Riti Prasad completed her MBA and is currently working as a Director Fragrance Development – In a Fragrance and Flavour MNC. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have always been fascinated with the beauty of words, the way they sound when read or spoken, the manner in which each word is a concept in itself and how a single word here or there could create a sea change in the implication of a sentence. In school, I loved writing short stories in English tests and wrote a few articles for my school magazine. I never imagined that ordinary people like us can write books but when I saw a lot of friends publish books, I thought I must try my hand at it too.
I started with writing for children and when the books Mathematics Fun, Fact and Fiction and Folk Tales from Around the World got published, I was hooked. I started small. I began to pen down short stories drawing from my experiences and got published in three anthologies. This further helped me boost my confidence and here I am with Wicked Temptations- 21 slice of life stories.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
My parents started us siblings on Amar Chitra Katha and Champak instilling a reading habit that lasted till today. Then one day, an older friend introduced me to Malory Towers and I became hooked on to Enid Blyton. The school series and Famous Five were my favourite. I then graduated to Jeffery Archer and Sidney Sheldon. I remember reading Rebecca, Gone with the Wind, Scarlett o’Hara and being very impressed by the flow of the saga.
I loved Archies, Tinkle and the more cerebral Asterix which resonated because of the Julius Caesar connection. I also loved Shakespeare’s plays and the classics abridged for children. I read up the entire Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Three Investigator series by the time I reached class ten. I can proudly say that I read a fair variety of genres.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Getting the plot right, keeping the voice consistent, holding the several threads of the story expertly and writing all of it in such a way that it becomes a compelling read.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
It depends on the genre of the book. For Mathematics I did a lot of research as I was drawing from available stories on Mathematical concepts like Fibonacci series or the Chessboard problem I had to be factually and mathematically accurate. I find writing for adults simpler because I don’t have to constantly watch at the level and complexity of language. Fiction requires a lot of thinking in the character’s shoes and no matter how much one researches, one cannot ignore when the character decides for the writer that this is what I am going to do in this situation and not as per what the writer originally planned.
What motivated you to write the book “Wicked Temptations”?
When the children’s books got published and when my stories got published in anthologies I realized that I might as well go solo with my collection of stories I had written painstakingly over a period of time. I experimented with different forms of narrative to explore the maximum possible creative width. Story Mirror gave me complete freedom and that helped me work with several story types. I thought it is best to start small so I took the plunge with an anthology.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Wicked Temptations”?
The book is a collection of 21 slice of life stories. It reflects on human behaviour, their thoughts and idiosyncrasies, their tiny acts of wickedness and their inability to stop themselves from indulging in temptations that tantalize them. It is not always wrong to give in to temptations but sometimes one has to pause and think and do the right thing. I have experimented with various narratives. The diary of a new bride is a story in the form of a diary.
I have done a modern take on Romeo and Juliet. Another story personifies the Navrasas and I have used Synesthesia in the story Making Sense of Smell where I have described the smell of emotions.
Who are your favourite authors?
Enid Blyton, P G Wodehouse, J K Rowling, Jeffery Archer, Sidney Sheldon, René Goscinny, Shakespeare, Anuja Chauhan, Chitra Banerjee, Sophie Kinsella. (It is too hard to stop)
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
All day! Do e-mails qualify? I do use my best language and grammar skills while writing them!!
Jokes apart, it depends on whether I am working on a book during a given period. Writing is a hobby and considering that my day job takes up the greater part of my day, I use whatever little time I get once I am home. However I do set a deadline and a goal in terms of the number of words I shall write per day and stick to that. I love writing during my travels. I shut out the world around me and just write.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Do not just work the plot in your head. Write it down, make mind maps and string out several threads and branches of the story. Do not let Writer’s block deter you because believe it or not, once you start writing it, the plot unfolds beautifully. Edit several times, get a beta reader if possible and be grammatically correct.
You can buy her book now: