After eight schools around the country, she finally passed out from St. Joseph’s, Bombay. She studied Commercial Art at Abhinav Kala Vidhyala, Poona, an affiliate of J.J.School of Art, Bombay. She is currently self employed, working with a software company based in France called Maia. She does pictograms for them.elay. Writing is her main occupation these days. Her third book is ready and has yet to be approved by the publisher.
The story is set in Punjab in 1940s. A young girl discovers a diary in some of the belongings of the earlier generation. She is intrigued and decides to follow the girl’s life, page by page, unearthing a few secrets along the way. She has also started a book for children between ten and fourteen. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
In the army we lead a rather eventful life.
I have woven stories around the unusual places we are posted to, the interesting people we met along the way and the incredible situations we have been in.
Life has been exciting to say the least, and every bit of it, is fodder for my books.
I consider my writing a Blessing. God bestowed this passion upon me, knowing that there were going to be many moments when I would find it difficult to travel and go out of the home at will.
Writing keeps me happily occupied and out of trouble!
What books did you read as a child?
I began with nursery rhymes and fairy tales. I have a good memory for songs so it was a huge advantage for me with the grand children.
I then moved on to Enid Blyton . . Read every Secret Seven and Famous Five.
In my teens I discovered Agatha Christie and devoured every book she has written.
I moved next to Sidney Sheldon, Arthur Hailey and Dominique Lapierre to name a few.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
I have published two books and there are some in the pipeline.
My first two extended over three and four generations.
For me the greatest challenge is in getting the timeline correct and matching them with the language, norms, dress, behaviour of the era so as to keep it authentic.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I like to research my facts thoroughly. Writing a book is like walking in the shoes of your characters. It has to be accurate or the story rings false.
However the cities and countries that mentioned in my books are places that I have either visited or lived in, so descriptions would be just as I have seen them.
I read books, speak to people involved and research my subject on Google.
It is important to be knowledgeable about anything you speak about or do.
What motivated you to write the book “Borrowed Plumes”?
Our first home was in College of Military Engineering, CME, Poona, where my husband was posted as instructor.
The wife of the Commandant at that time was elegant, tall, well spoken and I was completely in awe of her. After retirement they moved to Dehradun and certain incidents in their lives, created the core of my book.
Besides her, I have so much to say about innumerable people in my life. I wound this story around them.
Every major character in this book is a mix of two or more people I have known. A little of their lives finds its way into my books.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Borrowed Plumes”?
Ragini and Indrajit initially lived on the banks of the Saraswati River in a haveli with their family, but circumstances forced them to leave their ancestral home and move to the foothills. They settled and prospered through sheer grit and hard work.
In the sixties, a Rai heir, Himmat joins the Indian army. His professionalism and knowledge earns him many awards and he finally retires as a Lieutenant General and settles in his hometown of Rajpura.
Unfortunately, life takes a violent turn and in the next two generation, you will see the family and village under siege.
I respect strong women so have made the Rai women of substance.
What will happen to them? Will they allow the forces to cow them down or will they stand up and bring justice to not only themselves but to all the residents of the village?
Who will save the village from this villain?
How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?
As I said, I have a vIvid imagination. I am in the habit of creating stories out of situations that I have been in.
Quite frankly, the excitement while reading a an Agatha Christie, has stayed with me. She has been a huge influence so I guess writing this genre came quite naturally.
I am a very calm and patient person. I think all my latent violent temperament exposes itself in my books, thankfully and not in real life. Ha ha.
Who are your favourite authors?
Now I read many more Indian Authors like Chitra Devakaruni. I admire Khaled Hosseini and his ability to tell a tale beautifully.
I find Brian Weiss and books on reincarnation and the epics, give food for thought so pick then up occasionally.
In my teens I graduated to Agatha Christie, and then came the fast paced books like Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Dominique Lapierre, Arthur Hailey, and Daphne du Maurier.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
I am not able to keep with a strict schedule because of the unpredictable life we lead.
However with the facebook pages and the blogs that keep me busy as well, I do manage to find at least a good two to four hours a day.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
If writing is something you love to do, you can never go wrong. Look around you, every person, every place has a story to tell, discover it and write from your heart.
Once you have written a good story, go through it a number of times, as with every reading you are going to find something new to redo.
Once it is done and you have a publisher, find a great publicity and marketing strategy.
I find it much easier to write a book than marketing them! That is not my forte so you work it out yourself or find a PR person.
After having spoken to many authors, this seems to be a problem with many authors.
You can buy her book now: