The author of the day is Ms. Know-it-all powered with a great memory. She is social, a chatterbox who can talk to anyone and everyone. She is known as someone who speaks her mind. She knew that she was meant to be a story-teller when her best bed-time stories as a child were the ones she made up herself. And she could barely read then. She would just let her vivid imagination take over. Not much has changed. Even today, she enjoys creating fascinating characters and plots.
She is a fitness freak who likes to work out at least 4 days in the gym. The remaining days she practices Yogasana. She is also a big believer of Ayurveda and dadi ma ke nuskhe. She likes to treat common ailments with kitchen remedies. Not many know that while traveling, she prefers carrying her kitchen ingredients rather than allopathy medicines.
Anshu Bhojanagarwala is a popular parenting blogger. She also likes sharing her thoughts on health and parenting on her blog, Firsttimemommy, which is one of the top 20 First-Time Mom Blogs. However, The one activity she finds the most joy is getting her hands dirty while tending to her kitchen garden. She is so proud of her potted plants!
It was while teaching her daughter important values so that she would grow to become a strong and independent woman, that inspiration struck Anshu. That’s what led to creating ‘Tara’, her protagonist in the e-book.
Q. Your protagonist is a strong woman. Who or what is the inspiration behind this character?
A. I believe all women are strong. If they don’t come out as strong, it might be because they haven’t searched within and haven’t realized their true strength yet. The character of Tara is not inspired by a single woman, but from a host of strong women, I have had the privilege of meeting and knowing in my life.
Q. Is there anything different in your book on Amazon? New scenes, perhaps?
A. Yes!! I have taken certain liberties and added a little more drama to the book. The story as you know was a part of BlogChatter’s AtoZ writing carnival and was first published on my parenting blog. I was not comfortable writing a certain scene on my parenting site. But when I was publishing it on a much more global platform, I thought of adding that scene. Just to be clear, it is actually relevant and lends more credibility to the protagonist’s decision.
Q. I loved the climax of your book. Did you have another climax in your mind? Would you mind sharing with us?
A. Thank you. But, if truth be told, then yes. I had another climax in my mind. I wanted Tara to see her husband in a new light and start accepting him. But then I realized, that a wife who had been in love with another man all these years couldn’t suddenly turn to her husband claiming that she loves him. It would have been wrong both for the husband and wife. And that’s not how my Tara was. If she was selfish, she was just too. And she took the right decision at the end.
Q. What is the message that you wanted to convey through your book? If any?
A. There are several messages that I wanted to convey through Tara. Firstly, my protagonist, Tara has a dusky complexion and because of which she suffers humiliation at various instances in her life. Sadly, the bias towards skin color is still prevalent in India and is affecting the young minds.
My second takeaway for readers from my book is that life can rebegin at any age. One just needs to have ambition and determination.
And my third message is that don’t let someone control your feelings. Don’t get vested so much into someone that that person becomes the reason for your happiness and sorrow.
Q. What are your most treasured childhood memories?
A. Visiting the Gauri Shankar temple in Chandni Chowk with my grandfather whenever I was visiting Delhi. He would get extra prasad (spicy black gram) for us, kids. I haven’t had tastier prasad than that.
I have also some fond memories of chewing on gajjak from the gajjak shop opposite my grandparents’ house in Old Delhi and climbing the neem tree in the backyard of my parents’ home in Ahmedabad.
Q. What are you currently writing about?
A. I am working on a book that is a complete entertainer where you will encounter drama, sex and murder mystery. I am in the final stages of edit, and I hope to publish it by this year end. Fingers crossed!
Additionally, I am also writing an anthology of short stories; some of which are pure fiction while others are inspired from the various events that have occurred in my life.
Q. If you could Time travel and meet one person from history, who would it be and why?
A. That is an interesting question, also a very difficult one because I can name at least ten people from history I would like to meet. That is the reason, instead of naming one person, I would like to go one step ahead and love to find myself in the golden era also called ‘la belle epoque’ (the beautiful era) in Paris. Paris during 1871-1914 was the literary or the artist’s hub, apart from being the center of haute couture and bohemian lifestyle.
I would like to attend one of the cercles littéraires where I could meet the likes of Maupassant, Proust, Oscar Wilde, Emile Zola, Renoir, Monet, Pablo Picasso or Rodin and see them for real instead of reading about them.
Q. How do you overcome Writer’s Block?
A. Once I realize my mind is blank or there is a lack of coherence in my thoughts, I switch off the laptop. For, come on, it is no use staring at a blank word document. I watch TV to take my mind off writing. I also take this opportunity to read. There have been times when I was inspired to write after I came across an interesting line in a book.
Q. Describe your process for research while writing.
A. The first rule of thumb for any writer while doing research is to observe and listen. You need to observe your surroundings, people and the events taking place around you. Also, listen to people. A good writer is a good listener first. I have come up with many interesting plots after listening to people. I jot them down and develop into stories later.
Google is a great research tool. There is hardly anything that Google can’t give you the answer for.
I reach out to people who I know can help me if I am writing on something particular and they have experienced the situation. Real experiences help in developing a more genuine description, narration, and plot.
Q. Share some valuable tips for publishing and marketing your e-book.
A. Read your book a few times. Every time I read it, I come across an error that I had overlooked in the previous readings. A smart way is to read out loud. You will be able to catch the errors quickly.
Ask your friends, family or close acquaintances to read your book and give you an honest opinion about grammar, language, characters or plot. I have a few close friends who message me with the mistakes in my writing. I appreciate that more than ‘hey, I loved your book or story!’
Network a lot. Social media marketing is like a party where you need not only be present but also constantly circulate. Build a good network of friends and followers who will be the torchbearers of your book.
Book Blurb Content: Tara is a dreamer, who likes to live in her past. After a bad breakup, she chooses to marry but fails to accept her husband. A chance meeting with her ex-lover makes her want to take the tabooed path. Will she give in to her passion or save her marriage? Or maybe she will listen to her heart and break free?
@anshuwrites, do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well. Here’s wishing Anshu all the best for the eBook and all her future endeavors. Wishing you lots of success!!
You can read Romila’s interview on Ashwini’s blog. And Anshu has made my day more special by posting my interview on her blog. Thanks, Anshu! 🙂 This interview is a part of a series of interviews conducted jointly by @anshuwrites, @ashwini and yours truly. You can read my previous interviews with Paresh, Maheshwaran, Sitharaam, Kathakali, Mahak, Natasha, Lavanya, Jayanthi, Sayan , Tina, Meghana, Nupur, Sona, Nidhi & Roma.