Published Book: A Lot Like Love and Other Short Stories
Genre: Fiction (Drama & Romance)
Publisher: BecomeShakespeare, 2018
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Interviewer: Congratulations Author on your wonderful book “A Lot Like Love and Other Short Stories”. Please share what response you are getting on your maiden work from the readers?
Nidra: Hello Team, my Readers and potential readers!
Thank you for interviewing me and I’m so gratified that you referred to the book as “wonderful”!
So, it’s not my maiden book, it’s my second novel being republished with a changed title. The first title was, “The Bestseller” based on a short story in the same book. However, due to some keyword issue, I was looking to change the title and I got a chance to re-publish my work with Become Shakespeare, and here it is again. So, A lot like love and other short stories has done a lot of knocking at the door. 😊
People who are reading it are loving it. They are getting emotional. They are connecting with the characters immediately since it’s real and intriguing. I am not talking about my family or close friends but otherwise, although can’t quantify how many of them. Few people at my workplace have walked upto me and asked, “how do you write!” I just pass a smile.
I have received fan e-letters (few)/messages who have felt for the short stories in my book. And many out of them were non-readers! So, it’s quite an achievement-to make a non-reader a reader! 😊
Interviewer: Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like? Where can readers purchase your debut book “The Bhubaneswar Times”?
Nidra: Good that you asked me this! It took me two years to compile the book. Another one year to publish it. There were a lot of rejections and I used get dejected and saddened but with time, I derived a conclusion that writing and publishing a book is matter of sheer courage and patience. You will be outlandishly rejected by many big publishing houses but there’s nothing to lose hope! A ray of light will always shimmer (smiles).
The Bhubaneswar Times is very close to my heart because ninety percent of the characters are real life inspired! However, being a writer of fiction has allowed me the freedom to play around…narrate as I want! It’s a romantic fiction about a headstrong girl, and how she finds love at the most unexpected of places. She works for a magazine, based in the city of Bhubaneswar called, The Bhubaneswar Times. And the situations in the story picks up from there…
Interviewer: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer? Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
Nidra: The bug of writing started biting me when I was in 7th grade. I wrote a poem titled, “Handicapped Belle”. It was a poem about a girl’s emotion when she’s handicapped. The poetry was lyrical, very rhythmic. Unfortunately, that paper was lost 😟. I was a fickle minded writer, never ever thinking that it could turn out to be this big in my life.
There were other bugs in my life back then, the top one being, dancing and singing, hence, I had neglected the writer in me back then.
Oh! You’ll not believe me but I am neither of the above. If I decide, now is the time to write, I’ll write. I don’t have to be inspired to write since I don’t look for any. My inspiration naturally comes by being highly observant and ponderous. I think a lot! Too many thoughts for one’s mind is nothing but explosion, hence rather than bombarding it, I smoothly weave it in words!
Interviewer: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Nidra: It’s a thought provoking question, which means the language that I understand has got power!
See, I hail from a family of writers and artists in Odisha, hence, from an early age, I understood that be it any language, it is powerful because it transcends your thoughts/understanding/emotion into something concrete, giving it a shape so that many would either accept it, reject it or get affected by it.
I remember, my father writing a song on political satire (when Odisha was hit by Super Cyclone and on how the relief goodies were not reaching the affected lives); the songs were ready, he composed them, the singers did their part and the album was ready, but since the lyrics were too hard-hitting (in Odia), it was banned!
So, language is a medium, which is entirely powerful.
Interviewer: Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read? Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
Nidra: I was waiting for this question! 😊
I was a non-reader (giggles)! I only focused on text books and entertainment magazines. I took reading seriously very late in life. And my first novel was, Eric Segal’s Love Story!
My ideal is Jhumpa Lahiri. I want to write like she does! She’s my writing Goddess. And I have a lot of regards for Sri Rabindranath Tagore’s writings, poems, songs…his philosophy can outdate any modern thinker of our generation! What he did some 100 years back is so mesmerising. 😊
I also have a lot of admiration for some of Odia writers like Pratibha Ray, late Sri Fakir Mohan Senapati and few of my father’s penned songs.
Apart from the above, I admire Khaleed Hosseini, Nicolas Sparks, Sadhguru, John Grisham, Amitav Ghosh and Gael Gabriel Marquez too!
And yes, I am a reader now! Being a reader has improved my control of language, bettered my writing. Although I am not a fast reader but I constantly keep the habit on.
Interviewer: You are a writer and fond of singing. Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? Also, tell us about singer Nidra Naik?
Nidra: Hahaaa! Singer Nidra Naik sounds so aspirational! But you’ve got this chord right. The maximum number of singing (competitions, programs) that I have done was during my school days! And again, it has circled back to me to this day! I am taking singing a bit seriously these days so much that I have started taking up classes! You never know, you might stumble upon me at my concert ;-) one day! Fingers crossed. But yes, singing videos are up and running.
It depends on my mood completely. Sometimes, I like just listening to instrumentals (western or Indian), music concerts, hindi movie songs, ghazals and at times, I want complete silence!
Interviewer: The stories are very realistic in terms of plot. How do you develop your plot and characters? Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Nidra: Thank you yet again! As I said earlier, I am naturally inspired by lives and situations around me, probably for that reason, my writing reflects a lot of realism in it. And I never write to please or hurt anyone! I write what I want to write...
For any writer to be a good storyteller, the depth of a character is of utter importance. As a person, I am very intense, hence I want my characters to hold that part of me.
Interviewer: How did you come up with the story “The Best Seller”? Readers might want to know?
Nidra: The Bestseller is my favourite in the book too! I love the connection between the two central characters. Developing the peripheral plot for this short story was easy, since every writer with passion and integrity wants their books to shake the racks, be the bestselling book. I am not left behind from this dream, which was the dream of Purnendu and later on became the dream of his sister Lakhmi.
The situation and emotion was developed gradually, when I had visited my in-law’s village in the district of Baleswar. The villages are so calm, serene and yet so magnificent and deeply rooted that I was moved by it. Hence, a beautiful story was woven. 😊
Interviewer: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?
Nidra: Hmmm…that I teleport myself to that imaginary place, situation and I am invisibly watching over these characters! Like it happens in dreams, you are part of the ongoings but you can’t see yourself but you are so affected by what’s happening…it’s an incredible feeling.
Plus, I feel very powerful since I control the story and the characters. Also, that it soothes me down, calms me and opens a lot of doors for further imagination!
Interviewer: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Nidra: That we thrive on emotions and should always be hopeful about our lives in general. And that love is and will always be a joyous emotion!
Interviewer: What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
Nidra: Developing the Characters is the most important thing in any book since its these characters that we connect to, relate to in some ways or the other; love them or hate them.
Interviewer: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Nidra: Any passionate writer should never think that writing is stressful. If they do, then probably it’s not their cup of tea! They should seek something else…
Write what you want to write, in whichever language you want to write…if you are a crazy and intense writer, you’ll see your books doing well someday, you feeling great every day! 😊
Interviewer: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Nidra: Yes, I am working on something interesting. It’s a running novel yet to be titled. And it’s a fiction based on drama and romance. Plus the story is written from the perspective of two central characters, very distinct from each other. It juggles between present and past. East and West!
Interviewer: Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers? Thanks for your time and the answers to my questions! Wish you all the very best for your upcoming books.
Nidra: Be Original. Be Patient. Be Creative. Write what you like. Book writing is not a business! It’s a passion.
Thanks to you guys for the lovely and thoughtful questions. And yes, I need good wishes! 😊