Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Rachna Singh, author of the bestselling novels, Dating, Diapers and Denial and Nuptial Knots.
Hi Rachna, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
1. What were you like at school?
I was the typical ‘good student’ but always had a wicked streak. I loved playing pranks.
2. Were you good at English?
You could say I was smitten by the language, and loved exploring it.
3. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like to reach out to people who can smile, laugh and relate to my writing.
4. Which writers inspire you?
Dave Barry is my favourite. I wrote to him after the launch of my first novel, Dating, Diapers and Denial, and told him that I am his ‘Eklavya’.
5. So, what have you written?
I write in the areas of humour, love, and organizational development.
My debut novel, ‘Dating, Diapers and Denial’ is in the area of anecdotal humour.
My second novel, ‘Nuptial Knots’, has six stories that gently unravel the knotty realities of newly-married life. Each story unscrambles a different aspect of the intricate relationship called marriage.
Recently, I wrote an article called ‘Heartbreak and Hope at The Kumbh’ for a souvenir the UP government released on the auspicious occasion of Kumbh.
6. Where can we buy or see them?
They are available on Amazon, Flipkart, Infibeam and leading bookstores.
7. What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I am working on proof-reading my third novel, ‘That Autumn in Awadh’ that goes into print shortly. It’s a romantic comedy.
8. When did you decide to become a writer?
I never, consciously, thought of being a writer. I started a blog on wordpress, just to record funny experiences in day to day life. My blog readers egged me on to put those in a book, and that is how ‘Dating, Diapers and Denial’ was born. I inherit my wicked humor from her father, Ajit Thakurdas, and my love for writing from my mother, Kamalini Thakurdas, who writes in poetry and prose in Hindi.
9. Why do you write?
For the same reason dogs chase their tails. Can’t help it!!
10. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Family and friends, who’d read my wicked emails, encouraged me to write, saying that there is very little humour on the bookshelves and I could do a good job in that genre.
11. Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time. I am, by profession, an Organizational Development consultant with Transcendix (www.transcendix.in) . As Head of their Products and Gaming Suite, I design games for leadership development, working with several top multinational organizations, even those annoying ones that serve Good-Day biscuits in their meetings!!
12. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever the ‘muse’ visits, that is, whenever there is a spark, a thought that is compelling enough to be put on paper. I don’t write to a fixed schedule.
13. Where do your ideas come from?
Life in general. I guess I have a knack of spotting the funny in any which situation.
14. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Writing a blog for about three years was a fantastic way to mature my writing. You see, writing humour is like a tight-rope walk: one needs to pitch the sarcasm/exaggeration such, that it does not tip towards being bitter/harsh on one end, or bland at the other. Feedback from regular readers helped me evolve.
15. What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is making people believe that you are writing. They just roll their eyes and say, ‘I know you are on facebook’. When I say ‘they’, I mean my immediate family!
16. What is your advice for young writers?
Appoint your two angels: You should crave for feedback like cricketers crave for ads! I have noticed that budding writers, often, come with fragile egos. Do you have those one or two people who can tear your writing to shreds? Can you take hard-hitting, cruel feedback? I have always sought, and relished the dreadful feedback. Believe me, it’s the best way to grow to your full potential.
17. Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Yes, it happens occasionally.
18. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
What works is focusing on the non-creative aspects of writing, like editing, or proofreading during those phases. A good lunch outing with a friend also helps!
19. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer the traditional books.
20. What book/s are you reading at present?
My daughter is making me read the Harry Potter books. I quite like them.
21. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
My publisher, Alchemy Publishers, engage the services of the accomplished editors, and I find that extremely useful – the inputs are good.
I also send my manuscripts to completely unknown people and seek hard-hitting feedback from them.
22. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Not really. I am too impatient for that.
23. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
My covers were designed by extremely creative people: Sheel Majumdar, a friend, who did the cover for Dating, Diapers and Denial and Shivangi Jain Mehra, who did Nuptial Knots.
24. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I believe, that ultimately, the book has to be good, and word of mouth is the best way to build its brand. But, a good cover does help in catching attention.
25. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Distributing books might be a huge issue in self-publishing, I guess.
26. How do you market your books?
I have not really figured out a formula here : I guess I could do lots more in this area!!
27. What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Not much, unfortunately.
28. What do you do to get book reviews?
My publisher, Alchemy Publishers does reach out to bloggers and reviewers for getting the books reviewed purely on merit.
29. How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
I have got extremely favourable responses which strengthens my belief that if the book is good, it will be received well.
30. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I’d label a bad review as one that hides behind clichés, with the reviewer lacking a fresh, original view.
31. What’s your views on social media for marketing?
Posting on Facebook does help in drawing attention. I keep hearing from people who like my posts.
32. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
The press received my books extremely favorably The Hindu did an entire center-spread on my first novel.
33. Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
In fact, I had a humorous take on that in my recent blogpost: http://rachnaunedited.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/national-bestsellers/
34. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I did one for my second book : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm_Rrr4Pb6w
I don’t really have any data to figure out if it works.
35. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
It’s a good idea to give it to discerning people, and co-writers.
36. Did you format your own book?
No, it is done by professionals.
37. How do you relax?
I like to watch TV. I also love playing pranks, mimicking people and scaring dogs by barking back at them. My son thinks that very cool, but my daughter thinks I am mad. I am working on that. That is, change her way of thinking!! 🙂
38. What is your favourite book and why?
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved its beautiful, mysterious and humane underpinnings.
39. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Happier. Doing what I like to do. Enjoying watching the kids growing up.
40. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t take yourself too seriously!
42. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Read my books : you will love them, I am sure!
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
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About Author: Prakz
Prakz is a blogger. Die hard music lover. Singer and business analyst in the profession