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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Author Interview : Andaleeb Wajid, author of 'No Time For Goodbyes'

Old photographs and old and empty roads are not just for older adults. Nor are cellphones and Harry Potters for youngsters. There is mishmash between the two of them. Attempting to bridge that very gap, was Andaleeb Wajid’s goal through this book.

Blending her fascination with what we have is what this author did in this book. And she also advises writers today, to not let go of books, because she feels that we must, ‘Read. Don't just jump into writing without having done any reading yourself.

A trilogy is in the process of being written, but meanwhile, we have ‘No Time For Goodbyes’ and this interview to keep us company. So, let us read on...

How did ‘No Time For Goodbyes’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

I love writing Young Adult fiction and it had been on my mind for a while but I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to write. The idea for this book came to me in a random fashion when my mother was looking at some old photographs and wished she could go back into the past, when those photos were taken. Her words got stuck in my head for some reason and the story idea started taking shape.

When I started writing, I realised that I couldn't do justice to the story with just one book, and so the trilogy came about.

How did the whole past, present thing come out?

I've always held a fascination for the past. My mother and grandmother would keep
telling us stories about how life was 'back then' and in my heart I used to wish I could just go back and see for myself. Also, I felt that it would be nice for today's generation to get a glimpse (albeit a tiny one) about life in the 80s.

What about the scientific element? What kind of research did you put in?

I read up about time travel on the internet and the amount of information there was staggering. So, I stopped looking for ideas and decided to make it more fantasy than science fiction.

I haven't really explained how the time travel thing works in ‘No Time for Goodbyes’ but I do have an explanation of my own for it in the subsequent books.

What according to you is different about your book?

I feel it is not a typical Young Adult book. Anyone can enjoy it and I've received a lot of positive feedback from people of all ages. I suppose the element of the past and the present make it a fun book for everyone.

When are you considering a second part for this book?

Actually, ‘No Time for Goodbyes’ is the first book of a trilogy. So, yes, the second part is coming out in August and it is called ‘Back in Time’. Look out for it!

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives today? Any similarities?

I'm a technology geek and can't stay without my phone for too long. I think that's the case with most people today and that's what I've tried to portray in the book. So, a throwback to the old era where things we take for granted, like computers, mobile phones, internet, were unheard of would be interesting.

What was the most challenging part about writing ‘NTFG’?

Trying to get the right voice for Tamanna without making it too obvious. The rest just fell in place.

What are the most fulfilling parts in your book?

Tamanna's reactions to how different things were in the past were fun to write.

Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?

Tamanna definitely. She's a protagonist who's caught between two worlds and she's confused. Confusion was my primary emotion; when I was her age so yeah, definitely her.

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

My mother's uncle, Abdul Lateef, was a renowned English professor in Chennai. He encouraged me right from the time I was ten years old and would send him inland letters filled with stories I had conjured up. His words of praise made me feel that I had it in me to become a writer.

When will you next book be out?

August, 2014.

Which book are you currently reading?

The Percy Jackson series. No really! I have plenty of books lined up to read but this is a lot of fun!

Who are your favourite authors and why?

Agatha Christie, Marian Keyes, Martha Grimes, J.K Rowling and numerous others. I enjoy their stories and their writing.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

I've recently re-joined the workforce. I'm the marketing head of a software company here in Bangalore.

What advice do you have for the young writers of today?

Read. Don't just jump into writing without having done any reading yourself. 

Writing is a solitary job, so don't isolate yourself from the world before getting a chance to see if from the point of view of other writers.

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