny Decides?

Destiny Decides happened as a result of pure destiny. I thought about the initial version of the story while I was on my way to work. It was driven by my thoughts around how hard would it be to get in touch with a long lost friend as I had lost touch with a few of my friends after school. I thought about the emotions a character goes through when they realize they have strong feelings for someone and they don’t even know where they were.

My thoughts were flowing endlessly and I had to write them down on a sheet of paper and within an hour I had decided I wanted to write about it. Up until that day my focus was entirely on how to go up the corporate ladder and once I got thinking about writing it gave me a new perspective in life and that not everything is driven by deliverables and deadlines and that you need to enjoy life loving the people in your life.

This particular story will always hold a special place in my heart as it let me explore a lot of things I feel very passionate about. I lived vicariously through Nick’s cool cars and it fueled my love for cars and motorcycles. I love Indian classical music and dance and most of all being able to write about how the Indian culture is preserved outside India. It allowed me to explore the concept of a family living under one roof while enjoying the privacy and independence.

The common theme with all of my stories is Indians or people of Indian origin in the San Francisco bay area. It allows me to add an Indian touch to my stories to build the story and make the experiences unique and allowed me to use the culture as a basis for my stories.

  • That’s quite interesting. Tell us, how do you go about developing characters of your book?

My favorite part of the initial stages of the book is to define my characters and outline who they are as a person. I usually start with their name, age and what they do.

The name is very critical to me and I pick a name that is simple yet says something about the character. Nikhil means perfect and I wanted that name because I knew I was going to create the ideal guy and Nick as a short version if his name that gives his character an edge. He is a successful businessman at the age of twenty seven.

When it comes to heroines in my books, I like my women characters to be strong without being snobbish. They are not perfect but they are perfect for the hero of the book. Their characteristics are complimentary to the male character thereby making the match up perfect.

I still have notes from my initial days of writing with the list of characteristics down to what kind of food do they eat and how do they react to an unfavorable situation. A lot of times I write down a few incidents that I don’t include in the book but leave them as part of the ‘deleted scenes’ but they serve as a foundation for my character building.

Here is an excerpt from my deleted scenes that shows how Sameera as a teenager was affected by the tragedy in her life. I read these incidents to be able to pen down the pent up pain that only Nick is able to soothe because of their relationship as young adults.

~~~

I took a deep breath remembering everything that happened in the last two years. I just had not figured out a way to deal with my pain. I took another deep breath refusing to shed a tear, as I reached for the picture of my dad from the nightstand next to my bed. I smiled looking at the loving and lively image of my dad sitting on his Royal Enfield motorcycle that he loved to ride and take me on rides.

“Daddy, I know you will be there for me anytime I need you.” I murmured looking at the picture of my dad and added in a soft voice, “I am leaving my stuff here and moving to a new country. I will soon become a part of a new family but you know I will be yours forever.” I hugged the picture and said, “and I promise to get back to dancing soon”.

  • Quite often authors have a favorite scene or two. Which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

I am so glad you asked. It it most definitely the first time Sameera sees Nick on his bike. She has no idea who the person is but something tells her the person is important. My twist on the ‘love at first sight’ where Sameera could not forget the eyes. She keeps thinking about that episode every time she sees a biker because the chemistry that happened when their eyes met branded something in her brain.

This particular scene takes the reader to the dreamy world that we all fantasize at some level. The fact that some random guy blew her a kiss did not stop Sameera from thinking about him or talking about him. The fact that she did not wave back and blow a kiss back gives the reader a hint that she knows when to be amused and when not to be.

I absolutely love this particular scene because the build up to the scene gave me the opportunity to describe the beautiful highway that I drive on to work everyday, paint a picture of a sexy looking bike from Sameera’s perspective so the readers know about her love for motorbikes and how she fell in love with bikes when her dad took her out for a ride when she was five.

This scene also gave me the opportunity to add a mysterious touch to the first chapter in hopes of keeping the readers wondering who the guy was and what his story was and how he would be part of Sameera’s story.

  • Is there any particular author who has inspired you to write? Why?

The author that inspired me most is Katherine Gordan and she did it with her writing style. I still remember her book The Emerald Peacock and falling in love with the hero. She did an excellent job of painting the picture of the setting, the emotions of the characters as they fall in love and soon are torn apart to be separated for years. I remember closing the book so I could cry and let out the pain and then continue reading. I felt the goosebumps pepper my skin when she describes the feeling when the characters see each other after many years.

Her writing style is somewhat poetic which enhances the readers experience. While working on Destiny Decides, I attempted something similar to give the reader the depth of the emotion.

Readers enjoy a book especially a romance novel for the way the author tells the story about how two people found their happy ending. If an author is able to keep the reader wondering about what is going to happen next for an expected happy ending, that is a sign of a good author and I hope to give that to my readers with each one of my stories.

  • I am so glad that you decided to write. Please tell us, what has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

When I started writing I had no idea what it meant to be a writer and how writers felt when you write a review or leave a comment for them.

I will tell you it is very rewarding and every piece of feedback fuels my enthusiasm to keep writing. When someone told me I had very good imagination and was very creative, I thought that’s true with everyone but I do realize that writers have a bit more imagination that makes them build the stories.

One of my most rewarding experience was when one of my readers reached out to me to give me personal feedback about how much she liked my books. She reached out to me via Facebook messenger after she finished my first book and sent multiple message which I unfortunately missed. She liked the first book so much she bought my second book and at the end of my second book I had added my email address. She reached out to me via email to tell me how much she enjoyed both books and asked me if I was working on more books. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the email where she was very cautious and clarified that she was reaching out to me only to compliment me and that if I didn’t respond to her she would not send me further communication. What else do I need as a writer? A reader who loved my books so much that she found a way to reach me to tell me about everything that was good and things that I needed to fix with my books.

Another reason I keep writing is because of my own lovely fan base that started reading, yes started reading for the first time ever with my book and promise to read every book I write. I am blessed to have been able to write and to have stories form in front of my eyes as I am about to wrap up one book.

P.G. Van’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg.van.7

P.G. Van’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/authpgvan

The Night Of – Great Mini Series!

I just finished watching The Night Of mini series on HBO and was quite intrigued by it. It is a crime drama but what makes it unique and interesting is the way it is told! After we have seen many shows on crime, the nuances lie in acting and story-telling. This show grips you so strongly in the first episode that you have got to watch the rest!

While story-telling in The Night Of is at its best, the unique subtle way of acting is marvelous. There are no melodramatic scenes whatsoever and the characters are supremely well developed. My favorites are Naz and John Stone (the lawyer)!

And to top it all, the end is quite satisfying. Watch it for its uniqueness, it won’t let you down..


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Mashoor Gulati’s cousin is mind-blowing!

Kapil Sharma has played one of his best characters on screen as Mashoor Gulati’s cousin! If you haven’t watched yesterday’s episode of The Kapil Sharma Show (where Sonakshi Sinha came to promote Akira), you must watch it! Kapil will blow your mind with his demeanor, get-up and his one-liners as Mashoor Gulati’s cousin. Simply hilarious!! I would love to see this character again!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Cheese Fondue!

After having eaten at Melting Pot, I fell in love with fondue especially cheese fondue. Of course I had to order my own fondue set so that I can enjoy this savory treat any time I want!

fondue-prep

 

 

Although the fondue set comes with its own recipes, I wanted something close to what we ate at the restaurant.  Apparently someone had already experimented and perfected this recipe .

 

 

fondueTried it today and it turned out simply delicious…almost as good the one we had at Melting Pot. We enjoyed it with french bread, carrots and cherry tomatoes. The only change I made to the recipe was I used provolone and gouda cheese as these are easier to find.

Next time, I have got to get wine with the fondue and it will taste even better!

 

 


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Peach Delights!

My daughter recently informed me that August is the National Peach month and it so happened that in the last couple of weeks, I have tasted two magical peach food products worth talking about. I don’t particularly eat peaches by themselves but I believe peaches add a very unique and subtle flavor in different types of desserts or cookies.

Cookies

 

 

If you happen to be in Savannah, don’t forget to sample Byrd’s Georgia Peach cookies. The subtle taste of these cookies will keep you wanting more. I regret that I bought only one packet…simply delicious!

Peach-float

 

 

The other peach delight that I recently discovered was on route to Houston. This is a local store on Highway 45 (exit 198) called Cooper Farms . You can sample their peach ice-cream and I guarantee you that you will not leave the store without buying this fruity, delicious peach ice-cream in one form or another. Get a simple cup or cone or try their floats. Peach ice-cream with cream soda float was extremely refreshing! Their home-made ice cream has cinnamon and bunch of other ingredients that make the taste very unique and keeps you wanting more…Perfect for summer!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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TKSS episode with Hrithik Roshan was very elegant!

Yesterday’s TKSS episode with Hrithik Roshan was not only hilarious but the most elegant episode ever of this show! There is no doubt that Kapil Sharma and his team are very talented, however when guests participate with them, it adds value to the show. Hrithik Roshan did just that and very elegantly! Hrithik’s chemistry was out of the charts with both Kapil Sharma and Sunil Grover!

I loved seeing Hrithik with Sunil at the pottery station. KBC gig was super hilarious and at the same time very intelligent. Kiku Sharda always has something incredible to offer and did so again with his Jadu act.

I can’t agree more with Hrithik’s sister’s friend that this show is very therapeutic. We watch this show every weekend, sometimes we laugh and sometimes we ROTFL…But after watching every episode, the end result is that our minds are more clear, un-stressed and happy! God bless Kapil Sharma and his team with more talent and success so they keep making us laugh!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Interview with author Mukta Singh Zocchi!

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Mukta Singh Zocchi to my blog. Lets talk to her about her endeavors in writing..

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  • Welcome Mukta! Please tell us about how did you discover your passion for writing?

Thanks Aditi for giving me this opportunity. It’s true each one of us has that passion sitting somewhere inside. Some display it at birth. In me, it burst out only after a series of processes like “controlled fusion”.  A habit of reading, learning to research, interactions … without these kinds of things I don’t think I am capable of writing. So in that sense I am not a born writer.

I had a perfect childhood to pick up the good habit of reading.  We lived in IIT campus in New Delhi, my father was a professor there, so I had access to the wonderful library there. I think I must have checked out all the fiction books they kept on their shelves over those years. Back then I did write, but it was all quite childish. Then through the college years and grad school there was relatively less of this reading business, writing certainly did not rise above the zero-mark. When I started to work,  I traveled a lot, had many unusual, amazing experiences – interesting enough that in a decade they started to find place in my stories. Now to answer your question,

I discovered my passion for writing when once after a longish rail trip across India with my family I sat down to write … really in a journal-like manner. I couldn’t stop writing. It felt wonderful to just write about our experiences. This was a phenomenal moment for me. I have been writing non-stop since then.

  • It’s incredible that you publish a magazine in Hindi, especially for the progression of the language. How did you conceive it and what made you decide to publish in Hindi language?

I grew up speaking Hindi and even though my active vocabulary in English is vaster, writing in Hindi feels closer to the creative center of my brain. I get a bigger high. I have no problems overcoming any shortcomings I might have writing in Hindi. I think this must be more or less true with most people vis-a-vis their native languages.

Then, growing up, there  were ample Hindi reading lying around at home… magazines, upanyasa. So, for me, publishing a Hindi literary magazine is not an altogether unnatural endeavor. I have certain impressions about the Hindi reading culture, perhaps those played some role in wanting to do this.

Readers of Hindi tend not to buy books – no one in my family bought them, most of my relatives did not either.  I remember once one of my aunts caught me reading a novel by Gulshan Nanda, I think it was Naya Zamana (someone had left it behind). She scolded me,  perhaps she thought I was too young to read it and in a matter of a few seconds that half-read book was in her purse … So, its pretty obvious, Hindi readership in severely undercounted. This behavior of ours results in a non-robust Hindi publishing scene.

Among other things, I had always had a problem with the quality of the font, the lack of a minimum gloss – very cumbersome for me as a reader of Hindi works. All these are the reasons I am publishing ekalpana. I want people to carry stories, not worries, in their heads. The more people read, the more they’d want to write. There is a lot of sub-standard stuff on the internet. It is important that more people publish work of good quality, set the standard and make it accessible to a large number of people.

  • Tell us a little bit more about your magazine and its content and how readers can access it?

At the beginning of this year (2016) I launched ekalpana.net – an online literary magazine. This September, the 8th issue will be published. Every issue carries 5 short stories in Hindi. We encourage stories from anyone who enjoys writing. What we are looking for is a good literary style and interesting story-telling. The level of the language is also important. I don’t think pidgin-Hindi can be considered literary.

  • What are your long term goals for your magazine?

The only time I do poetry is when I “think” goals. My long term goal for the magazine is to be able to see people sing stories and dream songs. With so many people in the world and so much happening and going on, it is hard to tell how anything would turn out. One makes efforts. With some luck, good things also happen.

  • Have you published anything else, books, short stories, etc.?

I write all the time. My short-stories have appeared in several literary magazines in the US and in India. In 2014, my first novel, The Thugs and a Courtesan hit the bookshelves. That was a very satisfying experience. At some point a few years back I started to write on NRI issues for the Hindi magazine group Delhi Press. Many of my short stories in Hindi have also appeared in Sarita magazine (Delhi Press). You can access all my work at www.muktasinghzocchi.com

  • It’s incredible to hear about all your work! What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

When I can say the work I have been writing has reached completion I feel most rewarded. You know, its that “coming to fruition of the high, excited levels of mental energies” moment … all writers must be feeling it. Doesn’t matter if the completed work is a short editorial piece or an entire novel.

Of course, one still needs to place their work, etc., but in terms of personal satisfaction all that is not as important. The route to publishing and becoming a talked-about author is tortuous and messy and can I say wicked. When I first started to write, I went through many highs and lows. There were times when I thought perhaps the writer inside me is  a phony character. But the truth is, one keeps writing, and reading, and over the course of time one improves.  I got an award for one of my short-stories in 2007, I was incredulous at first, then as I let that news set in, I felt validated as an author. In that sense, getting that first award was also a rewarding experience.

Mukta, it was a pleasure talking to you. I wish you all the best for your magazine!

Mukta’s magazinehttp://ekalpana.net

Smoky Mountains!

SmokyI recently had the pleasure of visiting the great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and I was completely wowed by its natural beauty!

Smoky-mountains

 

I had only heard from friends and colleagues about it and the breathtaking views were totally inline with what I had heard.

 

 

Skii-lift-smokies

 

There are plenty of activities for the traveler and its certainly worth traveling to!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Author interview with MV Kasi

Let’s welcome author MV Kasi to my blog today!

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  • Hello & welcome to my blog! Please tell us, what inspired you to become a writer?

I’m an avid reader who loves reading all genres of books with romance being the main one. During my childhood, I used to write short stories or even make up stories to narrate to my friends during our free time. Lately after reading through thousands of romance books over the past twenty plus years, I have started noticing certain things. Instead of simply enjoying a good book and moving onto the next one, I started thinking about how I would have written it differently instead. About how I would change the plot or change the characters to be able to enjoy it even more. And so, I have recently re-discovered my passion for writing.

I wish I could write a heavy literary masterpiece that would appeal to the book critics. But as the saying goes—if you don’t read it or don’t like it, then don’t write it. I had a story to tell that I was extremely passionate about. I began to write, hoping that my readers could experience the same range of feelings and emotions I felt while narrating it.

  • That’s great. Tell us, how did you come up with the concept of your book? What was the inspiration behind it?

Topics like verbal abuse within marriage or male child preference in a family are not discussed that openly. We know they exist, we even see them happening around us, sometimes  too close for comfort.  But we often look the other way, since they do not usually leave behind any physical pain or scars on the victim.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who has gone through those issues. I had obsessively researched various articles on these topics.  My phone is filled with notes and bookmarks on consequences of verbal abuse and how victims usually cope. Some of the statistics around the world were unbelievable. It also gave me a new found understanding towards victims who have stayed through years of abusive marriage.

I drafted a story to address some of the social issues without being too obtrusive to the core romance story line.

  • That’s remarkable! Which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

I’m pretty attached to all the scenes and they are all my favorites.

One scene that moved me the most and made me cry while writing it (also each time I re-read it)—was when Mahi recalls one of the last interactions with her son in the hospital. I had put off writing that scene until the end because each time I attempted, I would choke up and run to my son and hug him. He probably thought mommy was weird (or weirder than usual). Finally, when I wrote that scene, it was emotionally very draining but it felt cathartic too.

I think everyone can relate to the feeling of helplessness one feels when their loved one is very sick or hurt. And the range of feelings one feel when a loved one passes away is even more intense. The stages of grief and how one copes is different for everyone.  Some people grow stronger due to it and move on, some people let those moments define their future relationships or interactions and maybe some people block it out completely to live in denial. I have learnt a lot about how people cope with grief both from personal experiences and lots of research.

  • Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?

I love Mahi. In real life I would definitely want someone like her to be my close friend.

To most outsiders, the young Mahi comes off as a bully with attitude issues. She is the product of being a neglected girl-child who seeks attention from her parents by being rebellious and obnoxious. That idea is so far ingrained into her that during her late teens, she turns into a bully. She bullies another character from the book mercilessly due to jealousy and also causes havoc to the hero. It is very easy to hate someone like that and also judge them by their behavior. But sometimes, there is a lot more happening in people’s lives that are not obvious. It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it can explain why they behaved in a certain way.

The grown up Mahi is totally a different kettle of fish. Things that happened in her life could have easily broken her. But she rises above it and comes out as a survivor. In her new persona, she is bold, very driven and a great friend. However, she also has a lot of flaws due to her deep rooted insecurities.

A lot of us can relate to Mahi’s character in one way or the other.

  • I am so glad that you have published your story. Tell us, what has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

As a newbie author, I didn’t start off writing in an organized or an efficient fashion. I had a small idea and I started writing until I ran out of words.  Even though my characters are not based on real people, I wrote them drawing on their real emotions. It was really unbelievable and exciting to see how a story panned out within a few months of writing. It was a deeply personal experience and I loved the whole process.

When I finally released my book, I was extremely glad when some of my readers told me that my story made them laugh, cry and then fall in love with the characters, rooting for their happily ever after. After getting that kind of feedback, as an author I felt that all the hours I spent obsessively writing the story was well worth it.

That’s awesome! I wish you good luck with the book!

MV-Kasi-Book

 

 

MV Kasi’s Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29765282

 

KBC gig in The Kapil Sharma Show was hilarious!

I had a nice laugh yesterday watching Salman Khan‘s episode of The Kapil Sharma Show. I have to admit our weekends are so much more fun and we wait eagerly to watch this show on Saturdays and Sundays. Kapil’s team is getting better and better with various gigs in the new show.

In yesterday’s episode, the KBS gig was mind-blowing. I was laughing out loud on the questions and Dr. Gulati’s responses. Kapil was in his element in this particular show not just with comedy but also his singing and wit.

I liked how Salman and Kapil subtly mentioned Colors and Sony. I don’t know if its just me but it felt like Salman was holding back, perhaps because of his loyalty to Colors but Anushka was a real sport. Every time I watch this show, I really am in awe of Sunil Grover‘s talents. He puts in so much in each and every character he plays, that he makes the character real and lovable.

Good going Kapil and team, keep making us laugh!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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VEEP – a hilarious political satire!

Last week my husband introduced me to this hilarious political satire on HBO called VEEP and I caught on to it right away. I have been a fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus since I watched Seinfeld and she is equally, if not more, hilarious in this show.

I believe it is not easy to create comedy in the setup of American Vice Presidential office but this show has been cast-ed as well as acted and written wonderfully. The language is a bit rough but the comedy is mind-blowing. Julia looks the part and plays the part awesomely. In fact, I miss her if she is not in a particular frame. I also think Jonah’s character is quite funny.

Overall, a great great show to watch if you are into comedy!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Movie Review: Udta Punjab

I had heard a lot about the movie Udta Punjab and finally I got to see it today. It is a dark intense movie which is quite hard hitting and leaves its mark on you. Watching this movie today made me realize how far film making has come along in Bollywood! Before I even praise the actors, I have to say that direction and editing are par excellence. Screenplay and dialogues are very engaging and characterization of all four main characters is marvelous. The message of the film (say no to drugs) is loud and clear but is done in a very subtle and intelligent way. There is no preaching whatsoever and the director has left it up to the intelligent audience of today to interpret the movie. Hats off to the director!

And now, lets talk about acting. Shahid Kapoor has done a remarkable job playing Tommy Singh, Kareena Kapoor is natural, Diljit Dosanjh is effortless and Alia Bhatt is mind-blowing. Alia’s character in the movie is very strong and her spirit is uplifting. Alia’s portrayal of the character will certainly move you. Reminded me of her incredible acting in Highway. An awesome and very credible job by all actors.

Watch Udta Punjab for its marvelous film-making and awesome acting and to support the message – say no to drugs!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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5 Tips on writing nonfiction!

IMG_1070Nonfiction writing can seem daunting at times. Here are certain tips that you might find useful:

  • First and foremost, ensure that you have a definite purpose for your book. There may be several books on the topic, therefore you need to make sure yours is unique and has something definite to offer to the readers. Spell the uniqueness out!
  • Organize your chapters in a logical fashion to attract readers. When I browse through a nonfiction book, first thing I look for is the chapter list to determine if the book is useful for me or not.
  • Include examples, anecdotes and practical ideas in your book. Textual books are good for school/college curriculum. However, practical books attract all kinds of readers.
  • Choose an apt, yet attractive title for your book. Title is the first thing that attracts a reader!
  • And of course, just like any other book, proofread, beta test and edit your book before publishing.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Switched at Birth – a great show!

I stumbled upon this show called ‘Switched at Birth‘ while browsing through my Netflix queue and I have to say I really like it! If you are into emotional family dramas, you will surely appreciate this one.

The mother-daughter relationships are absolute treat to watch in this show and the writers and characters have done a remarkable job of displaying all kinds of family emotions through this show. There were times when I needed a tissue.

I have only watched the first season so far, so hopefully the momentum will continue and the show gets even better…


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Watching Sopranos!

I had always heard of what a great show Sopranos had been and was always curious about it. So I decided to order some DVDs and give it a go. I liked how season 1 started but then a few episodes later, it was slowing down and I was loosing interest. However I patiently stuck with it and the pace and plot line improved as the episodes progressed. Season 1 ended with a bang with all the subplots coming together and the suspense that was building. I am glad I stuck with it and I now surely want to watch season 2 and figure out what else is in store.

My all time favorite American television show has been Breaking Bad so I always compare other shows with it. While Sopranos is not as griping as Breaking Bad but it is pretty close. All the characters have been casted appropriately and the scenes and backdrop seems quite authentic. I especially like the psychiatrist character, Dr. Melfi and Tony Sopranos’ mother, beautifully played!

Onwards to second season…


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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How important is POV?

Writing-Guide

Point-of-view (POV) plays a critical role when you are writing scenes for your novels. While several authors write their stories from first person point-of-view, that is not a style that I am comfortable with. I am okay with reading first person point-of-view stories but when I am writing, I find it easier to write in third person. It comes naturally to me and I feel that as an author, you can be more creative with third person perspective. You can play around more with scenes and narrative.

Some of the advantages of third person POV are:

  • There are times when I have switched POV to make a scene become more powerful.
  • Although romance is always from two POVs – hero and heroine, sometimes adding a third POV enhances the storyline.
  • Often times writing a romance from a hero’s perspective provides a refreshing change!
  • As an author, it is creative to get in the head of several characters and third person POV writing provides just that.

Play with your POV and have fun writing!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Housefull-3 Movie Review!

Housefull-3 is a laughing riot all the way! Some of the scenes are just so hilarious, you will keep on laughing for several minutes and punches continue on to exponentially increase your laughter. All the comedy comes from situations and characters that are very intelligently created in the story. A lot of credit goes to writing and casting great actors that understand comedy well.

Akshay, Abhishekh and Ritesh are masters in comedy but the girls, Jacqueline, Lisa and Nargis did extremely well too. Nargis looked absolutely gorgeous in all the scenes!

Direction and editing are simply awesome. There are only four songs and they are shot to perfection. Never even once, I felt that a song doesn’t fit, in fact they all take the story forward.

There are a lot of scenes that are memorable but Abhishekh’s encounter with Aishwarya‘s wax statue is my favorite! Abhishekh’s rapping adds a lot of oomph to the movie and Akhshay’s split personality gives a new flavor to the franchise.

All in all, if you like comedy, you shouldn’t miss Housefull-3, you will laugh like a child..


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Social Media Psychology!

I use social media quite a bit to promote my books, its essential for an author. Like it or not, every author has to become social media savvy. Additionally, in this day and age, all businesses have to have social media presence.

But social media is quite prevalent in everyday personal life of pretty much every generation. Everyone now lives two kinds of lives – a regular life and a social media life. If I look around, I have very few friends who have no social media presence. Of course, the degree to which they use it and which tool they prefer varies but social media has become an integral part of our lives.

Which got me thinking, that the new age psychology should incorporate people’s behavior on social media tools. What I have observed is that with the invent of these tools such as Facebook, Twitter etc. people’s new personality side has emerged which may have been subdued before. I wondered if there was an equivalent of MBTI for social media types and came across a few interesting links:

Essentially, you can tell a lot about a person based on how they used social media and what kind of posts they share. For anyone interested in knowing about human psychology, observing people’s behavior on social media tools is one additional avenue for research.

Some of the stereotypes include –

  • Shy people are simply observing and hardly ever share.
  • Extroverts get more involved in other people’s posts.
  • Attention seekers pretty much live their lives on social media, sharing each and every detail of their lives.

And then, there is another aspect. I remember answering a popular question on Quora : What should I do if it depresses me to see that my friends on Facebook have everything?

There are so many aspects of people’s personalities on social media that it is hard to club them into known personality types. It will take lot more data and research and a formal psychologist to decipher them. But the topic sure is very interesting.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Fan – Movie Review

I finally got around to watching Shah Rukh Khan‘s latest movie, Fan. I have always complained about how Shah Rukh does only one kind of movie so it was really refreshing to see him do a pure acting kind of role and he did deliver!

On the whole, I have to commend the director for keeping it real, not adding song/dance sequences and unnecessary drama. I thought it was well directed and edited except for some chase sequences getting a bit too long. Croatia looked very scenic!

As far as the story goes, I’m not sure if we could have had a better ending. At times, it was confusing to figure out who should you empathize with. The message was clear, but could it have been portrayed a bit differently, yes, for sure!

Nevertheless, a good movie and three cheers to Shah Rukh for trying out something different.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Amit Sharma’s take on revising manuscripts!

Amit-Sharma-banner

Welcome Amit to my blog! Could you please tell us, when you receive feedback on your manuscript, how do you go about revising/changing your story?

 I am blessed with friends who are voracious readers and could be expected to give brutal and honest feedback. I give my first draft for alpha reading and get ready for all the stones and tomatoes that my friends are going to throw at me. The real work starts after that. I keep improvising the manuscript till I am completely satisfied with it. I take a break for a few days between two start-to-end sessions to get a new perspective. Once this process is over, I give over the book to a professional beta reader. I haven’t done that for the first book but I will be doing this for all my future books.
I usually do not change my story but I might change the way it has been told based on the inputs. For example, if a character needs to be more visible, I might add a few more scenes. I might add incidents that add depth to the story, add descriptions and improve dialogues.
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About the Author

Amit Sharma is the author of fiction novel titled False Ceilings by Lifi Publications. The book launch happened on 12 Jan 2016 at the World Book Fair in Delhi. The novel is a Family Saga spanning 130 years (from 1930 to 2065) and takes us through the lives of six protagonists who are bound by a secret and live in Delhi and Dalhousie. 

Amit Sharma has been working in a Software Firm since the last ten years. He lives with his family in NCR. His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with an amazing daughter. Amit is a voracious reader and devours books. His other hobbies include watching world cinema, traveling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging (he used to blog earlier at Mashed Musings), making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her shopping.
Amit’s book Links:

Interview with Pamela Fagan Hutchins!

Let’s welcome best-selling author Pamela Fagan Hutchins and chit-chat with her about various aspects of writing! 

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  • Congratulations on your book release, Pamela! Please tell us what has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

Recently, I’ve coached other novelists who have gone on to experience joy and success from their writing. While I have loved and continue to love each and every review I get, awards that my books receive, and emails and letters and Facebook posts and blog comments and every other heart-warming contact with readers, I am shocked to find how much I enjoy helping other writers achieve their best writing in their stories, and find their own readers.

  • That’s fantastic. I agree, that giving back is highly rewarding. Please tell us, how much research do you do for your books?

I do tons of research for my books. Everything from culture, geography, food, and religion to current and historical events, legal and criminal procedure, and mythology. For Hell to Pay I researched on following topics:

  • The Native American Hopi tribe and its vision question/spirit animal tradition.
  • Lake Meredith and the Colorado river basin in West Texas.
  • Diabetic comas: types, symptoms, treatment, and recovery.
  • Religious cults.
  • The process and rules for adoption in Texas.
  • Crime scene procedure in multi-jurisdictional situations.
  • The process of arrest, charging, arraignment and bail in a first-degree murder case.
  • Snake handling as a part of religious tradition, especially in the Southern U.S.
  • The professional rodeo circuit.

I really enjoy the research aspect of writing. I want desperately to get it right, for my stories to ring with authenticity.

  • How do you go about developing characters of your book?

Most of them occur pretty organically. But it starts with storyboarding with my story partner, my husband. We discuss plot lines and character arcs for years, I write them in outlines, ultimately I draft them into novels, and then I send them right back to him and we do post-writing storyboarding. Sometimes a character is way, way off in a first draft. I’ll go back to the drawing board and ask myself what characteristics define this character, what events have shaped them, and what is in and out of character for them. Ideally, for a protagonist, you then want to put them to the test in every single scene, ratcheting up the tension and pressure on them and seeing how they react. As much as I storyboard and plan, though, sometimes the story and characters take on a life of their own. It’s a lot of fun when that happens, and some of my most authentic characterization comes from just letting them have their way!

  • Dialogues are important in fiction. Do you want to share any tip for writing dialogues?

Dialogue needs to be authentic and it needs to be concise. Authenticity means that it sounds exactly like that character would say it. Concise means that you take that, and you make it shorter.

I am writing a What Doesn’t Kill You prequel novella right now. Six different protagonists in alternative points of view tell it. I’m killing myself on voice and dialogue in this one, making sure that readers will know who said what whether I tell them who it is or not.

The way I check my dialogue by reading it aloud, in character. My husband finds this quite humorous. I walk through the scenes and do the accents and body language.

  • I agree, reading the dialogues out loud is a good practice. Thanks for all the tips on writing! Before you go, tell us which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

In Hell to Pay, my favorite scene is where Emily reluctantly displays her snake handling skills for her fiancé Jack and his parents. I love it because it shows her conflicted relationship with her past and her parents, at the same time as she is totally tough and brave and doing something most of us would never in a million years do.

 

pamela jan

Pamela’s Book Links:

Amazon.com : https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Pay-What-Doesnt-Kill-ebook/dp/B019UHL0NY

Amazon.in: http://www.amazon.in/Hell-Pay-What-Doesnt-Kill/dp/1939889367

Pamela’s Website: http://pamelafaganhutchins.com

Author Interview with Varsha Dixit!

It is my pleasure to welcome author Varsha Dixit to my blog today! Lets chat with her about her books and writing in general.

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  • Welcome Varsha! please tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

The love of story telling. I read somewhere that if there is a story that you want to read and it hasn’t been written then you should write it. So that is basically what I did.

  • How did you come up with the concept of your book? What was the inspiration behind it?

I like reading well written romances or for that matter any story where characters share great chemistry. I thing I was certain of was that if I ever wrote a book, I would give my characters chemistry and lots of sizzle factor.  Also I wanted to write about women friendships because they play such an important role in our lives. Thus came the idea of Right Fit Wrong Shoe, a story of love, friendship with homage to the city I grew in – Kanpur.

  • How much research do you do for your books?

I do considerable story related research. Fiction needs to sound real for it to make a connection with the readers. My research usually centers on places, hotspots, cuisine and historical facts unique to a location where my story unfolds.

  • How do you go about developing characters of your book?

I think my characters develop themselves. I have often found that when I start writing a scene it turns very different from what I had conceived it to be. Thus I feel my characters decide their own story.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

The love of my readers.

That’s fantastic! I hope you keep getting love from your readers. Wish you lot of success in writing!

Varsha’s Amazon Author Page : http://www.amazon.com/Varsha-Dixit/e/B00A1EJMC2

TKSS episode with Housefull-3 stars was mind-blowing!

I have been watching all episodes of The Kapil Sharma Show, and while I have liked all of them, today’s episode with Housefull 3 stars was simply mind-blowing! Throughout the episode, I didn’t stop laughing and I am pretty sure, I am going to watch it again tomorrow. The one-liners, the gags and simply the chemistry between Kapil, Akshay, Abhishekh and Ritesh was unbelievable.

The new ceeti cable gag is turning out to be quite funny. Dr. Mashoor Gulati is outstanding  in all his interactions and I simply love his character. Chandu’s son did an incredible job and I loved his interaction with Abhishekh!

Great going for the show and Kapil and his team! Keep making us laugh!!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Young & Hungry – a lovable sitcom!

Netflix recently released the third season of this cute sitcom, Young & Hungry. Its light and romantic and I pretty much love all the distinct and crazy characters of this show! But of course what I like the most is the romance between Josh and Gabi.

I don’t know how the writers or even actors can maintain the chemistry between Josh and Gabi for so long and still keep it fresh. That’s the hook for the audience to keep coming back for more. I am glad the show has gotten extension for another season.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Apt ending for ‘Good Wife’

I have been following the CBS show Good Wife since the beginning and have been a fan throughout. I usually enjoy court dramas quite a bit. Perry Mason series was my favorite to read during teenage years. Good Wife had a nice pace to it through various seasons and although you never want your favorite show to end, the final episode was done very gracefully!

Just last week I was discussing with my husband as we were curious how they would end the show. I never actually liked Jason Crouse’s character. While past few episodes’ were leaning towards Alicia and Jason getting together, I personally thought that it would go against the whole concept of the show and how Alicia’s character had been conceived.

I really liked the ending and how Alicia stayed true to her character in spite of all the confusion inside her brain and heart. Kudos to the writing team. A great production for sure!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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New characters in ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ are hilarious!

Aren’t we all happy that Kapil Sharma and his team are back on television! I certainly am; I have watched all episodes till now and love the fact that they have all been unique in their own way, there are plenty of new characters to keep us entertained. This also ensures that the show never seems repetitive.

I love all the characters of the new show but some of them deserve special mention.

  • Dr. Mashoor played by Sunil Grover is by far the best! His timing, accent, mannerism and interaction with other characters are superb!
  • Rochelle Rao is adorably funny but what  I love the most is the chemistry between Kapil, Rochelle and Sumona. Its cute as well as funny!
  • Chandan’s kid is mind-blowing. I don’t know how a small kid can have such impeccable comic timing.

Kudos to the team for casting a variety of hilarious characters. I have missed Kapil’s show for so many months, so glad to see them bring laughter back! I also love the social messages Kapil has been sharing in all his episodes! Keep at it!!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Author Interview with Sujit Banerjee!

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  • Welcome to my blog, Sujit! Please tell us, what inspired you to become a writer?

I had stories to tell and I had been collecting them from a very young age. Publishing them was not the idea in the beginning as they were my personal secrets that I had recorded on pages lest I forget them. But eventually, I realised I had a whole body of work over a period of time. Without really realizing I had become a writer!

  • Which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

Unfair question!!! Each one had hit me equally and it will be impossible for me to choose one!

  • Fair enough! Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?

Hemakshi was one where I had to FEEL like a woman to be able to tell her story. The other was Yasmin Bibi because of how fate destroys her and her son Zayan – the third favourite character.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

Being able to get the stories out of my system, my blood.

Well, I’m glad that you decided to publish your stories. Good luck with your book!

Sujit’s Book Links

Amazon.in: http://www.amazon.in/Rukhsat-Departure-Sujit-Banerjee/dp/9352015452

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27507853-rukhsat-the-departure

Priyanka Chopra shines in Quantico!

I finally got around to watching the new ABC show, Quantico. Watching Priyanka Chopra was primarily the reason for my curiosity for this show. And I have to say that having watched about 12 episodes of the series, I don’t see Priyanka Chopra, the Bollywood heroine that I am used to seeing on screen, instead I see Alex Parrish. Priyanka has done an incredible job to transform into the character of an FBI agent and her hard work clearly shows!

I am a big fan of American Television shows and their quality of production and writing! Having watched all episodes of Criminal Minds, this show (Quantico) definitely seemed interesting. The novelty for me was to see the agents in training in Quantico. I have only seen FBI agents in action before in other shows. I think the vision and concept of Quantico is pretty impressive. I do however feel that the way the show has been presented, it is a little bit complicated to follow. It may be because I binged watched a lot of episodes but at times, the back and forth between present and past was taxing for the brain. Congrats to the team on getting the second season approved. Hopefully the second season will be easier to follow.

In general I feel that the audience gets captivated if the characters in these shows are interesting. Such as Walter White in Breaking Bad and Neal Caffery in White Collar. I still miss seeing Neal Caffery on screen, such was the impact of his character. Quantico‘s team has also done a great job in choosing very distinct and diverse set of FBI agents and they do make an impression on you. Besides Priyanka Chopra’s character, I really like Miranda Shaw, very elegantly played.

If you like thrillers and are interested in how FBI agents are trained, Quantico will appeal to you.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Kapil Sharma brand of laughter is back!

I just watched the second (April 24th) episode of The Kapil Sharma Show and loved it! I am a fan of Kapil Sharma brand of humor and the new show is very refreshing with new, interesting and creatively funny characters. There are some similarities with the previous show, Comedy Nights with Kapil which the fans will find comforting such as Kapil’s monologue and Navjot Singh Sidhu’s shero-shayari. But the fans will also definitely appreciate the changes that have been made in the new show. Kapil’s monologue had always been the USP of the show and it was really nice to see that continue. His delivery and connect with the common man is endearing.

Here are a few highlights of the new show:

  • Sunil Grover has surpassed all his previous characters as Dr. Mashoor. He is hilarious, adventurous and quite clever with his comic timing.
  • Rochelle Rao is amazingly cute as a nurse, a great addition to the show!
  • Suresh Menon is a very refreshing addition and is extremely talented. I loved his character.
  • Kapil’s nani played by Ali Asgar is very adorable. His getup & mannerism is hilarious and has lot of physicality in his humor.
  • Sumona, Chandan and Kiku did a fine job and I expect they will keep surprising us in the future episodes.

I laughed big time and realized how much I had missed these people for the past three months. Great to have Kapil Sharma and his team back!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Red Thai Curry!

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I was running out of school lunch options for my daughter and recently ran into a Thai Red Curry Sauce in Trader Joe’s.

Red-curryIt’s pretty easy to make and turned out quite zesty. I sauteed a mix of sweet peppers for a couple of minutes, added cubed tofu and mixed with half the bottle of the Red Curry sauce. Let it simmer for few minutes and then mix in coconut milk, salt and red pepper. Let it simmer for another ten minutes and serve with steamed rice.

In all these years, this is the first time that my daughter texted me from school that she liked her lunch! I guess it’s worth trying.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Interview with Author A.M. Manay!

It is my pleasure to welcome author A.M. Manay on my blog today! She writes in paranormal genre and aims for diversity in her characters. Lets chat with her about her books.

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  • Please tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

I started writing out of sheer boredom. I was a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, and as any stay at home parent can tell you, it can be quite isolating. I felt like my brain was turning to mush. And I’ve always been a daydreamer, spinning stories in my own head. So, one day, I had an idea about the character that eventually became November Snow. I started writing, and when I finished the first, introductory chapter, I kept going. I originally never intended for anyone but my husband to see my work. He encouraged me to consider publishing it, telling me that it was better than a lot of books out there. So eventually, I gathered courage, cleaned up the manuscript, and put it out into the world.

  • So glad you decided to publish! How did you choose to write in paranormal genre?

I love fantasy. I love escapism. I love magic powers and secrets and epic battles between good and evil. I also wanted to create a heroine who could interact with these powerful creatures and yet remain true to herself. I wanted to create a girl who would stand up to the supernatural creatures rather than letting them walk all over her. I didn’t want to model an emotionally abusive relationship as normal or desirable, like you see in some other vampire novels. (cough, Twilight, cough)

  • Your book titles are unique and fascinating! Tell us more about how you choose them?

The original title of my first book was Midway. It was named both for the carnival where November was living as well as her position as midway between the human world and the supernatural world. So, that was the working title. Then I realized that there are a million books named Midway out there, because of the battle in World War II.

I knew as an indie author, I needed to pick something truly unique in order to stand out in an Amazon search. As I got closer to finishing the editing process, I started thinking about November’s visions of her future burial and how crucial they are throughout the book, and eventually it popped into my head: She Dies at the End.

I decided to keep the same format for the sequels for the sake of cohesion. I brainstormed a long list of possible titles, but none of them seemed quite right. They didn’t really encapsulate November’s mission or journey the way I wanted them to. As I was writing the final chapter, it finally came to me: She Lights Up the Dark. I think you’ll find that the title makes both literal and metaphorical sense once you read the book.

  • How do you go about developing characters for your books? Do you aim for diversity?

I do aim for diversity. It’s my belief that the default race for characters doesn’t have to be white. The real world is diverse, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. Diversity is what makes the world interesting. A book full of white people would not reflect that reality, and it would be boring to boot.
My husband is Indian. My son is half Black, half Indian. All my students when I was teaching public school were Black, Latino, or Asian. It’s important for those kids to see people who mirror them in popular culture. And because my family doesn’t “match,” I enjoy creating families in my work who don’t “match,” either.
I’ll give you an example of one of my non-white characters. Because I married into an Indian family whom I adore, I wanted to include a character of Indian origin. Savita is a vampire who is extremely powerful and extremely uncomfortable with that power. She has difficulty standing up to her father and brothers and constantly places her own needs last. She also struggled to hold onto her culture and her pride after having been dragged halfway across the world after being turned into a vampire. She is not a token. Her actions and personality are crucial to the book’s plot, and she is a very complicated person.
For me, characters are what make a book. Plot is great and all, but it’s not worth much without interesting, complex characters, with at least a few characters you can really root for. I try to make them as complex as real people, with flaws and blind spots, weaknesses and strengths.

  • I agree, characters make a book interesting. Which book are you planning next in the series?

The third volume of November’s journey is in the planning stages. I won’t title it until most of it is written, most likely. What I can tell you is that actions taken at the end of Book 2 will have serious, world-altering repercussions in Book 3.
After that, I have ideas sketched out for a new fantasy series with a more epic fantasy / court intrigue bent with, of course, a tough-as-nails heroine. But for the sake of my fans, I want to see November’s story through before I try something new.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Answering your questions has been a blast.

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A.M. Manay’s Book Links:

She Dies at the End: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0112S00KI
She Sees in Her Sleep: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019EG1NWE
She Lights Up the Dark: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BQGGBMW

A.M. Manay’s Social Media Links:
Website: http://www.ammanay.net
Fan email list: November’s News
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ammanaywrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ammanay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.m.manay/
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Manay/e/B0113KJ14Q

Baked Veggie Pasta!

Baked-pasta

Continuing with my search for new vegetarian pasta recipes, I found another one today that I tried. It turned out super delicious! The only change I made to the recipe was replace fontina cheese with gouda cheese since I couldn’t find Fontina cheese in the grocery store. The spicy Arrabiata sauce from Whole Foods did wonders too!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Kapoor & Sons Movie Review!

Every once in a while, you watch a movie and it leaves such a profound mark on you that you have to talk about it. Kapoor & Sons is one such movie!! After the movie was over, people were clapping in the theater and I found myself cracking up and clapping on some of the dialogues because they are hilarious, relate-able and so apt! And of course I embarrassed my daughter by dancing on the Chull song, but hey who doesn’t want to dance on this hit number.

Enough said about the movie experience. I wouldn’t delve into the story as I don’t want to give away the story to those who haven’t watched it yet. I urge everyone to go watch this movie, there is something for every member of the family and so much truth and depth to the story. Brilliant direction by Shakun Batra. I haven’t seen such tight editing in a while, reminded me of 3 Idiots in terms of relatability.

Everyone and I mean everyone acted supremely well. Alia Bhatt is my favorite and she performed excellently. Siddharth Malhotra was great but Fawad khan stood out the most. His acting, his character and his gorgeous looks grabbed the limelight. Rishi Kapoor is adorable!

A must must watch movie for just about everyone! Don’t think, just go and watch!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Zucchini Alfredo Pasta!

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I was quite bored of making the same old pasta with bottled sauces and really wanted to make something fresh and different. Ran across this recipe for Zucchini Alfredo pasta, tried it today and it turned out absolutely mouth-watering!

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I had to use two different pans, one for boiling pasta and the other to make the fresh sauce. One more pan to clean afterwards, but no big deal.

sauceThe recipe requires fresh basil but for some reason the grocery store was out of it today,  so substituted with my basil pesto sauce. Of course, fresh basil would make it much more tastier but the sauce came out really creamy fresh and had just the right texture!

The only thing missing with the meal was a good wine. Oh, well, next time!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Piada – Italian Street Food!

I am always up for variety and trying out new and unique places to eat. The latest in the list of restaurants is Piada, a restaurant inspired by street food in Rimini, Italy. Its scooter logo and fresh look attracted me at first. Although there aren’t a lot of choices for a vegetarian like me, I still liked the fresh taste of my piada! Of course there is the traditional pasta that I could try next time. Their sauces are amazing and there is certainly a invigorating taste to this place.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Interview with Author Anupam Srivastava!

Today, I welcome Author Anupam Srivastava on my blog! Lets chat with Anupam about writing in general.

Brown-Sahebs

1) Hello Anupam! Please tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

Among most things I did as a child, I enjoyed writing and it was also what got me a little appreciation. My teachers would sometimes praise me so much that it became embarrassing for me. Anybody’s friends would treat them as a distant acquaintance if they got too much appreciation. At this stage I was writing essays and stories on suggested topics. Later, I started getting excited about ideas that would come to me mysteriously, and I would write them down else they would not show themselves again to me. That was the only way to imprison them. This continued and became a way of life with me – some ideas became poems, some others short stories. The bigger ones lent themselves as the basis for novels.

I have been inspired by good books and good writers.

2) How did you come up with the concept of your book? What was the inspiration behind it?

It became apparent to me – when I was a journalist – that India’s hierarchical systems had a historical basis.

I probed a little and a treasure trove of information showed up in the form of books, speeches, and so on. I fitted the pieces together – some history, some story-telling, and it became a novel. I also prepared a PhD proposal on comparing the pre-Independence aspirations and whether these were put into effect. While my PhD did not materialize, I conducted my own study and instead of a thesis wrote a novel.

3) Which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

That’s a tough one. I like the interviews with Gandhi, descriptions of life in Delhi in those slow-paced times, the scene depicting the assassination of Gandhi and of course the light scenes such as the partridge shoot. I like tension in tense scenes and humor in funny scenes.

A good scene should not have anything superfluous or missing – the right number of words, description and dialogue – when they are woven together by the mysterious thread of skill, a good scene is created.

I am of course a biased judge of my own writing. The appreciation matters when it comes from others but at the same time you have to love your work well enough to consider it good enough to publish.

4) How do you go about developing characters of your book?

The plot demands characters of a type, and I develop these. These are of course drawn from life.

 5) What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

Some people have loved The Brown Sahebs which has been very gratifying. Having finished a novel of reasonable complexity, I feel equipped to deal with more difficult subjects and am writing on a theme I wouldn’t have touched a few years ago.

Anupam’s Book Links:

Amazon.com, Amazon.in, Goodreads

Anupam’s Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brown-Sahebs/812002192220010

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anusrivastava

Urban Crust – unique & delicious!

DrinkYesterday, I had a completely satisfying meal at Urban Crust in downtown Plano. I was pretty satisfied with both the food and the ambiance!

This restaurant has ample seating but the most sought after seats, at least for me are in their rooftop lounge. The only caveat is that they offer open seating in the rooftop area. If you have to wait for your turn, it is still worth it for the inspiring view and the cozy, romantic feel.

Their wood-fired pizzas are amazing and so are the cocktail options. And the tiramisu was one of the best I have had in a while. I loved the place and its worth trying if you are in the area.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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KKPK Movie Review!

I normally don’t write movie reviews but this one is special! I am a big fan of Kapil Sharma. And I am not just talking about his great sense of comic timing and his stand-up acts but I am fan of his very genuine and gracious personality. Coming from a humble beginning to reaching the success and fame that he has achieved today, he deserves it all. I particularly like his connect with the audience which shows from the love that he receives all over the world. It is very easy for comedy to get vulgar but we always see clean comedy on his show, Comedy Nights with Kapil and I especially like the social messages he shares with his audience. All in all,  Kapil Sharma is a great soul.

So obviously when his movie, Kis Kisko Pyaar karoon released, I was very eager to see it. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. The story-line may not be unique but it makes you laugh all the way! Abbas-Mustan director-duo did a credible job and also kept an element of suspense along with great comedy in the film. The pace of the movie is appropriate for contemporary audience. There are so many hilarious scenes that makes you laugh out loud and you won’t be able to stop. Kapil Sharma has not only enacted the comic scenes well, he did extremely well in the emotional scenes as well and held his own amongst all the established actors. An excellent job for a debut movie!

Music of the movie is outstanding! Jugni and Bam Bam make you want to dance, DJ bajega to Pappu nachega is visually appealing and Samandar song is very melodious.

All in all, KKPK is an entertainer!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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How important is a Book Title?

Writing-Guide

Having written a number of books and being in the business for sometime, I have come to the conclusion that in addition to the cover of a book, the title also plays an important part in attracting readers.

With the advent of digital writing and eBooks, there is a plethora of books for readers to choose from. And therefore it is very important to choose an attractive, meaningful as well as apt title for your book.

Here are some pointers to consider:

  • For non-fiction or fiction books, the title should clearly portray the essence of your book.
  • For non-fiction books, popular titles starting with “How to..” or “Five ..”, “Ten ..” tend to attract readers. People have a short attention span these days and they want to gather information quickly. These titles tend to appeal to the curious mind. One example is my book titled Ten Mistakes A Manager Should Avoid.
  • For a fiction book, if your title can invoke the right emotion or feeling, it would greatly appeal to the reader. Such as I believe that my book title Arranged Marriage evokes a lot of feelings, emotions & curiosity and it has definitely been selling well.

When you are coming up with your book title, think through what’s the message in your book you want the readers to take away, or how can this book help the readers. Also, do some research on Amazon or other book sites to look at the bestsellers in your genre.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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On Writing Series & Trilogy!

Writing-GuideI have been asked several times during interviews about writing series, so I decided to write a post on it today. I have written both single-titles as well as series and there are pros and cons of writing both. For one, writing a series takes a whole of work ahead of time in planning different books in the series. And from the reader’s perspective, series are often more attractive.

Types of Series

If you are thinking of writing a series, some things to know about are what are the different kinds of series that you can plan. Most obvious one is a trilogy where a story continues on a continuum of three books. Trilogies seem to be very popular among the readers especially if they love the characters and want to keep reading about them more and more.

Other kind of series consists of books with different stories that are connected to each other at an abstract level. I like to call these connected series. You can have as many books in a connected series. I tend to prefer writing connected series over a trilogy. A trilogy has stringent requirements whereas a connected series is more flexible.

One example of link between different books in a connected series is at the character level. For example a main character in one book can be a secondary character in another book in the series. Another example is commonality of setting among different books in a connected series. For instance, you could write several books based on a small town. An underlying emotion or theme between different stories could be a connection as well.

Do’s and Don’ts

Some things to be aware of when writing trilogy or connected series is to not contradict yourself. For example, a character who had dark skin in one book cannot suddenly have lighter skin in another book in the series. It is up to the author and editor to look out for such inconsistencies before publishing.

I would also urge authors to plan ahead how many books they want to publish in a connected series. Write as many as will entice you as an author. As long as you are having fun writing, readers will enjoy them too!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Importance of Setting!

Aditi-flowers

I don’t know about other authors but I find setting of a book equally important as the characters in a story. A carefully selected setting can do wonders for a book. As a matter of fact, the same is true for a movie as well.

One should think about the what and why before choosing a setting well before starting to write a fiction book. Some things to consider are what kind of setting would suit the characters that you have chosen for your book? Is there a setting that has special significance in your character’s mind? Could you use your setting to attract readers towards your book.

I travel a lot and while traveling if a place inspires me, I’d like to use that in my book. I have a passion for traveling and am fascinated by the unique things every place has to offer. Some authors like to use small town setting which could also be quite unique and provide a different perspective.

Pick a setting that gels with your passion and it will certainly enhance your book!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Casa Loma, Toronto

Casa-Loma

I recently visited Toronto and was awed by the majesty of Casa Loma. Beautiful exterior, exquisite interior and breathtaking views from pretty much all the rooms are a must-see. If you get a chance to visit it, don’t miss the audio tour and the movie on Sir Henry Pellatt. It will inspire you!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Laziz Baigan!

Baigan-sabji

Eggplant can be made in several ways and they all turn out good. A friend of mine taught me this recipe and although it takes some time to cook, it comes out really rich and tasty.

Ingredients

Eggplant (Baigan), cut into thin slices.

Chopped Onions, Tomatoes & Cilantro

1 tbsp yoghurt

Use Cumin seeds, Kalonji, Haldi, red chilli powder & dhania masala for seasoning

Method

Sprinkle some salt on the thinly cut & washed eggplant slices and let it settle for few minutes while you cut your onions, tomatoes and corainder. Dry the eggplant slices and shallow fry them.

Pour little bit of oil in a separate wok and season with cumin seeds and Kalonji. Saute the onions and tomatoes together for couple of minutes and add salt, haldi, red chilli powder and dhania powder to taste. Mix in the yoghurt and a cup of water into the wok and let it cook for couple of minutes. Wipe the extra oil from the fried eggplant slices and add it to wok, along with the chopped coriander. Cover the wok and cook for few minutes.

Serve it with your choice of bread and enjoy!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Majestic Niagara Falls!

Niagara

I recently visited Niagara Falls. Whether you visit from the Canadian side or the American side, you can’t deny the mystique of these falls.

Niagara-boat

Although it was my third time seeing the falls, it seems all the more majestic. One is certainly left in awe at its grandness.

 

Niagara-boat-ride

Don’t miss the misty boat ride if you are there.

Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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“Little India” across the globe!

Jackson-HeightsOver the years, I have visited “Little India” communities across various U.S. cities and other countries and just reflecting upon it made me realize that these neighborhoods are not so sought after as they used to be. Ever since Indian population in various cities have expanded, now the restaurant and fashion boutiques or grocery stores are spread out throughout the cities . In earlier days, if you wanted a spicy bite, all you had was the “Little India” communities. Even then, I make it a point to visit the “Little India” neighborhoods, as I travel to get a historic glimpse.

Dosa-delightRecently I visited Jackson Heights (Little India of New York) and I have to say I wasn’t quite impressed. It is probably the largest of all “Little India” communities that I have seen but it seemed old and congested. We ate in Dosa Delight and the food was really good and so was the service. But if you can find Indian restaurants everywhere, would you make the effort to go to Jackson Heights? may be not.

Anyhow, of all the “Little India” neighborhoods I have visited, the ones I liked the most were Los Angeles Artesia district, South Hall in London and Mahatma Gandhi district in Houston. You may want to check these outs on your travel!

Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Mike’s Pastry (Boston)

Mikes-pastryRecently, we were in Boston and while doing a tour of the Harvard University, I came across this cool pastry shop called Mike’s pastry.

pastries

 

Lots of cool pastries to choose from and they looked delicious as well as decorative.

 

 

 

Rainbow-pastry

 

 

 

I chose the rum cake, it was a good size pastry and reasonably priced!

 

If you are in Boston, you may want to check this place out.

 

 

 

Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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