Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Alpha Yeti by Sum (Book Review)

An exciting thriller, powerful novel by Sum 

This book is available on Amazon and Flipkart 

Title – The Alpha Yeti
Author – Sum
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – AuthorHouse UK
No of pages – 213

Main characters – Jai (The hunter), Sanau (Jai’s daughter), Gohi, Dwar, Boleain, Dastur Mobhaji, Wurli

Other characters – Roopal (Jai’s wife)




My review
My idea of fiction is a story full of actions, suspense, and thrill. At first, the book cover did not stir my imagination. In fact, I did not sign up for this book but WritersMelon selected me for reviewing this book and I thank them for giving me this opportunity to review this book.

The first chapter of this novel gave a chill to me and I kept reading only to realize that I should not judge any book by its cover. Its an amazingly complied, written action-packed book written by Sum (the author has also kept his identity hidden which is also an interesting fact).

The Alpha Yeti depicts a struggle between good and evil. There are white and grey yetis who live in snow-capped mountains of Nirmalaya and there is a tribe of Kasis who are living in the Karyakunj village. Everything was peaceful until the group of mountaineers embark on the journey to discover mysterious mountain only to put the entire village in danger. The grey yetis’ boiling blood for revenge wreak havoc for villagers and they do not have enough weapons to fight against them. They soon lose the battle but the four eminent hunters from the west come to their rescue when Jai’s daughter gets abducted by one of the villagers. It leaves them no choice but enter in the vicious village cured by the deformed grey yetis.

Will they be able to rescue the village? Will Jai and Jai’s family reunite with their daughter? Will the battle with Alpha Yetis ever come to end or villagers will continue to live in fear and distraught for centuries?

The Alpha Yeti is a full of actions and adventures novel well-written by equally mysterious author ‘Sum’. The moment I started reading this novel, it had a firm grip on me. Every scenario gave me the same thrill and excitement as if I am watching Game of Thrones. I loved the idea of Alpha Yetis versus humans. It was quite refreshing to read something unique and adventurous after a long time. Yes, a few chapters did frighten me in the night as the writing stirred my imagination.

The life of Kasis is no fairy-tale. The beginning shows how white Yetis and Grey Yetis are no fictional characters but are real and how they are making the lives of villagers terrible. Alas, the struggle of villagers continues when the government fails to recognize its root cause. Every emotion depicted in the novel represents how humans’ actions cause disastrous reactions. They say curiosity kills the cat and true to this adage when four mountaineers try to solve the mystery of Yetis call trouble for the entire village. When they fail to solve the mystery and save the village, Mobhaji’s son Wurli takes the matter in his hand and abduct Jai’s daughter so that they could come to the village and save them from the evil Grey Yetis.

The story also gives out a message to us how our actions hamper natural environment. White Yetis live in harmony but humans known for troubles not only endanger their lives but themselves as well. As a result, it awakens the evil power of Alpha Yeti. The fight between four hunters and the Grey Yetis is exciting to read.

I liked the fact that the author never goes overboard when describing the characters, scenes and everything. It would have become more interesting if the author could have extended the plot as I felt in some places the author has rushed to complete the plot.

Overall, the plot is extremely unique, strong and powerful. It gave me the excitement of adventures that one would want to have it in reality.

Writing style  

The authenticity of the plot is maintained throughout the novel by using words like Bhirendi, Wurli, Boleain, kinsmen, donjon, bludgeon etc. it simply sets the plot as if it really happened in the village called Karyakunj.

The best part
The author’s writing style is simple and unique. The debut novel of Sum is very impressive.

Not so good part
Actually none. However, the author should have extended the plot a bit as it needs more pace to gauge the plot properly.

My rating
4/5

About the author
Since Sum wanted to continue being a mystery man so we cannot help but wait for his identity to come out.



Saturday, September 22, 2018

HarperCollins India to launch Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s debut novel



]HarperCollins India is delighted to announce that Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s debut, Paradise Towers, will release on 10th October 2018, with a book launch event in Mumbai. A heart-warming slice-of-life novel set in an apartment building in Mumbai, Paradise Towers, is a riveting read brimming with the drama and intrigue of everyday lives. The book is now available for pre-order on major online retail sites.

About Paradise TowersDinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide.
          
Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a forbidden r]omance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive Diwali celebration. Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating, crazy world that is Paradise Towers.

Speaking about how she came to write Paradise Towers, Shweta Bachchan-Nanda said, ‘I grew up with my grandfather who was a poet and a writer. Writing and reading was always a very important part of our lives. I’ve been writing a diary ever since I was a little girl, and wrote stories that I never shared with anyone. Then, one day I just said, I am going to take this plunge. I started writing a column for a newspaper in Mumbai and it gave me a lot of confidence to go ahead and do this full time, and that’s where Paradise Towers comes from.’
Karan Johar, renowned filmmaker, further added, Observant, moving, hilarious and exceptionally astute... Paradise Towers is no slice of life...it's an entire loaf. Shweta “builds” her debut novel with the ease of a literary veteran. Go find your Paradise between these pages!’

Shre]ya Punj, Assistant Editor, HarperCollins India, who acquired the book, said, I fell in love with the story when I first read it. Now, Paradise Towers is ready to meet its readers, and I cannot wait for people to fall in love with this quirky, intimate world Shweta has created. We’re proud to be publishing her debut – it’s fresh, insightful and a story that will resonate with everyone.

About the author: Shweta Bachchan-Nanda is a columnist for DNA and V]ogue. A well-known personality, she is the daughter of actors Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan. Shweta is married to Nikhil Nanda and is the mother of two c]hildren. She has her own clothing label, MxS, which launched in 2018. She lives in New Delhi. This is her first novel.

For more information, please contact Shabnam.Srivastava@harpercollins.co.in     
Imprint: HarperCollins India      Price: Rs 250

Sunday, June 10, 2018

ऎक टोले पडतायेत - रत्नाकर मतकरी यांच्या ३० गूढकथा (Book Review)

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Book Details
Title – Aik Tole Padtayet
Author – Ratnakar Matkari
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Navchaitanya Publication
No of pages – 215

To buy this book, visit Amazon 





Ghosts! Aren’t they fascinating? No, not in a fancy, exciting way but they keep us enthralled, curious about them. Though till date many of us might have not experienced ghosts but they somehow manage to keep our lives intrigued. Don’t they?

And of course, they are some well-known writers who would not let us forget about them and then their writing keeps us hooked, make us extremely curious with their spine-chilling stories.

I read a lot! Back then I used to read a lot of Marathi and Hindi literature and now English literature has me engaged for all these years. That’s when I thought that I should also look back and refresh my reading skills in other languages as well.

And there I laid my hands on Ratnakar Matkari’s book and wow, what a book it is. I love spending my time reading books and this one has certainly entertained me, kept me curious. With every story, I got to know better of renowned author Ratnakar Matkari’s excellent story narration and I look forward to read many of his books now!

So here is my review of the recently read book – ‘Aik, tole padtayet! (A compilation of 30 suspense stories)

Those were the days when the authors had this unimaginable yet very simplistic way of writing which still made readers mesmerized by it. Same goes with Ratnakar Matkari’s book –

To begin with – Aik, tole padtayet is a classic story in which how an old lady keeps cheating her death by inviting guests at her bungalow. Every guest who hears clock ticking expires after exactly five days. The funny part of this story is when newly appointed auditor Mr. Pundalik spends a night at her bungalow and comes out alive. It’s because this time Mrs. Piroj could not cheat her death as Mr. Pundalik is hard on hearing. When you keep cheating your death multiple times, but there is a time when you cannot escape the universal truth of life and death.

Another suspenseful and hair-raising story that I really enjoyed reading was – Tarkar. Even after reading the last paragraph twice, I could not understand but I loved the suspense.

Every story has a different angle and the author smartly ends each story on a suspense note only to make a reader linger on it for some time.

Bandh, The heart-wrenching story of a couple who loses their only child in an accident and how their relationship becomes sour; Vacancy – agonizing yet intriguing story of people losing their jobs as well as life after one another leaves you spellbound; Haak – the long-distance relationship between a father and a son and how a father’s infinite bond helps him save his only child; Shevatcha Tappa – a very interesting yet painstakingly emotional story of Ramakka where she is on a deathbed but her death isn’t a normal one could think of rather she goes through every step of her earlier life and her demise is surprisingly shocking and Come on Rocky – is a spellbound story of Mr. Barde who lives alone with his only dog Rocky. The suspenseful death of a dog’s owner and his dog is something to ponder on and on.

Every story is beautifully weaved with equally suspenseful end makes you want to read more and more. Author Ratnakar Matkari does not disappoint you even in the last few chapters left. Prachiti is the final story of this impressive compilation that you would really enjoy and would think that the book should have more stories.

Yes, the writing is simple yet extremely impressive. None of the stories are boring or ordinary. Each story is unique in its own way. There is no dull moment in this book and one can easily finish it off this 215 pages of a book in one seating.

It has drama, suspense, emotions, and pain. The book also reflects human conflicts and emotions when it comes to relationships. It also encourages you to think before you take any hasty decisions about own life or relationships.
Overall, I liked this book a lot and definitely I am looking forward to reading more of his books.

The book cover and the title
The title is absolutely apt as we all know how the clock’s ticking plays an essential role in a horror story. The author also begins narrating the story that has this title. The tall bungalow with its eerie appearance justifies the compilation of Ratnakar Matkari’s suspense stories.

Rating
4.5/5

Who am I to review this book as the author himself has gained the superior position in Marathi Literature? I reviewed this book for two reasons, one wanted to give my readers something different and secondly, I want to encourage people of Marathi origin as well as people who understand Marathi to read this book.

Yes, I definitely recommend this book to all of you!

About the author




Ratnakar Ramkrushna Matkari (born 1938) is a Marathi writer, a movie and play producer/director, and a self-taught artist from Maharashtra, India. He has written many mind-blowing novels that include: Ek Diwa Vizhavtana, Khekada, Fashi Bakhal, Rangandhala, Soneri Manachi Pari, Ansh, Baal, Andhaar Padla, and many more.

To follow this writer, visit Facebook




Saturday, May 26, 2018

Trust Me Not by Author Ankita Verma Datta (Book Review)








Book details

Title – Trust Me Not
Author –Ankita Verma Datta
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Jaico Publishing House
No of pages – 376

Main Characters – Kunal Kabi, Reeva Rai, Nihaal, Uttar, Mr. Thaper and Jaiswal

Other characters – Nandita, Shalini, Arunabh Roy

 The book is available at: Amazon | Flipkart

The Book Blurb
Rising corporate star Reeva Rai is offered a prestigious position in a top-notch PR agency. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. But working with Enigmatic Billionaire Kunaal Kabi was not going to be easy. Even as she develops feelings for him, she is determined to prove herself.

But when an activist friend turns to her for help with a real-estate scam, Reeva has to make a high-stakes choice. Can she retain the credibility of her prominent clients while helping hundreds save their homes? As she digs deeper to find solutions, a nefarious scheme unravels with unexpected connections. A no-holds-barred race ensues, blood is drawn and Reeva is trapped in the eye of a political thunderstorm. If she succeeds, powerful people will have much to answer.

The Book Review
Reeva Rai, the young, talented and beautiful girl who works for an ad agency is offered a post in a top-notch PR agency. Little did she know that the guy she met in a wedding function is going to be her boss- Kunal Kabi. Kunal is a handsome, charming yet mysterious is instantly attracted to Reeva. When Kunal and Reeva start working together for their PR agency, their love takes a high rise. Nihaal, an equally good-looking guy and a colleague of Reeva is also secretly in love with Reeva.

The main plot revolves around the mysteriousness of Kunal’s personality and his involvement with Thapar and Jaiswal’s company and JBP party. There is an ongoing election and JBP party is one of the influential parties has already won many hearts of commoners. But there is a twist in a tale. Kunal and his entire team are trying to promote JBP party unaware of the fact that somebody from outside is trying to tarnish the image of JBP party.  Will they succeed to stop the cruel politico game? Will Reeva able to understand real nature of Kunal? This political thriller has a lot to offer but then with many loopholes and unnecessary twists.

Overall, I found all the characters extremely stereotypical. Shalini, one of the leads from the novel joins PR agency where Kunal is working. Kunal’s past belongs to her younger sister who commits suicide out of depression. This adds an unnecessary thread to Kunal’s character. Again, the love triangle between Kunal, Reeva, and Nihaal is again unnecessary. The novel gives vibes of typical spicy Bollywood movie.  

If the love triangle wasn’t enough, Nandita, a social activist has a biological connection with the rising and honest politician Mr, Uttar. Though the entire plot is well-worded and nicely written it lacked that oomph factor or excitement that I was expecting while reading the politico thriller. It neither excited me nor it bored me as well.

During the entire plot, the author maintained nice pace and the mystery of Fixer, an unknown character only to unfold until the reader reaches the few pages of the novel.

Overall, the novel is a decent plot and the readers who are a fan of Bollywood masala would really enjoy the novel – given its various angles.

Yes, the novel is definitely a one-time read and is a nice try by the author to mix politics and romance together. And the result is if not impressing but satisfactory  for sure!

The Best Part
The author’s simple writing style make all the angles fall into right place. A decent vocabulary gives a reader a literary feast.

The No-So Good Part
If the author would have reduced the love drama between Nihaal, Reeva, and Kunal, the novel would have become much better as there are already enough angles to chew on.

Writing style
Simple and intriguing!

The book cover and the title
I found the cover interesting yet misleading. At first, I thought it’s a horror story but then the description said political thriller and then I could connect the dots between the cover and the description given on the cover. The title is apt. After reading the plot, the title gives justice to the story.

Rating
3.5/5

About the author


Ankita Verma Datta is an Economics graduate from Mumbai University and is trained in advertising communication and marketing. Trust Me Not is her debut novel and she intends to continue writing socio-political thrillers with current relevance in future too. She writes to evoke and entertain.

To follow this author, Visit: FACEBOOK | TWITTER







Monday, April 2, 2018

Men and the Dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C. Shibu (Book Review)




Book details

Title – Men and Dreams in The Dhauladhar
Author – Kochery C. Shibu
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Niyogi Books  
No of pages – 283

Main characters – Nanda, Khusru and Rekha
Other characters – Aayesha, Katarina

The blurb
A Hydel project in the remote HImalayas- three people brought together by fate.

Nanda an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site, hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge.

Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a kathak dancer at heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.

A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the campsite like moths to a flame, some escape untouched,successful;some miss a step and perish. each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of these people, with their cares and worries woven to the site life. The fury of nature and hardships of project life have no mercy for the weak and no time for the dead.

Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their lives and limb in the quest to fulfil their dreams.

My review
The book blurb gives an idea that it’s a story of 3 main characters and the whole novel has been woven around them. No, not this book has one story to tell but dozens of characters and their stories, their dreams, aspirations and more. I would say author Kochery C. Shibu has done a wonderful job by writing his first-ever novel.

His detailing in each character, their background, the geography of each place shows that the author is well-read, well-travelled and extremely knowledgeable. Definitely, writing a novel of 283 pages has taken a mountain of work for him but the outcome is really impressive.

Just like any other writer, the author starts his story with a suspenseful beginning that keeps intriguing you why Nanda, the first protagonist of Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is hiding and running from one place to other.
In Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar, prime characters like Nanda, Khusru and Rekha play an important role but its very impressive that the author has taken a lot of efforts to build the historical background first before introducing the character.

Each character has its own story to tell. Be it Rekha, Khusru or Nanda, one can relate with their own life. I would not spoil the joy by telling the end of it. Overall, I am impressed with the author’s multi-faceted knowledge but I could not keep up the pace with the story as the author continues to introduce too many new characters in between that I used to lose my interest in between.
While I appreciate the author’s efforts and the story is nice but giving too much information and introducing so many characters can make an interesting novel a drag one.

Writing style
It’s simple, detailed and it reflects that the author was well-prepared while writing his drafts. His writing shows his observatory skills and reflects immense knowledge of everything.

The good Part
The well-written descriptions of the people and places!

The not-so good part
Too many characters can wear you out while reading it.

The book cover and the title
The cover is intriguing and thoughtful. The sight of snowy mountains is desirable. These mountains represent a man’s tall aspirations and raising expectations from life. The cover makes you ponder about what it like to be inside the pages. Yes, the title is also very apt. men and their dreams go with Dhauladhar. The range of mountains that keep attracting throngs of people to live, struggle, and learn so many things from the mountains. But at the same time, the mountains are hard rock and they don’t have time to think to mourn or share sorrow but stand tall against all odds when men hammer them with no mercy!

My Rating 4/5
It is recommendable to all the readers who love to go high or looking up at the mountains!

About the author

Kochery C. Shibu graduated from the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, in 1981. He has served in the Indian Navy and commanded two warships. Men and dreams in the Dhauladhar is his debit novel. The technical content of the novel, namely the setting up of a hydro-project is drawn from his experience in these projects, as are many of the characters inspired from those whom he encountered on site.

Kochery C. Shibu was born in Kochi and now lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter.  


Friday, March 9, 2018

The Temple Bar Woman by Author Sujata Parashar (Book Review)

You can buy this book by visiting Amazon or Flipkart 













Book Details 

Title – The Temple Bar Woman
Author – Sujata Parashar
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Vishwakarma Publications
No of pages – 220





Main characters – Radhika Kumari Choudhary, Rakshit Singh, Habiba Khan, and Vikram Pratap Singh

Other characters – Jhumki (A Sex worker at Temple Bar) Mala (Habiba’s maidservant) Neer (Rakshit Singh’s daughter), Pramod Chauhan (Head of People’s Party)


The Book Blurb
Rakshit Singh, a young and upcoming politician, encounters a rebellious Rani aka Radhika in an upscale brothel, Temple Bar. Intrigued by Rani’s personality, he wants to know more about her. Radha tells him that she was found by the brothel owner in a semi-conscious state and that she has lost her memory.
Distressed by her plight, Rakshit asks her to be the governess of his motherless daughter, Neer. What Rakshit does not know is that Radha is using him to avenge herself against the man who destroyed her life.

Fraught with danger, daring, and deceit, this racy novel recounts a tale of love, loss and loyalty in lives that are curiously entwined with one another.

My review
Radha aka Radhika Kumari Choudhary is a school teacher who is enthusiastic about life and lives with her father in a small village called Anhoni. All is normal with her life until that unfortunate night where she gets gang-raped by Vikram Pratap Singh. If that wasn’t miserable enough, she gets dumped by Vikram and his friends at a brothel where Habiba Khan takes care of her.

However, Rakshit Singh, an upcoming politician get intrigued by her plight, asks her to be his daughter’s governess. Radhika aka Rani after the tragedy turns out to become a stronger than ever woman whose life’s motive is only to take revenge from Vikram who has destroyed her life. Luckily, she gets a second chance through Rakshit Singh to avenge but not all rape survivors are as lucky as her. How she takes her revenge? How Habiba and her son help her to take her revenge is worth-knowing. For that, you should buy this novel and know whether Radhika becomes successful in her plans. 

The story is completely written in a filmy style and is inspired by Nirbhaya case. I was quite intrigued by the title and the cover of this novel. However, I got disappointed as the moment I started reading first 1-2 pages of the novel and I realized the story is extremely predictable.

While I appreciate the author’s efforts that she wanted to shed a focus on lives of those unfortunate rape survivors but not all are lucky as the lead character in this novel. At the beginning of this novel, the author has dropped so many hints that one could figure out what the story is all about. For an instance, the novel has been attributed to those who have suffered from sexual assault and rape and secondly, the cast revealed by the author gives you an idea about the plot.
The end of the story is quite a Bollywood style that the female lead finally gets justice.

The character of Habiba Khan is beautifully depicted that one can actually imagine her. However, other characters lack juicy details. Radhika has been portrayed has fierce and fearless in order to accomplish the story. The characters do not have a solid base where I could not make out whether they are 15 years old or adult enough. For example, Radhika works as a school teacher at her father’s school but needs to take permission from her father to visit the village fair.

Another fact that disappoints me that Rakshit Singh who loses his wife due to some ailment, visits a brothel. 

Overall, the story fell to impress me or grab my attention. The story has a lot of loose ends. The author could have written in a much better manner in order to make this story a gripping one as the theme was strong enough.

The Best Part
I liked the way the author has described the plight of women who forcefully get into flesh trade and how their lives become miserable and choice-less. Characters like Habiba, her son Arif and Radhika have been portrayed nicely.

The Not-So-Good Part 
The story has countless loose ends. The characters fell to have a grip on a reader’s mind and the usage of words is very limited. The story could have been spiced and peppered with the rich vocabulary.


Writing style
Very simple writing style and does not have a rich English vocabulary.  

The book cover and the title
The book title is extremely intriguing and justifies the story theme. The book cover is okay. The sunrise indicates that the sooner or later the female lead overcome her obstacles to become as fierce as the sun itself.
My rating – 3/5
It’s a one-time read and I would recommend this novel just for a change.

About the author

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Sujata Parashar is an Indian novelist, short-story writer, and a poet. She has written seven books so far including a poetry series and a short story compilation.  

To follow this author, visit Facebook or Twitter

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Interviewing the author of The Jasmine Bloom – Mr. Rajat Narula


A writer will remain a writer all his life. No matter how many obstacles come in their life but the writer’s story sooner or later come out of a dream to become a reality. The US based author Rajat Narula’s story is somehow very similar. 25 years later when his picks up his writing skills, he knows he is ready to bloom as a writer. Today, I got a chance to interview with The Jasmine Bloom’s author Rajat and here are the excerpts from the interview:  


rajat-narula-author.jpg


Tell our readers about your background & how did you get into writing?
I wrote my first poem, as well as my short story, at the age of 13.  My poems started getting published, when I was about 18.  Around that time, I started writing a fortnightly column for a local newspaper, and wrote for about six months.  The appreciation I received for it gave me confidence that I could write well.  It was at that point, I knew I wanted to write a full-length novel. 
However, life intervened.  I was studying to be a chartered accountant, it demanded all my time, and I gave up the writing. 
Over 25 years later, after reconnecting with an old friend over Facebook, the talk turned to writing.  I wrote a chapter, showed it to family and a couple of friends.  They liked it.  And I decided to pursue my childhood dream, in whatever dregs of time I could find.  That’s how ‘The Jasmine Bloom’ was born.
I continue to work full time (I work for World Bank, based out of Washington DC), and write in my spare time. 

Which writers inspire you for writing?
My list of favorite writers is long.  It includes Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Khaled Hussaini, Emma Donoghue, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Kazuo Ishiguro However, one writer, whose style I really admire, and would love to write like her, is Jhumpa Lahiri. Her uniqueness is that she evokes emotions without being melodramatic. 

Where do you get ideas or inspiration for your writing?
The inspirations are all around you. People you meet, news you read, movies you watch, books you read, random conversations you overhear, sights you see, places you visit - all these things remain within you. Sometimes they percolate for years, enmeshing with other ideas and thoughts and a story begins to take shape.

What genre you enjoy the most while writing novels?
I like everyday stories about everyday people.  No fantasies, paranormal or space journeys for me.  I love exploring the inherent grayness of people.  Human beings have in this innate capacity of being good and bad both. I like working with life-like, flawed characters, and see what they can be like in different situations. 

I also like exploring relationships: lovers, spouses, siblings, parents-kids, and so on.  The intricacies of relationships and how they change with passage of life is also a subject of my enormous interest. 

What was the inspiration behind your recent book?
Many years ago, I watched a Harrison Ford movie called 'Random Hearts'. In the movie, Ford's wife dies in a car crash, along with the Senator for whom she worked. After her death, Ford finds out she and the Senator were lovers - and she was thinking of leaving Ford. Senator's wife finds out too and the movie was about their coming to terms with that truth. Ford and the Senator's wife also have an affair and so on. The concept of finding out about your partner's infidelity after he/she is gone fascinated me. I thought what if the situation was reversed. If the husband was the one who having an affair and the wife (who died) knew about it, but didn't confront him, while she was alive. After her death, when the husband finds out that she knew, how hard it would be to deal with that guilt. When the person you want to apologize is gone. That was the kernel of the story of 'The Jasmine Bloom'. Of course, it needed a lot of development, fleshing out the characters, introducing children in the mix, a potential corporate fraud and so on to make it an engaging story.

What does your family think of your writing?
My wife and daughters have been very supportive.  They are my first readers, and give me candid feedback on my writing. My mom (78 years old) and hasn’t read a book for the past thirty years, is currently reading my book, and is also giving me an interesting feedback.   

Can we expect your next writing stint & if yes, what & when?
I am currently working on my second novel, tentatively titled, ‘Azalea Heights’, which is based in United States. The central theme of the book is the inter-ethnic tensions and clash of cultures in US, particularly in the post-Trump world. Instead of one protagonist, the book has five! I am currently on my fourth draft and expect to complete the book this year.  Of course, there is a big gestation between completing the book and seeing it in print. If I am lucky, that process may get finished in one year, so that would mean 2019.  If not, it can be longer. 

Lastly, what writing tips you’d like to give to budding writers? 
First: Persist. I see several people starting, but then losing steam midway. It doesn't matter how good or bad your first draft is, but it is important you finish what you start. There is plenty of time, after the first draft is completed, to further improve the book. But the most important thing is to finish it.

Second: Write the best book you can. I finished the first draft of 'The Jasmine Bloom' in 18 months but it took me another 42 months to ‘complete’ it. I understand there are shortcuts available (self-publishing, editors) and the quality of writing of some of the bestsellers in India isn't quite the best, but you still want to give it your best shot. The book may be a hit or a flop, but you won't want your name to be associated with a shoddy, half-baked product.

Three: Don't write what you think can sell in the market. Write what you want to write. The story you think you can tell the best. For example, if college romance is what selling in India currently, doesn't mean you must write one too. If that's the story that you have in you, then of course! But if you have another story to tell, go ahead and tell your story. That way your truth will make the writing stronger and the readers will relate with the book.

To buy The Jasmine Bloom, visit: Amazon 

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