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.

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  • 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.

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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

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

 

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

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

Chat with Author Anita Badhwar!

Author Anita Badhwar publishes children’s books. Lets chat with her today to get to know her better.

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  • Welcome Anita! Please tell us what inspired you to write children’s books?

I was inspired to write children’s books because I have always enjoyed creative writing. I’ve always felt that writing came very naturally to me, and that it was something that I excelled at. Also, I was motivated to write the Little Princess Rani and the Palace Adventures series because I found that there were very few Indian-themed books in the market for children.

  • I agree, it would have been nice to read your books to my daughter when she was little. Tell us a little more about the Little Princess Rani series?

All of the books in this series are based on my childhood experiences. As a child, I remember celebrating Holi in India, which gave me the inspiration to write Rani Celebrates Holi. My second book, Rani and the Safari Surprise! was inspired by a visit to Jim Corbett National Park and Rani Visits the Taj Mahal was based on a more recent trip to Agra, India. Rani Saves Diwali is based on how Diwali is celebrated in my family. My mother is a great source of information and my kids also provide great inspiration for some of the story-lines.

  • We all draw inspiration from others. Which author has inspired you the most? Why?

I think Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the Madeline series has inspired me the most. I remember reading the series in French in Canada (where I grew up) and enjoying reading all the books and simple illustrations.

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

My most rewarding experience is seeing people who don’t know much about India end up with a better understanding about India, Indian culture and festivals by reading my books.

  • That’s great! Do you have any book marketing tip you want to share with your fellow authors?

I think social media is the best place to promote and market your books. Of course, you need to decide which of the social media links work best for your book genre, which takes some research.

  • Which book are you working on next? Do you want to share a glimpse of it?

I haven’t quite decided yet on a theme for my fifth book of the Little Princess Rani series, but I am leaning towards writing about another festival.

It was great talking to you Anita. Good luck with all your projects!

Anita’s Book Link: Amazon.com

Social media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnitaBadhwar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lilprincessrani

Tumblr: abadhwar.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ABadhwar2

Interview with Author Devika Fernando

Let’s welcome Author Devika Fernando and chat with her about her latest book.

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  • Devika, tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

Reading and my love for language. I was a bookworm even as a child, and as soon as I knew how to write, I did it.

I wanted to create magic like the other authors.

  • What is your writing process? How much time do you spend in plotting?

As soon as an idea hits me, I write it down in a special notebook I have for that. At that time, I usually outline the plot and conflicts and short descriptions of the protagonists. As soon as I feel like working on a story, I create documents on my PC. I create character sheets and sometimes chapter summaries or important research items. The rest all happens while writing, so I don’t plot too intensively.

  • How much research do you do for your books?

I usually try to keep the research light – probably because I have to do research all the time for main job (as a web content writer). For my first three books, there was not much to research. This was different for the co-authored book “Forbidden” and is also different for my upcoming novel “Saved in Sri Lanka”. Both of them involved lots of geoographic research about locations as well as other research. I’ve discovered this can be fun if you know where and how to search.

  • Tell us, who is your favorite character in your book? Why?

I think I like Felicia the most. She’s full of strength and determination once she discovers her true nature, and she learns not to be afraid of risks and of change.

  • What is one thing you want readers to take away from your book?

To believe in themselves, and to never give up.

It’s the lesson my heroine ultimately learns too.

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

The whole experience as such is rewarding. Apart from that, 5 star reviews are always nice.

  • Do you have any book marketing tip you want to share with your fellow authors?

I don’t quite like just selling my book. What I prefer is to support others and share so I can create a general interest in great books.

I also think choosing a picture that goes well with your post on social media is a good idea. It’s an eye catcher that will make people want to check out an excerpt or link.

Great suggestion! I wish you good luck with your writing!

Devika’s Book Links:

Amazon.com, Amazon.in, Smashwords

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.devikafernando.com/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/devikafernandoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_Devika

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7980006.Devika_Fernando

Chat with Author Reet Singh

Today, I am extremely delighted to welcome Author Reet Singh who is a surgeon but still finds time to write. Let’s welcome her and get to know her more.

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  • Welcome Reet! Tell us what inspired you to write?

Hi Aditi, lovely to meet you in your space!
My inspiration for writing is definitely because of my love for reading; and the belief that I had several stories whirling about in my head – stories that were dying to come out and be heard.

  • How much research do you do for your books?

Quite a bit. I love Google – ask it anything and it tells you whatever you need to get ahead with the plot. Picking the brains of people in the know helps too – husband, friends, colleagues – and they happily share. I acknowledge their help by dedicating the book to them. Next time you pick up one of my books, check the dedication page!

  • Besides writing, what is your favorite hobby that helps you relax?

I love word games. Scrabble is a hot favorite, followed by Book Worm. I bless the day Scrabble came online and one did not have to cajole a beloved family member to play. I also love solving cryptic crosswords, so yes, definitely word games!

  • Who is your favorite author?

Hands down – PG Wodehouse. I can read him over and over again, and laugh myself silly each time!

  • What advice do you have for an aspiring author?

Write and write, and then write some more. You get better with every word you write. There are fabulous resources available for authors to learn how to hone their skills. Read them. These days I swear by helpingwritersbecomeauthors.
Also edit a LOT! Try not to fall in love with everything you’ve written, at least not irrevocably! Because you are going to have to kill off some of it to improve the tension and generally tighten it up to ready it for the discerning reader.

  • Do you have any book marketing tip you want to share with your fellow authors?

Every author struggles to find a balance between writing and marketing. It takes a while – a good long while – to build an audience. So start early. Start engaging with potential readers even before your book is half done. Blog. Comment. Share snippets from your book. Read other authors. Interact. Engage! Engage! Engage! Meaningfully, of course – don’t spam!

  • Which book are you working on next? Do you want to share a glimpse of it?

I am writing a book for middle-grade readers. “The Mystical Amitree” is an adventure story featuring Arjun, an 11-year old boy, who sets out to solve the mystery of his missing uncle, and finds himself in another world altogether. I’d like to share the first few paragraphs. I am planning to self publish it, soon after I finish writing it during NaNoWriMo 2014.

Chapter 1

Bad News!

Arjun pumped the pedals harder and harder. His bicycle shuddered with the effort, but bravely responded by speeding up. Heart hammering wildly and eyes watering in the breeze, he careened around blind corners praying he wouldn’t meet oncoming traffic head-on. A hundred thoughts tumbled through his brain as he struggled to make sense of what had happened.

Why? But more importantly, why today?

Arjun had been waiting impatiently for today to dawn – but not like this. He had never wanted his first day of vacation to start with a frightening phone call; followed by this mad dash to stop his father from boarding the bus to work.

Shaking the hair out of his eyes, he continued to cycle, thankful to see the tall form of his father in the distance. The bus was just drawing up; another minute and it would pull away, taking his father off with it. Arjun drew in a deep shuddering breath and yelled as loud as his exhausted body would allow.

‘DAD! WAIT!’

The Mystical Amitree sounds interesting! Good luck with your writing.

Reet’s Book Links:

Amazon.com

Social Media Links:

Author’s Website:  http://www.reetsingh.in

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reet.singh.5458

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorReet