I gladly introduce one of my favorite authors, whom I have reviewed for my blog – Nimmu. Her story – Standing Alone , is very very much close to my heart. J
Hope you all will enjoy reading her answers as much I did.
BNI: Please introduce yourself with the blog readers.
NA: I live in Pune, India. Though the story of ‘Standing Alone’ had been running in my head for the longest time this is my second novel. ‘Love Me…Leave Me Not.’ Is my first novel. I have self-published these two novels through amazon and smashwords. I also love expressing my thoughts as poems which I have published on my blog nimmurani.wordpress.com. When I am not writing I love to make hand-made greeting cards using paper quilling. As a stay at home mother of two kids my life revolves around their schedule and so I write when ever time permits instead of waiting for the mood to set it. I have a Masters degree in business administration. I have also completed a course through the London school of journalism on novel writing.
BNI: Please share something about the book.
NA: An unexpected meeting with her late husband’s friend Richard in Charleston sends Seema on an emotional roller coaster ride which she never imagined she would be in. Richard falls in love with her knowing quite well she would never cross the boundaries set by her culture and family. But will Seema give up seeking the approval of everyone around her to follow her heart?
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
NA: This novel is about a widowed woman who stands against all odds to raise her two kids. I felt that without a partner in your life you feel lonely no matter how many friends and family surround you. Hence I came up with the title “Standing Alone”
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
NA: My intended audiences are women above 35. If you are done with Mills and Boons kind of romance and now want to read a novel that is emotionally fulfilling then I would say this book is for you.
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
NA: My favorite character is Raveena because it would be wonderful to have a friend like her on whom you can depend on. I love all the characters in my novel and have tried to bring out different personalities into the novel to make it interesting.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
NA: My main character is Seema. Though she is gentle and caring she faces all the odds that life throws at her with calmness and patience. She tries to love her kids for who they are and be there for them by putting their needs before hers.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
NA: As a self-published author the hardest thing is always marketing. Self-published author purely depend on book reviews and word of mouth recommendations. The easiest thing was how easy it has become for anyone to get their novels/writings out into the world because of amazon and smashwords. Authors no longer need to wait endlessly for a big publishing house to give their novel a chance. I believe everyone has a story to tell and there is an audience for every story too. So I am thankful to Smashwords and Amazon for giving us a chance to get our story out there.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
NA: I come from a conservative south Indian culture where remarriage for women is still scorned upon. We women have been conditioned to put everyone else’s needs above ours. I want women to relearn to put their needs and wants on the priority list too and not care too much about what the society things.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part time?
NA: I took a career break to raise my two kids. I was into computer programming and system administration. When I did a soul search on what I wanted to with my life, I couldn’t see myself back at a full time job leaving my kids at day care. For a long time I was clueless on what I loved to do. My sister has been my instigator and was always encouraging me to find what I loved doing. When I told her I have always had stories running in my head she was the one who encouraged me to write. She gifted me a course in the London school of journalism for novel writing. It gave me a structure and also the confidence to put my thoughts into words. Finally I got what it meant when people say “Do what you love…” because when I started putting those words on paper it gave me a joy and peace so profound that I had not found in any other things. My husband also encouraged me to keep writing even on the days I felt it was going nowhere. I am still learning.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
NA: I love Nicholas Sparks’s novels because they are about real people who face day to day challenges like all of us. My other favorite author is Paulo Coelho. He weaves in magic and spirituality into his novels that make him my favorite too.
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
NA: I have always loved romance novels especially the ones that are real. I love the feeling of falling in love and the dynamics between two people who face all odds to come together.
BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
NA: For me the hardest thing is finding some quiet time to write!
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
NA: My ambition is to become a well loved author one day and touch more people’s lives and make them come out of the conditioning that has been imposed on them.
BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
NA: I got a feedback from one editor who asked me to work on my dialogues as they felt it was unnatural. I have tried working on it. Though my friends and family loved my novels, I feel they may be biased as they know me. But the best compliment was from Priyanka Batra|(the host of this blog) who wrote to me saying it touched a chord with her and made her understand the emotions of her father. I was glad to hear it and that is the kind of impact I wish to make on people’s mind.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block
NA: Since I write romance novels, I listen to songs that touch my soul while writing and it always helps me to bring back the emotions of the characters that I am writing about.
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
NA: The one thing that writing made me realize how much effort it takes to write a book and how vulnerable it makes you feel to put your work out there. I salute all the authors because it is so easy to criticize someone without realizing the herculean work that they have put behind it.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
Seema curled up in her divan and wept for Richard, realizing how hard it would have been for him and the look of his face when he said good bye haunted her. Had she known it was a real good-bye with no chance of meeting again she would have looked at him one last time and etched his face in her memory forever. For some reason she assumed they would meet again and talk again. So she cried so hard for him that day realizing that it had already ended between them and it was too late to mend things.
The next day Raveena called her “Hey how have you been doing?”
“I am fine now.” She lied. She didn’t want to let anyone into her heartache now.
“I have some news for you.”
“Tell me.” She said in the most unenthusiastic way.
“It is about Richard.”
“Okay tell me.” Even that didn’t seem to stir her up.
“He is in Australia now.”
“It seems he had been given a six month assignment by his dean to go to Australia. Though he was offered this in November, he had said that he would let them know by the first week January. But all of a sudden in the last week of December he went and Okayed it and by the first week of January he was actually off to Australia.”
“Hmmm…” She said with the same crabby voice.
“What is with you today? Okay I have better news.”
“I am coming along with your kids to Charleston.”
“Why? You just saw me.”
“Gosh you don’t want us to come or what?”
“Yes she is coming too.”
“She hasn’t called me since that day can you imagine?” Seema broke down and wept.
“Why is everyone blaming me for everything?” she cried harder.
“Okay Okay. That is why I am bringing her there. So just wait for two more days and everything will be sorted out.”
“Okay” she sniffled and put the phone down and curled back in her divan not wanting to do anything.
She wondered how putting geographical distance between them would solve the problem for Richard and how he had just left just as suddenly like Arun had left her.
For two days Seema was like a zombie. She didn’t feel like eating or going about her usual routines. She just lay in the divan with the phone close to her and Arun’s picture close to her, listening to music.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
NA: The top most advantage is that if you have a story you can make it heard by self-publishing it. The disadvantage I would say is Marketing!
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
NA: Of course like anyone else I would like to see a hardcover book one day. There is nothing that can equal the smell of paper and the joy of turning the pages curled on your sofa! But may be kindle is getting closer to it!
Thank you for your time and accepting to be interviewed.