At what age did you start writing?
Being an introvert, I started taking resort in writing quite early. I guess I started when I was nine or ten. I used to write diary entries and poetry back then. Mostly personal stuff, but yeah, and then I started enjoying it. I remember when I was twelve, I wrote in my slam-book that I want to be a writer.
Name a few authors/ books that you personally admire the most (Fiction/Non-Fiction). If you’d ever get to meet these authors, what is the one question that you’d ask them?
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
The question remains the same for all three writers:
What made you decide that this is the story you want to tell? Did you explore your voice while writing it?
One Superpower you wish you had?
Making people see the truth, or at least make them see how stupid they are or they sound at times!
What would be your one advice to aspiring writers?
Be Patient. Be honest with your work. Enter this industry/field for the love for your work/writing; fame, the money will surely follow!
Do you have a writing ritual?
I have this habit of writing something daily, and if there’s a day when I don’t write – I feel guilty. Now that writing is a full-time thing – it’s more important for me to keep writing, and even if I am not writing – I am thinking about some or the story or character.
But there is no fixed routine for me as of now – it’s more like I have to spend at least three hours a day on my desk, and on certain days when I have crazy deadlines – I spend my entire day writing. All I need to keep me going is my strong cup of tea.
How did “The Resignation Letter” come to life? What/Who was your muse behind writing this book?
It didn’t come to life, it was my life (chuckles). Anyway, I used to work for a manufacturing firm – so a lot of nuances and motivation to the story come from there. It will be sound like an extremely self-obsessed thing to say – but if there’s any muse to this story, it’s me. My life back then was my inspiration. And later, this story became a muse to my life – it was because of this story, I gave up my job and decided to pursue writing.
If there’s one thing that most of the self-published authors vouch for, it’s the mere fact that self- publishing teaches you all aspects of publishing? Is it true? What are your thoughts about the same?
That’s true. Self-publishing will make you an author and an entrepreneur at the same time (Don’t worry – I won’t be asking for my share in your company). So yeah, the thing with being a writer is you just can’t be a writer – you need to be a seller too. You need to sell your work! And it is an extremely tiring but important exercise. With self-publishing, with proper guidance, you learn every bit of it.
Understanding what the market works on is very important: With so much of promotions on social media, how effective are the book launches? Where to invest and how much? Sending giveaway, review copies – there’s a lot more you learn in this journey. And, it’s not just about the PR bit – from book-cover to book pricing, every important decision is on you.
What was your journey of writing your first book like? How did you feel when your book was released?
In January 2013, when I was working for a manufacturing firm, I took a one month break from everyone and moved to my cousin’s vacant flat. For that one month, I had been all by myself, off the phone, off the internet, off socializing. There I wrote the first draft of TRL (The Resignation Letter). It gave me a different high. When I resumed my job after that, I couldn’t connect to it. I left my job in a month and decided to move to Mumbai. Sounds dramatic and filmy, but that had been my life, and I can say – that was the best decision I had taken for myself.
Words are weapons, and they come with their own pros and cons. While writing becomes a responsibility, it’s also your way to recognition. When my book was released – I felt a mix of anxiety and accomplishment. The satisfaction you get when you see your work out there is beyond words. Moreover, there is a sense of respect you see in people’s reaction when you mention that you are a writer. That’s a scary responsibility, but a satisfying reward too.
If you look back now, how has the whole experience of self-publishing been?
To be honest, initially, I was skeptic about it. But eventually – and a big thanks to you guys (BecomeShakespeare.com Team) – the experience was nothing close to my nightmares, rather, I am really glad about my decision. There were lots of learning in it, and the risk was worth taking.
Your epitaph would read?
You IS Magic! (And magic never dies).
(I have this tattoo on my left hand as I am left-handed) that says – You is Magic. And, it had become a phrase that a lot of friends use for me. I got it done for various reasons: Firstly, it’s inspired by Kathryn Stockett’s novel, The Help’s famous line – You is smart, you is kind, you is intelligent. It’s about minorities, and a constant reminder to me to do something for them through my work. It’s about magic – which I feel I have the power to create through my work, and then its grammatically incorrect –as I love imperfections.