We got a chance to have a word with Rohit Sharma, Author of Our Love Story.
- Congratulations on your new book, ‘Our Love story’.Why is the romance genre your favorite?
RS: Thank you so much for your wishes. ‘Romance’ is one of the most loved genres in our country. But, unfortunately, it is somewhat misinterpreted too. When someone talks about the ‘Romance’ genre, most of us think about only college chiclits. For me, Romance is much more than that.
With my first book ‘Te Amo… I Love You’, I tried to show that true love is sacrifice and is beyond language barriers. With my second solo book ‘Love of My Life’, I tried to highlight the dark and bright shades of love and relationships. And with my latest book, ‘Our Love Story’, I have tried to write a non-thriller, inspirational, feel-good story about love, hope, and positivity.
Romance is a broad genre, and with every book, I try to touch its different essence. And, this is why it is one of my favorite genres.
2. Compared to your previous works, I found this story different from your usual romantic-thriller genre. Is there any particular reason in choosing a non-thriller plotline?
RS: I am glad you find it different. As you have rightly pointed out, this is the first time I have tried a non-thriller genre. My last book ‘Love of My Life’ was a dark, romantic thriller, with elements of social issues and patriotism. It was a draining experience for me. After that book, I asked myself, ‘What next?’. That’s when I tried to challenge myself by walking out of my comfort zone and write a non-thriller book. And that’s how ‘Our Love Story’ happened.
3. Is there any story or an article that inspired you to etch the character of Veronica?
RS: Veronica’s character is not inspired by any story or any article. Her character is very real. You can find shades of her character in almost all of us. She is strong, yet vulnerable. She is not afraid of shedding her tears, but she is determined enough to fight her fears. She is hopeful, brave, selfless, and mentally very tough.
4. To date what has been your most cherished achievement.
RS: A reader (a married Doctor) from Chandigarh, after reading one of my books, messaged me that her faith in true love has been restored. She said that after reading my book, she asked her husband to read the same book. And after they both were done reading the book, they both decided to give their marriage a second chance. For me, it is my most cherished moment (if not achievement) as a writer that my writing was able to save someone’s marriage.
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5. What are your other interests apart from writing?
RS: Dancing was and still is one of my biggest passions. I participated in a lot of dancing competitions during my teens and twenties. Though, now I don’t get much time to explore it. But whenever there is a new song, with a catchy hook step, I try to learn it. Apart from dancing, I love to explore places, different cultures, and food. In my free time, I read, watch movies, cook, and spend time with my family.
6.Any other book or writing project that you are currently working on?
RS: No, I work on one project at a time, and that’s why I have only 4 fiction books to my name in the last 8 years. My latest book ‘Our Love Story’ has just released, and I need to focus on its marketing and promotion. Once I am done with that, I will start thinking about ‘What next?’.
7. What another genre of books do you generally like? Which is that one genre you want to explore?
RS: I like thrillers the most. That’s why I chose Romantic-Thriller as the genre of my first two solo books. If I have support from a publisher, I will definitely write a crime thriller. I also love mythological fiction and matured love stories.
8. Who are your favorite authors?
RS: Sidney Sheldon and Nicholas Sparks are my idols. Their writings have influenced me a lot. And that’s how I mixed their genres and created a Romantic-Thriller genre for my own books. I also love to read books by Ashwin Sanghi. His research work and in-depth knowledge of his genre are truly exceptional and inspirational.
9. Few words to the readers.
RS: First of all, thank you for always accepting my work, and for patiently waiting for my books. I try to write something different every time, and I am thankful to my readers for their incessant motivation and belief in me. Secondly, I urge every reader to inspire someone to pick up the habit of reading books. We are somehow getting more inclined towards mobile phones, and somewhere, I feel, the habit of reading books is not growing in our country. It is concerning for everyone associated with books. Hence, it is my sincere request to everyone, who reads, to inspire someone to start reading. Books make us a better and more knowledgeable person.
10. Which genres do you enjoy reading the most? Which you don’t enjoy at all?
RS: I love thrillers. The genre which I don’t like is college-based, chiclit romances.
11. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
RS: A book can change someone’s life or his or her attitude towards something. A book can inspire or motivate someone too. After becoming a writer, from the reviews I received, I felt good to know that my books have somehow spread positive messages among my readers. I never thought, before becoming a writer myself, that my own work can bring a change in someone’s life, or can inspire someone in some way. So, it was quite surprising for me. But, in a positive way.
12. What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
RS: Marketing and promotion are important aspects of every business, and it includes the publishing industry too. Hundreds of books are releasing every month, and to stand out you need to reach out to readers and promote yourself. I believe in both online and offline marketing. Social media platforms are a great way to stay connected with readers. I also attend book fairs, where I meet a lot of genuine readers. Though I don’t get much time because of my job, I try to promote my work as much as I can.
Yes, honestly, sometimes I feel it is a distraction too. Promotions involve money and time. There are many good writers who are not financially strong, and they can’t invest too much in promotions, and thus readers don’t know about them. But those days are gone when books used to sell without any promotion and marketing. Even if you don’t like it or can’t afford it, you have to do something to promote your book. It has become a necessity.
13. What projects are you working on at the present? When can we expect a new fiction/non- fiction book from you?
RS: I work on one project at a time. I have to do a lot of research work before starting any book, and it takes a lot of time. Right now, I have some concepts in my mind, but I have not finalized anything. I am a bit slow in finalizing a concept. I don’t plan to release a book every year. I take my own time. So, you can expect my next book to release probably in 2022.
14. What do your plans for future projects include? Any plans for a motion picture/web series based on your book(s)
RS: I always imagine my stories in the form of a movie or a web-series, and it helps my readers to visualize them. It is my dream to write for a web series or a movie. I did get an offer to shift to Mumbai, to work for a leading production house. But due to some personal reasons, I could not accept their offer. A few production houses have shown interest in a couple of my books, but nothing has been finalized till yet. Let’s hope for the best.
15. How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
RS: I personally love paperbacks. I love the smell of the pages, and I love to hold the physical book in my hands. But, I feel, eBooks are important too. It helps us to connect with the global audience. Hence, both formats of books are equally important to me.
Similarly, both alternative and conventional publishing gives authors a chance to publish their books. It is impossible for publishers to publish every manuscript. I have been lucky that all my books were traditionally published. But there are a lot of talented writers, who, for some reason, choose to go an alternative way. Alternative publishing is quick, as you don’t need to prepare manuscript proposals and you don’t need to wait endlessly for publishers’ replies. Moreover, alternative publishing gives everyone an opportunity to become a writer. But I always suggest budding writers stay patient and try for conventional publishing first.
16. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
RS: Sidney Sheldon and Nicholas Sparks have inspired me a lot, and I have mixed their genres to write Romantic-Thrillers. I love the way they write each scene in detail. I have learned the art of detailing from them, and I am still learning. Readers often say to me that they can visualize my books like a movie. Credit goes to Sidney Sheldon and Nicholas Sparks.
17. In your opinion, what is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, which they need to know?
RS: As said earlier, and I honestly feel that the Romance genre is somewhat misinterpreted in our country. Romance, for me, is a wide and beautiful genre, and it is not just limited to college romances.
18. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
RS: My goal was to write a completely different book from my last one. Fingerprint! Publishing House approached me in 2018 and they asked me to work on a non-thriller genre. I was nervous as it was, and probably still is, not my comfort zone. But I took it is a challenge.
The intention behind ‘Our Love Story’ was to write a matured, feel-good, positive story about life and relationships. I wanted to add elements of inspiration and motivation while keeping the essence of romance alive. Before the release of the book, I was dead with nervousness. But after the initial reviews, I am feeling a lot better.
19. What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was the least useful or most destructive?
RS: Writing is cathartic for me. It relaxes my mind, and it sometimes helps me to vent out my own feelings. I think books have the power to change the mindset of people, in a good way. And I am trying to spread some positive messages from my work. I don’t think there is anything destructive about writing books.
This interview first appeared in Storizen Magazine February 2020 Issue