Anjali Kirpalani is the former Editorial Head, Mumbai of Stylekandy.com. Born in India, this 28 year old lived in South Africa for eight years and moved back to India in 2008. She was a radio jockey at Lotus fm, part of the South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC). She has also scripted three radio dramas for Lotus fm. She has written for publications like O, The Oprah magazine in South Africa and Yuva in India. She has been a guest blogger for the popular blog Missmalini.com. She has also been on the team of writers for the Beyond Sindh magazine since 2006. Her short story, ‘Destiny’ has won two competitions.
Anjali has just completed a stint as an Anchor/Producer at ET NOW, India’s leading business news channel. Anjali has recently co-founded a PR and Marketing agency, Epic Communications in Mumbai. Having completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Mumbai in 2012, she lives to read, write, travel and discover new places. ‘Never Say Never’ is her first novel. Her short story is also included in the anthology ‘25 Strokes of Kindness’ released in 2013 by Grapevine India. Anjali Kirpalani’s second novel, ‘Written in the Stars‘ out in March 2015, has received immense praise and appreciation. Anjali Kirpalani is a skilled public speaker who has been a panelist, judge and moderator at many prestigious events like the Lit fest 2014 at IIT Bombay, Literathon 2014 at Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Lit-o-fest 2015 at JJ School of Arts (28th Feb- 1 March 2015) and most recently Pune International Literary Festival (PILF 2015; 4-6 Sept 2015) among others. She has also associated with hi talks (women empowering women) sessions at Mumbai-where she has visited schools speaking to young children about following their dreams. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing poetry when I was 13 in school. My first poem was inspired by this beautiful sunset I saw back then. I started writing short stories and freelance articles for magazines and newspapers when I was about 16. Since then, I’ve written fiction and non-fiction pieces but fiction is where my heart lies.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
When I was a kid I was addicted to The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton. Then I moved to dramatic fiction, the classics and chick lit. When I was in college I discovered chick-lit novels by Marian Keyes, Fiona Walker and Helen Fielding and absolutely fell in love with the genre.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Every author has their own challenges while writing a book. I’m a very impatient person so I like to get the story down but I hate describing scenes. So for me, that’s certainly a challenge. Then of course, the editing and re-editing drives me up the wall. However, rounds of rewriting do make my books better and when I see the final product, its always worth it.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
It depends on the book. For Never Say Never, I visited Red fm in Mumbai and sat in on my RJ friend’s show to get a feel for a day in the life of an RJ in Mumbai. I’ve been a Radio jockey but I’ve been an RJ in South Africa. But since the protagonists in Never Say Never work at a radio station in Mumbai, I wanted to ensure that what I wrote was authentic. For Written in the stars, I had to do research on what investment bankers’ lives are like in New York. I’ve been to New York so many of the places described I’d been to. However, I still did research and spoke to people living in New York for the book. So, research will always add value to your work and whenever I’m not sure of something, I rather be sure than write about it based on assumptions.
What motivated you to write the book “Written in the Stars”?
Written in the Stars is about that confusing time in your late 20s when you’re not young in college anymore but you’re not married with kids either. It’s about the struggles when it comes to romance and especially your career in your 20s. Ananya, the protagonist, changes numerous jobs searching for true calling. I have changed many jobs in my life- I’ve been an RJ, Lecturer, TV anchor, Marketing professional, Online journalist and voice-over artist among others! So the book was definitely inspired by the confusion and despair I’ve felt in my 20s but it was also inspired by the confusion friends and family have felt. Everyone feels lost at some point or the other in life and that’s what the novel captures.
How did you came up with the idea of writing contemporary fiction genre book?
I’ve always related to and loved contemporary fiction novels. I think it really important to reflect the times we live in through the books we write. When my kids and grand kids want to know what my life was like when I was younger, they’ll be able to read my books to know!
Who are your favourite authors?
Jane Austen, Vikram Seth, Jhumpa Lahiri, Marian Keyes and Khaled Hosseini.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
I try to discipline myself. I run my own PR agency so it gets difficult to write everyday but I try to dedicate at least two hours to writing daily.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Cliched as it may sound, believe in yourself. If you can dream it, you can do it. If you’re serious about writing a book, start now. It’s a long process and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get to see your name on bookshelves.
You can buy her book now: