Interview with Anshu #priyasks

My interview originally posted on Priya’s blog

Priyreflects

The author of the day is Ms. Know-it-all powered with a great memory. She is social, a chatterbox who can talk to anyone and everyone. She is known as someone who speaks her mind. She knew that she was meant to be a story-teller when her best bed-time stories as a child were the ones she made up herself. And she could barely read then. She would just let her vivid imagination take over. Not much has changed. Even today, she enjoys creating fascinating characters and plots. 

She is a fitness freak who likes to work out at least 4 days in the gym. The remaining days she practices Yogasana. She is also a big believer of Ayurveda and dadi ma ke nuskhe. She likes to treat common ailments with kitchen remedies. Not many know that while traveling, she prefers carrying her kitchen ingredients rather than allopathy medicines. 

Introducing… Anshu

Anshu Bhojanagarwala is a popular parenting blogger. She also likes…

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Interview with Priya #AuthorChatter #anshuasks

Today’s author holds a variety of talents and interests just like the variety of stories she has written.

She can lift one eyebrow that can even give her namesake Priya Varrier a run for her money. She is shy but can talk nineteen to the dozen in the presence of the people she is comfortable with. She has hydrophobia, but learnt to swim to conquer her fear. She can now swim like a pro. She loves to take a stroll on the beach in the middle of the day.

When she is not reading or writing, she loves to play keyboard and can play Für Elise beautifully, one of the most popular compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven. When she retires for the night, her muse never sleeps and keeps on inspiring her even in her dreams.

Allow me to introduce … Priya U Bajpai

Priya is a short story author and poet and has been published in mainstream newspapers. This literature scholar is a versatile story-teller. She is adept at writing fast-paced and layered tales across genres. And yet writing her own bio would throw her off! This extremely modest writer would rather let her craft do the talking.

When she is not reading or writing, she daydreams about multiverses. Maybe it is her curiosity about the marvels of the universe that makes her so good at sci-fi.

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Which story from your anthology ‘Murder in the palace and other short stories’ is the closest to your heart? And why?

I enjoyed writing ‘Murder in the palace’. However, ‘Neil’s shoe’ is closest to my heart. I never thought I would dabble in paranormal, so it was a surprise even for me. Crazy as it may sound, the story still haunts me. Many times at midnight when I’m typing away on my laptop all alone, a thought strikes ‘what if I am not alone’. This gives me heebie-jeebies. I often run to the other room, kicking myself and wondering ‘what have I done?’ Guess one can well imagine how close I have got to this story 🙂

I wrote a prequel and a sequel to the story too. They didn’t see the light of the day as I feared I couldn’t do justice to Neil or Neha. The stories weren’t as good as the original. That seems to be the universal problem with the sequels.

Did you enjoy writing mystery thriller? What aspect of it did you really enjoy?

Oh yes, absolutely. The most exciting part was to have a conversation with the characters. Each character had a story to tell with their truth and their lies. It was fun to see them come alive, having a conversation with me. The only problem, they don’t know when to stop. Would you believe if I tell you that some characters still demand to be heard?

I also enjoy writing the red-herring. It takes the reader and the characters in the wrong direction. It’s a super cool technique to distract the reader.

Which is the most difficult part of writing crime mysteries?

The most difficult part according to me is to keep the story fast-paced and engaging, which is achieved by the ‘twists and turns’ in crime mysteries. Also to reveal just enough information – not much, not less. In mystery writing, the plot is everything. Each plot point has to be connected, the dots to be joined. There shouldn’t be any loose ends left hanging. At the same time, the author shouldn’t go off the tangent or get stuck in the backstory.

How do you choose a character’s name?

Choosing a character’s name is almost as difficult as choosing a name for your baby. The only difference is that the characters don’t hold grudges for a poorly chosen name. It still demands hell lot of deliberations. If the name is for a short story, I don’t consider too many things. However, for a novel, one needs to understand the root, the origin, the era, the demography, the history. Inadvertently, once I chose a side-character’s name which reminded the readers of a side-kick from a movie.

Have you added more stories to your collection since publishing it on BlogChatter? If yes, can you tell about them in brief?

I have added 9 stories. ‘Blue shoes’ is my favourite of the new lot. It’s a story of how a photographer captures ‘the perfect shot’ and finds an almost ‘perfect love story’. Also, the word blue is used to depict the topography, the object and the photographer’s mood towards the end.

I also enjoyed writing ‘Sunset or Sunrise’. It’s a story about the dilemma of a painter when she tries to paint something but ends up painting something entirely different. We, the author, share this dilemma fairly often.

‘They hate my guts’ is a story about a girl and how a sentence triggers the psychopath in her. These are a few new stories from the collection.

Which 3 things do you keep in mind while writing short stories?

a. To grab the reader’s attention from the first sentence. In a short story, there is no scope to beat around the bush – everything should make some point and quickly too. Even if I am describing the nature – it should do something for the story.

b Vivid description, appealing to the five senses – helps the reader to indulge in the story.

c. End with a bang. Since short, the impact has to be more to captivate the readers- such that it leaves the reader thinking and visualizing the scene or the situation. I sometimes, leave the ending open. So that the reader is left hanging with the story a little longer.

Which 3 books or authors have influenced your writing style?

I am a literature scholar, so I have been influenced by the writing style of many authors – consciously and sub-consciously too. I absolutely adored Thomas Hardy. I often wrote poems after reading his books. He truly inspired me to find my inner voice.

I love detective stories by Agatha Christie. I absolutely adore Hercule Poirot. Jean-Paul Sartre was another influence. Not his writing style per se, but his ideas always intrigued and inspired me.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I read. That’s the best way for me to fight writer’s block. Maybe my muse gets jealous when I read others’ books/stories. And pops up just in time 😉

I also realise that the writer’s block hits when I’m stressed and under pressure. So I try to meditate. Which, of course, does not work for me 😉 So I listen to music.

Share tips on publishing and marketing your e-book.

Marketing is the most challenging aspect for self-published authors. Not many self-published books go on to become extremely popular, except for a few exceptions like Fifty Shades of Grey or the Shiva Trilogy.

I have learned that networking plays a big role. I believe that publishing in various formats and platforms is the key to come across as a professional author. Having your presence around the online community can be a step in the right direction.

Throw some light on how you research while writing.

These days, the information is available on our fingertips. The challenge is to pick the correct and relevant piece – to filter the reliable from the unreliable. Since fiction is my forte I can still take the creative liberty. For instance, Dan Brown wrote ‘Da Vinci Code’ – which is mostly conspiracy theory based, it cannot be challenged on the facts. However, one needs to pick the relevant data from the trustworthy sources, especially if writing a non-fiction. If I were to write a non-fiction I would trust a library more than google.

So, that was Priya for you, throwing light on how a short story writer’s mind works.

Find out more about her book “Murder In The Palace & Other Short Stories “

In the titular tale, a fun New Year’s Eve masquerade party turns into a crime scene with Mrs. Smith found lying in a pool of her own blood. Anna Roy, the detective has her work cut out for her when she finds out that each of her five suspects has a strong motive to kill Mrs. Smith. Death threats, affairs, and jealousy – the tale has it all. Join Anna as she unearths secrets about each suspect.

If you enjoy variety in your life, this collection of short-stories across diverse genres will fill you with awe and excitement. From murder mysteries, sci-fi, historical fiction, horror to even the paranormal, Priya shall take you on a thrilling roller coaster ride.

Go through these fabulous reviews of Priya’s book:

If you need any more persuasion to buy her book, here is a cute little book teaser.
Download a free copy today. 

Priya, how was your interview experience. Do share your thoughts with us.

Fellow bloggers, hope you had as much fun reading this interview as I had compiling it.

Check out Ashwini’s blog for Romila’s interview. And go to Priya’s blog where she is featuring none other than Yours Truly!!

Go through the earlier interviews conducted in the series – AeshaRuchiMedhaManasMayuri, Preeti, Pragun, Ravish, Balaka, Huma, ShipraSonia, AnupriyaRohan and Anami.

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Interview with Anami #AuthorChatter #anshuasks

I am a fitness enthusiast and love sweating it out in the gym. I also look forward to bonding with people who love exercising to stay fit, both physically and mentally. So just imagine my pleasure when I read about a fellow author who has penned a book on fitness and exercises.

With great pleasure today, I am introducing Anami Mittal.

Anami who also goes by her pen name – ‘Nami’ is a poetess, a writer and a blogger who suffers from the incurable defect of observing life and its dwellings with a keen eye. She add words to her observations regularly on her blog – Anami’s Pensieve (www.namiwise.wordpress.com). A learner from life, Anami is an MBA(Management Science) and currently is a stay-at-home mom to a sweet little 17 months young princess.

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Anami is a strong believer of – “Every thing, situation and person out there teach us”.

What inspired you to write on exercising?

Me, Myself. I love working out. Since childhood, inspired by my mother, I am doing exercises. And after pregnancy it came as a challenge for me to be FIT. Physically. Mentally.

Mothers, are you reading this?

Who is the target audience of your book?

Everyone who wants to stay fit. Anyone and everyone who loves and respect his/her body is my ultimate target. Oops, Target Audience 🙂

You are a big advocate of body weight training. What would you like to tell our readers about body weight training?

Body weight training / exercise does not mean exercising for reducing weight. It means you are not lifting any external weight (like you do while at a gym) but using your own body’s weight. I have never been to a gym and so I just shared what I do myself, at home. With no equipment required, body weight workouts are important whether you do at gym or at home. The moves strengthens the muscles and keep you FIT. And that is my focus. People are so busy digitally, they are forgetting themselves. Body weight training is not something small.  It provides fitness at your doorstep. 😉

Which exercises do you recommend for someone who has only 30 minutes per day?

30 minutes !!!!!! 30 minutes are not “ONLY”, it is all you need my dear friend. It is more than enough. I have mentioned even a 30 second Plank can be a starting point. For 30 minutes there are many exercises one can do depending upon their level and strength.

Start with 10 minutes walk / warm-up, 15 minutes intense workout followed by 5 minutes cool down. Plank, mountain climbers, bicycle crunch, jogging, jumping jacks, squats and lunges are some of my favourites and would recommend them to include in the routine.

30 minutes are not ONLY!! You had me there, Anami!!

Do you think minding one’s diet is an important aspect of losing weight along with exercising?

Of course. MINDING and not STARVING. Mind it. Proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals are necessity of one’s body. One should focus on losing weight only when s/he is ACTUALLY overweight. Not just because you “think” you are. 😉 Losing or not losing weight, one must always mind the diet. One must keep FITNESS in mind not WEIGHT. Proper balanced diet and exercise both complement each other and both are important at their own place.

What a thought!

What are your thoughts on converting your blog posts to an e-book?

Initially I was not converting, as it has GIFs and I was not sure how to do this. But somehow, I managed and did it, for, more and more people to be aware of their fitness and well-being. Ebook needs a bit more of attention than normal blog posts. A book requires a good content management and of course some designing before it is published.

If you had a choice to replace Gregory Peck with another actor in the classic book to movie adaption ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, who do you think could do a better job?

Haha.. First I have to watch the movie for answering this question. *after searching and reading about it on the internet, (bolo google baba ki jai) * Oh it’s a 1962 movie, I was not even born back then. Well, I don’t really like comparison (unless it is with my own earlier self) 🙂

I think Peck has done a great job and done full justice to the character he played. Furthermore, I open this question for our readers to answer and let us know their views.

Friends, over to you…what do you think of this question of mine?? Thoughts please?

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Make a pillow and sleep on it. I suffer from two types of writer’s block (state of mind). First, the usual one, when one gets blank and don’t know what to write. Second is overflowing of the thoughts, where I have so many thoughts racing (fast and furious types) in my mind that it becomes tough to write. So in both cases, I sleep. With my diary by my side I lie on bed and close my eyes. It calms the mind, sorts the thoughts, and gets the focus required. It helps me.

Type B i.e. The latter is more challenging for me. It is only few days ago I had this thought. “In this era, when we have slow-motion everywhere, in dance and in movies. Even Mobile camera nowadays comes with slow-motion mode. Koi mere thoughts ko slow motion mode pe daal do. 🙂 Well, sleeping does this to some extent.

Share tips on publishing and marketing your ebook.

One word answer for beginners. Blogchatter. They provide the basic ABC about both publishing and marketing. Next comes Kindle. When it comes to eBook, KDP is a great platform for publishing. This is my second ebook and I have not published it on KDP yet.

In today’s age, where even a 2-yo knows about Youtube there is nothing unknown about anything to anyone. When you are ready with your script, everything checked, all confident, hit publish.

Follow your instincts till publishing and after that, be a bit shameless for marketing. Internet and social media provides a huge scope for marketing. Use internet wisely. I used FB and Twitter for marketing.

Throw some light on how you research while writing.

Well, I rarely research “while” writing. Like most of us, it is books and internet where I do my research work. Once I have gathered all the information then I start writing. But yes for this one I did research WHILE writing. Since it is my first take on such a topic and I am not a certified expert, so I have to make sure all the exercises are “doable”. It is the internet where I researched about dos and don’ts, how and when of exercises. I tried all of these and many more to shortlist few. Read more about my research here.

That was quite an eye opener of an interview, don’t you think so, friends!!

About Anami’s book:

This book is a compilation of few Body weight Workouts you can do at your home. These do not require any equipment.. It is a great way to exercise for those who get bored easily. Try them and you will love them.

Those who have journeyed through Anami’s book :

http://alubhujia.com/en/2018/07/15/book-review-bodyweight-workouts-by-anami-mittal-blogchatterebookcarnival/

https://www.nutatut.com/fitness-book-review-bodyweight-workouts-by-anami-mittal/

Download the book for free from here . You can find Anami’s first ebook “Her Learnings” on Amazon.

@Just_Anami, do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well.

Readers, how did you find this interview? Do comment – nothing perks up my day more than hearing from you.

Today, Ashwini is interviewing Surbhi of Ten Tales while Priya is holding an interesting conversation with Destiny’s Child – Roma.

Go through the earlier interviews of AeshaRuchiMedhaManasMayuri, Preeti, Pragun, Ravish, Balaka, Huma, ShipraSonia, Anupriya, Rohan

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Interview with Rohan #AuthorChatter #anshuasks

The author/poet whom I am interviewing today is a romantic at heart. He believes in all things mushy and cozy – like candlelight dinner and watching the sunset. And this penchant for love and romance shows in his poems as well. Beach holidays help him relax and rejuvenate. Brilliant colours of the setting sun inspire him to write free-flowing verses. His favourite colours are red and yellow that make things bright and mellow.

Meet the ever charming …Rrohan Kachalia

Rrohan Kachalia (www.rohankachalia.com) is the author of the novel ‘The 23rd Girl’ and has many short stories and poems published in various anthologies. ‘Annoyed thieves amid darkling armies’ is his first poetry book.

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A believer of numerology, Rrohan added an extra ‘r’ to his name and now his close friends and acquaintances pronounce his name with an extended ‘r’.

You were a published author even before you wrote your book on poetry. Throw some light on your first book ‘The 23rd Girl’. 

We all have some superstitions and the book ‘The 23rd Girl’ is about it but in a different way. In the book, the protagonist discovers that a number has been working for him exceedingly well and thus, he decides to play a game of number and fate. But then, life throws a curveball and his number theory comes in danger. To know what happens and how he takes control of his life and his fate you have to now read the book.

Sounds interesting!!

How was the experience of writing and publishing a book different this time around?

I have always loved writing poems, but this time around it was special as my poems have much more depth to it and it took me a considerable amount of time penning them. Writing poems and publishing a poetry book gives me the thrill and adrenaline to see and tell things in a different way with a message attached to them.

Do you identify yourself more as a fiction writer or a poet?

Off late, I identify myself as more of a poet than a fiction author, but I intend to dabble more into experimenting with different forms and genres of writing; taking a leaf out of the versatile author Kiran Manral’s writing which inspires me to push my limits.

While most of us chose a theme to keep us focused, you didn’t have a particular theme for your poems. Was there a reason behind not choosing a theme?

There wasn’t a reason as such. I simply went with the flow as I felt that having a theme might restrict me in some way while writing down the poems.

Name 5 e-books written by fellow BlogChatter authors that you enjoyed reading.

Bhumi by Tina Sequeira

Tales With A Twist by Varadharajan Ramesh

Ista Gita by Nupur Maskara

Be Cause Some Had To Say It by Namratha Varadharajan

Dare to Dream by Huma Masood

A lovely list, I must say!

Which poets do you admire and whose works you would recommend?

I admire the writings of the evergreen Gulzar and some of my work is inspired from his poems. For all those who are into poetry, I would recommend them to read the work of Rupi Kaur, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Kaveh Akbar and Sarah Kay to name a few.

Oh, my my! Rohan, they are some of the greatest and most inspirational!!

Which is one genre that you would like to write on next?

The one genre that I’d like to write first is Romance followed by a Thriller.

My fav genres…what are you waiting for, Rohan! 😉

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Listening to music, reading a poetry book and writing few words daily is enough for me to overcome writer’s block.

What publishing and marketing rules do you follow to promote your ebook.

Ah! I’m not the best person to answer this, but my little experience says that reach out to bloggers and go full throttle when it comes to social media advertising for marketing your book.

Throw some light on how you research while writing.

I usually use Google to research to get the first-hand information. Also, I do a short survey to get answers and insights and even conduct interviews if necessary.

A fresh, light and honest review!! Won’t you say?/

You know what!! Rohan has penned some beautiful lines to describe his book ‘Annoyed thieves amid darkling armies’

Stir something
Be it any emotion
Joy, Fear, Anger

Channel it
Towards a path
That leads a change

In yourself
In the surrounding you live
In the society

These are the words
Fearless, bold, outspoken
To stir something in you

If the blurb is any indication, this book is a winner. Click to grab your copy from Amazon.

Read Huma Masood’s review of the book.

@rohank01, hope you liked the interview!! Peeps, how about you? Do comment and share your thoughts. 

Ashwini is interviewing Priyanka today and Priya has an interesting rendez-vous with Nidhi.

Check out other interviews in the series conducted jointly by @Ashwini_Menon@priyreflects and Yours Truly – of  AeshaRuchiMedhaManasMayuri, Preeti, Pragun, Ravish, Balaka, Huma, ShipraSonia, Anupriya.

 

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again #MovieReview

Mamma Mia is the first musical I loved. Or rather it is the only musical I have ever loved. So when I came to know that its sequel was coming soon, I was impatiently waiting for it. Today, when it finally released, I couldn’t have missed it for the world. Along with two of my enthusiastic friends, we went to watch the movie on the first day of its release.

Mamma Mia

If you don’t know about Mamma Mia or you’d like a little recap, here it is –

Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is hosting the wedding of her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on one of the remote islands in the Aegean sea where she has been living since years. Sophie secretly invites the three men (Sam, Bill and Harry played by Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth respectively) who played a major role in Donna’s youth. One of them, no one knows (not even Donna), is also the biological father of Sophie.

When Donna comes to know, there is a big scene. However, Sam apologises to Donna for the way he had abandoned her when they were young. The two resolve their differences and get married.

Mamma Mia 2

Now…No spoiler alert but…

Donna is no more. Yes, you read it right. I felt like leaving the movie hall as soon as I learnt this, but I didn’t because my love for the franchise was too great and also because I was curious to know if they would be able to pull off a movie without their greatest star – Meryl Streep. So did they? Read till the end to find the answer.

So Donna has left for her heavenly abode. And Sophie pregnant with her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is on the Greek island preparing for a gala opening of Donna’s inn turned into a luxury hotel. She has invited all – Donna’s college friends and her three fathers.

From here on, the plot swings backward and forward. Along with Sophie running around preparing for the big launch and battling with her emotions as she finds out Sky has been offered a job in the US, we also get a prequel into Donna’s youth.

In 1979, a young Donna (Lily James) has just graduated. She heads east which for her means Europe, to experience freedom and live her life on her own terms. On her adventurous journey, she meets three good looking young men. She falls in love with one of them, Sam, but her trust is betrayed when she finds out Sam is already engaged to be married to another woman. That is also the same time she learns about her pregnancy, however, she doesn’t know which of the three men has fathered the child. She decides to stay on the island in the Aegean Sea and run an inn.

Sophie is trying to achieve Donna’s dream by turning it into a hotel. On the launch day arrive, she is reunited with her husband Sky who comes home after turning down the job offer, three fathers, her mother’s friends and also her grandma who had refused to accept a pregnant Donna.

What I like?

Firstly, they could gather the same old cast which gets a big thumbs up from my side.

The three men – Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan and Jeremy Irvine playing the roles of young Harry, Bill and Sam have done justice to their characters. However, the biggest surprise is Lily James. James had big boots to fill and she did a tremendous job. Not only she is pretty and looks fresh, but she has also acted and played the role of a young Donna very convincingly. Not to mention she is a better dancer than Meryl Streep. 🙂

The peep into the life of Donna is made interesting by way of flashbacks. We all knew Donna had three partners, but now we are able to connect the dots as we come to know how those men came into her life, about her heartbreak and all.

What upset me?

Well, a lot of things. For starters, there was hardly any role of Meryl Streep in the movie. A brief appearance at the end doesn’t count. Even Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth have no substantial roles. I felt cheated, because these were the three actors along with the incredible songs from ABBA which had made Mamma Mia one of the greatest musicals.

Cher who is the grandma of Sophie – Ruby Sheridan, with her botox-ed cheeks look younger than even her son-in-law – Pierce Brosnan. In fact, Sophie has more wrinkles than Cher; it looks fake and unconvincing. Also, the reunion of Fernando (Andy Garcia) and Ruby Sheridan, who had met in 1959 (and Fernando might be the father of Donna and the grandfather of Sophie), adds one more unwanted layer to the whole drama. The story line looks forced and compromised in order to introduce ABBA songs.

The new songs don’t have the same zing as the ones in the first movie. Though there were a few old songs that were recycled like “Mamma mia” and “Dancing Queen’, you don’t feel like tapping on them.

Verdict

So did they pull off this sequel without Meryl Streep? I’d say NO. Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses in the history of cinema and a movie which had her in the first part cannot be good enough without her in the second part. Though Lily James comes as a breath of fresh air, neither the plot nor the motley of characters is able to lift up the movie.

Only true fans of the Mamma Mia franchise and ABBA will enjoy this film.

 

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Interview with Anupriya #AuthorChatter #anshuasks

A mother by day & a reader-writer by night, our today’s writer believes in the magical power of stories and story-telling. Her blog ‘mommytincture’ is an account of her experiences as a mother/daughter/woman/human being, all churned together.

Today, I am introducing Anupriya…

In a span of 15 years , Anupriya has stayed in at least 5 different cities and thus traversed the length and breadth of the country. She considers it a privilege to be able to observe and understand distinct cultures.

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Apart from being passionate about her profession, she is also an ardent reader and a lover of leisure cooking.

 

Let’s know more about Anupriya

Any particular reason for choosing parenting as the subject of your ebook.

Well! I derive confidence from what I do. At this point of time in my life, I am focusing on parenting. So obviously, I couldn’t have thought about anything else as the central theme for my book and be equally confident about it. But I didn’t want to give plain ‘Gyaan’ in the form of parenting advice. Thus I decided to explore the emotional turmoil of a parent in various stages of their life-cycle through an ensemble of stories.

Have you experienced any of the parenting issues that the characters in your book went through in your real life?

Oh! Most of them! This book is a reflection of what I have experienced myself as a mother and those around me.

What should be the major takeaways for a reader from your book?

A mother has a very difficult task of raising kids and shaping their personality. It is even more challenging emotionally in the face of the fact that one day these kids will grow their own wings and will want to fly independently. Yet, it’s a job that you can’t resign from. You have to learn as you tread the path. The key to succeeding is to have an open mind and a large heart.

Which character from your book do you most relate to and why?

When I sketched Amrita, I put my heart in her heart and my mind in her mind. She is almost a reflection of me.

Name 3 e-books written by fellow BlogChatter authors that you liked reading the most.

Deal of Death by Sonai Chatterjee

IPL-ology by Paresh Godhwani

How I wrote my Comic Book – The Journey by Priyanka Vermani

Which words or phrases do you tend to overuse in your writing?

I feel the most over used word in my fiction writings is ‘sigh’. I have failed to find synonyms for this word that convey the same message. Need to research more.

The other phrase is ‘even though’. I guess I just like the sound of these two words together.

That’s endearing!

Which book-to-movie adaptation did you love and which did you hate?

The Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar – I watched the movie first and then read the book. I must say that it was one book that altered my view of this world and the way I looked at other people (specially the specially gifted ones).

What a reply!

Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat – I really have no words to defend this choice.

LOL! 

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I open my laptop and type away words without thinking too much about their coherence and do not stop until I have a word count of 500. Editing can wait for a later time when I am more composed.

I believe that any kind of mental block has to be dealt with head-on. So whenever I am in a tussle within my mind, I stop thinking and get my butt moving and do what needs to be done.

One of the best I have read so far!

Share tips on publishing and marketing your ebook.

For me, the Blogchatter community has played a significant role in helping me publish my book. I haven’t ventured on my own yet, so can’t tell if going the individual way would be any easier.

About marketing too, I haven’t gone beyond the guide book by #Blogchatter. This wonderful community had my back covered. You will have to wait for my next book, for a more knowledgeable answer from me on this one. I hope it happens soon!

Me too!

Throw some light on how you research while writing.

The primary source of research is the internet. But talking to people is also significant. Especially if you want to understand incidents that you did not witness first hand. Or in case you need to understand how a particular person’s heart and mind worked in a situation that you are writing on.

More on Anupriya’s book 

Why is a mother having sleepless nights just because her daughter doesn’t want to have kids even after years of marriage? What kind of gender predicaments does an expecting mother find herself in as she nurtures her unborn child? How a 5 year old infers matters about his inheritance? How pained is the life of aging grandparents who live miles away from their grandchildren?  Why is a mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship doomed forever? Can anyone ever justify the extravagance of marriage ceremonies in India?  And last but not the least how are people doomed when relationships go ugly and there are tiny lives involved?

Parenting & A Slice Of Everything is a collection of 26 stories that bring forth a galore of characters, incidents and emotions directly or remotely related to the parenting life-cycle and its tyranny on life and relationships.

Parenting & A Slice Of Everything is available on Amazon.

Reviews:

https://priyankavermani.com/book-review-parenting-a-slice-of-everything-by-anupriya-gupta/

http://babyandbeyond.in/book-review-parenting-and-a-slice-of-everything-by-anupriya-gupta/

https://anshubhojnagarwala.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/book-review-parenting-a-slice-of-everything/

https://royrashi.blogspot.com/2018/07/book-review-parenting-and-slice-of.html

Check out this cute little video by Anupriya.

What did you think about this interview? Do comment and share your thoughts!!

@Anupriya_Guptaa, do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well.

Head to Ashwini’s and Priya’s blogs for interviews of Dr. Amrita Basu and Sona.

Check out other interviews in the series conducted jointly by @Ashwini_Menon@priyreflects and Yours Truly –of AeshaRuchiMedhaManasMayuri, Preeti, Pragun, Ravish, Balaka, Huma, Shipra, Sonia.

Posted in Author Interview | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Interview with Sonia #AuthorChatter #anshuasks

Her first book and she wrote it in just 6 days. Not cooped up in a beach house or looking at the inspiring hills, but while minding an active toddler. If that’s not a feat then I don’t know what is.

This dynamite of a lady is none other than Sonia Chatterjee.

An alumnus of Presidency College (Kolkata), Delhi University and XIME (Bangalore), Sonia Chatterjee holds two post graduate degrees in the fields of Chemistry and Management. With eight years of experience in the Banking sector heading branches of ICICI and HDFC Bank, she had taken a sabbatical from the corporate world to enjoy the roller coaster ride of motherhood. A self-confessed bibliophile, Sonia inherited her love of the written words from her Professor father. As a tribute to her late mother and a gift to her son on his second birthday, Sonia started blogging from September 2017.

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Married to a Doctor, Sonia is crazy about four things in life – books, food, travel and her uber-cute toddler.

Tell us the most interesting aspect about your book – Deal of Death?

The most interesting or rather weird aspect of my book will always be the way it was conceived and written. I had participated in the Blogchatter A2Z challenge in April on the nonfiction theme – A dollop of Bengal. When I signed up for the E-book carnival next, I started aligning my posts in a manner that befits an e-book. Halfway through my work, I realised that the blogs might have been a good read but the book felt like half – cooked biryani. It needed more information and time. I didn’t want to come out with a book whose quality stayed questionable in my own eyes. So I decided to inform Blogchatter about bowing out of this carnival.

As the submission date started approaching, most of my fellow bloggers in the Twitter DM group created by Blogchatter updated their submission status. That excitement was so infectious that I went a little berserk and thought of attempting a fiction novella. The noteworthy fact here is that this enthusiasm only showing its effect only 11th May onwards with the submission deadline as 13th May. So, Raya Ray was conceived on the evening of 11th May and without much idea about how I will go about writing it, I ventured onto this exciting (and crazy) journey. But fortune favours the brave (this has become my favourite line recently) and the deadline was extended until 16th May initially and 17th May finally. In 6 days, I managed to churn out a novella of 26k words.

I am sure I was one of the last ones to hit the send button before midnight on 17th May but that childish excitement of finally making it lingers on even today.

It is incredible, isn’t it?

What inspired you to write a mystery thriller?

I will have to credit the idea to my huge obsession with reading books in this genre. I grew up reading and loving the Detective genre (My G post in A2Z challenge was an ode to all those Bengali detectives or goyenda as they call it in the colloquial language). But I have to admit that I am hugely inspired by Satyajit Ray’s Feluda series and Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie. In fact very few people know that the surname of my protagonist was consciously created as a tribute to Satyajit Ray. I idolise him for being a multi talented genius.

My fav detectives too!

Did you outline the entire plot in the beginning itself? Or did you build it as and when you wrote?

I have already narrated how this novella was conceived. When I started writing the only thing that I knew was that her name was to be Raya Ray (I spent almost 2 hours in permutation and combination of names since her surname HAD to be Ray). And then I wanted it to have a historical base in Bengal since I had been visiting a lot of historical towns just before that. Her character started developing as I started writing. I am more of an impulsive writer and hardly stick to plans, so I let the story flow freely taking shape as I wrote. I work at insane hours (12-4 am is the usual time I keep for writing), so I would keep writing at this time and spend the next afternoon thinking if I wanted to continue with the story line I created last night. The exciting part was that I had managed to introduce so many levels of mystery that when it was time for Raya to make revelations and connect the history to the present incidents, I was cursing myself for trying to be extra innovative with the plot.

Raya Ray is not your usual detective – she is overweight and is dealing with child loss issues. How Raya Ray came into being? Who or what inspired you?

When I began the novella, I was sure about the protagonist being a lady. That’s because even though we have so many detectives in our country, there’s only a handful of female sleuths. While etching her character, I wanted her to be relatable. Also there had to be a solid reason for her to get involved in this case and in the story, it is the loss of a child that connected Raya and Sharmila. Often we are made to believe that a smart detective had to be tall and good-looking (more so if it’s a lady), so I wanted to consciously break that stereotypical notion. My Raya is married and overweight (and justifiably so) yet she’s sharper than any other character. Also I had been asked if Raya was similar to me in some ways. I would say it is not very unusual to see a character having few traits of the author.

You have described the quaint little town of Munshiganj in detail along with its history and legend. Is it a real place or fictitious?

Munshiganj is a figment of my imagination. It is an amalgamation of the places I had visited while working on my Bengal diaries. So the picturesque location and legend in the book have been partially inspired from those places. All the pictures used in the book had been clicked by me in various quaint towns in Bengal. When I started writing this plot, I assimilated those that fitted in the plot creating the historical background.

This is what I call a great combo of research and imagination!

Can your readers expect more murder mysteries or thrillers with Raya Ray as your main character?

I definitely want to write more thrillers in the Raya Ray series because my mind is buzzing with many plots that I want Raya to solve. But I am waiting for the right idea to start writing the next novel. Hopefully I should have that sorted by end of July.

Sonia, I am for one anxiously waiting for a sequel

If you get an option to change one thing about your book, what would it be?

It would have to be the approach to climax. Due to time constraints, I couldn’t add more details in the climax and making it feel a little rushed. There are quite a few layers of mystery in this book whose connecting points have been taken care of as the story unravelled. But I feel that it would be easier and more interesting for the readers to understand the instances that lead to the climax if I could describe them in more details. I am already working on this aspect and this is precisely why I have still not released this book on Amazon or any other platform.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I haven’t yet faced much of writer’s block but normally when I feel stuck, I let it go. I unwind by reading a lot of books in the genre of thriller and humour. I also love reading Bengali novels. But my biggest stress-buster is my 2.9 year old son. His constant chatter and stories help me create better stories.

Aww…how cute!

Share tips on publishing and marketing your ebook.

Since I haven’t taken the publishing route yet (traditional or self –publishing), I don’t think I have the right experience to comment on this parameter.

But I would love to share few tips that really worked well for me while marketing my book. In fact 80 copies of Deal of Death had been downloaded even before it was officially launched by Blogchatter on Twitter and it was also one of the most downloaded books in the carnival.

  1. Create an initial hype through constant updates on social media much before the launch date of the book. It could be through an initial announcement of the book, cover launch, releasing a video of the book or a video of dramatic reading. The idea is to create curiosity.
  2. Use Facebook effectively because it lets you write more details about the book. As a new author, I would recommend using personal profile for posts related to the book until the author page garners enough number of followers. Tweet out bits and pieces of the book daily using the right hashtags. The hashtags are important in Instagram as well but honestly I am yet to figure out the working dynamics of Instagram and Pinterest, so can’t say much about them.
  3. Please don’t keep tagging people unnecessarily and continuously. It really gets annoying especially if the only interaction you have with those tagged is about your book.
  4. Use personal connects and groups on Whatsapp. Send a message to a contact individually and in groups as well but please don’t keep bombarding them with the same details every day.
  5. Seek feedback. This is the most critical aspect. As an author, it is very important to let the reader know that their inputs are valuable.

Whoa!! Those are some neat tips!

Throw some light on how you research while writing.

I had already picked up few relevant historical facts while working on my travel diaries. My reference material came from the tourist guides I met at each of these places, the books about the local folklores and few history books on the subject. The internet has managed to bring all these information in one place today. So I do get on Google and other relevant websites often to research on my topic and verify the information before putting them in the plot. Also most of the medical details in my story come from my Doctor husband. I am sure that he is soon going to start charging me a consultation fee for the unbelievable volume of questions I keep throwing at him.

Thank you for putting together such an amazing bunch of questions. I had real fun answering them.

I had fun asking them, and readers will have fun reading them, Sonia!

About Sonia’s book – Deal of Death

Munshiganj is a quaint town with a rich historical background. Its biggest attraction has been a temple and mosque co-existing within the same premises along with the tomb of Nawab Rehamat Khan. Recently though, the peace of this little town has been affected by the paranormal – the temple bell rings by itself daily at midnight.

Raya Ray, an ex-marketing honcho had been dealing with loss when a chance to help her Banker husband, Krishanu, marked her debut as a private investigator. Detective Raya Ray lands in Munshiganj in response to a call for help from Sharmila – the sister of her house- help Sutapa. Sharmila suspects foul play when the doctors at the town hospital tell her she delivered a stillborn child and detective Ray steps in to assist.

Raya steps into a field of landmines after the body of Dr. Sonam Misra from the same hospital is discovered on the deck of a steamer and she chances upon a secret safeguarded for ages inside the temple. With the help of local rickshaw puller Habul, Raya starts unraveling the mystery, unaware of the danger lurking over her as a pair of blue eyes trail her every move.

As she puts the pieces together, detective Ray realizes that nothing and no one are what they appear to be.

Download the book from here 

This is what fellow authors think about Sonia’s book:

https://www.mayabhat.com/2018/06/07/deal-of-death-introducing-raya-ray-book-review-and-author-interview/

http://www.mommytincture.com/2018/06/13/deal-death-blogchatter-ebook-review/

https://looseendoftheredthread.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/varads-opinions-deal-of-death-by-sonia-chatterjee/

http://www.medhanagur.com/opinion-on-deal-of-death-a-novella-by-sonia-chatterjee/

https://aeshasmusings.com/book-review/book-review-deal-of-death/

https://sonaonline.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/deal-of-death-by-sonia-chatterjee-book-review/

http://thevagabond.me/2018/06/03/book-review-deal-of-death-by-sonia-chatterjee-banerjee/

https://www.nutatut.com/book-review-deal-death-sonia-chatterjee/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40226793-deal-of-death

Check out her GoodReads page

A cute little video by Sonia reading her book Deal of Death

 

Sonia’s work can be found at soniasmusings.com. She currently works hard to realise her dream of becoming a best-selling author while secretly wishing harder for twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep.

 All the best to you, Sonia!

@soniasmusings, do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well.

Did you like today’s interview? Did you find it funny or useful? Whatever your thoughts might be, do share here!

Wondering what Ashwini and Priya are upto? Go check their blogs for the interviews of Rashmi and Nupur.

Check out other interesting interviews in the series conducted jointly by @Ashwini_Menon, @priyreflects and Yours Truly.

Go through earlier interviews with AeshaRuchiMedhaManasMayuri, Preeti, Pragun, Ravish, Balaka, Huma, Shipra.

 

Posted in Author Interview | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments