Heartiest congratulations for your achievements in the literary field. You’ve given 8 bestselling novels, consecutively.
Yes, Thank you.
There’s already a lot of buzz about your upcoming release. What the book is about?
It is about an 18 year old girl who comes to Bangalore for studies where, she meets a man and a love story happens. But there is a reason because of which the love between them can not flourish so, what the problem is you’ll get to read in the book.
All your novels are romantic thrillers, basically. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I think it’s a mix actually. When an idea happens I start making notes. I start building up the characters and I always leave a room for discovery. I try not to be rigid like I will only write what I have thought. Sometimes you discover amazing things as you go on writing so, I keep myself open to both.
There are speculations for the 4th part of the stranger series as well. You also revealed that Nivan is alive. Is the speculations correct?
Yes, I’m very keen to write 4th book of Stranger series. I don’t know whether it will conclude the series or not. There have been a lot of questions from my readers so, I want to answer all those in the book, also I think the relationship between Rivaanah and Nivaan is kind of incomplete and I don’t think that incompleteness goes well with the readers. Let’s see how it happens and when it gonna happen.
If you’ve to select one of your books to be converted into a movie, which one would you choose? And Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters?
It is a typical question. I would love to see EX converted into a movie because, I think it has everything a movie should contain. For actress, I haven’t thought but I think anyone who could pull it off well, maybe Deepika Padukone.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively, in writing? What changes have you seen in the publishing industry in your journey?
When I got published for the first time the scenario was very different. I got published through Shristi Publishers and came up to penguin and all. I think the major change that has taken place is that, earlier people never thought that authors could be famous, specially Indian authors in commercial zone.
That market has opened up now. Because of which, everyone who has a story thinks they can write. Having a story and telling it are two different things, I guess. Not necessarily if you have a story you can tell it nicely. Story telling is an art form, a very few people are interested in it. It’s always about I want to publish my book and become famous. Today, many books come out by various publishers every month. It has become quite difficult to stand out as an author.
You are very active on your social media handles. Do you agree that social media has emerged prominently as a platform for promotions?
Yes, ofcourse. Social media more than anything else allows you to reach out those people who read your work, who give time to your work. So, obviously it has played a major role, not that earlier books never used to sell but I think that connection between reader and author was missing. Even as a child when I used to read books, I also wanted to contact my favourite authors which is possible today but it was not possible back then. It’s a nice thing to connect with the readers to improve as a story teller by knowing what’s acceptable because we all are writing in a commercial zone. Connecting with readers gives you a reality check as well.
Which writer inspires you? Your favourite novel?
There are so many. It becomes very difficult to pick a favourite but, a novel that actually made me think for days was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. No book stayed with me for so long. It is one of my favourite. Authors don’t really inspire me as such. What inspires me majorly is life and what I observe around. That is more inspirational. Authors ofcourse give you good stories and let you feel as a part of world you’re not a nominee to. That’s amazing but for inspiration, I guess life inspires more.
Your grandfather was a dramatist. Is this how the writer in you came into being?
Yes, he was a dramatist. He used to write plays for All India Radio but it was not his main job. In those days, it was an issue so he never came out in the public and told people about his work. So yeah, it was definitely in my blood. Even my father wanted to become a writer when he was young. Now that I look back, it was in my blood. As a kid, I wanted to become a sportsperson but for some reason that didn’t happen. I realised that story telling is something that I want to do my whole life.
You have lived in different states of India. Certainly, you must have noticed different cultures. Have you used this experience in any of your books?
When I lived at different places I never knew I would become a writer, but subconsciously you keep on taking a lot of insights. Like in my last story there was a chunk of a life in Lucknow and I’ve lived in Lucknow so I knew how people in Lucknow would react to if a girls wearing shorts is standing on the road and how people in Mumbai would react for the same. So, definitely it helps. Living at different places be it Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Assam, Bengal or Mumbai definitely helps you to understand better.
We all know that success brings along fame and name. And you’re one of the most loved authors of this time, which I wish continue. Would you like to share any fan moment which you still remember?
There are many actually. One of the best feedback I got was from a girl from Calcutta. She read my book “How about a sin tonight” and the character in the book had an issue with her father. Coincidently, the girl who messaged me also had a same issue. After reading my book she approached her father from her side and the situation resolved. She is happy with her father now. That was something I felt was amazing. This really stayed with me. One of the best message I ever got.
Like any other creative field, is there a trend of competiting in writing field too? Who do you think is your contemporary?
Competition in any creative field is a term used by third person more than the people involved in that field. There can not be any competition unless the two writers are writing same story. So, I don’t think there can be competition as such. Everyone is exclusive in their own way. I believe it is a myth.
Now when you’re a role model for many, What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Am I a role model? (laughs)
Be yourself. For writers, it’s very important to find your own voice. Write a story in your way. Just because someone became famous by writing a particular genre, don’t copy it. Write in your own way. Your personality should come out.
What experience do you have with Pustakmandi?
It’s a great venture, I must say. I’m really looking forward to work with you guys. It’s coming up well and all my best wishes.
It was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for taking out time from your busy schedule. All the best for your upcoming release.
And yes, Black suits you