Nistha Tripathi is an engineer turned entrepreneur who studied and worked at some of the most coveted jobs in Manhattan. She completed MS Computer Science from UIUC. An MBA dropout from New York University, she is now back home in India and mentors engineers for six months and travels and writes for the other six. She is a proud Founder of Scholar Strategy. She believes in living life at her own terms. She is also a passionate traveler and meditator. Give her a moment in nature and solitude, a pen and paper and she might even write you a nice poem. Let us know more about Nistha for her writing and her book.
What inspired you to start writing?
I am an avid reader and would dig books out of the school library and read full length novels on computer in my student days. I always felt I could write books but it remained a dream behind the practical concerns. Then, I have been blogging since last 8 years, so writing is not new to me. Plus, I inherit a penchant for writing from my father and grandfather who have published stories and poetries in their time.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
Classic British Mystery was my first love and I grew up on Poirot and Sherlock Holmes stories. Afterwards, I loved reading Ayn Rand, Tolkien, Wodehouse and Douglas Adams.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Discipline and patience. Anyone can write a blog post but writing a 60,000 words novel takes discipline and persistence. You obviously have lot of self doubts as well – Is this the best use of your time? Are you kidding yourself? So, it is about overcoming these mental hurdles and keeping yourself constantly motivated to see your dream on paper.
It is easy to get hit with a lot of ideas as well when you are creative. You have to keep a balance on the subject – ideally you want to have an interesting read but at the same time, if the topic is too arcane, you might find it difficult to get publishers. I follow my heart though and go after the topic that makes me excited.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
My first book, Seven Conversations, was spiritual fiction and I researched a lot on the spiritual content and philosophy especially because Krsna is the center theme here. I cannot just make up stuff, I need to know what is written about him. I read Bhagavad Gita, Ramcharitmanas and had detailed discussions with my father on some of the topics. It took me nearly six months to write.
My second book, Smart Engineer’s Guide to MS in USA, is academic non-fiction and needed exhaustive research and interviews of students. It took me one year to compile it.
What motivated you to write the book “Seven Conversations”?
Personal journey and my desire to present spirituality in a modern context that youths can relate to. It is a quest to find the answers to our biggest doubts and fears. I feel there is ample wisdom hidden in our ancient scriptures but we have lost connection with the underlying meaning and have made religion this weird thing to please some deity and beg him to make us rich and successful. I simply wanted to understand that underlying philosophy. And when I did, I just had to bring it out for others.
Looking at the reviews, I think I have been able to do justice to that idea.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Seven Conversations”?
Seven Conversations is a thought experiment on life and existence. The characters might be fictitious but their questions are not.
How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?
I like stories especially the ones that end up on a high. For me, writing is the core of my expression and also a means to bring out positivity. Story of Meera is representative of the inner struggles of youths. At the crossroads of life, it is easier to give in to peer and social pressure and be lost. Following your happiness is not easy but that’s what makes it worth going after.
Who are your favourite authors?
I am going to go for some poets here – Ghalib, Rumi, Gibran, P G Wodehouse and Keigo Higashino.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
I do not have a routine yet. But once I get going on a story, I would write 3-4 hours each night.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Earlier, I used to hesitate when people asked me, ‘when did you become a writer?’ I would shy away by saying, ‘I am just an engineer’. But I was wrong. I was a writer, I am a writer and so are you. A writer does not write for others, you write for yourself and that is all it takes. You can pick up the techniques, language, expressions and other things. First, start believing that you are a writer, an honest writer. And then the distance to good or better will start vanishing.
Unfortunately these days, writing well and a good story is not enough. You also need to understand how to get your book in hands of the readers at the end. The space has become hyper competitive and your job as an author does not end at finishing your story. First, never give up. Write, because you love to and pitch it to every damn publisher and agent you can. Second, understand the publishing space well. Lastly, do not ignore marketing it. It is your blood and sweat and only you can do justice to it.
You can buy her book now: