Dear Readers, This post is the exclusive interview of Harshita Srivastava author of ‘One In A Million’ with MerryBrains
Hi Harshita, Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your 
background?
I am a full time writer who works as a content writer by the day to earn her bread and a creative writer by the night. In any case, I haven’t been able to part with writing, I would either be found immersed in reading/writing or eating. These are the two (or rather three) things that keep me involved. I have worked as a freelance writer and editor for more than 2 years now and continue to do so. I took my first step into public writing through a blog that was started off in my second year of engineering and so blogging is an essential part of my life. Apart from that, I love interacting with kids and that is why I can often be found talking to random kids playing on the streets or teaching a group of girls who aren’t sent to school. I have recently started off with a club by the name ‘Yes, I am a Woman’ that deals with women empowerment and the issues that today’s Indian women face.
I completed my graduation in Mechanical Engineering this year which might have gone waste if I hadn’t started off with writing on automobiles and believe me, there is nothing better than writing about cars when not driving them.
What were you like at school?
I used to be shy and introvert kind of a person, in fact, in every PTA my teacher had to say
this thing about me. However, only my close friends knew the talkative side of me, they would many a times get tired of listening to my stories. But then, since I didn’t share my feelings with everyone my mother inculcated the habit of diary writing into me and that is when I fell in love with writing.
Were you good at English?
Till the middle school, I was an average student in English, however, reading was something I loved since the beginning. It was in high school when I was noticed for my writing skills by my English teacher, Mrs. Dey and after that there was no looking back. However, I still feel I need to improve a lot on my vocabulary and expression power.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
As of now, I wish to entertain my readers with quality in my books rather than quantity. I do not decide too much about life so only time will tell about what lies ahead in my writing career.
Which writers inspire you?
Charles Dickens, Chetan Bhagat, Novoneel Chakraborty, John Green
So, what have you written?
I have written a novel ‘One In A Million’ published by Mahaveer Publishers released in April 2013. Besides, I am a regular blogger and write for a lot of websites.
Where can we buy or see them? 
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Priyanka, the protagonist of my novel is a carefree Delhi girl who takes life as it comes by. On the outside, she has been portrayed as strong and independent but deep inside, she is just like any simple girl who believes in fairy tales and happy endings. She is a great friend, a loving daughter, an affectionate sister and a devoted lover. The special thing about Priyanka is even after so many obstacles, she doesn’t give up or lose faith in life. Every girl will find a glimpse of herself in the leading lady of ‘One In A Million’
What are you working on at the minute?
I am presently working on my second novel titled Bad Romance, however it would be too soon to comment about its release.
What’s it about? 
I won’t reveal much but yes, this isn’t going to be a simple love story and it will deal with the
dark side of romance.
What genre are your books?
As of now, romance is what I am working on but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t switch to a
different genre. Readers can expect some books on women empowerment or serious drama.
What draws you to this genre?
The fact that emotions play a significant role in every person’s life is what draws me towards
romance. There’s a so much to explore in this genre than just campus romance and almost
every reader of any age can relate to it.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent 
book?
I’d love to see Deepika Padukone or Parineeti Chopra playing the role of ‘Priyanka’ of ‘One In A Million’.
How much research do you do?
Quite a lot, plus, I always try to live the life of my characters, it’s always fun and a learning
experience as well.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No, not yet and I do not intend to, either.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Sometime when I was in Std IX, however, I didn’t know I’d take it up as a full time career.
Why do you write?
That is because this is something I’ve fallen in love with, I’m passionate about it and I’m pretty sure that it is never going to betray me. It helps me express myself to the best.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Frankly speaking, I always wanted to write so there was no sudden event involved in my writing but yes, starting up with ‘One In A Million’ was a lot better than witnessing myself doing nothing and ruining my life with engineering.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full-time.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
No, I do not have a special time, I don’t need to because this is what I do all day, and night as well.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write every day, however that does not include writing my second novel. Creative writing is never time-bound though content writing and official write-ups are.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
When it is a project then yes, there are targets although I’ve never been able to do the same for my novel(s).
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I either work on MS word or write on paper.
Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas have no fixed place, they can come anytime, anywhere and that is exactly what happens to me although for me, metro stations work as a lucky charm. I gather a lot of ideas while travelling in a metro and stop at a station to write them down.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I prefer working on a plot but then ideas have a tendency to flow in any direction at any moment.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I do believe that I have got better with the passage of time but there’s a lot to learn. It is just the beginning and the ocean is too deep.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The easiest and the hardest thing about writing is accumulation of thoughts. Sometimes, they will flutter in your mind in second while at times, you’ll be kept waiting for long. Plus, putting down the right words for your thoughts is extremely important.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The toughest part for OIAM was trying to make it different from rest of the romantic novels
available. The market is flooded with romantic fiction so as an author, one needs to make sure that the recipe of his/her story is good enough for every reader to savour.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
There is no fixed time for writing a book, it all depends on the storyline, the amount of research required and my state of mind.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Yes, I am experiencing it nowadays.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I recently wrote an article on the same, I believe taking a break from your routine could bring in some favourable results. Going out with friends, listening to music, reading, doing what you love the most can help in overcoming writer’s block.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Paperback for me, always. I somehow cannot connect with kindle versions, there’s something about the smell of the pages that makes me fall for them.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I just completed ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ by Anuja Chauhan.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
My first book was edited by the editor of my publishing house. Let’s see what’s in store for the next. But I do believe that mistakes are something that are best pointed by others.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
The cover of my debut novel was worked out by Prakansh Rathaur, it’s solely his creativity and he has been able to do full justice to it.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Of course, the book may not be judged by its cover but it isn’t picked up if it doesn’t have a
catchy cover and a title.
How do you market your books?
When the book came out I was just a student with no capital to bag on and I didn’t want to ask for any money from my father so me and my group of college buddies used social media at its best. Since Greater Noida (that is where I did my engineering from) is crowded with colleges and students, my college authorities and network of friends helped spread the word about the book by mouth. In my hometown Kanpur, a few colleges and schools were kind enough to invite me for interaction with the students about writing that helped me promote my books in a better way. Later on, the local print media also supported me in a great way. Moreover, I try to attend as many book fairs and events as I can that help me reach out to the readers.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
As and when I get time, I try to promote my book
What do you do to get book reviews?
I generally contact bloggers and book reviewers for the same.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
No strategy as such but since I’ve myself been a reviewer for long, I know a lot of reviewers who give genuine feedback.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
The good reviews keep you motivated while the bad ones help you improve, so both of them
matter a lot. Too much of either of them are going to be damaging in the long run.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
They help readers give an idea about the story and prove to be quite advantageous.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
I did make a simple one myself for ‘One In A Million’
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Believe in your work, don’t give up!!! Don’t be afraid if you’ve got a different story, continue with it, you might face rejections and criticism but always remember that they always try to curb the one who is better.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
We are going through crucial times but things will improve soon and for the better, all we need is unity and a strong will to fight off the bad times.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
                   www.facebook.com/hsrivastava0205
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Prakhyath Rai

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Friends call me Prakz. I am a blogger, avid reader and bathroom singer. I take all my life decisions at showers like everyone else.
Prakhyath Rai
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