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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Author Interview : Pooja Poddar Marwah, author of 'Pursuit : Drawn by Destiny'

Pooja Poddar Marwah
Read up,  Interview with Pooja Poddar Marwah, author of 'Pursuit : Drawn by Destiny'. In this interview, she tells us, how the book first happened and what was different about it.

She also tells us,  what the kind of research that went into this book, who the character was that she felt most close to, and also what the most fulfilling part was and that the sequel would be out next year, Folks...

How did 'Pursuit : Drawn by Destiny' first happen?

I call it my date with Destiny. While shuttling between the co-curricular of my kids, I had a laptop and bottle of thumbs up for company. Somewhere in the middle of their classes, began a story between us and I guess you could say, the words just flowed. Writing has always been an outlet to me.

When I write, it’s like the words come alive. I lose myself in the characters and their life. Pursuit - Drawn by Destiny is; as the name suggests, a tryst with Destiny

What according to you is different about your book?

It is a story of two people flung together despite their differences. It makes one believe in something beyond the ordinary - call it the power of faith. 

­­What kind of research was put into the writing of this book?
The kind of research, the heart and mind do on a daily basis. 
One wants something and the other intrudes and disagrees.
How do you note the points, which you have in your book? 

Uh!! The book is not divided into an excel or word document with points. It’s got words that flow into sentences and reflect what the heart and mind have to say in unison.

Any advice to writers that would like to be published today? How tough is it to be published? 

Just write with your heart and believe in your words and never ever ever ever give up.

Publishing is a different ballgame altogether.

Which particular character do you feel most close to? Why?
Edward Scott. His character is shaped with great complexities and insecurities and yet he is shown as very vulnerable and lost until he finds what he thinks, he wants

And once face to face with his want, he finds comfort yet is perplexed. So, his character makes for a very interesting man.
Could you tell the readers about your experiences and how it was related to what you wrote?

It’s all a work of fiction and my imagination on how complex most relationships are…

What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?

The most fulfilling part of writing this book was seeing a childhood dream come alive, as I held the printed copy in my hand

The most challenging part was finding a publisher.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?

No one tells you who or what you can become. It’s something that stems from your own dreams. I have always been a dreamer and I believe in love and magic.

Somewhere, this features in almost every other page.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

Right now, on a daily basis, I am entangled between Kate Princeton and Edward Scott as their journey only shapes up, as I pen down the closure to this book. 
The sequel will be out next year.

Which book are you currently reading? 

'PS, I Love You'  is the book, am currently reading...

Who are your favourite authors and why?
Paulo Coelho
Jeffery Archer
I love romance and I love stories that inspire and aspire
Some of my favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer and my, very latest aspiration and inspiration is Dr Yes! Richard Branson


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Book Review ‘Pursuit : Drawn by Destiny’ by Pooja Poddar Marwah

Beginning with tears in her eyes, and an unsteady tremble in her feet, at four in the morning, she was awake trying to figure out, why she had the same dream yet again. This was Kate’s morning again and again, something she had never managed to figure out…

Set in the busy city of Mumbai, this story would lead us all along the paths of Kate and Edward, how they meet, and keep on meeting among everything that keeps happening to both of them. They both find each other, and keep on finding each other, every now and then.

Kate, who runs her own company, Semicircle Entertainment and has a few people for help. One of these events, being organized by Natasha Scott and her husband, Edward Scott, has to be handled by Kate. There is some amount of love and hate between Kate and Edward.  

Between Goa, Mumbai, and the USA and Gran Canaria, love for each other begins to blossom. They have enough problems to worry them. Firstly, Edward is married and though he is completely off it, but his wife, Natasha is definitely there.

Their off and on relationship, has numerous twists and turns. But will he leave Natasha and marry Kate for sure? Does she love him enough? A truth or dare game is played, will it answer the questions which the two of them are dying to answer?

But the story does not end...
Okay, there are a few times, that editing in this book has not been done 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Author Interview : Supriya Sehgal author of 'A Tigress called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India' (Part 2)

Supriya Sehgal
Read up, the concluding part of the Interview with Supriya Sehgal, author of 'A Tigress called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India' (Part 2). Questions such as the biggest lesson she (positive or negative), she has picked up, and has she ever run low on any money during her tours, any particular story she feels close to, what she felt, was the most fulfilling part of her story and the most challenging part.

What she is planning on writing next, any authors she takes inspiration from, who her favourite authors, and the books, she is reading currently, are questions she answers, Folks...

What is the biggest lesson (positive or negative) you’ve learned through this entire adventure?

The biggest lesson learned over years of adventuring around India is that you have to operate with implicit trust in people and your surroundings. Our minds are so wired to judge and doubt. This attitude doesn’t help at all.

Have you felt ever lonely being a solo adventurer? 

No, I quite enjoy my own company. It can get physically exhausting sometimes. I’ve started taking a day’s break in the middle of my travel, when I have to go over 10 days.

Have you ever run low on money during your tour?

Yes, I have been in a strange situation in Nepal where none of my cards worked and I had only some hundred odd Indian rupees. I felt quite stuck but things worked out when my AirBNB owner came to my rescue.

What are your future travel plans?

I’m quite unfamiliar with Maharashtra and plan to explore that on my own, as Bombay is going to be base, from now on. My partner and I are making an extensive Italy itinerary.

Which particular story do you feel most close to? Why?
This is quite hard, as I have met most of the animals and people featured in the book. Ashok Baba and Julie in Varanasi, Babiya from my initial solo travels and Vijay Sharma and his absurd way of feeding the monkeys of Galta Ji Temple are most memorable for me.
What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?

The fulfilling part came after the book reached the hands of children who called, mailed and messaged via their parents to chat about the book and ask more questions. 
The most challenging part was sticking to deadlines. I assumed that this would be a breeze to write, but it has been the most difficult thing ever :).

What else do you do on a daily basis?
I write for travel publications, edit and do a lot of commercial writing and content strategy for brands.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
Ruskin Bond
Bijal Vachharajani

In the realm of children’s books, I love Shruthi Rao, Bijal Vachharajani and the evergreen Ruskin Bond. Mo Willems and Drew Daywalt are others that I admire.

Which books are you currently reading?
I just picked up Animal Indica edited by Sumana Roy.

You can Read the Review,  here as well.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Author Interview : Supriya Sehgal author of 'A Tigress called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India'

Supriya Sehgal
Read up, Interview with Supriya Sehgal, author of 'A Tigress called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India'. This interview is a treat! 
In this interview, she tells us, how the entire book first happened, how she got  her personal story and managed to combine it with the subject of the book, what inspired her to start writing this book, and how her way of thinking has changed, since she first started travelling and writing, there is more coming up, Folks...

How did ‘A Tigress called Machhli and other True Animal Stories from India’ first happen?
Having been in the travel writing space for a decade, I always wanted to write something for children that married travel and a sense of inclusivity. The original idea was to write something that would bridge the north-south divide – food, culture and appearance wise.

But that seemed a bit patronising and I thought of the many unique animal-human relationships, I had seen on the road. Giving it a simple and slightly humorous spin was my editor, Nimmy Chacko’s idea. She is the one who steered the messaging and the humour in the book.
How did you bring out your personal story and combine it into the entire subject?
That was pretty natural, as I have met almost all the protagonists in the book or have interviewed them on phone over ten tears. When you’ve actually travelled or have experiences (childhood) to tap into, then, the combining is pretty easy.

I have some more stories on the same topic in the kitty – but we had to be conscious that the book wasn’t leaning to a particular kind of animal (read, dogs) :)

What kind of research was put into the writing of this book?
Since I have personally met most of the people and animals featured in the book, it was really primary research. In some cases, it was based on phone interviews. The historical nuggets were researched from secondary resources.
What according to you is different about your book?
It has been our effort to not make the book pedantic, but keep it engaging for the children and also, strike empathy in them. Plus, it has a clear travel angle by mentioning the destinations and backdrop.

I think the book has been able to find that balance, which makes it different. It’s not an instructive travel or animal book.

Any advice to writers that would like to be published today? How tough is it to be published? 

My advice would be to be flexible about your topic, if you are completely new in the arena. The publishing houses and editors tend to know the audience better if you are not familiar with the genre.

For example, this is my 40th or so book, but only the second directed to children (the first was a story, as part of an anthology). I was happy to get insights from the Hachette team and the end product is much better than what I had imagined. 

On getting published, I had it easy, but the writing world is much more democratic now. Publishing houses are also looking for good content that would make commercial sense. Pitch away!

What has inspired you to start writing this book?

My desire to influence young travelers to see India with a compassionate eye was the original idea. The fact that I could include animals in it was an added advantage.

How has your way of thinking changed since you first started travelling and writing?

I think my travels earlier were much more pure and agenda-less. Since most of my travel is for commercial projects, there is a work slant almost all the time.

However, I think I have learnt to pace things rather than dash in - dash out. Writing certainly compels you to be present to the simplest of situations, dig for stories and take in the place more deeply.

You can Read the Review,  here as well.