Posts tagged ‘interview’


Please welcome author Olivier Lafont on my blog today. Let’s get to know him through a question and answer session.

Q: How did you become a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer at a very young age, actually. My love for storytelling and writing was evident very early. Since then I had written a lot of stories, even five hundred pages of an unfinished novel in high school, but ‘Warrior’ was my first major publication.

Q: How did this book idea originate?
I wanted to write a Young Adult book, after ‘Warrior’. There were several ideas I had, but the one I liked most centered around Christmas, it being a holiday favoured by young people. For me Christmas is symbolic of hope, peace, community, family. So, thematically, anything that threatens that had significance. Then it became a question of how to express, plot-wise, this idea. The notion of a Santa Claus ‘dynasty’ was interesting, because I could take and evolve the myth in my direction but also humanise it in a way that fit with my sensibilities.

Q: What appeals to you about writing this kind of book?
‘Snowbound’ is the kind of book I would have loved reading when I was young. I think you have to write what what you like to read, I can’t imagine how it would genuinely work otherwise. I’ve always been passionate about fantasy and adventures, and blending our real world with a fantasy world has also been a personal favourite. ‘Warrior’ did a similar thing, in a different register. And taking a young person into a dangerous world, in fiction, is always fun. An adult may be equipped to handle things, but you just don’t expect that of young people, just because of their age. It’s always thrilling and inspiring to see a young, awkward person grow into their power, their personality, to surprise themselves and everyone else. There’s an aspirational quality to that kind of growth. That’s why we go to heroes in stories, to imagine ourselves winning in more explicit terms than in real life.

Q: What problems did you encounter in the course of writing and publishing this work?
No problems — those are the unmatched perks of publishing yourself in the new digital marketplaces!

Q: Share about your favorite fiction books and authors.
When I first became aware of my passion for stories, it was Lloyd Alexander’s ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series. Later I read Terry Brooks’s Shannara series, and Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’. In more recent times I’ve enjoyed George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (Game of Thrones on HBO) and Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Broken Empire’ series. Not to forget children’s works like Enid Blyton’s books and C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.


Thanks for the answers, Olivier. The mention of Enid Blyton and Narnia took me back quite a bit. It was lovely having you here.

Readers, if you’d like to know more about Olivier Lafont’s latest book SnowBound, click on the previous post.

Interview at Metroreader blog

Here’s an excerpt from Metroreader Author interview, where I was hosted by Arti.


Author Interview Series: Interview 2: Dr Ruchi Vasudeva

IMG_487577035865659 (5)Dear readers,

On the interview today we have Dr Ruchi Vasudeva. She can be described as a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and an author by destiny. Her inspiration to pen a story came, when as a teen, she read a call for manuscripts at the back of a Mills and Boon novel and began to plot and write. She wanted to do English literature and medical studies for her graduation with almost the same amount of enthusiasm. However, the writing dream got lost while she pursued medical studies. Years later, a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August ’13 with ‘Bollywood Fiancé for a Day’ and this was followed by ‘You can’t fight a Royal Attraction’ in December 2013 by Harlequin.

Thank you so much, Ruchi, for this interview, I really appreciate your taking time out from your busy schedule.

At the outset, could you please tell the readers about yourself?

Thanks for having me on your blog. You have capped most of the info in my bio. Writing has always been a hobby but it wasn’t till I began to write with the effort to get published that I realized how tough it really is. Understanding the craft which is a never ending process is difficult in itself and getting published traditionally is definitely a challenge but in addition to that nowadays authors have to concentrate on marketing as well, so actually it is two professions combined in one. Maybe, more. So it was a shock that the leisure time was almost gone and in addition had to give up on many things which annoyed a lot of people I can tell you. It took a while to find balance and to tell you the truth it’s still mostly tilted. Time management is the toughest thing to face if you add writing to the life you’re already living.

You always wanted to write, how does it feel to have two titles published in five months?

Absolutely fabulous. When you have the book out there – had to pinch myself many times – people actually buying it, nothing can beat the feeling! Two books out one after the other was a stroke of luck one can just thank the stars for. Definitely I’ll always savour the feeling!

Did you have writer’s block?

I did, a couple of times during the writing of the first book. That’s when I realized that writer’s block is nothing but laziness combined with the inability to properly understand

the characters’ motivations. I’d read back on all that I had written and usually found that I was able to get back on the track. With the second book, I had a tight deadline and nothing was permitted to stand in the way. Maybe the experience I had garnered during the writing of the first book helped.

I know it is difficult for an author to choose between her books, but which of the two, is closer to your heart?

It is difficult but now that you’ve asked, I’d pick You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction. That story seemed to simply flow from my fingertips, and I really enjoyed writing Rihaan and Saira’s steamy interaction

Any special/ favourite character from among Vishakha, Zaheer; Saira and Rihaan?

While all of them are quite special to me – they’ve been talking in my head for so long! – however Zaheer is quite a favourite. The readers too comment that he’s quite captivating. I like that he has an answer to everything while putting a different spin on the given situation.

What were the challenges faced while writing the book?

Mostly time. When the story is humming in your mind, it’s hard to tear your mind from it and concentrate instead, on the daily life business. However one has to accept that however your Muse would like to, you cannot finish a project in a day…Also writing has to take a backseat to mundane but unavoidable routine!

The other challenge was coping with the direction of the story in which characters seemed to take charge early on. The vague plan in my head went ashambles but I’m not complaining because the final product was better than I imagined 🙂

How do you manage to take out time to write from your busy schedule?

I started by writing after work and on weekends. I have quite a bit of time when I commute so I shifted my files onto my BlackBerry and was able to type on the go. That really added to productivity. I learnt not to wait for the scheduled time for writing. I’ve written in the bus, in the car, the kitchen while waiting for food to cook, even jotted down ideas while in a queue. I’ve written rough drafts of 9-10 books this way. Let’s see when they alight in front of the readers.

How do you manage to take out time to write from your busy schedule?

I started by writing after work and on weekends. I have quite a bit of time when I commute so I shifted my files onto my BlackBerry and was able to type on the go. That really added to productivity. I learnt not to wait for the scheduled time for writing. I’ve written in the bus, in the car, the kitchen while waiting for food to cook, even jotted down ideas while in a queue. I’ve written rough drafts of 9-10 books this way. Let’s see when they alight in front of the readers.

Read the rest here http://metroreader.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/author-interview-series-interview-2-dr-ruchi-vasudeva/

Get to Know Author Usha Narayanan

Today I have on my blog author Usha Narayanan whose book Madras Mangler is out now. Let’s get to know her through a question and answer session.

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing.

Writing came easily to me and an MA in English Literature made it a natural choice. I spent many years writing to a client’s brief, whether for advertising or radio, corpcomm or websites. In the last two years I started writing for myself, playing both the Queen and King of Hearts from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. One proclaims “Off with their heads!” and the other pardons them.

Q: Your experience of writing a book – easy as pie or hard as nails?

It was really tough as I started off on a whim, and had to discover every detail of the process through painstaking research. How many words, how many pages to a chapter, where to begin, where to end, how to hold interest, how to build suspense, what happens to bodies when they are dumped in water, what clothes do obnoxious show-offs wear, how does a stalker operate….

I realized I knew nothing and had to fight each step of the way forward. But now, when I read ‘The Madras Mangler’, I feel like a proud mother who has forgotten the pangs of birth!

Q: What motivates you to write?

Once you experience the thrill and the freedom of writing for yourself, it’s like a drug in your blood. After it has been completed, you want to share it with as many people as you can. Positive feedback from the readers is the ultimate high.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

I started with five starry-eyed girls, who are eager to conquer the world. What happens when the world is not exactly as they had dreamt it would be? Do they hold their own or do they retreat in fear to their homes? That is the question which this book addresses, with the serial killer being a metaphor for the challenges that life throws at you.

Q: Please describe your book briefly.

‘The Madras Mangler’ is a suspense thriller featuring five feisty girls, one hot hero, a psychopathic killer and the pleasures and pain of youth. Chills and thrills, fun and banter, drama and action ― get ready for the joyride of your life!

Q: Tell us about the main characters in your book.

Kat, Lolita, Minx and Moti are the central characters, leaving home for the first time to live in a hostel. Each of them has their own story ― difficult parents, a patriarchal society, financial or personal issues. Are they victims or winners? The brilliant and sexy Vir and his friend Bishnu are the male protagonists. We also have the trio Amar, Rakesh and Subu who together form the creepy Asuras. Thugs, cops, politicians and a Hollywood film crew add spice to the pot. They charm you or spook you and keep you reading, till you reach the spine-chilling end.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

Take a break, read a book, watch a TV serial, meet a friend, go out for an ice cream. And then get back to your computer. The story is not going to write itself, my friend! The only way to remove writer’s block is to push through it.

Q: Does writing get in your way of life?

Yes, it does. When I am going full speed ahead, I have little patience for household duties, ringing phones or calling bells, even meal times. At other times, I’m happy to have an excuse to say I’m cogitating, just a fancy word for lotus-eating!

Q: What’s next in your writing plans?

A romcom with a sparkling pair of lovers in the colourful media world. And an action thriller set in mythical times, jazzed up with loads of romance, adventure, divinity and heroism.

And here comes our rapidfire round:

Your favourite movie

‘Gone with the Wind’. This was the rare movie which to me surpassed the book it was based on.

The worst movie you’ve seen

The Tamil movie ‘Boys’ which was so loud and crass it had me running away midway!

Any secret habit?

Skimping on sleep to read a book, write a book, watch the TV serials I love!

Actor you’d fall for in a heartbeat

George Clooney

Favourite book

The psychological thriller ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S J Watson. It is every woman’s nightmare come true.

Fallback option when the fridge is empty 

A good book that you stashed away for just such an eventuality!

What comforts you when things go bad?

The confidence that you have weathered several crises before. ‘This too shall pass.’

Your most comfortable outfit

A cotton salwar kameez ― it is cool in more ways than one!


Thanks, Usha. It was great fun having you here. By the way, how does an empty stomach cope up on the diet of a good book? I’m sure all dieters out there will be intrigued to know 😉
This interview is a part of the Book Club tour for Usha’s book. Check out the buy links and author links below.




The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Blurb
Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?
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Meet the Author
Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months.
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author 

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Get to know – author Barbara T. Cerny

Today I have on my blog author Barbara T. Cerny talking about writing and her book Gray’s Hill. Let’s get to know Barbara through this interview.

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, a dinky town of 30K when I lived there. The place was full of stories. Stories of the old west and ghost towns and back roads that led to nowhere and towns called No Name. The place was also full of beauty: The Bookcliffs where wild horses roamed, the Colorado National Monument with its rock formations such as Independence Monument, the Kissing Couple, and Coke Ovens. It was a quiet place that was safe and easy to live in. It was a place where the imagination could run as wild as the juniper trees and sage brush. My parents were readers so I became a reader, too. I remember books being in my life from the very beginning. I have wanted to write since the second grade. I was always coming up with stories to tell my friends at lunch or on the bus rides to/from school. I wrote through high school – on the journalism team, in creative writing class, on the teen page for the city newspaper.

Q: Your experience of writing a book – easy as pie or hard as nails? Each one is different. Grays Hill flowed fast. I had already done most the research for Of Angels and Orphans and I used all that research again for Grays Hill. I love to write descriptions (remember the 4 page description of the dress Scarlett O’Hara wore in the first chapter of Gone With the Wind? Okay, I am not THAT bad). Dialogue is very hard for me and I struggle with it and have to really concentrate on it. The editor working on my fifth novel is constantly telling me to rewrite descriptive paragraphs into dialogue (she is diabolical to say the least). I would be perfectly happy to write everything in a description. However, knowing that would drive away my readers, dialogue and I have come to a truce of sorts. For Grays Hill, the hardest part was moving Rafe from his hard as nails persona to a more loving persona. I was a fat kid, so writing about OJ being fat and losing weight was easy and very personal.

Q: What motivates you to write?

I think I was just born with a writing gene, if there is such a thing. I have done very well at my jobs over the years due to my writing ability even though that is not fiction (or is it?). I guess it is hard to find folks that understand technology (my degree is in computer science) and English at the same time. I write novels because it fills my “love bucket”, the thing that keeps me happy and fulfilled. I would love to make a living at writing but sometimes writing is enough.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

For Grays Hill, I have to admit up front that I stole the Masquerade Hall lock, stock, and barrel from the castle of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. My family visited it while I was on my two weeks off from my deployment (I am a retired lieutenant colonel from the Army Reserves and spent a year in 2006-2006 in Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom). I was stunned at its magnificence and creativeness and the story of Grays Hill came crashing into my brain while I stood in that glorious room. That kind of inspiration has only happened that one time.

Q: Please describe your book briefly.

Well, one can read the blurb on the back of the book but it is really about growing up a finding yourself. Oksana Wallingford, aka OJ, is s a very strong woman. But she has lived at home taking care of her mother and little brother all her life. She is thrust out into the world and now must make it on her own outside the cocoon of her family. OJ is a large woman, in height and girth. She is ashamed of her weight but instead of lamenting about it she acknowledges it and decides to do something about it. She is strong, dependable, independent and above all humorous. On the other hand, Rafael Tarkington is one miserable human being. Burned by his first, deceased, wife, he has sworn off women and bitterness has taken over his life. He treats those around him with contempt and distain. However, through OJ’s amazing patience and fiery spirit, she finally teaches him that not all women are the same and love is defiantly worth it. This is the male character I wouldn’t want to hang around for very long.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

 I work on 2-3 books at a time. When one isn’t flowing, I go to another. Or I go do research or marketing.

Q: Does writing get in your way of life?

 It is absolutely the OTHER way around. I write part, part, part-time. If I get in 2-3 hours a week, I am lucky.

Q: What’s next in your writing plans?

I have two books with editors. My regular editor couldn’t get into my paranormal, The Tiefling, so I had to find a new one. My new editor (the diabolical one), is changing every word, I think. But the novel will be pretty darn cool. It is set in Scotland, 1053, and first person male. I really had to get in touch with my masculine side for that.

The sequel to Shield of the Palidine, called Magic Thief of Gavalos, is through my editor (the regular one) and it is well over 425 pages. It is with the illustrator at the moment. As editing is simply the start of writing, they both are still “current”.

I am also developing three new novels: one romance is set in Sweden in the 1600s (researching the 30 Years’ War for background history), a second is a modern murder mystery called The Walled Cat (you will have to read it to understand that strange name!), and a biography of an amazing woman I know. That biography is by far the hardest book I have written and will probably be the only non-fiction I will ever write. It takes a special kind of writer to do biographies and I don’t think I “have” it.

And here comes our rapidfire round:

Your favourite movie. You are going to laugh as it is so hokey now. Star WarsEpisode IV – A New Hope. It moved the movie business to a whole new level and started us down the path we are on today. It wasn’t so much the story but the technology. In 1977 I was a sophomore in high school and Star Wars was simply jaw dropping. I am such a geek. However, Beaches has to be right up there. I cry buckets every time.

The worst movie you’ve seen Ator.1982.

Any secret habit? I talk to myself, out loud. Mostly when I am driving. It is how I do dialogue between my characters. I am sure I look like an idiot to other drivers.

Actor you’d fall for in a heartbeat. Pierce Brosnan

Favourite book. The Stand by Stephen King. That book made me think more about the human condition and where we might be going than any other. And made me wonder if I would end up in Las Vegas or in Boulder. I hope I am headed toward Boulder.

Fallback option when the fridge is empty. Raw pre-made sugar cookie dough. This might also be considered my secret habit!

What comforts you when things go bad? Food and a good movie to cry to, like Beaches or Fried Green Tomatos or Water for Elephants.

Your most comfortable outfit. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, hoodie, socks, tennis shoes. I wear suits and dresses to work everyday. On the weekends, it is dress down all the way!

Thank you, Barbara! It was great chatting with you. Lovely to hear about your town. You surprised me with Star Wars 🙂 and yes, the secret habit…I’d love to see the other drivers’ faces when you’re talking characters’ dialogues! 😉
Hope you all enjoyed this chat with Barbara T. Cerny. Do check out her book Gray’s Hill. Here’s the cover and the blurb.

Grays Hill By Barbara T. Cerny
The Blurb
After her father committed suicide rather than face his mounting gambling debts, Oksana Wallingford knows she will have to work in order to keep food on the table and her younger brother, the new baron, in school. When her best friend finds her a position as the nanny of his brother’s children, it is the opportunity Oksana needs. But what she didn’t contend with was Rafe, the recently widowed Duke of Essex and her new employer.
Oksana and Rafe’s personalities are like oil and water. However, what begins as mutual hate slowly begins to change into something more. But what future can they have when Rafe has sworn off marriage for good?
As the mismatched pair struggles to come to terms with one another, a disaster that throws everything into question strikes them both.
Buy @
Kobo |

Grays Hill

Meet the Author
Barbara T. Cerny grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. She served twenty-two years in the US Army Reserves, retiring a Lieutenant Colonel in 2007. She is an information technology specialist and supervisor. Barb writes historical romances good for late teen and adults. She puts a lot of history and adventure into her work. Words are her passion, they do matter.
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Author’s Interview..Ruchi Vasudeva, Mills and Boons, Harlequin Author by Sufia Khatoon

Here’s my interview on Being Bookworms, hosted by Sufia Khatoon.

Welcome to another edition of Being Bookworms Author’s interview session where Sufia Khatoon has interviewed Ruchi Vasudeva, Milland Boons, Harlequin Indian Author, the writer of two successful books Bollywood Fiance for a day and You can’t fight a Royal attraction…

We Being Bookworms team are delighted to welcome Ruchi Vasudeva.

I had a great experience knowing you and reading your work. A review coming soon of Ruchi’s books and I am happy to say that she is a wonderful writer, full of surprises and a very dear friend. We wish her all the best, waiting patiently for you other titles.
Best wishes….Sufia

Q1: Being a doctor how difficult it is to find time for writing and juggling two professions at the same time?

Ans: Thank you for hosting this interview, Sufia. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Juggling a medical career and writing is certainly not something I’d advise anyone to do! *smile* Having a job and family means hands quite full, so at times it gets quite tough to find writing time. To write one needs seclusion and I, at least, write better when I’m either alone or somewhere where there’s no chance of getting disturbed. Which is near impossible because at home every one has a claim on your time. At work too I’m busy. But the good part of a great story idea is that it writes itself. The characters will compel me to tell their story no matter if it’s just fifteen minutes I have free. So, all that word count piles up and holidays and weekends help a lot *grin*Photo

Q2: Writing happened to you with winning the passion contest by Mills and boons, have you always been a writer by heart?

Ans:I think so, yes. I used to write stories and poems when in school. I liked to present my essays in new ways than the usual way of introduction. One favourite starting point for me used to be “since the dawn of civilization” No matter what the topic was, eg value of books or my grandmother’s chair (yes, I was given that topic once) I would start with the dawn of civilization phrase and go on to the topic. It worked quite well *grin*

Q3: To many writing is a form of expression, to some a way of escapism from the mundane lives, What is writing to you?
Ans:A series of ideas popping in my mind and forcing me to put them down! It’s something of a compulsion I’d say *smile*

Q4: How challenging is writing a novel? Does one need to be very serious to take up this profession?

Ans:Oh absolutely. Anyone who wants to write well has to be quite dedicated and determined. There is so much to learn. The craft of writing comes way before the art. So it’s certainly not anything you can do just whiling away the time. On top of that, nowadays, writers have to learn about the publishing and marketing side, study the trends and genres. I’d say as a profession, it’s quite demanding.

Q5: Most of us have a writer in us, but few have that passion to pursue it for life, Do you think having a lot of expectations can be harmful as we know is not easy to get published especially now when everyone seems to write?

Ans:In any profession, we have to begin low and go up. If one is willing to work hard, there is no harm in having ambition and I believe there is no lack of opportunity. But writing offers no time-bound progress as occurs in most other jobs. A book might take ages to sell while another book of the same writer might hit the charts as top seller. Don’t expect miracles but be willing to swot, I’d say. Have goals like making your work the best it can be, rather than unreasonable expectations like winning awards with your first book. Goals make you more focused and productive.

Q6: You first novel Bollywood Fiance for a day seems to have been inspired from Bollywood, and so does your other novels. Tells us how important romance and Bollywood is for Indians and Why doe sit inspire you so much?

Ans:For most Indians the two are nearly synonymous. Bollywood films and especially songs ooze with emotions. I can’t say exactly why I like to think of Bollywood as a setting. It’s something that happens unconsciously; maybe because I have grown up watching movies like YC’s Lamhe and others of that genre.

Q7: You can’t fight a Royal attraction is a sequel to your first book, usually a love story in Mills and boons end in a first novel only. What made you write sequel and telling Saira and Rihaan’s love story? Can we expect another sequel to this story in future?

PhotoAns:It wasn’t really a deliberate effort to make it a sequel. I was discussing ideas with my editor and she wasn’t keen on the one I was suggesting at the time. So I put forward this tentatively because Saira’s character had inspired me during the writing of Bollywood Fiance for a Day itself. My editor Kathryn loved it, so I went ahead and the book was formed.

As for another sequel, I have story ideas in mind for Mia and also for Viren of the second book. But they’re not always easy to chart out. Let’s see what happens.

Q8: How do you start writing your story, Do you start with a plot or just start writing and the characters develop eventually?

Ans:Usually for me the story begins with an idea revolving around two characters. Gradually I flesh out the idea and develop the characters. It takes time to situate the idea into the real world because imagination has no foundation in logic and what initially looks good might turn out silly when you actually write it out. So under the left brain direction, there is a lot of tampering and repair and what eventually emerges is quite different from the original. Once the characters and their world is ready then all I have to do is listen to them and let the story unfold. The writing is fairly quick after that.

Q9: Tell us something about Saira and Rihaan?

Ans:Saira is young and spirited. She believed in love and married early, being a little headstrong. She is the sister of the first book heroine. The marriage didn’t turn out well and now she’s divorced and feeling hurt. She has no career and sees no direction in her life. At this point she meets Rihaan.
Rihaan is a loner and somewhat reclusive. He has no desire to get involved with Saira but out of friendship for her sister and her brother-in-law, he takes her under his wing. However, the attraction between them escalates. A twist of fortune places him at a defining moment in his life when his past collides head-on with his future.

Q10: Are your characters in your novels inspired from real lives? How important is inspiration and travelling for a writer?

Ans:Inspiration happens from real life but only to an extent. I do pick up some traits from real people initially but then as the characters start to speak, they assume their own personality. That’s also because they have their own world, their own past and present. So like every human being they are unique. I might discard the traits I had got inspired from once the characters get their own skin so to speak *smile*
Travelling and interacting with people is important for inspiration, I believe.

Q11: Now to get published most writers are choosing the romance or chiclit genre, knowing this is widely read. Do you think a writer should write form the reader’s point of view or write what he or she observes around rather than following the stereotypes?

Ans:The hardest question to answer is what will sell well. I think writing to expectation can profit neither the reader nor the writer. An easy way to decide what to write is think of what you love to read. These days published works are very genre specific so if you pick your favourite genre, you’ll know what comprises it and you’ll find it easy to write for it. But one shouldn’t be afraid to experiment if one has complete belief in the story. And certainly don’t write romance or chiclit just because they sell good.

Q12: Many Indian writers are doing wonders with their impeccable storytelling skills, but recent writers are lacking it, Can you tell us what our new enthusiastic writers need to focus on?

Ans:I’m myself a relatively new writer so really can’t presume to tell anyone anything. I can share what I have learnt and am still learning about writing. It’s that for one thing, one has to know about the craft of writing. The story structure, the goal, motivation, conflict of the character must be properly charted out. I heard it said and will repeat here : there is no shortcut. You learn to write by writing and by having the attitude to learn. Don’t be in a hurry to get published. Try to hone your skill. Take every rejection as a step to learning more.

Q13: You won the Harper Collins’ short story contest, can you tell us something about it and how do you feel?

Ans:The contest was an initiative of Indiblogger in collaboration with HC India. They asked for love stories inspired by real life situations to be selected for publication in an anthology. It was thrilling to win and I’m looking forward to getting published with them.

Q14: How important is participating in contest for newbies? Does research really help in shaping up a novel?

Ans:Contests are the way publishers are roping in new talent these days. Having won two of them and got a publishing break through both, I’d say they are a great opportunity for writers. Just one should read the guidelines very, very carefully and obey the rules to the letter.
Harlequin holds the Passions contest every season for aspiring Indian authors. Right now this is underway. The last date to submit is 25th Jan, ’14. You can check out the details on Harlequin India website.
Research definitely opens new portals for a host of ideas. The more you research the better you can shape up the story world and the characters. For example in case of Rihaan, the more I learnt about his background, the better I could visualise

Q15: Many assume that writers can earn in millions if once published, tell us how does the publishing thing works, and is it really true that once published, there is no looking back?

Ans:If you sell to a renowned publisher and get a great contract, you can earn well but if you think one or two books will land you in the lap of luxury, then no! You’re sadly mistaken if you presume that!
Writing is a job like any other and you have to work at it and be consistent. It’s probably tougher than most jobs because there are long hours but no paycheck at the end of every month to look forward to, in the beginning. When you sell your first work, it feels as though you have arrived but it’s not so. Be prepared for your expectations and your pride to take a lashing. But stick in there – if you really want to succeed – and gradually you will see results. Since publishing world makes a snail look like a jet plane as far as speed is concerned, you’ll need loads of patience. Make sense of what makes successful writers successful and try to work out those principles. It might help.

Q16: Mills and boons is known for its steamy sex scenes, many feel that its just erotics that mills and boons produces, but that is not entirely true. Did you had nay such inhibitions when you were writing about your characters. Do you think a steamy scene is a must in any love story to make it more real or its better avoided?

Ans:It all depends on the story and the characters. All Mills and Boon are not explicit. Take my book for instance. Mills and Boon have many genres and allow the authors free hand in writing what they are comfortable with. For myself, I leave it to the characters. That said, when you’re writing a love story, you have to show some sensuality to make the emotions convincing.

Q17: When you first touched your published novel and heard praises for it, how did it feel?

Ans:Awesome, absolutely out of this world…I could add more superlatives here because I’d have to use many to describe what I felt. Hearing genuine appreciation from a reader who has harmonized with your work is very rewarding indeed. It’s a feeling hard to beat.

Q18: You are a bookworm we know, which writers inspire you and why?

Ans: Getting published is tough. I know so many authors who are writing, taking care of families as well as tackling a job. I salute all those writers and get inspired to do more by their example.
As for writings, my favourite are Agatha Christie’s whodunnits and GPhotoeorgette Heyer’s timeless Regency novels.

Thanks, Sufia. Enjoyed answering your questions.

Ruchi, Best wishes and lots of love.

Hope you are really liking the way we are bringing you tips and the real world of the writer’s…tells us whom should we interview next
warm regards,
Sufia Khatoon, Being Bookworms

Being Bookworms is a praiseworthy project started by the multi talented Sufia Khatoon. She is artistic, devoted to charity work and dedicated to supporting readers and writers. Being Bookworms is an effort to bring readers and authors together and promote good readership. I congratulate Sufia on her work and wish her the best for future.

Meet Tanu Jain, Indian author for Harlequin

Hi everyone! Today I have Tanu Jain, the newest Indian author for Harlequin, on my blog. Let’s get to know her through a question and answer session.

  • Hi Tanu! Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

Thank you, Ruchi for featuring me on your blog.  It’s great to meet a fellow writer.

I have been creating stories since childhood though most of them have never seen the light of the day! I am a die-hard romantic and have always been an avid Mills and Boon fan. About five years ago, having checked out the submission guidelines on the internet, I decided I would write a Mills and Boon and got down to work. My first attempt was about a Greek hero and an English heroine and predictably, it was rejected by the editors. By then the characters of my present book, Gauri and Vikram had insidiously crept upon me and they made me write their story. I sent it off hoping against hope because till then Harlequin hadn’t begun publishing the Indian theme romances. I waited for a year and then to my joyous shock got the confirmatory email from the editor.  Seeing my name on that little blue book is a dream come true.


  • Your experience of writing a book – easy as pie or hard as nails?

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
It’s been a long journey and there have been times of despair as well as times of joy but at the end of the day the contentment of reading what one has written, the joy of sharing a part of oneself is what gives meaning to life.

  • What motivates you to write?

I think it’s a matter of one’s passion. Imagining, writing and expressing are as necessary as breathing and that is the sole spur required.

As A. Pope says,

“On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail,

Reason the card, but passion the gale.”

Stories beg to be told, characters clamour to come out and on a lighter note, I would like to emphasise that not paying heed to them can prove detrimental to one’s health.

  • How do you overcome writer’s block?

I sit down with my children and watch whatever they are watching on television — a movie, English series or cartoon film!

  • Does writing get in your way of life?

Writing is in fact what de stresses me,  enlivens and keeps me going.

  • What inspired “His Captive Indian Princess”?

Our country has an extremely rich cultural history and love stories of our kings and queens and royal love legends have always fascinated me. On one of my excursions to an ancient fort the heroine of my book, Gauri careened into my musings and I could almost espy Vikram the hero who was heading towards us in a relentless pursuit. I decided I would give them a happy ending and now that their conflicts have been resolved they can be seen strolling around the same fort, ecstatically, hand in hand. J

  • Please describe your book briefly.

The blurb…

Banished from her dynastic family home by her grandmother, Gauri Rao has lived under the weight of scandal. But now her past has come back to find her in the shape of deliciously handsome and dangerously powerful Vikram Singh. With the Rao family in tatters, Vikram has promised Gauri’s father he will track down his daughter and bring her back – at all costs. Yet somehow, the naïve girl who ran away has blossomed into an independent woman. Vikram is not used to taking no for an answer… has he finally met his match?


  • Tell us about the main characters in your book.

The heroine Gauri  is the illegitimate daughter of the erstwhile ruler of Mogragarh, Maharaj Sambhaji Rao. She has faced many trials and tribulations in her life. The hero Vikramaditya Singh also belongs to royalty and he is the heroine’s brother’s best friend. He too had an unhappy and tragic childhood. The protagonists thus, know each other since childhood and practically grow up together.  But they are barely able to tolerate each other and end up fighting most of the time. But beneath their dislike and irritation a mutual attraction simmers. “His Captive Indian Princess” traces their journey as they become aware of their mutual passion and overcome their prejudices, grow as human beings, gain self knowledge and surmount obstacles to find a happy ending.

  • What’s next in your writing plans?

I’m frantically trying to finish my second book.

Thanks so much for your visit, Tanu and also for regaling us with the nice quotes. Enjoyed getting to know about you and your book. 

You can get in touch with her at:

You can buy the book at :


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