We bring you today the conversation with an inspirational romance writer: Anuj Tiwari. Below are the excerpts from the interview:
You started writing very early. Any particular experience which led you to write or was an impromptu decision? What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
The greatest challenge is taking the courage to write. Most of us have a story to tell, or it would be correct if I say we all have something to share but we don’t encourage us to speak. Second, to publish it. Indian publishing is very vast. Though the internet has opened many doors to share your story but still to get the best publisher among the list of 4-5, it’s a task and patience of years.
Your first book, Journey of two hearts (2012) is an outcome of 6 months of depression. Would you like to throw some light on the period of the low point of your life and how you managed to retrieve it?
It feels like it just happened months ago but it’s more than 5 years now. I was suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD), which is like a termite. It eats you up from inside without your conscious knowledge. Also, I had a long list of prescriptions for depression with DPD. That was the worst time of my life. Those six to nine months changed everything. Everything.
My mother said one thing when I was going through a tough time that life is on an incline, either you go up or go down. It’s never easy to move on when you have fallen in love so deeply. I am an emotional person, so you can guess, how many times and how much I cried with no clue of being an author. It’s all good luck from someone I loved most in my life.
How difficult is it to relive your pained past while writing a book based on a real-life incident?
It’s easy when you are in pain because you release it but it becomes tougher when you are moved on by time and then remembering those memories. That’s worst.
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You started by selling copies of your book on Mumbai streets. What was your experience? At any point, you felt like giving up?
I was always an introvert, so for me, it was a crazy thing to do, but you know, you do every damn thing just to make you believe that your life is never a shit. It happened that way.
You write on Romance, any other genre you tried or would like to try?
Small correction, it’s an inspirational romance, which is a combination of self-help plus a story of your life which you still remember. I just give a different perspective to think. I tell stories which are your stories, which are stories of people I love. So lots many things to write before I think, what I need to write. Probably, then I’ll think, about what I am good at.
So many romance novels hit the stands every month. What still keeps you going in this genre? Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I’ll always be what I was (before the book). I write what I see and feel. If my books are changed in the future, probably we need to ask ourselves – have we evolved over a period.
Your views on the changing literature trend? How has your journey been so far? Based on your experience what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
When I was searching for a publisher in 2012. The editor of a very prominent publisher asked me how many people follow me on social media. I had only 3 members in my family and a couple of good friends who believed in me. So I was quiet.
That day it hurt me a lot. Today, I have a family of more than seven lakhs hardcore readers. I turn a non-reader into a reader. That’s the biggest compliment for me. So never judge a struggler with unrealistic factors. A good story should be told, and publishers should match their voices to tell a story to everybody.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My books are independent in reading but mutually connected if you have read them all. Some people are a part of my life, and without them, it’s difficult to write a book. So you’ll find them in my books maybe more than once.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not so far. I think it is just an excuse not to write.
How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
Difficult when you are not full-time.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Fortunately none. Even my social media statuses are consumed in my books. So nothing is used in my case. Lucky enough.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or on a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
Creativity is above boundaries. So I have no particular schedule but usually, I get up at 4 in the morning and spend some time looking out of my balcony and start the day with my laptop. That’s how it goes.
What was your hardest scene to write? Are you planning to adapt any of your stories to the screen?
There are many but the latest is the hug between Arjun and his father (from the book I Tagged Her in My Heart) before that scene I never got an opportunity to hug my father but after writing it, it happened. And it is exactly the way I described in my book 🙂
Any advice you would like to give to our readers and aspiring writers?
Patience is the key. Don’t be in hurry just to publish your book with any publisher. I still believe in traditional publishing if you are looking for a long term.
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The interview was published in Storizen Magazine July 2018 issue.