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Friday, June 23, 2017

Author Interview : Rishabh Puri, author of ‘Inside the Heart of Hope’

Rishabh Puri
Read up, the Interview with Rishabh Puri, author of 'Inside a Heart of Hope'  This interview consists of how the book actually happened, how he felt about writing about loved ones as characters, the most challenging and fulfilling parts of the book, how his medical, social and economic backgrounds affected his writing, his experiences and how it was related to what he wrote, what the next book that he has planned, which books he is currently reading, and much, much more, Folks...

How did ‘Inside the Heart of Hope’ happen? Could you describe the journey? 

‘Inside the Heart of Hope’ came partially out of a desire to see myself and people like me represented in stories as heroes, and not just as props for other characters to pity as they deal with their own emotional journeys. But it evolved into so much more than I could have imagined when I first put pen to page.

I was highly interested in seeing someone, medically fragile described as the hero in a love story, someone who, in spite of his suffering, is shown as capable, loving, interested, optimistic; all the things that I am, and that many people suffering from serious medical conditions are.  

I wanted to show that even through times of self-pity and depression; we have strong families, friends, and lovers who help us to reach the fullness of human experience.

But also, show that we are capable of supporting them in return, in loving them through their struggles. And in trying to achieve that, I wrote the love story I wanted to have. I laughed, and cried, and learned a lot about myself, trying to show my soul to my readers.  

How did it feel to write about yourself and your loved ones, as characters? 

The bit of writing wisdom, I’ve always been offered is to write what you know, and who do I know better than myself, my family and friends? They’re good people. They make good characters.

Capturing their love for me, putting myself in their shoes at times, and trying to share their experiences as well as my own was at times a struggle, but easier than I anticipated before I wrote it.

Particularly putting my doctors into the book, capturing these people who are both heroes to me for the life-saving work they do on a daily basis, but also people, who I consider friends in my life, was fun as well as challenging.

What was harder, but more fulfilling, was writing about myself from the point of view of Lisa, a woman who does not exist, but who is supposed to love me, anyways. At times, I wanted to write myself in her eyes as a perfect hero, flawless and charming, who can do no wrong and would never hurt her.

At times, I wanted to write myself as nothing but flaws, to pick myself apart, and find myself as wanting in her eyes as I do in my own, at times. Allowing myself, to be just human in someone else’s point of view was a struggle. I hope I’ve conveyed it well.

What according to you is different about your book?

I would say my devotion to relentless optimism within the story, the same practice that guides my own life. I think, when writing a love story so personal, it has to contain a bit of your soul, and I chose to put that relentless part of me that fights even in the worst of circumstances to not only live my life, but to love it.
In my book, ‘Inside the Heart of Hope’, you can follow the journey I took towards that optimism. It hasn’t been an easy one. I think you can see the soul of it; it is, in a way, a fight song as well as a romance novel. It declares my intention towards victory over my illnesses and my dedication to finding love and a full life, of freedom and love.

Could you tell the readers about your experiences and how it was it related to what you wrote?

From the initial diagnosis of hyperlipidemia, I had only a few years of childhood free to play, before the discovery of a leak in my aortic valve. The doctors tried to put off replacing the valve as long as they could, hoping I would grow, but eventually a replacement was needed.

Just a few months after the surgery, some blockages were discovered in my hearts, which lead to a bypass surgery being performed. It’s been a long and winding road towards recovery. The journey continues to this day.

It was important to me that I showed such complex medical history as only someone who has lived through it can do; in all its ups and downs, its complexities. I wanted to show that it hasn't beaten me, and that I'm still the same fun-loving guy who drives, writes poetry, paints, and cooks, who has so much he loves and enjoys, and who is capable of so much more than just suffering and pain.

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

The most fulfilling part? When my editors told me we were finished editing and I read over the finished product. Knowing that I’d set out to say what I wanted to say, and there it was, a completed manuscript. Though the nervous feeling of knowing your story is about to be out there for anyone to read and feel what they want about it is one I’ll never get over, whether I’ve written just the one book or one thousand.

The most challenging? Staring at a blank word document with only one empty page on it and a whole story cooking up in your head. The excitement, the anticipation, could almost eat you alive. The only way, to handle it all is to WRITE.

How did your medical, social and economic backgrounds affect your writing?

I think this question might be harder to answer if I hadn’t written a story so close to my own experiences, but it’s all there for you to see. I’ve been so blessed to live the way that I live, in spite of my struggles.

My life is a good one and is full of good things. I have so much more freedom than I might have if I were someone else experiencing the same problems, and I can only hope that the gratitude, I feel about my situation in spite of my struggles shines through in this story.

What is the next book that you have planned? 

The next novel, which I’m in the midst of writing right now, is an exploration of selfless love. I’m fascinated by the thought of a love that is unconditional and lasts a whole lifetime, in spite of the strange and sometimes horrid circumstances that life has in store for us.

The story deviates from my personal life in some ways, and in others, it tells a story that I’ve lived and that is close to my own heart. One of the things I’m really excited about exploring in romance novels is the notion of intimacy.

To do that, I’m playing with epistolary format and letting readers read love-letters, diary entries, and other things so personal to my characters that they can’t help but love the love between them. There’s nothing more intimate than getting a peek at something private, and writing a story told exclusively in private moments really helps to build that.

After that, I want to try something light-hearted and fun; a romantic comedy, if you will. I love humour and consider myself a bit of a jokester, so writing something that will have audiences rolling on the floor laughing, while also rooting for the love blossoming between my characters is a must. After that? Perhaps something more passionate, erotic. I love love, and want to explore it from every angle. 

Dr Henry Cloud
Which books are you currently reading?

One book I just finished is called The Power of the Other’ by Dr. Henry Cloud. It talks about the effect that other people have on who you are and your behaviour in every aspect of your life.
I actually read a lot of nonfiction in my spare time, everything from 
neuroscience and self-help to stories on environmental issues and biographies of great leaders.

There’s a lot of fascinating stories in history and in science that don’t get told on the news, so it’s up to authors to really analyse and break down how things work on this earth. I read a lot of books on writing and craft as well.

But sometimes, I like to sink into a harlequin romance novel or a classic story of love and loss, just to feel something I haven’t before. I’m an avid reader; I read even more than I write, if you can believe that. I think all writers should be.
Howard Pyle

Who are your favourite authors and why?  

King Arthur and his Knights
It’s hard to pick just one author because so many are nameless, but when I’m having a bad day and really just want to lose myself, I’ll read stories of ‘King Arthur and his Knights’, by Howard Pyle.

Nobility and romance, the rise and fall of a great king, and the promise of his return is consistently fascinating to me. It’s a story that you can read over and over again at different parts of your life, learning something new every time. At some parts, they’re simple; at some very complicated, but they’re always magical. They make my heart soar.

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

I think the key is honestly believing in the story that you’ve written and not letting up until it’s out there. Show that you’re capable of promoting yourself and taking direction from the team that’s making your story everything it can be.

Love what you’ve created, and believe that you’re an author with great ideas, who is capable of executing them. Believe in what you’re saying and believe that there’s a reader out there who needs to hear it. You also have to do the work. Novels are titanic undertakings and require day to day devotion.  Discipline yourself and dedicate yourself to the process of creation.

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

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