Welcome all my lovely readers,
Today, I am feeling lucky to be interviewing Kiran Manral, an established Author,a Blogger and a CSA activist.
Kiran Manral has worked as a journalist before she quit to be full time mommy. Her blogs, www.thirtysixandcounting.wordpress.com and http://www.karmickids.blogspot.com/ , are both in Labnol’s list of India’s top blogs. She blogged at Tehelka Blogs on gender issues. She is also considered a ‘social media star’ on twitter by the TOI and IBN Live named her as among the 30 interesting Indian women to follow on twitter and among the top 10 Indian moms to follow on twitter for 2013. Post 26/11, she founded India Helps, a volunteer network to help disaster victims’ post 26/11 and has worked on long term rehabilitation of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims and 13/7 Mumbai bomb blast victims, amongst others. She is part of the core founding team behind CSAAM ( http://www.csaawarenessmonth.com/) and Violence Against Women Awareness Month ( http://www.vawawareness.wordpress.com/) , two very well received social media awareness initiatives across twitter and the blogosphere.
Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published by Westland in 2012. She was awarded the Women Achievers award by Young Environmentalists Group in 2013. Her second novel”Once Upon a Crush” is due to release in mid 2014.
Thank you so much for making time for this small conversation with me and the audience 🙂
Q: So Kiran, tell us how did you start your journey as a “blogger”?
A: I began blogging in 2005, I was on a work sabbatical having just had a baby a couple of years ago, and being a writer, blogging which was relatively a new medium then seemed like a good way to reach out to readers from the comfort of one’s desktop. I began a personal blog on a platform called blogsource, which unfortuntely shut down. But I had comments and regular readers, and I had tasted blood so to speak. I then divided myself into a parenting blog, called Karmickids on blogger, and a personal blog called thirtysixandcounting on wordpress.
Q: What inspired you to write a novel?
A: Very honestly, I always did write stories, features, blogs but publishing a book was something I never thought I would be able to do. My mother and two dear friends, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Parul Sharma, a bestselling author herself, were very insistent that I give fiction writing a shot and here I am.
Q: Did you find any difficulties in the process of getting your novel published?
A: The first one, honestly no. The second one did take its time finding a publisher and went through many drafts.
Q: Your second novel” Once upon a crush” involves romance, different from your first novel”The Reluctant Detective”,a mystery novel which was released in the year 2012! So, how was your experience of writing a mystery novel to a romantic one.?
A: Interesting question. Actually, I don’t write from the mindset of genre, I write from the mind of the protagonist, so it generally evolves from the situation the protagonist is in at that point and what happens to her.
Q: Please put some light on the story of your upcoming second novel”Once Upon a Crush”. Give us an insight into your main character?
A: Once Upon A Crush is about Rayna De who is a single woman in Mumbai, stuck in a dead end job, with a terrible boss and no love life. To add to her woes, her parents are pressurising her to get married to a suitable boy. But Rayna is seriously infatuated with Deven Ahuja from her office who is completely out of her league. What happens next, you need to read to find out.
Q: Are you a full-time or a part-time writer?
A: Another interesting question. I don’t think one can ever be a part time writer, if one isn’t physically writing, one is reading, one is researching, one is thinking up situations. As Agatha Christie said, and not in the exact words she did, the best time to think up plots is while doing the dishes. So one is constantly thinking about one’s characters, their situations, what one could add or subtract to the narrative even if one is not writing, in fact we even end up dreaming about our characters.
Q: Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
A: Most days I am at my desk, writing. I think one has to discipline oneself to write constantly, one can’t be an as and when writer if one wants to meet deadlines whether external or self imposed.
Q: What are the toughest and the easiest things about writing?
A: The easiest would be that one can work at one’s own pace and go back and redo what one has done till one is satisfied with it. The toughest part is that one is never satisfied and there is always that niggling feeling that one could have reworked it better, that one could have done something differently.
Q: As you are an avid reader too, who are your favorite authors whose novels you have read?
A: Too many to list, I am a democratic reader and read almost anything and everything I can lay my hands on. I must confess I think Plum Wodehouse is god, followed by JRR Tolkein and J K Rowling. I enjoy YA fanfiction too, it is a new discovery about myself. Amongst novelists, I enjoy magic realism and Marquez, Rushdie and Murakami get my vote.
Q: For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or paper books. Please share your view and vote here if possible https://heta1311.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/e-book-or-printed-books/ ?
A: I am very old school and prefer print and paper books to ebooks. Somehow I feel there is an impermanence to ebooks that doesn’t sit well with me. And the tactile pleasure of holding a physical book is something I have grown up with–the new book smell and feel of turning pages, marking interesting sentences, etc, is something I don’t get with ebooks.
Q: What according to you, are the advantages and disadvantages of self publishing and getting published by a well known publisher?
A: I haven’t self published so I honestly wouldn’t have an answer to that. Also I am too disorganised and scattered to do the self publishing thing with any modicum of success.
Q: How do you handle the different roles, as a mother, a writer, a blogger and an social activist?
A: I think I don’t think of them as different roles, I merely think of it all as part of who I am. That makes it non negotiable aspects of what I must do. Also I am a terrible housekeeper. I have excellent support on that front from my mother in law so I am free to pursue many things.
Q: What you do in your free time except reading novels?
A: Ha ha ha. Actually that’s the ONLY thing I do in the time I get to myself.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: So many so many. I cannot have a favourite quote but this one kind of sums my life attitude. “it is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot.
Q: What advice would you give to the aspiring writers?
A: Wouldn’t be so presumptuous to think myself qualified to give advice with just two books under my belt, but would definitely say read as much as you can and write as much as you can. Write every single day. Think of it as riyaaz.
Thank you so much Kiran Manral for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
The book can be pre-ordered here: