Today we have Ritu Lalit, Author of the books ‘A Bowlful of Butterflies‘, ‘Hilawi and Chakra‘ and ‘Chronicles of the Witch Way‘
What were you like at school?
I was a loner, a bookworm and was an achiever. I did not interact much with fellow students.
Were you good at English?
Yes. I read a lot of English fiction and enjoyed it. We did not have much choice in Hindi fiction
in our school library.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To me writing is a passion, it is not a career. It gives me joy. I write for those who share the joy
with me. The mails I get from people who enjoy my book is very rewarding.
Which writers inspire you?
Too many to list, but yes, Arthur C Clark, Isaac Asimov, Daphne Du Maurier, Marion Bradley Zimmer, G.R.R. Martin inspire me, to name a few.
So, what have you written?
I am a blogger, I blog at www.phoenixritu.com. I have written short stories that are in CBSE English text books, in an anthology called Ripples. I have three published books, A Bowlful of Butterflies, Hilawi and Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way.
Where can we buy or see them?
My books are available on all online portals, Flipkart, Amazon and others.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on the second book of my fantasy trilogy, Chronicles of the Witch Way.
What genre are your books?
I have written one coming-of-age young adult book, two fantasy thrillers and one murder mystery. I do not limit myself to any genre.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
LOL, no clue. The boy who acted as young Pi comes to mind. There is a lot of talent in the movie industry
How much research do you do?
A lot. Most of my books have a lot of outdoor action, and I like to describe it in detail. My last book Chakra has a fight in a desert, as well as in the vicinity of a baoli. I actually visited places to get a feel of the locales.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No. I do not like to work with others.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I have always written, ever since I can remember.
Why do you write?
It gives me happiness. I have explained it better here:
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I think a writer always writes. If the writer is not actually writing, he/she is plotting or observing people and analyzing their character traits to use in a book. But yes, I work at a job during the day.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I have a word goal every day, and I try to keep to it. There is no fixed time or routine.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
On my laptop. I used to write longhand a long time back.
Where do your ideas come from?
I don’t know, from within me I guess.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I can not plot before hand, it is too limiting.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have evolved with each and every piece of work I have written, be it a short story, a long story or a poem.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Ending the story.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I miss the characters once I am done with them.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Beginning a story.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Three months or so.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
No, not really.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
Yes, my book Chakra is the first of a series called Chronicles of the Witch Way. It is a fantasy thriller about a race of humans who believe they are descendants of Gods. They are born with open kundalinis which enables them to make use of the five elements, water, wind, fire, earth and vegetation.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
I am enjoying it. It is the creation of an elaborate world which is creatively very satisfying.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Ebooks now, since I can carry them with me.
What book/s are you reading at present?
The Enders Game series.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Yes I do.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
Mostly me and the publisher argue a lot and finally we come to a consensus about the cover.
Who designed your book cover/s?
Publishers have their own art department which designs covers.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
How are you publishing this book and why?
I am open to all forms of publishing.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against
being published or the other way around?
Actually both work in their own ways. At first having a good publisher works, since they have a brilliant distribution system. Once you are a known author, self publishing also works since you have your own readers, who will pick up your book regardless.
How do you market your books?
I have not had to market my books, publishers make them available at book stores and online portals.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Yes, I would. It is important to market.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Hire someone to do your P.R. , be active on FB and Twitter. Network all the time. It helps selling copies.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
I am addicted to FB, so I am online all day. It has worked for me.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I have been lucky; the reviews have come without my actively chasing them.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I appreciate criticism which is reasonable and constructive. Some people have reviewed my books in a shoddy way. It just shows their lack of understanding and flaws, and that irritates, because it does not help me improve my art. Otherwise, I take it in my stride.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
It is amazingly effective.
Which social network worked best for you?
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
No I haven’t.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
I have been interviewed by Hindustan Times, Femina but not by radio.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
After my first book came out, I did not make any effort to create a buzz. That was a mistake, I should have. My first book started selling after I wrote my second book and hired someone to do my P.R.
Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
One has to actively promote. It is time consuming but one has to.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
Yes I created trailers for two of my books. I have not done so for Chakra.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I don’t know. I have not.
How do you relax?
I meditate, and I cook.
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West
What is your favourite positive saying?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story
What is your favourite book and why?
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, for its hauntingly intense descriptions. Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper for its emotional intensity.
What is your favourite quote?
“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ― Oscar Wilde
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be yourself and stay happy.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read, live life, break rules. That is the only way to get the richness of experience to write a book.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Self publishing is the way forward, and so are ebooks. I think paperbacks are on their way out, and audible books and ebooks are the way forward.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009IL1PJM
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