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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Author Interview : Andaleeb Wajid, author of 'Asmara's Summer'

Andaleeb Wajid
Read up, Interview with Andaleeb Wajid, author of ‘Asmara's Summer’. This piece, had lots of Bangalore and expressing it in the bittersweet style was this author. In this interview, she tells us, how the entire book came about, how she relates the lives of her characters to lives today, the most challenging part of the story, which character she felt most close to, what she thought was different about her book, the next book she has planned  and much more, Folks…

How did ‘Asmara’s Summer’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

‘Asmara’s Summer’ was a fun book for me. Ideas pop up when you’re not really thinking about it in particular. 

I was on my way back from Tannery Road after visiting an uncle and I was in an auto and the idea just breezed into my head. It excited me and I decided to work on it.

How did the story, especially Asmara and Farzaan’s come out?

I start off most stories with a central idea and somewhere along the way; the romantic interest creeps in, asking to be given some space. I let it in and then before I know it, it sometimes just takes over the story. 

Asmara and Farzaan were similar. I knew I was going to have a love interest for Asmara but he just walked into my head, fully formed.

Bangalore is a relevant part of your story. How did the life and its experiences play a part in your novel?

Bangalore is a relevant part of most of my stories because it’s home for me. I’ve lived here all my life and I don’t really ‘get’ other cities, the way I get Bangalore. At least that’s what I think. I try to showcase life as it is right now, especially for young adults.

What kind of research did you put in it?

This isn’t a research based book. I live in Bangalore and I’ve visited Tannery Road many times. The rest of the story was pure imagination.

What according to you is different about your book?

Pitching Asmara who is modern, progressive and belonging to a very ‘right here, right now’ generation against Rukhsana who is more staid, conservative and shy, allowed me to showcase both kinds of young adults that one would typically see today.

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

I think they’re very true to life. It’s what many of my readers have told me. However, I haven’t based them on anyone as such. These characters have a life of their own and sometimes even minds of their own.

What was the most challenging part about writing ‘Asmara’s Summer’?

My only challenge, when I’m writing a Young Adult book is that I want the voice of the protagonist and characters to be authentic. It should definitely not feel like someone much older has written them, or that someone is trying very hard to get the voice right. I just want it to be natural and real. 

What are the most fulfilling parts in your book?

Different things. Asmara’s reaction when something weird and strange happens to her, the funny moments like when her nani gives her a head massage with Navratan Oil, and definitely the moments with Asmara and Farzaan. It’s lovely to write about young love.

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

Definitely Asmara. She is nothing like the way I am. I think if I was her age, I’d have aspired to be like her but wouldn’t have been able to measure up. I’m not saying she’s perfect, but she’s spunky and not afraid of doing something, especially if it’s to help someone else.

When will you next book be out?

November, 2016. It’s a contemporary romance that is being published by Hachette and it’s called ‘The Crunch Factor’.
Which book are you currently reading?

I’m re-reading ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ because it’s one of the Harry Potter books that I’ve read just once. Just felt like catching up with it, especially after reading ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’.

What else do you do, when you are not writing a book?

Reading mostly. Watching cooking shows on TV (I’ve no idea why, because I don’t cook that often). 

You can  Read the Review, right here and Buy the Book, here too.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review : 'Trapped' by Kavitha Mandana

Nowadays, I do not know why, but am getting a lot of children’s books and some even the paranormal kinds. So, I finally picked up, Kavitha Mandana’s ‘Trapped’. As, I began to read it, and noticed a few words and it ran in a cool way, which had me hooked on to it. The words were so, ‘Pink Floyd’ like that it had me at the word go.

And it had more, a lady called Lingamma, who’s the permanent help, around the house. ‘It kind of linked me to Lingayya, a 90 year gardener at my home, once upon a time.’ Well, that’s almost 2 points in favour of me reading the book. Anyway, let’s begin.

It starts off with Anandita and Arjun, twins and their brother, Amit, who incidentally is the ‘ghostwriter’ for their band. Okay, actually it is a mystery, how Amit actually would not have been a ghost, if he was born, but since he is one, and only the twins seem to know of him and communicate with him!! And, Lingamma too!

Amit is tired of the fact that only those three know of him. He wants to feel like a part of the family. His mother is wondering, who the twins are talking to, constantly. Surprisingly, Amit’s dad also manages to communicate with him, but his own mother doesn’t. They have the usual adolescent problems, heartbreak, coupled with music and of course, their paranormal issue. 
Pink Floyd (from Wikipedia)

Okay, the twins a part of ‘Bus Band’, which seems to be practising and hopefully, soon would move from their viral self to a full on band. 

And to add to the spirit world, there is one more ghost, who makes an appearance to show Amit, how little he has and how little else, he might be left with.

Of course, it got a tad bit scary in the middle, but it is a good read. The mix and match of all the paranoia and the love stories, is all a part of this bud band’s love story twists and turns.

Will the love stories of both Anandita and Arjun have an end? Is there an absolute right answer to the questions, Amit’s mind poses? How will the ghosts find their ends, if there is one? Will Amit’s mother ever find out, what the twins are up to? What is up with the additional spirit, what will happen to it in the end?

You can Buy the Book, right here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Author Interview : Erin Frew, author of 'Golden Boy Bailey'

Erin Frew
Read up, Erin Frew's, 'Golden Boy Bailey', which makes for a superb read. It tells a story of four dogs, a golden retriever, a pit bull, a Labrador and even a German Sheppard and a bigger adventure, that they take on. So, this was a book for super fun reading, easy to understand too, for all kids and adults, alike. And the illustrations are really good, and one can see the effort, she took, doing it all by herself, Folks...

How did ‘Golden Boy Bailey’ happen? Could you describe the journey?  

Writing children’s books was a thought; I’ve had lingering in the back of my mind since high school. My Grandma Dodie, first planted the seed, one day after school.  She read to me from an article she had cut out of the newspaper. 

It was the story of a girl my age that was writing and illustrating her own children’s books. It was Grandma Dodie, who first told me I should write books.  She thought I would be good at writing stories and illustrating them.

Grandma Dodie must have seen something in me at that early age that I couldn't see in myself. I went on to receive my Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University. Three years later I moved to Santa Monica, California and began working for an inventing firm as a toy designer. It was during this time my creative juices took over. I began designing toys for companies such as Mattel, Fisher Price, Radica and Rose Art.

One evening, I was homesick missing family and my dog Bailey back in Illinois.  I felt inspired and wrote the story for Golden Boy Bailey.  The story of Golden Boy Bailey was on my hard drive for over 15 years. 

Shortly, after writing the story I returned to the Midwest. I got married and had three beautiful children. During my last pregnancy with my son Oliver I finally made the decision to illustrate ‘Golden Boy Bailey’ and have it published.  It was something that I wanted to dedicate to my grandma for her encouragement and endless support.  It was, however, through my own children that I found the inspiration to see it through.

Grandma Dodie, Erin Frew, Bailey

My Grandma Dodie was 99 years old and passed away January 13, 2016. ‘Golden Boy Bailey’ was published in February, one month after her death. 

I love reading to my children at night.  I believe it develops within them a passion for learning. ‘Golden Boy Bailey’ is my first children’s book.  My children are so proud of the book and have mommy read it to them over and over again.

How did the story, especially all the entire dog’s stories come about? 

I used real characters in my book.  The four dog characters are based on real dogs that I knew personally and loved very much.  Bailey, of course, was my best friend. Bailey’s best friends were my brother, Jason’s dog, Chewy, my sister Meghan’s dog, Sable, and my sister Carey’s dog, Logan.  It was fun turning our real live dogs into characters in my book.

Did you have a lot of personal experiences to go with it?

I could write so many Golden Boy Bailey stories. I have fond memories and many years of real life experiences that I shared with these dogs.  They were so fun and such a joy to have as part of my life.  I have a feeling you may see another ‘Golden Boy Bailey’ adventure in the near future. 

How did you come up with the core idea and develop it?  

It was natural for me to pick the dogs as my main characters.  The idea for them to go to blue pool was a way for me to give the book a local connection to my hometown Alton, Illinois. 

Blue Pool is a place that carries with it a legend throughout the Alton area for its endless bottom and myths of locomotives and mine cars disappearing beneath its waters. For me, Alton’s Blue Pool is a natural landmark full of amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery.

What according to you is different about your book?

I think there are several things that make Golden Boy Bailey uniquely different.  The most obvious would be the illustrations.  I love how the drawings turned out so vibrant and colourful.  To create the artwork, I took sketches and turned them into computer-generated imagery. 

Another unique aspect of Golden Boy Bailey is that the artwork and storyline are something that both boys and girls can relate to.  This is a children’s book that everyone can enjoy.

How would you relate the lives of dog’s characters to today’s characters, both dogs and people? Any similarities?

Golden Boy Bailey is a wonderful story that relates well to the children of today.  The dogs live in a rural area within the Midwestern part of the United States.  I think children all across the world will find the story interesting and the illustrations engaging.

I think pet lovers, both children and adults, will develop bonds with the characters.  I hope children find inspiration from Golden Boy Bailey to create their own adventures and wonderful life experiences.

What was the most challenging part about writing the book?

The most challenging part was finding the time to complete the illustrations.  It was a juggling act between working full time, caring for my family and scheduling time to draw.

What book is coming from your desk, next? When do you see it released?

I’d love to write and illustrate more children’s books.  Golden Boy Bailey has been very well received. I am honoured and proud to announce that Golden Boy Bailey has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products and services by the Mom’s Choice Awards. 

People have been reaching out and asking for another Golden Boy Bailey Adventure. I think a second adventure for Bailey and his friends will be coming soon.

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

It was my Grandma Dodie.

Do you have any suggestions for anyone who is looking to publish a book?

It was very rewarding for me to have my book published.  If publishing is something you want to do, just do it!  To be successful, you’ll need a great manuscript and to believe in yourself. After that you just need the determination to go for it.
Which book are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading ‘The Shepherd of the Hills’ by Harold Bell Wright.  After my Grandma’s passing, we started cleaning out her home.  She must have had twenty copies of ‘The Shepherd of the Hills’ so, I took a copy home with me. 
 Who are your favourite authors and why? 

Eric Carle : Taken from https://kindergartencce.wikispaces.com/K-Author+Eric+Carle
One of my favorite children’s book authors is Eric Carle. He wrote Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I also find Tish Rabe to be fascinating.  She is the author of ‘The Cat in the Hat knows a Lot About That!’ book series.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

On a daily basis, my husband and I own and operate a 30,000 square foot retail store.  We specialize in Bridal, Tuxedos and Formal Wear.  Our store is called Frew's Bridal.

We also have an Internet business, www.bestbridalprices.com and sell dresses worldwide. We sell wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, mother's gowns, flower girl dresses, prom dresses and any other special occasion gown you can think of.  I live and breathe high fashion, design and I love every moment.

 You can  Read the Review, too and Buy the Book, here as well.