• Can you tell us something about yourself?
I work as an Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Pune. I am an Engineering graduate from VNIT and have done my Post Graduation Diploma in IM & HRD and also in Finance. I have completed a summer course in Finance from the London School of Economics. I have authored 4 novels, 1 novella, and 6 short story collections, 31 poetry collections, and 13 children’s books to my credit. I am a bilingual writer; writing in English and Hindi. I hold a record with the Limca Book of Records -2015 for being the Author having the highest number of publications in a year in English and Hindi, besides two other records. I have won II prize in a poetry contest organized by American Embassy and in a National poetry contest organized by the Poetry Council of India, 2016. I have received, Sohanlal Dwivedi Puraskar for children’s literature by Maharashtra state Hindi Sahitya Akademi for the year 2018, Humanity International Women Achiever Awards 2018, Bharat Nirman Literary award in 2017, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore International Poetry award, Soninder Samman, Freedom award by Radio city for Lyrics along with other awards and honors. I was listed in Forbes as one of the 78 most popular authors in the country in 2014.
My short story collection “Lines of Fate” remained in the top 10 on the bestsellers list on Amazon (India) since its release and was under no 3 on new hot releases for almost a month. Similarly, “Kai Basant Dekhe Hain Maine”, my latest poetry collection received a best-seller tag (No 1 on Amazon) for quite a few days.
• How is your book different than others?
I love to present something unique to my readers every time. I often interweave social issues, relationships, and motivation together and this is one such attempt. It all begins with the quest of the main protagonist, Rihaan, to find his family. He has a love triangle too (which I am sure that the youngsters would find interesting). He does finally discover the mystery regarding his parents in “The Red Diary”, which finally makes him reconcile to his existence.
• Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Normally, my ideas are a combination of everyday incidents around me and my imagination. The main characteristics of my stories are that they are modern in their outlook, my characters are inspirational, and my plots are different. They suit the palette of readers of all ages – right from the youngsters to the (young) older ones.
• What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That my books always created a buzz and were loved by so many readers!
• What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My first priority is my work and I never let my writing disturb that. However, the force of the energy inside me to write is so strong that it comes out like a stream whenever I do get a few moments for myself. It’s like my “Only Love”. I adore romancing with the words.
• What do you think makes a good story?
First of all, the book has to be so interesting that once a reader lifts it, he/she craves to finish it in one go. The language has to be lucid. The flow should be smooth and yet interesting. The characters should be realistic. The story should look plausible. Of course, the cover page and title have to be interesting too – if you hear the name “The Red Diary”, I am sure it will evoke some reactions inside you and I am also sure that its cover page will further arouse your interest.
• What is your writing process like?
I begin with the plot after which I try to build the characters. I use simple language so that my book can be read by one and all. I try to make the book interesting using dialogues wherever possible. Most importantly, I concentrate on the intricacies of inter-personal relationships that define the human being.
• What advice do you have for writers?
Don’t rush for your own book. Spend a lot of time reading good books – especially in the genre in which you long to write. Do a lot of research. And then, write, write, and write. You may have to rewrite several chapters again and again, but never mind it. It has to be a product that has to be perfect. Check for the grammar and the style of writing. Maybe, you can get it edited to get the right language and development of the plot.
• How did this story occur to you?
In this particular novel, I thought of the end first and that made me weave the story around it so that it culminated in that manner logically as well as emotionally. That part is the mystery written in “The Red Diary”, which is not a thriller kind of mystery, but a mystery around a strong social issue.
• What is the book all about?
This book is all about interpersonal relationships and how they can make or break a person – be it a kid or someone older.