Our today’s author(ess) enjoying the spotlight is Ms. Priyanka Baranwal – author of the book – It’s never too late, who in addition to being a prolific writer happens to be a successful and flourishing freelance content writer and a blogger as well.
Let’s join hands to welcome her and get an insight into her world of words.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
PB: I am Priyanka Baranwal and I come from a small town Mirzapur located in Uttar Pradesh. Now I am settled in Bangalore with my family. I am a graduate in Science and have pursued Diploma in Pre & Primary Teacher’s Training with Specialization in Teaching English from ATI (American TESOL Institute) and, in Textile designing as well. I am versatile when it comes to achievements. I am also a Freelancer and blogger. I have tutored students as well. I have also worked in a Bangalore NGO as Corporate Relationship Officer.
My passion lies in reading, writing, travelling etc. I am also keen to learn guitar one day. My father, Mr Naresh Chandra, is a business man as well as a die-hard reader while my mother, Mrs. Beena Baranwal, is a wonderful housewife and mother. I believe that I have inherited genes for being an author/writer from my parents.
BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?
PB: My first publication was an essay in a state level magazine. The essay was among the first prize winners. Then I started with Hindi poetry. I was appreciated a lot. Later, my few other articles published in a national level Hindi magazine on learning French Language. Then I happen to become a freelancer which still I am. My latest work is my novel It’s Never Too Late, came up on January 1st, 2014.
BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
PB: If I am a writer, if I am an author today, the whole credit goes to my husband Sumit and my family. Sumit encouraged me to write a novel. He has seen my several articles published on different portals. He believed in me and thus, I became an author. Today, he is happier than me to see my book.
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book.
PB: A book that has the potential to touch hearts and make you believe in it’s never too late to win the battle against your biggest enemy: Fear.
Get it from the bookstore nearby or order it online – Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, HomeShop18, Infibeam, Sapna online and Bookadda.
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
PB: Surprisingly, coming up with the title was sparingly difficult for me while it’s considered tough to don a suitable title to the story. As I am working on my second project, I am juggling with the title but for It’s Never Too Late, the title came rather easily.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
PB: People may find my book is women oriented but I’d say that it is for EVERYONE. My book speaks volumes about women and crimes like rape. It says that when you are in overwhelming heart wrenching trouble, never ever let your mind shut down; do your best to find the solution or an escape. I always say it’s never too late to find a solution or an escape. It also talks about if one can decide to overcome the fate, he or she can do it disregard to the hardships of the journey.
If you want to win the battle against your any kind of fear and live life with positivism and hope, read my book.
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
PB: It’s very obvious to think that two criminals who harass my protagonist Maya at night can be my least favourite characters and yes. They are my least favourite characters. People like them are a curse to our society. I also dislike those people who detest and rub salt on the wounds of Maya after the incident.
Talking about my favourite one, it’s always going to be Maya. I love her, adore her and salute her for the strength she shows after the incident (though she is my creation yet I find her highly inspirational). Character Rajat is also very profound as he shows that a husband is not just another individual in his wife’s life. In fact, he can be a perfect companion as well as friend. I also like him a lot. Other characters like little Sejal and Diya, Shekhar, Shruti, Mrs. Ahluwalia and the entire NWLO entity; everything comes under my favourite list.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
PB: I already said that my main character, Maya, is my most favourite in the book. She is as normal and ordinary as you and I are. Maya is a woman of substance. When she is in college, she studies hard to get a good job. She thinks of being independent like a 21st century women choose. She does a job and lives a good life in a sprawled city like Bangalore. She is confident and never afraid of living alone. She travels, spends time with her friends and does things like a clear headed woman. She knows her priorities at all stages in her life. The night when she gets attacked, she is scared and dumb founded like many of us can feel in any big trouble.
After the night, her emotions are overwhelming. She is being treated as a victim but not as a fighter which is true in our society. Women, being victim of any crime, are always treated to low levels while they must get treated as fighters or survivors of a battle. In the later parts of the story, Maya does everything that a strong woman, a woman of integrity and bravery, will do to save her family from negative energy. Maya is just a name and a face but she speaks on behalf of every strong and weak person in the society.
BNI: Do you at an individual level attend any events for supporting any social cause?
PB: Yes, ‘Recently I have got a wonderful opportunity to work for Ahmadabad UNICEF India. The campaign is called Dare to Care and is chiseled out to help for the betterment of adolescent girls. The IPL team Delhi Daredevils are their official partners to spread the awareness. Kindly find the details at –
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
PB: When I was scripting Maya’s state at the night when criminals harass, molest and try to rape her. I was so much deluged of the emotions and pain that I couldn’t write for few days. I was disturbed and could not find enough strength to type anymore. But after gathering myself, I finally completed the night. Easiest thing would be, selecting the theme of the book and the title. For these two, which are considered to be very difficult areas, I didn’t have to think much.
BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book?
PB: After the release of my book on January 1st, 2014, I did the launch on January 25th. The launch was a great success and I got a wonderful opportunity to meet several readers and our friends. Later, I planned many activities in and around Bangalore. I did book signing session in Hyderabad. I also performed several other interactive and book reading sessions in Bangalore with some good book stores. During all the events, I got to meet my readers who asked myriad of questions about my book for which I was highly pleased to answer. They also appreciated me a lot for its theme. Recently I was invited to IISc, Bangalore for a panel discussion (it was a part of their literature festival). There my book was placed as prize to the winners. I love meeting my readers and quenching their queries.
Currently, I am not planning any particular event.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
PB: Readers have laughed, and cried; felt pain and fear; went through Maya’s trauma through the book. Every now and then, my readers drop me a message or mail saying how much they loved my book. Some says, the book is very inspirational and gives them goose bumps when reading the night description. Some says that they were not able to sleep after reading the ways criminals tortured and harassed Maya. They were simply scared. Some says, the book sends a very positive message of ‘Believe in yourself and never to give up’. Some says, description of IIT Kanpur took them back to their college days. They loved it.
When I hear such wonderful compliments, I feel delight. I am taking all of this as my inspiration and energy to work at my second book.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part time?
PB: I turned into a professional writer when I got a job as freelancer in 2010. Then only my writing career took off in a full swing. I wrote several articles on various subjects like parenting, lifestyle, baby care, DIY and health, fashion and what not.
Now that I have become an author, writing has become my full time career plan that has no retirement policies. 🙂
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
PB: Whose work I find fascinating; like Eric Segal, and Nora Roberts. They are big names in the literature world but they are so because of their excellent narration styles. But I do not let them affect my writing style. I write the way I want my story to be!
BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
PB: In terms of writing a book, selecting a fresh story is a big challenge while to present in an engaging manner is the bigger one. In terms of writing an article, crispness and word count are big challenges.
BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
PB: As I said, readers have adulated the book for its unique theme. When they say my book has inspired them, I feel best.
For the criticism, some readers have stated that the first half of the book is bit extra descriptive. I do not mind hearing the criticism as I try to take them in the favour of my development. For this, I’d say that I had to show the kind of life Maya and Rajat endured before they fell into the trap. We all live peacefully but how much a trauma takes you down, it needs to be preceded by giving the glimpse of earlier life stages.
So far, every reader has loved my book and I have received lots of compliments.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block?
PB: Keep reading books. It will keep you connected with your writer self.
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
PB:I guess every author, be it debutant or established, is a budding author as learning never stops.
Write an appealing engaging script, not just any story. Have a complete faith in your work. Maintain a discipline and aura of passion for writing. Stay in touch with your family and good friends. After all, they are the real comrades of your journey called life.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
PB: When I was done with the manuscript, I ran the mission to find a good publisher. I sent my script out to some of the leading publication houses among which Srishti Publications accepted it. It happened shortly after completing and submitting the script. I was on Cloud 9. Once you find a good publisher, not much of the troubles come on the way per se. On every front, Mr. Arup Bose from Srishti Publications was always there to help me out. With his and the entire Srishti team help, the journey had become easier.
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
PB: Yes! I did. Firstly, I learnt how to write a book! I had never written one. I also got the grip on the norms and the procedure about how publishing industry works albeit I still need to grasp a lot in the process. Now that people love my book, the responsibilities are even higher and tougher. I learnt that I’d need to do much better with my every next project.
BNI: Any amusing story about marketing this book, so far.
PB: Yes. During the first launch, one of our friends (who had read the book too) told me that my book has helped him to understand a woman’s heart. In return, I said, “By your question, I can easily guess either you don’t have any girlfriend or you are unmarried because you had to take a book’s support to understand a woman’s heart”. Everyone laughed at this banter.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
PB:For this, please refer the chapters ‘A night of terror’ and ‘It’s never too late’ as whole from the book. These chapters showcase the pain of a woman who knows that she is going to be raped and can do nothing about it; and the way criminals have tortured her. The writing experience was darn hard for me. One snippet from the chapter ‘A night of terror’:
“You bitch. How dare you do that to him? I had warned you not to do anything stupid. But now that you have chosen to ignore my warnings, you are going to pay for this. Every bit of your flesh will cry for mercy, and that’s my promise to you,” and then he pinned me down on the floor and mounted on my stomach. He slapped me several times and locked his hands into mine over my head. He then started to kiss me roughly on my lips, cheeks, ears and neck. He was so rough that each part of my body hurt. His every kiss left bloody traces behind them.
He was actually biting me brutally. Tears flooded out of my eyes as an agonising cry escaped my lips. His bites were hurting me like sharp needles. My legs thrashed about in excruciating pain as I struggled to free myself. Just then Lion grabbed my legs and pinned them down. I tried to scream loudly but Jackal punched my face with his fist. This sent waves of pain through my body and everything went blank. His punch started to anesthetise my senses. I went numb. It seemed my life had already started to drift away from my body.”
However, a thorough preview is available onhttp://www.readomania.com/story/260/a-night-of-terror
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
PB: So far, It’s Never Too Late is doing pretty well. It has risen up to Amazon’s Bestsellers and Literature and Fiction bestsellers lists. It was also featured in The New Indian Express, Bangalore under Bestsellers. My lone expectation for my book is to do fairly well with all kind of readers and to hit international platform too.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales
PB: Yes. Of course. A book cover is the face of the story and if it is designed and described aptly, it can do wondrous in book sales. The cover of my book has received bags of accolades. People can actually relate easily to the story inside. All credit goes to my wonderful designer Mr. Wasim Helal for his outstanding creative work.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
PB: I have heard some self-published authors are so successful that they are reaching out to the world for their work. It’s incredible. Self-publishing is turning the table and becoming a new fashion of getting published.
The biggest advantage is, as far as I know, one gets to know the number of copies sold out and have the full control over the publication.
For the later one and given self-publishing is quickly becoming a norm, I’d not say this as a biggest disadvantage but rather a real big challenge; that the A-Z work has to be done by the author. The editing, proof-reading, cover designing, marketing; everything is on the author’s shoulder to be taken care of.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
PB: Hardcover book
PB: Thank you very much Priyanka for asking such interesting thorough questions. I enjoyed a lot. 🙂
Dear Priyanka, thanks for such kind words. Nevertheless, Books News India and its readers are also delighted to having being connected with through this interview session. We wish you a prosperous writing journey.