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Book Review: Ri, Homeland of Uncertainty, Author – Paulami Duttagupta, Publisher – Fablery Publications

Title: Ri, – Homeland of Uncertainty

Author: Paulami Duttagupta

Publisher: Fablery Publications

ISBN: 9788192893730

Pages: 127

My Review

Ri – Homeland of Uncertainity by Paulami Duttagupta is an adaptation of the movie Ri.

A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE PLIGHT OS NORTHERN EASTERN PEOPLE!

‘Ri’, is a Khasi word, which means country or say, homeland. This novel is a story about journey back to homeland. Literary speaking, we all are wanderers who are wandering around in order to locate our real roots, which are actually deeply located back in our homelands. Every single individual has his own perception for finding roots; it may be looking for satisfaction in professional life, happiness with family members or may be looking for some purpose in an aimless life. This story is about – ‘Ri’.

Based on the backdrop of terrorism in north eastern states and set in 2000s, the book makes an intelligent start with an introduction to the very concept of ‘north eastern sates’. I am confident that many of us know nothing about this region except a few names such as Shillong or Darjeeling or Cheerapunji.

The author sets the mood and tone of the story with a beginning laced with familiarizing the readers with the region; its geographical and cultural aspects – both beautiful and majestic. Then, she makes a twist and directs the attention towards a social menace – ‘Terrorism’. Yes, even these states were also grief stricken with an ‘inside-outside’ war. Like Kashmir, the youth were diverted towards the wrong routes in the name of freedom. Inadvertently, they stood against their own men in dress, their countrymen – their saviors. Within this gloomy situation prevails the uncertainty of homeland.

The author makes an attempt to highlight the plight (the uncertainty) of people in north east states through the story of Kyndiah (SP in Policeforce) and Manbha (a ‘so-called’ freedom fighter). She sensitizes on the aspect that how war, which the people claim to fight, becomes senseless, thus, seeking freedom from undesired bondage.

The characters are really strong and they are not merely the protagonists of the story rather they are the faces to the numerous thoughts and the mindsets of people out there! Kyundiah is a result-oriented and committed police officer who has left behind his family to serve his country. He heads his team and cares about his men like his own family. Contrastingly, is Manbha, who is actually a young blood vouching for responsibility, belongingness and recognition (just like any other young lad) but unknowingly, becomes a committed member of an outfit group, and is set on a mission.

She balances the story by incorporating the media outlook in the equation. She touches upon how media probes deeper into the issues but glorifies the plight. Indeed, a perfect example of shallow journalism. Starting from the blocked roads of Shillong, it traverses through India-Bangladesh border, Meghalaya and it ends up in openness of Church, located in Jowai, Meghalaya.

Reading this novel was a perception changing experience for me. It made me re-think if we should ever try to justify why terrorist groups are growing? It was frightening to learn how we (we all) debate about terrorism on a global scale but actually we have NO IDEA of what is happening in our own state. How the influencers make use of ‘Fight for freedom’ and ‘terrorism’ interchangeably for their own benefit at the cost of the commoners. What runs in the minds while performing inhumane tasks?

Read the story to learn how these issues affect the lives of the commons and the culprits alike and how the author suggests an alternate approach in the voice of Emika! Who is she? A Freedom fighter or a terrorist? The uncertainty prevails!!!

About the book

Ri – Homeland of Uncertainity – “People from this state sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom for India but who knows about them? These selected chronicles of selected parts of the country, India, has always excluded us, and it hasn’t become self-sufficient yet. For half a century, independent India has only waited for some miracle to happen… and you still have hope?”

Trapped in the limbo between ideology and conscience, Manbha finds himself part of a terror outfit. An unexpected opportunity, anger, squalor and disillusionment –followed by armed combat and injury lead to the soul – searching that form the substance of this moving tale.

Author Spotlight Interview with Harsh Warrdhan, Author – When Hari met his Saali

Dear Readers,

Our final call for today is for Mr. Harsh Warrdhan. He is an experienced person in the industry. Apart from the interaction with him in relation toHarsh Warrdhan the book, I got a chance to learn an important aspect related to the interview exercise on the blog as well. I will be implementing it soon!

Till then, just have a scoop of what he has to offer as an extra dose for the day…

BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
HW: Necessity is the mother of discovering if one can write. While finishing my engineering, I was simultaneously applying for a film school in U.S. One of the requirements to securing an admission was to write an essay saying why they should accept me in the university. I wrote a 4 page long essay completely made up of Hollywood film titles. It started with ‘To Sir, with Love’, the 1967 Sidney Poitier film. Since I got accepted everywhere I applied, I thought I was a good writer. But, it was the fun I had while writing it that really kept me going back to writing. You can say, I am an accidental writer J

BNI: What inspired you to write your book ‘When Hari Met His Saali’?
HW: I had been writing screenplays for TV and films and writing a novel just expands the canvas to paint the stories. I love the scope as well as challenges of both. Since I went to America from a small town in India, I decided to incorporate my experiences around a fictional love story in the book.

BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book
HW: Set in Los Angeles and Nagpur, India, ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ is a funny, fresh, and outrageous look at young people and their dreams, longings, aches and heartbreaks. In a breezy, humorous narrative anchored around a magical twist, the story of Tia, Simi and Hari unfolds from romantic comedy into a climax full of suspense.

BNI: How did you come up with the title?
HW: The title is a word play on one of the most iconic Hollywood movie called ‘When Harry Met Sally’, a romantic-comedy, which was released 25 years ago. The romantic comedy was built around the question – ‘Can a man and a woman be just friends?’ Although, the theme of my book is different, it does ask questions of the fictional romantic ideas and expectations we all have from the opposite gender. I thought, the title could be a fun homage to the movie.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
HW: Although, I have been told that it is liked by all demographics, the book is most definitely targeted towards the youth, people who are in their 20’s, as it is a story of how the youth of India is obsessed with going abroad and how their perspective on life changes when they do manage to go. I guess, it appeals to the parents of such upwardly mobile youngsters as well. I can’t honestly say why a certain demographic would not like the book J

BNI: Who is your favourite character in the book? What makes them so?
HW: Tia Malhotra in When Hari Met His Saali is the best character I have written. As a writer she is my favorite but to the readers she wouldn’t be which was intentional. We all know people like Tia. They do all the wrong things for the right reasons. We admire their zest for life but we wouldn’t want them as a close friend. She’s the most admirably imperfect character I have created. In her fallacy she is the most realistic character of the story.

BNI: Share some interesting story about the book cover development.
HW: We made several mock covers before deciding on the final cover. I wanted it to compliment the title. Since the story is a love triangle, we used the elements from Romeo & Juliet and made it really bright and colorful. I had a feeling that after finishing the book, the reader would have a satisfying smile on their face and I wanted the cover to reflect that. Lots of hard work and determination went into designing it.

BNI: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
HW: More than a message, I would say, there’s a comment on how our society in today’s media and technology dominated lives affect our perceptions about love, romance and life itself. Our idea of what we expect from life has become virtual and fictional because the influences are virtual and fictional. In that context, readers can see their reflection as a third party observer. Of course, it is done with self-referential humorous narrative.

BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
HW: If the characters are well fleshed out and their journey still interesting, a book series is almost a given. Of course, it should not be forced, that is also a given. I don’t know about a series for ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ but the characters- Hari, Tia and Simi- are young and at a threshold of next phase of their lives at the end of the book, so a sequel is in the works. It’ll be fun to see if they learnt any lessons from the first outing and how they grow in their lives.

BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
HW: I am very active on social media like Facebook and Twitter. And I love interacting with my readers. Apart from the compliments on the book, people give you honest feedback in terms of what they did not like. I trust the reader more than I trust editors. Also, since, I also do lectures in colleges, I get lot of enquiries about how to start a career in writing.

BNI: Which writers inspire you?
HW: Recently, Gillian Flynn has inspired me with her amazing ‘Gone Girl’. But early influences have been Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder of course.

BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
HW: Printed hardcover is still my preference and least desirable, at least for a writer, is having their work read in pdf.

BNI: Thank you so much for accepting to be interviewed and sharing your experiences with the blog readers. Eager to read more from your desk!!!

Author Spotlight Interview with Chitra Anand, Author – Beyond School, Publisher – Frog Books / Leadstart Publishers

Dear Readers,

 Our fourth author for today is Ms. Chitra Anand. Being a teacher and an understanding lady in her own life, she has a knack to understand theChitra psyche of growing children.

Her latest Beynd School is an attempt to make the readers understand the teenagers with open mind and open hands to embrace them, the way they are. J Let us start with the session.

BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background. So, What all you have written / published till date? What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
CA: I have been a teacher by profession, sharing my understanding of fundamental physics with students who are on the verge of entering professional colleges. This phase of transition, from school to college, is a challenging time for my students. Caught in a deluge of academic compulsions, personal aspirations and interests, hormonal changes, societal norms and indifferent schooling system, many of them go through harrowing time of what should have been a thrilling experience of learning, growing and dreaming. ‘’Beyond School,’’ could be considered a reflection of the times of our seventeen year olds, walking through the grind of our system of education.

 

BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book
CA: Seventeen- year- old Shail aspires to be an ace professional footballer. But he is unable to match his aspirations with directional focus and effort. Urmila and Sushil, influenced by momentous events in their past, wish him the realization of his dreams and take help from Gladys, a teacher-mentor, who has learnt her lessons for life in hard ways.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
CA: Shail may be a seventeen year old, fighting board exam related stress. But his times cannot be viewed in isolation of the life of his parents, teachers, friends and the inanimate system of education to which each contributes his mite. ‘’Beyond School’’ tries to explore boundaries beyond Shail’s life and school. Hence I hope readers from varied age groups and pursuits, find interest in the story.

BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so? Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

CA: Shail, Urmila, Sushil and Gladys, are the main characters in the book. And each one has a unique existence in ‘’Beyond School.’’ I am unable to choose one from another of them.

BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
CA: From the time I began writing the book to the time of its release, every moment has been a learning experience. ‘’Beyond School’’ is my first novel and in an effort such as this, I understood that, apart from developing the requisite skills, you should support yourself with tenacity and perseverance. Writing part is enjoyable and hence there is enthusiasm to overcome the hardships. Finding a publisher is a daunting task, not easy.

 BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
CA:
In ‘’Beyond School,’’ when young Gladys would have died of shame and guilt, her father helps her to rise and succeed in life. I wish every father to be like Gladys’ father who inspires the girl by repeatedly saying,’ ’Life can always change for better.’’ Irrespective of the result, life is a process in which we may strive to make each day better than the one before.

BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book? Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

CA: I am yet to take concrete steps towards the marketing of ‘’Beyond School.’’

BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part- time?

CA: I have been living with the writer within me since childhood. It took me longer than I would have liked to work for my publishing dreams. Now I try to spend most of my time, reading and writing.

BNI: Which writers inspire you? What draws you to this genre?

CA: J.M. Coetzee, Julian Barnes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Somerset Maugham, Munshi Premchand, P.L. Deshpande, Mahadevi Varma are among my favourites.

I read them for the wholesome experience of living and life that they provide.

BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
CA: The hardest thing about writing is to effect the transition of energy from mind space to paper space. What seems ecstatic, unique and marvelous in the realm of thoughts, so often falls flat on paper. The toil is all about trying to match the exuberance of thought with the form of words.

BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
CA: I am conscious about the fact that I have attended to my passion of writing and reading rather late. But, I do not regret the late -entry, as there were other compulsions of life that needed to be given priority. I hope to write regularly hereon.

BNI: Many thanks to you Ms. Chitra. I hope the readers find the interview check for more details about the book and enjoy your company through words.

Author Spotlight with Mangala Nagarajan, Author – Light Denied, Publisher – Gargi Publishers

Dear Readers,

The third author spotting the light on her majestic aura is Mangala Nagarajan maam. Her latest present to her readers is a book titled- ‘Light Denied’ published by Gargi Publishers.

She has many laurels adorning her kitty. I am thankful to her for taking out time to answer to the questionnaire. Let us start our journey with her, this time.

BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
MN: I live in Kalpakkam , a nuclear township on the shores of Bay of Bengal inMangala Tamil Nadu. I am a homemaker. Reading books, blogging, spending time with the kids and watching nature is my life.

BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?
MN: I blog for Sulekha on all topics. My first novel ‘Amidst the tides lies a beautiful island’ was published by Patridge India, then ‘Light Denied’ by Gargi. Another short story ‘Phenomenal Love’ is one in the Anthology ‘Drenched Souls’.

BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
MN: Reading my blogs in Sulekha, my dad wanted me to compile the blogs and give it to him. I decided to give him a surprise on his 83rd birthday and my first Novella, ‘Amidst the tides lies a beautiful island’ was born.

In my hometown Madurai, I have seen female infanticide, the disabled being treated as cursed. I was too young to address this then. I wanted to write about this to create awareness that disability is not a liability and they too have the right to live.

BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book.
MN:
I would prefer to give Gayatri Aptekar’s review as my story’s tagline .She made my day’. An inspiring story of hoping against hope and achieving what most people term impossible! Light Denied brightens and shines.

BNI: How did you come up with the title?
MN: I had first named it Viswathomukhi .But my publisher Pulkit Gupta said that the title wasn’t catchy. He suggested a few and I wasn’t completely satisfied. I remembered Milton and the words he used to express his blindness’, ‘Light denied’ .We both decided on it.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
MN: It is written in simple language to appeal to the mass. Anyone can read it as it is sure to inspire and show the other side of life.

BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
MN: Haha! Can a mother dislike her creations? Everyone in my book is special to me in their own ways. They have their reasons to behave the way they did. I lived each one when I penned. I loved the teacher Titiksha who showed what it was to be a tutor, without whom my story wouldn’t have stepped forward.

BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
MN: Viswathomukhi- she struggles and strives to reach the goal. We can give support but there should be a flame to leave the barriers and get out. She did it .I believe too that her character can inspire and motivate many.

BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
MN: Easiest thing—Pulkit Gupta, was available anytime to answer any queries of mine.

Hardest part -Promotion.

Mr.Gupta did his part but I couldn’t really help him in this as my circle is limited.

BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.
MN: I was trying to bring the difficulties in the daily routine of the blind girl. I had written almost three pages when I realised that it had flaws .I stayed blind for an hour and imagined the situation. It was difficult and I came up with Chapter 6 where she enjoys the rain. Honestly I thanked God for making me perfect .

BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
MN: We have to develop awareness on disability and support these special people for the world is created for them too and we have no right to deny it.

BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book?
MN: No, I have started late .This is not my profession. I am doing it out of passion.

BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
MN: I am getting feedbacks from the readers who have read the book. My dad was the first to call me and tell that he was touched and had tears when he read the book. I get feedbacks from my friends but the ones that make me elated are from the people unknown to me.

BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
MN: Writing is my passion. I started late after my daughter went abroad to pursue her education and my husband was busy with his job. I would thank the ‘Empty nest syndrome’ that made me turn to my passion.

BNI: Which writers inspire you?
MN: I love Authur Hailey, Perry Mason’s and Agatha christie’s and R.K.Narayan’s works. I love the poems of Keats, Shelley, Gibran, Tagore, Ramanujam and in my language Tamil, I have list of favorite authors.

BNI: What draws you to this genre?
MN: I love all Genres except horror and sorcery. I hate them.

BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
MN: I don’t get time to type my words for an hour together as I have to answer the bell or a phone call. Then …..Editing. I always find it tough to edit my own work .Ila Garg helped me in weeding Light Denied.

BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
MN: It is just my passion.

BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
MN: Criticism -My husband is my first critic. He tells me frankly where and what I err. The other one is Usha ,a Tamil author and Durgesh (Author of Twelve Strokes), they tell me frankly what they feel about my work, be it good or bad.

Compliment: When out of blue, people call me and tell that they enjoyed my work. I have heard it from many.

BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block?
MN: Hmmm..I need a tip myself. Just write, don’t wait for the best thoughts to come. Keep writing.

BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
MN: No .

BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
MN: If your passion is writing, write, whatever be your age, don’t wait for themes to come, don’t bother about the grammar for according to me the best book is the one which can converse, take you along with it and make you feel what the characters feel. Finally it should be written with those feeling which you want your characters to reflect.

BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
MN: I can write a book on it.In a few words, I did not enjoy the ride.

BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
MN: When I write, I become the character. I could feel myself floating in air when I gave the last chapter of my book. I always wanted my heroine to be the best and she is till the end…

BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
MN: Each blog or book gives me lessons .I learnt that everything that appeals to me need not appeal to others.

BNI: What do you think about – What does your protagonist think about you?
MN: Amol Karambe’s cover design shows my heroine’s head held high. I always want her to be confident and courageous. Protagonist think of me—I need to ask her, whether she enjoyed being with me.

BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
MN: “The girl gave her the pen and placed her hand on the page. She signed. The dumb girl kissed her and her mom said, “You cannot see. My daughter cannot talk. She loves to dance. She loves music too. That is why, we never miss a single concert. I will give my best to my daughter Madam. Your little speech brought confidence in me.”

BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
MN: I hope many would read the book and understand the cause for what it is written.

BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
MN: Of course yes. I pick a book seeing the cover. It is the face that gives the first impression. For a book it is the cover. Everyone loved my book’s cover.

BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
MN: When you come in contact with a proper publisher, it is good. Otherwise it turns a nightmare. There are loads and loads of books being published after self publishing came into vogue but reaches a few readers. That is the disadvantage.

BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
MN: I always go for a printed version.

BNI: Dear maam, thanks for sharing your insight with us and the blog readers. We eagerly wait for your next to be enlightened with your vision and precision!

Author Spotlight Interview with Sowmya Aji, Author – Delirium, Published by Harper Collins

Dear Readers,

Our second author basking in spotlight is Ms. Sowmya Aji, Author – Delirium. This is a story based on the backdrop of India-Pakistan match. Since the day, I had my first conversation with her; I have found her to be a perky person. She has a lively and glamorous style of writing and her book is the proof of the testimony.

I am confident that you will enjoy this chirpy conversation with her.

BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
SA: I’m an English literature post-graduate, a political journalist by professionSowmya Aji and day-dreamer by instinct. :) And an ominously focused reader.

BNI: So, what all you have written / published till date?
SA: What all I’ve written is way too big, I write for living as a journalist :) But in terms of creative work, other than Delirium published by HarperCollins, I’ve written an adult fantasy novel, The Wall and a college-based novella, Parallels, both unpublished. I’ve also translated Kannada author K P Poornachandra Tejaswi’s novella Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu, which is being processed for publication.

A short story Another Time Another Place has been published by Penguin India as part of a collection Love Stories That Touched My Heart edited by Ravinder Singh. Another short story Blanks n blues has been published by Femina. Of course, I’ve had the usual poems and short stories in college magazines :) which are so encouraging!

Blog.. I’ve started one in the name of the hero of Delirium, Avinash Katagi. It’s avinashkatagi.blogspot.com and it tells the story of Delirium from his point of view. It’s a contrast to the book as well as a supplementary read …. because so many people told me they wanted more, after reading Delirium :) Now, I am avidly awaiting feedback on the blog.

BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
SA: I was present outside the stadium for the high octane day-night ODI, the first in India, played out in Bangalore in 1996 between India and Pakistan. That, in fact, is the beginning of Delirium. The book, though, popped into my mind when I was travelling to Mangalore by road one night to cover some news event in late 1998. I was just thinking randomly, looking out into the night through the car window, and I thought…. what if a TV journalist falls for a cricketer? What if she scoops something in cricket that involves him? And voila, there I had the plot! :)

BNI: 30 word tagline for your book.
SA: I can’t do it better than the HarperCollins copywriters :D, so here goes the book blurb: “I was addicted… to him. Sinful and alluring, Delirium is a heady cocktail of intrigue, temptation and betrayal.” I would also like to add: “Read it for a peek into the backend stories of cricket, TV journalism and much more :D”

BNI: How did you come up with the title?
SA: The general state of mind and action in the book is rather delirious. I couldn’t think of a better title than Delirium, and it grew on everyone, including the sharp staff at HarperCollins.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
SA: Anyone who loves a good, racy story, I think. I would be happy if it reached a wide variety of people rather than a niche few.. the general reaction has been that it is a rather masaledaar book and can be enjoyed by most people. And I hope that is true.

BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
SA: Technically, my favourite character should be the cricketer, Indian vice-captain Avinash Katagi, since I’ve spent maximum time delving into his problems :) But, if you can keep a secret and not tell Avinash, my favourite character is heroine Anju’s best friend Kartik Kadabgere. He was not there in the original draft, but he turned out to be the only way I could solve several problems and issues in the book. So naturally, I love him! And I really wish I had met him or had a best friend like him.

Least favourite is kind of tough, but I think it should be Achala. Not only did she cause problems to everyone, she didn’t stand for anything or actually care for anyone, I feel. She just ditched everyone all around (including me) and went off to live her own life without caring a jot for what happened to anyone in the story.

BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
SA: Anjana Narendra, referred to mostly as Anju, is a strong woman with severe ethics and the true hunger of the journalist for that scoop. But she is at the same time a vulnerable, emotional woman, who finally needs to choose between work and emotion. I think she is a very real, flawed person, and I think that makes her stand out.

BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
SA: Well, the hardest thing, obviously, was to get a publisher. I had to wait 10 years after I completed the book, to find someone who liked it enough to publish it. But Neelini Sarkar, my commissioning editor at HarperCollins, did find the time to read it and was sweet enough to immediately call to tell me: “I read the book in one sitting, Sowmya! We will do the book.” The sense of accomplishment when she said that was simply fantastic. I don’t think anything has been easy..!

BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.
SA: Book was written over six years, intermittently, as I was swamped with work — those were my peak years as a journalist. I can’t really say I am past my peak now :) but it’s not as frenetic now as those years were. Since it has been published ten years later, I had to revisit it and bring in all modern elements that we didn’t have then. The story is set in 1996, so I had to remind my readers constantly that we didn’t have mobiles, Internet had just surfaced, and of course, nobody had a clue about Skype, let alone IPL :D.

I think it works well now, the fact that I had to go back like that to look at the story. It got more interesting, this way… and I enjoyed working backwards. It now has the nostalgia element along with excitement.. my friend and author Milan Vohra read the manuscript just before it got the publisher’s final clearance and she helped me find flaws and justifications for the actions of my heroine.. to resolve those, I ended up creating Kartik Kadabgere, for which I am eternally grateful to her.

The cover, for which Arjit Ganguly and Shuka Jain worked very hard, was another story altogether. I hated the idea of a bare-chested man on the cover, though I loved the metallic, psychedelic colours they had used. But like the title Delirium grew on them, this cover sort of worked on me, and finally we did an inevitable give-and-take :) It’s undoubtedly an incredible, eye-catching cover. I would also love feedback from readers on what they feel about both: the title and the cover :)

BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
SA: It’s not a preachy, message kind of novel, as far as I know… it’s more for a pulsating, fun read.. there are some subtle things, like Anju criticising fairness creams and stuff like that, but nothing in-your-face, I think.

BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans?
SA: I have met readers at the launch and at a couple of events… I love meeting readers, they have such insightful things to say and push me with questions on things I hadn’t even thought of… the meeting of minds is simply enervating and I wish I could do it more often.. it’s such an incredible pleasure.

BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
SA: Absolutely everyone has said they have enjoyed the writing style and the pace of the plot. Readers have left feedback on FB, some have sent me email… but then, it’s never enough :D I would simply LOVE to get more feedback… it really, truly, madly helps me write my next book.

BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
SA: Oh! I write full-time, but as a journo! On a more serious note, it’s not really possible to be a full-time writer and earn a living, unless one learns the marketing skills of Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi , Preethi Shenoy or Anuja Chauhan, to name a few. I’m not even sure if I want to be a full-time writer, I enjoy journalism too much for that. I’m riding two boats and let’s see how long it works… I think I’ve always been a writer, right from childhood, when I loved writing school essays. I’ve attended tons of school and college competitions and won several….So it’s not like I actually “decided” that I wanted to be a writer, it is not a to-be-or-not-to-be question at all.

BNI: Which writers inspire you?
SA: I love Shakespeare.. literature student, what do you expect? T S Eliot, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ernest Hemingway, Ayn Rand, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, J K Rowling, Angie Sage, Eoin Colfer, Suzanne Collins, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson and of course, of course, Jane Austen. And in Kannada, Kuvempu and his son, K P Poornachandra Tejaswi, U R Ananthamurthy, Devanooru Mahadeva.

BNI: What draws you to this genre?
SA: I started reading M’s at the age of 10 and still find myself occasionally reaching out for one. So the romance part is a given :) But the book is not just a romance, as I find writing a pure romance is one of the hardest things to do .. how Do these MB guys unfailingly do it? I’m envious.. anyway.. this book is a sort of romantic thriller, and again, thrillers are another addiction thanks to Alistair Maclean, Alfred Hitchcock and Dick Francis, not to mention Sidney Sheldon, Fredrick Forsyth, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, all of whom I adored in my 20s…

BNI: According to you, what is the hardest thing about writing?
SA: It empties you out, but in a good way.. the satisfaction at the end of it, is worth all the pain.

BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
SA: I hope I can write till the end of my life.. it would be awfully stale, flat, null and void if the writing dried up.

BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
SA: My mother has been the toughest critic so far… and she felt I could have done the book better. The best compliment has come from almost every reader of the book: “I couldn’t put it down.” That is worth everything, just everything.

BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block.
SA: I don’t know if it works for everyone. But I go for a walk, read a book and eat hot chocolate fudge!

BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
SA: I don’t know if Delirium can be turned into a series, I think that will be kind of hard. But I do have plans for a young adult fantasy… lets see if that dream comes true.

BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
SA: Tough one… how about take heart and keep at it?

BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
SA: I travelled to New Delhi for 15 days in 2004 and dropped the manuscript off to every possible publisher there. I don’t think anyone bothered to read it and no one got back to me. It is just ittefaq that I met Neelini Sarkar and the book happened. It is a really tough world, buddy.

BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
SA: Favourite chapter is a very, very difficult one and I can’t answer it. The toughest chapter to write was the first love scene between Avinash and Anju.. It has to be one of the hardest pieces of writing I ever did. This is why I am so in awe of the MB writers… How do they do it, book after book, keeping it fresh, interesting and not sordid? It is so hard to express the wonder of love-making in writing…!

BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
SA: I learnt that you, as an author, actually have no control on the book. The book just writes it’self.

BNI: Any amusing story about marketing this book, so far.
SA: Not much marketing has happened. I wish I had a story to tell. :(

BNI: What do you think about – What does your protagonist think about you?
SA: I think my protagonist hates me for writing this book.

BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
SA: “I stared at the sand. Oh god, Avinash, just tell me once. Tell me it was not like that with me. Tell me I am not just one of those women.

But Avinash didn’t. He quietly stared at the stars as I felt my heart cracking in pain. Finally, he said: “My first love was a bit like you.”

I have also put some excerpts on on my FB pages.

BNI: Many thanks for sharing your experiences with the readers. I hope that you will also enjoy revisiting your answers after being published on the blog! May you be blessed with a successful book!

Author Spotlight Interview with Ankit Jaiswal, Author – The Fragile Heart

Dear Readers,

Our first author for this week is Ankit Jaiswal, Author – The Fragile Heart, published by Pen Point Publications. Here is what he has to share with us, the books news india blog readers.

BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?Ankit Jaiswal
AJ: The Fragile Heart is my first published novel. Apart from that I write a lot of poetries which I post it on my personal blog.

BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
AJ: I think my dream to get published, pushed me to write a novel. I wanted my poetries to reach out to the readers through a medium which is more suited to them. And yes, I had a story which I thought would connect with them which fuelled my wish.

BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book
AJ: The past is only forgotten but always keeps haunting you in the present. It is the story of Jai and how his past affects his present, thus making drastic changes in his life.

BNI: How did you come up with the title?
AJ: The title shares its name with a series of romantic poetries written by me. So I thought it would be appropriate to reuse the title.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
AJ: Anyone, right from teens to people in their thirties would be able to connect with the book. The fact that the protagonist has a transition phase of seven years in the novel would engross with a huge chunk of readers across ages.

BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
AJ: I don’t think there can be something like a least favourite character from the perspective of the author. All characters have their own space and impact in the novel. But yes, if you ask me my favourite, it would be Geeta. And you need to read the novel to agree to my choice!

BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? 
AJ: Jai is not a special character. He is just like a guy next door. Each one of his age can relate to him. He is struggling to equate his present with his past.

BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
AJ: Yes there is a message which I wanted to convey to the readers. And I have made that implicit in the final pages of the book.

BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part- time?
AJ: I really have no idea. I never decided to become a writer. It just happened. After I got published, I started believing that I can write novels too otherwise I was quite content with poetry. I write whenever I get time.

BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
AJ: Patience, passion and perseverance are the key to writing a novel.

 

BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

AJ: I just want to go with the flow and keep writing!

BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
AJ: I wish that it reaches out to as many readers as possible.

BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
AJ: Yes definitely! It gives the first impression of the novel to the readers.

BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
AJ: Paperback, any day!

BNI: Dear Ankit, thanks for sharing your thoughts and aspirations with the readers. We wish good luck for your book.

Book Review: I, Me and Her Forever, Author – Pritam Banerjee, Publisher – Smriti Publishers

Title: I, Me and Her Forever

Author: Pritam Banerjee

ISBN: 9789382303350

Publisher: Smriti Publishers

My review:

I, Me and Her Forever, is a timeless story from the pen of a debutant author Pritam Banerjee.

Why I state it to be a timeless story? It is because, it is about love, about bonding and an unconditional relationship called friendship. These colors of life are always timeless. Since ages, writers have been writing about love, creating bonds between loving hearts and nurturing relationships through ink and papers and this is one such attempt from the author, inspired by real life incidents.

This story is about Abhishek Banerjee and how love comes knocking door at his heart and how his friends stand tall with him thorough his lows and highs. He is an emotional guy who like any guy is ambitious but somewhat adamant, egoistic and carries a lot of attitude. To make it yet more complex, he is a short—tempered person, a trait that was expected based on those mentioned in previous lines. He has completed his eleventh standard and is stepping into the ‘YOUNG’ age, which is at times referred to as ‘DIGITAL’ age. He gets exposed to internet and experiences lot of exposure, including friendship with females and checking out with desperate females as well.

This cobweb extends physically into his practical life as well. He extends his friendship with fellow female friends and gets introduced to ‘what seems to be’ his love of life – Meghna Biswas. Despite of objections and alerts from his friends he beheads towards her and the story progresses as their discussions take shape of dialogues.

The author has adopted a conversational style of writing. The dialogues overpowered the paragraphs. As the story is based around internet driven social websites, they form an integral part of the script and he has brought them to an utmost use. He has focused the writing to his viewpoint i.e. viewpoint of a male protagonist. How he thinks, how he vouches for love and how he boasts about his belongings in his friend circle. At times, I found him (Abhishek) to be very rude while Meghna, who was a strong headed girl, was a committed dove. The story develops as the tug of war continues between two strong heads.

What sort of person, Abhishek is? What makes him turn rude towards Meghna? Isn’t he satisfied with her love? What is the reason of friction between the two? What role does internet play in their love life? These are the questions that drive the readers to take plunge.

Though, personally speaking (in my personal opinion), I think that a few cozy instances could have been omitted but with due respect to author’s intentions, I take them in stride. Another, aspect that could have been taken care of that is the second part (about the overcoming of Abhishek’s setback) of the story. It would have been more effective and inspirational for the young readers about what he went through during that phase and what made him decide upon the actual deeds. Last but not the least the book cover really doesn’t goes with the story or the theme. The scenic image is beautiful but is a disconnect.

About the book

It’s all about Abhishek and Meghna, two teenagers in a fast paced world and highly advanced technologies, Facebook, that they knew each other and in due course of time they fell in love unexpectedly.

Abhishek, a student of St. Orient High School, never believed in relationships as to him real love never happened in this world. He was a career-oriented boy who always remained busy with his own life.

Meghna, a student of Ashu Memorial School for Girls, was a charming young girl who never trusted boys as she had lost faith in them due to a betrayal.

Two worlds in two persons, where relationship gets stronger, they were devoted and were truly in love. It’s about their story who were firm, pure and filled with immense love yet they were engulfed with their personal conflicts.

The next part deals with the psychological setback of Abhishek and how he overcomes it.

The story deals with love, relationships and break-ups.

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