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Alka Dimri Saklani Interview – Beyond Secrets Book

Alka Dimri Saklani is the author of “45 Days in a Cancer Hospital” and “Beyond Secrets“. Her debut novel “45 Days in a Cancer Hospital” was longlisted for Crossword Book Award 2013.

She holds MBA degree in HR and worked as a Corporate Recruiter with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer.

Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Writing is her first love. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, travelling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.

Alka Dimri Saklani Interview - Beyond Secrets Book

What inspired you to start writing?

Franky, I don’t remember. It seems I was born with a pen in my hand. All I can remember is I was writing when I was 8, before that I don’t remember. Writing is an extension of my identity.

What did you like to read when you were a girl?

I loved the story of Cinderella. I know it sounds cliched for today’s generation but I so loved it. When I got a little older my choices changed and I started reading mystery and thrillers and now I read almost everything that sounds interesting irrespective of the genre.

What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?

The greatest challenge in writing a book is practising self-discipline. Being your own boss is not as appealing as it looks. It is easy to get carried away by complexities of life and leave the book incomplete or take ages to finish it. One needs to be self-motivated all the time. And in today’s world, you can’t just be an author, you must be a marketer also. And being an introvert that gets tough for me.

How much research do you do before writing the book?

I do a lot of research before writing a book. In my first novel, I did a lot of research about cancer. I read articles from people suffering from the disease. For my latest book, I did a lot of research on psychology or orphans, how different people behave in different situations. To be a writer it is mandatory to understand the psychology of people. There needs to be consistency in how your characters behave.

Alka Dimri Saklani Interview - Beyond Secrets Book

What motivated you to write the book “Beyond Secrets”?

Long back when I was on job our CEO was giving a presentation and he said something about a person who counselled people but when his love life failed he couldn’t counsel himself. He wanted to explain how it is easy to teach, but difficult to follow your own teachings. I loved the concept. Though my book differs totally from what he said the idea originated from there. Story of a counsellor who failed to counsel himself. And layer by layer the story developed.

There is a twist of mystery in the novel. Initially, I was confused in which genre it will fall. Though there is a love story but I won’t call it a romance novel. Though I can say it is a story of love, not just romantic love but love in every form, basically love between two people, a volunteer and an orphan, a mother and her child, between siblings, friends and love that has no name. It is also a story of betrayal, lies and secrets but over and above all it is a story of resilience.

Can you tell us more about your latest book “Beyond Secrets”?

It is a story of three strangers Noel, Nidhi and Appu whose stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Noel is a counsellor, his life is an open book, except one nightmare that has haunted him since childhood. Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions. Appu is a sweet little orphan unaware about the cruelties of the world.

Destiny brings them together just to separate them, but a lot transpires in the journey in-between. Appu is adopted by a strange couple and Noel thinks this is their last meeting, but he was wrong. Life was to bring them together again.

Noel is drawn towards Nidhi and is about to express his feelings but an unexpected phone call and he must doubt everything he owned. The boy in his dream wasn’t a stranger after all. Suddenly he wants to escape. From truth? From love? From family? Maybe everyone. One wrong decision totally out tracks his life.

Nidhi, just healed is left back to fight new scars; alone. Forever? Or will Noel return?

Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationship. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?

How did you came up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?

I love fiction. It allows me to drift away from reality, to a world where anything is possible. My thoughts can wander in unknown realms without any boundaries. Though my writing is close to reality, it fetches its pieces from imagination. And the world of imagination is my favourite place.

Who are your favourite authors?

Khaled Hosseini and Kristin Hannah are my favourite authors.

How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?

I don’t work with a schedule but I try to spend at least 2-3 hours daily for writing. With two demanding kids, one of whom is a toddler that is all I can manage. But since my toddler has just joined playgroup I plan to add few more hours to my writing schedule. But one thing I make sure is I don’t force myself to write. I write when I feel inspired. Forcing to write just draws out some mediocre lines and I believe in quality not quantity.

What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

No matter how good you are at writing get your book edited by a professional editor. It is not only about good language, it also helps the book to be seen from other perspective. We as writers are not able to see the loopholes a reader can see. So, having beta readers and editor for your book is a must.

Never fear criticism. There may be a valid point in the criticism, if there is, act on it. There is always a scope for improvement. And if you see no point in the criticism just ignore it. Not everyone can like what you write and it’s ok.

You can buy her book now:

About Nikhil Narkhede

He likes to read inspirational books. He is a Professional Blogger, Entrepreneur and a power networker. By education he is a Computer Engineer and by profession he is an Online Marketer.

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