Preeti Singh is a freelance Editor and an Author. She has acquired degrees in MA English, B.Ed and PGDJMC (Journalism and Mass Communication). Her Debut book, Flirting with Fate was given the Best Debut Crime Fiction of 2012 & also Nominated For The Booker’s Prize in 2013. Her second and latest book Crossroads has made its place in the India Book Of Records as the First Indian Fiction having real life people as characters.
What inspired you to start writing?
Writing was always a passion for me as I was growing up…scribbling a thought here…a poem when I underwent joy or pain or maybe just writing a real life experience but I took it up as a profession lately …simple because when you enjoy what you do..it’s not work..it’s simply pleasure.
What did you liked to read when you were a girl?
Ahhh…as a teenager I loved reading murder mysteries and Nancy Drew was my favourite but as college life stepped in & I fell in love, I was enchanted by Mills & Boons and Danielle Steel etc. And now am into self help books which can help me evolve into a better human being.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Writing a book is like pregnancy…smooth and like a cakewalk…the tough part is the publishing & marketing i.e the delivery period. Well…it’s not easy writing a book but it’s not impossible either. You need to organise your ideas…put them in a flow without cluttering the plot, the characters or the scenes of the storyline. The language should be simple and conveying the point home, preferably with a message. You need to also think from a reader’s view point and try to deliver in your best capacity.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Well…I have just written two books so cannot comment like a veteran. But yes when you pen down a story, your basic facts about the place, dates, and situations need to be accurate. The story line can be fiction but other data needs to be absolutely accurate. For example..for my debut book Flirting With Fate, which was based in the suburbs of Shimla, I went there, stayed there for a few weeks, studied the scenario, spoke to shopkeepers, collected data and penned it down accordingly. An author must remember, your book is going to go places and be read by many, so what you give them to read must be supported by apt facts. False data may mislead the readers and in the long run you may lose your credibility as an author.
What motivated you to write the book “Crossroads: It’s About time?
Crossroads is an emotional saga for every woman…especially every Indian woman. In my life, whatever little I have seen and experienced, a lot of women undergo abuse, pain and humiliation in their marital lives. Most are unable to express their anguish, are suppressed and are simply existing not living and accepting their roles as their inevitable fate.
Crossroads is an attempt to express their feelings and speak out the unspoken pain. Having said the above, I would like to emphasize that Crossroads is not to entice or influence women to break their marital homes; instead it’s meant to convey that repair your relationship but not at the cost of your dignity and self respect as woman. Do the best you can, give it your best shot but if things are still beyond your control, listen to your inner voice and take a call for your own peace of mind.
Can you tell us more about the book “Crossroads: Its About time”?
Crossroads is published in English but due to popular demand, it’s now being translated in Hindi and will hit the market soon. Young girls read the book and wanted their non speaking mothers, aunts and even fathers, uncles to read the book. Believe me, such a response is my biggest achievement as an author. If I can reach many a heart and maybe help even one life due to my book, I consider myself a Bestseller…even without a tag. The most beautiful part of Crossroads is, I have picked up real people from different sects of life and with their permission used their names as the characters.
These people have been my Facebook friends who stood by me through thick and thin, tolerating my various mood swings. I wanted to give them an eternal place in my book…I may die…..they may not be eternal too but with their names in the book they shall forever live in the hearts of readers. Few of them are Abhinash Pattnaik, Rupesh Bhatt, Shobhana Sharma, Prateek Singh, Mridul Kalra, Kavita Tiwade etc.
For me they have been my second family…even though they lived afar, I spoke to them daily, laughed/cried with them silently, through my book as I wrote their roles down in the book. Needless to say, some bonds are made forever and such bonds need no name. Crossroads is knitted with emotions and bound in a tight bond with my characters who made this tale happen….this book belongs to them….my beautiful characters.
How did you come up with the idea of writing inspirational book for women?
Like most women, I am also a feminist and it perturbs me to see a woman in pain. And like most women, I have also undergone enough of tears…so it was time to pen down an amalgamation of feelings and emotions. Being an epileptic since birth, I felt if I could make a difference in even one woman’s life, my life has been worth it. The other day when an elderly lady from Kerala called me I was overwhelmed. Her grand daughter had read Crossroads and had told the story to her grandmother. The older lady had undergone similar situations and when she called me to give a pat on my back, I actually felt I had won the Pulitzer’s award, I cried that day, felt content, blissful and most humbled.
Who are your favourite authors?
I know it may sound strange, but I don’t read fiction anymore. A book that never leaves my bedside is Eckhart Tolle’s Power Of Now…a constant reminder to me to live in the NOW as sometimes tomorrow never comes. I believe say your SORRYs..THAN YOUs..PLEASE now..in this moment as sometimes tomorrow never comes…maybe you can never say it or maybe they will not live to hear it. My favourite quote being ‘Kal ho na ho’, I live with death by my side as it may come anytime…let me not hurt anyone and if i do let me say sorry before I embark on my final journey.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
You cannot put a writer in a timeframe and ask him/her to write on set timings. It’s unfair. Writing comes from within…anytime…anywhere. I will tell you a secret…I carry with me a note pad and even have an app on my mobile…maybe am in the middle of the vegetable market and a line or thought comes to mind and is immediately jotted down as the next instant I may forget it, as am a total Ghajini. Having said that, when writing a book, one forgets eating, sleeping and goes in a hibernation mode till it’s not out of one’s tummy. There are no set rules for every writer…each have their own way of writing…scribbling..expressing! As for me, ask my family…who are simply exasperated tolerating me and my mood swings and erratic timings. Regarding professional assignments, if I accept any project, I am very strict, punctual and dedicated till I deliver it.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Just write dil se <3 but write to express not to impress. You don’t have to use huge, tough words to impress the readers of your English knowledge…because if the reader needs to pick up a dictionary to understand your heavy words, then you have lost your purpose of conveying the point home. Keep your words and story simple, to make it an easy, quick and gripping read. As they say, simplicity has its own charm.
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