Know your Author

–A pilot who turns
writer with her first book!

Manjeet Hirani is a senior commander and a trainer with Air India. She is an avid traveller, love reading and has an adventurous streak. “My motto in life is to be a constant seeker and explore life…it has a lot to offer,” she says. Her first book How to be Human: Life lessons from Buddy Hirani has already become a talk of the town. Here’s more from this budding author.

Journey as a writer…

“I am not a born writer. In fact I had no interest in any creative activities during my childhood. The only subjects which interested me were Maths and Physics. After my graduation, I joined Indian Airlines as an Airhostess and after few months, realised it wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted something more challenging. After two years, I went to USA for my commercial pilot’s licence and joined back Indian Airlines as a pilot. I have been flying since 24 years as a commander and a trainer now. I started writing blogs two years back, talking about my experiences of life. I love philosophy and fast shipping viagra tend to philosophise everything around me, whether it’s life, emotions, destiny, flying and even food. I have a great urge to talk about my inner instincts and keep giving unsolicited advice and sermons to people. I have a natural flair for counselling people and have quite a following,” tells Manjeet as a matter of fact.

“I was very fascinated by my dog, Buddy and would capture his shenanigans by writing about him. I posted three posts on my blog and wrote ten and brand levitra 20mg kept them aside, thinking I would post one per week. Being a pilot, I travel a lot to different places and sometimes we get some time on ground. Once I was wandering in WH Smith book store at Delhi airport and asked Rajmal Sharma, a salesman at the store, if he knew any publishers as I have written a book on my dog. He happily gave me numbers of a few publishers. I called up Penguin and spoke to them about the idea of my book and sent them the link to my blogs. Next morning, I got a call from them, asking me to write twenty chapters on it and here we are. The book is about my dog Buddy and it’s called, How to be Human….Life Lessons from Buddy Hirani. Every chapter takes inspiration from Buddy and what he teaches me about life. So I guess, there was a writer deep inside me and Buddy dug it out. A big hug to Buddy,” she adds.

Experience with publisher…

“I was very lucky and fortunate to get the best publishers in the country. Penguin Random House has been very cooperative and supportive. My editor Radhika Marwah pushed me to the brink and got the best out of me. It was a great learning experience,” tells Manjeet.

Target audience for the book…

“The target audience for this book would be anyone from 14 years and upwards. Anyone can relate to this book. The dog and pet owners can relate to this book very easily and people who don’t own pets and dogs also will enjoy the book and relate to the life lessons given by Buddy Hirani. They are on a wide variety of subjects and derive straight from nature. We humans don’t live by the laws of nature and have constructed a lot of dos and don’ts. Our lives are constrained by dogmas and rules made by the society. We as humans are very complex and complicated creatures. We don’t live an honest life and manipulate our words and ways to please others. It’s a very transparent book and an easy read and I hope many people will relate to it,” tells Manjeet.

Aim as a writer…

“So far, whatever I have written is purely from my experiences and observations. My aim is to go deep down to my emotions and of others, understand and explain what happens inside and our thought process. It’s nice to share my insights with others as everyone goes through similar thoughts and emotions but might be unable to articulate them. I am a non-fictional writer, therefore there isn’t much imagination. For me what I write is taken from what I see and feel. I surely like to capture as much as I can and once again, I have a natural flair for observations, which I share through my writing,” she says.

Experience as a writer…

“This is my first book. Before this I could have never imagined that I could write a book or even a decent essay. So the first thing for writing a book, you need an idea, a story line or a theme. You can start with putting together the structure first so that you know the content and how many chapters you’ll have. It gives you a rough idea of words or pages to be written. If you have this, it makes your job a little simpler. But the story and content should be clear in your head. For me, it’s very difficult to write fiction as I cannot make up stories. If I have not felt or experienced something, I am unable to put it on paper or in words. But at the same time, for another person, it could come very easily. So, story telling and writing is a different experience for each person. Just write what you are good at,” suggests Manjeet.

Advice to aspiring writers…

“To be able to write one needs a lot of content. And content comes by reading a lot, your own life experiences, observations from life and things around you or your imagination. Nurture all these qualities. A Japanese film maker Kurosawa said about writing scripts,write, write, write till you get it right. So that applies for writing books too. Regarding publishing the books, if you have a unique idea, every publishing house will want to happily publish your book,” she shares.

Views on reading for pleasure…

“Today, people have umpteen choices. All we need is one smartphone on which we can chat, surf the net, watch videos, watch films and even read a book. You have it all. I have tried all of this. But there is nothing like reading a book. The pleasure of holding a book in your hand, underlining the lines we like, reading and re-reading, sleeping with it, keeping a book-mark is pure romance, which no phone, computer, tablet or even kindle can give. While reading a book, you imagine the characters and situations in the book, but when you watch a film, you are watching some one else’s imagination. It’s very important to inculcate the habit of reading in your self and in children. Books are your friend, companion, guide and philosopher to you and it will transport you to a different world,” says Manjeet.

The writer’s plans ahead…

“My journey as an author has just begun. A lot of ideas are brewing in my head. I have already written my first draft of the journey of flights and drawn analogies between flying and the journey of life. I also want to write short stories of ants, insects, birds, animals and other creatures, how they affect us and are part of our lives. And a lot more ideas," tells Manjeet.

“Reading, writing, conversations, watching inspirational and motivational videos change our perspective towards life. One should be open minded and not be stuck with fixed ideas and thoughts. The more we do all these things, the better will be our understanding of ourself and of the world around,” concludes Manjeet.

-From an aspiring author to a traditionally published author, to a self published author.

Sudesna Ghosh or Sue is an author and freelance editor based in Kolkata. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester (USA) and you can find her with her nose in a book, or writing a book, or trying to make her cats happy. Her latest book was released recenlty – A Perfect New York Christmas.

Writer…right from childhood

“My love for writing started in elementary school in the United States when the teachers encouraged us to write short stories and share them with the class. In fact, after a few sessions, my teacher told my mother that everyone waits eagerly to hear me read out my stories. I also owe my love for reading and creating books – pretty much living in books – to my bookworm mother. She always took me to the library and that got me into reading and dreaming about having my own name on a book cover someday,” shares Sudesna.

Life as an author…

“I started my professional writing career as a short story writer during my stint at The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata. I was writing short stories for the children’s supplement there. I don’t like the idea of growing up even at this age, so it came to me naturally,” she adds.

“My first book came as a surprise when Harlequin came to India. It was called What Would I Tell Her @ 13 – a parenting book for parents with teen daughters. I had a great experience doing research for the book because I studied psychology in college and adolescent psychology was my favourite course. It was also fun speaking to prominent women from various fields for interviews about their teens.My second book was also nonfiction; News Now. The book was also commissioned by Harlequin and targeted aspiring TV journalists,” tells Sue about her early books.

The twist…

“In 2017, I decided to attempt self publishing. I published 5 ebooks using the Amazon Kindle Publishing platform. The first was a young adult novella about a girl dealing with negative body image and body shaming at school. The second was a small collection of short stories for cat lovers (I am a cat lady.) And then came a fun romance novella, a middle grade children’s book about a cheesecake thief and two sisters, and finally, a short and sweet Christmas romance,” she adds.

“As a multi-genre author who has grown from an aspiring author to a traditionally published author, to a self published author, I can say that I have learnt a lot about the publishing world. In the beginning, I put so much stress on the writing process and ignored the importance of marketing. Book promotion techniques are something that I am still learning. The indie publishing community is very supportive, so we are learning together as we go along,” she adds.

Why self-publish?

“I plan to continue taking the self publishing route because I like being able to produce multiple books every year and having complete control over the publishing process. Traditional publishers can rarely publish more than one book a year and even the approval/rejection time is a painful wait. Moreover, self-publishing lets the readers decide how your book will do – doesn’t matter if you are a celebrity or not,” she shares as a matter of fact.

Favourite genre…

“The romance genre is my current favourite. It is a misconception that only women and girls read romance books. I have male readers as well and people of all ages,” she laughs.

Aim as a writer…

“First and foremost, I write for myself. I write whatever comes from the heart at the time. My thoughts and dreams become a story on the page. And then I can hope that some people will identify with them because we humans do have a lot in common when it comes to the basic needs and wants of life,” tells Sue.

So, what’s the hardest part of writing? “I find starting the hardest part because I procrastinate and procrastinate. But once I start, it gets easier and easier. Some author friends say editing is the harder part because they have to cut out large chunks, I haven’t faced that yet,” she replies.

Advice to aspiring writers…

“Read a lot,even outside your genre. That helps you pick up useful pointers about the craft. Don’t hurry to get published. Make sure you and at least a couple of beta readers like what you’ve written,” she says.

What next ?

“Book 8 will be another romance book. The last two were set in Singapore and New York – international romances. This one will be set in my hometown of Kolkata. So I’m excited,” concludes Sue.

Published by Hachette and written by Geetanjali Pandit, the book Buddha at Work is not just another self-help book. Here, Geetanjali shares the purpose of penning down this book and how can people benefit from the same. Told in a series of conversations with Gautam, and interspersed with tales from the Buddha's life - along with real-life stories from people who’ve faced challenging situations in their jobs - Buddha At Work offers invaluable insight that will guide you through the challenges of the modern-day workplace. She is an alumnus of XLRI. Geetanjali also studied towards a Masters at Lesley University, Cambridge (MA). And while in America, she got the opportunity to work with the late Prof. John Kenneth Galbraith. Her career in Human Resources spans over twenty-two years, during which time she has been the CHRO for the India Today Group and the CPO for Zee Media Corporation Limited. At EIH Limited, Geetanjali played a global role in employer branding and in hospitality HR practices. An articulate speaker and an incisive thinker, she has written two books on career management and several articles in the Economic Times, the Financial Express and DNA. Currently she has forayed into skill-building and is a board member for a large organization. She credits her success to the application of Buddhist principles at the workplace.

Here, Geetanjali shares more about her book and more. Excerpts.

AABP: What was the inspiration behind your book – Buddha at work?

Geetanjali PanditGeetanjali: My inspiration stemmed from a difficult period in my life when I found (or maybe it found me!) the practice of Buddhism (specifically Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism) in the year 2000. I'd been struggling with the helplessness of continued unemployment and some other personal issues, but the principles of Buddhism made it clear to me that from the utter shambles of life and profession, new beginnings can emerge. All you need is the right view, the right perception and the right effort. A transformation is possible with the right attitude. And hope returned to my life. Soon afterwards, I got my first professional breakthrough with a wonderful consulting firm and there really has been no looking back since then.

Plus, my years of experience as a Human Resource professional had given me a window into all the pains, challenges and frustrations that plague people at work. From my own vantage point, I started to understand that a vast majority suffer through work their entire life. Oh sure, an increment, a job change, a foreign visit, a promotion, or a bonus brings some happiness. But since these are occasional episodes in the ‘general drama of pain,’ the story of suffering continues and does not necessarily find a happy ending.

My second observation was that though everyone had a job, they were, almost always, looking out for the next opportunity to give them something more…something that would make them happy…something else that would be professionally more satisfying. Always something else and, of course, somewhere else. Even those who didn't have a job believe that finding the 'right' job will bring an end to their saga of difficulties. But since no job or organization is perfect, the honeymoon period comes to an end pretty fast.

And yet, I saw and realized that some rare people were happy, and had a fair degree of satisfaction, a great degree of success. Which got me wondering, what sets them apart from the suffering majority?

Most of this minority had optimism and resilience and the right way of looking at people, situations, money, targets and problems. A profound wisdom, if you will. This healthy, happy minority was using principles, consciously or unconsciously, that I had learnt in my study and understanding of Buddhism, principles that had enabled me to make a successful comeback to the corporate sector and a connect with a purpose beyond the drudgery of employment. Many of this minority had a sense of enjoyment of what they were doing professionally.

So the inspiration for Buddha At Work was really my desire to reach out and share this wisdom of the minority - what I've learnt, experienced and, later on, researched. I wish to enable people to find purpose, balance and happiness at their place of work.

AABP: Tell us something more about this book?

Geetanjali: Buddha At Work is not just another 'self-help' book. It's written in a series of conversations with a fictional character called 'Gautam' and is, to an extent, autobiographical. It has some true events from my professional life. It's also interspersed with incidents from the Buddha's life which illustrate what I talk about in each chapter. There are also some real-life people who play a part in the book whom I've interviewed, and their anecdotes are also woven into the narrative as examples of what the right attitude and perception can achieve.

Buddha At Work also has simple exercises, tips and techniques that will help you get the most out of this book. These exercises are about building positivity, coming up with the strength to deal with every workday problem, remaining motivated, stress-proofing at work, and finding your true purpose at the workplace.

AABP: Who are your target audience?

Geetanjali: From a marketing point of view, knowing one’s target group, or audience, is really important. But from a writer’s point of view, this becomes somewhat tricky. I want to think that Buddha At Work has quite a broad appeal which makes the task of figuring out the target audience more difficult. I have received feedback all the way from homemakers to management students about the book.

The corporate sector is definitely a key audience, but the book is for anyone who is (or has at any point of time) grappling with their job search, dealing with difficult people at the workplace, struggling to meet a target and feeling stressed and dissatisfied. The place of work can be a school, a salon, a science lab, a factory shop floor, NASA, or anywhere else in the world, but there really is no escaping the people factor at your workplace. And there is no escaping one’s own self. So the things I talk about in Buddha At Work are, in that sense, universal.

AABP: Share your experience with your publisher.

Geetanjali: I am so grateful and so fortunate that I have friends in the publishing world, friends who have encouraged me to write when neither of us knew if I had a book in me or not. I am so fortunate that I chose Hachette India as my publisher. They have a phenomenal team. The efforts of Team Hachette have been integral to my writing of Buddha At Work. And hopefully many more to come!

AABP: Describe your journey as an author and what are your future plans?

Geetanjali: I have been very fortunate in that I've never encountered any problems in getting published. I had offers based on my book proposal as far back as 2011. In fact, I completed my first manuscript in 2012. But it didn’t read right to me. My editor kept telling me to think it through and make it more anecdotal, friendlier and less 'preachy.'

Most authors talk about the writer's block. But in my case, the darned block just came and punched me out. I went into a shell and even refused to take my editor’s calls. I felt a sense of helplessness because for the first time ever I was simply not being able to communicate the way I wanted to. This frozen state remained in place for several years, if you can believe it...not just a day or two…not just a month…years.

While I had almost given up on completing or rewriting the book, I decided to give it one last shot. To give myself a tangible starting point, and to not get stressed, I started reading about the Shakyamuni's (Gautama Buddha) life. I picked up various books and began making notes, rather desultorily, I must add. This started in October 2015.

One night, in February 2016, I was brushing my teeth, equally desultorily, when my Eureka moment happened. I suddenly knew what I had to do and how I had to write. I started writing the next morning and was able to complete the first draft and give it over to my editors in the next few months.

But, I must say, after that long process, the phenomenal response that I am getting from readers is so very encouraging. I am buzzing with ideas and thoughts. The block is long gone and I am looking forward to writing and publishing more.

AABP: As a writer, what do you aim to achieve when you start writing?

Geetanjali: As a writer, my starting point is somewhat selfish: I write because I really enjoy writing and it helps me to express myself, plan better, counsel myself, learn, and simply understand a situation or a problem. My writing is influenced by the fact that I am addicted to reading, particularly fiction. I want my readers to enter a different world when they read my book, experience what my characters are experiencing and find it (hopefully!) hard to put the book down.

But after that selfish reason, I write to share. To share with other people a thought, a point of view, an exercise or a technique that has helped me and perhaps may help others. As someone who has worked really hard to internalize Buddhist practice, I am motivated by a deep desire to help myself and others. So if I have some solutions, a few answers and can find many more from other’s lives, I would like to share it in a larger circle and help others facing the same or similar struggle.

It's how the narrator of my book, GP (actually me), asks Gautam in the first chapter of Buddha At Work (very sceptically, I might add): 'So how will you help me? And what do you want in return?'

And Gautam responds, 'I want you to help others, in turn, when you can.'

AABP: In your opinion, what is the hardest part of writing a book? Why?

Geetanjali: For me, writing is a totally voluntary activity. Like all voluntary activity, it is very tough to stay on course and write with discipline. Writing is a demanding mistress and expects discipline of the body, and the mind.

That discipline also means choosing the right words, the right expression, over others. As a writer, I cannot be so wedded to my own words that I fail to choose better ones. For instance, most people are somewhat shocked to learn that I set aside a near-complete manuscript and started writing again from scratch, something totally different. I did not borrow a word, an expression or a thought from my previous work.

It was hard to do this. It is harder still to discipline the mind and body and finish a piece of work that may or may not be published. That may or may not be accepted. That may or may not be liked. That may or may not be lucrative.

The other most difficult thing is to keep motivated and energized through the process. We all have great starts – filled with energy, positivity, motivation and the purposefulness of it all. Being off to a great start is good, but ending well is the challenge. Seeing things through is tough.

AABP: What writing/publishing advice do you give to aspiring writers of any age?

Geetanjali: In Buddha at Work, Gautam says to me, 'Don’t let people discourage you in any way. You must work and live in a way that keeps you true to yourself. Carry on doing good work.'

The struggle of writing, of expressing yourself, is like of a good workout. Your muscles may be fatigued but the rest of you feels great. Write what you would enjoy reading. And be persistent in both writing and getting your manuscript published.

AABP: We live in a time when young people have numerous choices. What would you like to say to people who may be hesitant about reading a book for self-help?

Geetanjali: I have been the eternal maverick (or is it rebel?), with a great desire to find solutions to the many problems in the different stages of my life. My finest lessons have come either from my mistakes (and their consequences), or from books. Books talk a language that I can understand and accept. Books don’t judge me in any way. Books are not critical about the choices I have made. Books simply advise. It’s up to me to accept the advice or not. There is no pressure. I have truly been able to transform so many personal and professional problems of my life simply by learning through reading.

So I would tell the people who are hesitant, give this book a chance. Books have helped me before. You never know, they might help you too!

AABP: What next can the readers expect from you?

Geetanjali: I will continue on my journey and learn and experiment. I would like to reach out to more people and share what I find interesting and useful in a way that is also interesting and useful to others.

And the prolific pen of Anglo-Indian bestselling romance novelist Nicola Marsh to churn out excellent romantic novels, finds out Rudy Otter. Nicola Marsh's home in Australia is a thriving one-woman writing factory. During the past 13 years this Melbourne-based mother of two sons has managed to devote around eight hours a day to creating her sizzling brand of romantic fiction. Nicola's eye-catching titles include Wild Nights with her Wicked Boss, A Trip with the Tycoon, Overtime in the Boss’s Bed, Hot Summer Flings, Interview with the Daredevil and many more.

Nicola Marsh, Anglo-Indian bestselling romance novelistSo far, she has produced a shelf-creaking 63 novels mainly for the world famous romance publisher Harlequin Mills & Boon. She aims to write 100 novels and looks poised to write many more at the rate she is tapping them out. Her work is described by reviewers as "flirty fiction with flair". Awards she has won over the year would fill a mantelpiece - National Readers’ Choice, Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers’ Choice finalist, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice, to name a few. Nicola’s first Indie romance, Crazy Love, was a 2012 ARRA (Australia Romance Readers Award) finalist, and another book, Busted in Bollywood, was nominated in the same year as Romantic Book of the Year.

More than seven million copies of her books have been snapped up all over the globe, translated into 25 languages, including Spanish, Italian, French (of course), Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, German, Japanese, Scandinavian, Hebrew and Afrikaans. Her idol is the famous romance novelist Nora Roberts, American bestselling author of more than 200 romances.

Journey as an author…

Nicola, a former physiotherapist for 13 years, tired of saying she was going to write a book one day and actually did it. When that book sold, she traded "manipulating spines for manipulating my characters!"

She was born in Chennai, southern India, and her family migrated to Australia when she was just two months old. "Dad," she says, "was a drummer in India for a film studio band that played background music for the movies." She adds that her parents, formerly based in Chennai’s Kilpauk district, were too young to remember the "British Raj days" as they were born around the time India had won its Independence. They settled down well in Australia and embraced their new country "wholeheartedly."

As a youngster, Nicola had a passion for reading and writing. She devoured books when she "should have been sleeping" and kept a diary whose contents "could make an epic". (Who knows, one day we might see a novel entitled "Diary of a Teenage Scribbler".)

Nicola has an elegant, economical style that paints vivid word pictures, pulling readers into her sizzling stories and keeping them turning the pages. An early sign of her interest in the arts surfaced when, as a youngster, she wrote and acted with a friend in “Abba” and “Grease” concerts for an appreciative audience of seven which consisted of parents and siblings.

She said, "I always wanted to write a book one day and as I liked reading romance this seemed just the right genre for me to try." She set two of her books in India - A Trip with the Tycoon featuring characters who take a trip on the Palace on Wheels luxury train through Rajasthan; and a mainstream romantic comedy, Busted in Bollywood.

It took her just two months to write her first romance entitled The Tycoon's Dating Deal. The story was based on a then new phenomenon called speed-dating featuring a Sydney-based lawyer having a pal pose as his girl friend. Intriguing? It must have been because Harlequin Mills & Boon's London UK office accepted it "very quickly".

She welcomes Harlequin Mills & Boon's new office in India and thinks it is a "great opportunity for local writers to break into the romance market, and "several have already". She added, "The more opportunities for writers to get published in India, the better."

Tips for budding author…

Before she started on the novel she had joined the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild because she knew nothing about the "nitty-gritty details of writing" such as requesting submission guidelines from publishers and producing partial samples of her work with synopses. "Joining a good writing club can be extremely beneficial for budding writers and these days there are also online writing groups and professional development courses so there's a wealth of information available," she told.

She added, "Writing courses can hone your creative talent but the best way to foster a writer's voice is to write, write and write some more. And read widely in the genre you're targeting." She has also produced a how-to writing manual, "Do It Write", comprising articles she'd penned for creative writing magazines. This manual is available online from all retailers.

Nicola brainstorms ideas on paper and then switches to her computer, her elegant fingers darting all over the keyboard in an effort to keep up with her fizzing ideas.

Home support…

Nicola's husband, a plumber, is "totally supportive" of her time-consuming work at the computer, although she does not withdraw from family life completely and often feels she deserves a Wonder Woman's "superhero cape!"

Both her kids are "voracious readers" which she strongly encourages and they write “great creative stories that make me very proud”.

On a lighter note…

Although Nicola is best known for flourishing in the romance market there is probably an opening for her in the thriller market as well. When I asked her age, she quipped, "If I tell you I'd have to kill you!"

When a book touches a reader’s heart, it is a bestseller, not in numbers (maybe) but in its purpose. Two beautiful heart-touching novels – The Red Butterfly and Saanvri were recently launched and Varsha Verma had a chance to meet the authors of these novels – both well-known names from different industries altogether. Excerpts. Avinash Pushkarna, author of The Red Butterfly

Avinash PushkarnaWith his graduation in Zoology (Honours) and later a degree in Law from Delhi University, Avinash Pushkarna joined the State Bank of India as a Probationary Officer in 1983. But his passion to be a Civil Servant made him join the Government of India in 1986. He has put in around thirty years of active service and is presently serving as an Additional Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax. He has received World Customs Organisation’s Certificate of Merit for his distinguished service. A passionate and voracious reader, Avinash aspires to be an author of repute. Published by Niyogi Books, My Red Butterfly is his debut novel.

My Red Butterfly is a modest yet sublime tale of unparalleled love and romance. It could be of any one of us; of requited or unrequited love; successful or torn apart. Set during the late seventies and early eighties, it takes you across many states in India and the ups and downs of the protagonist’s journey of life and the people who influence him and shape his life. It’s a story of hope, aspirations deep filial bonds and unadulterated chords of friendship.

On asking about how he came up with the plot of the novel, Avinash replied that he had the ready template of the novel long time back. “I always had the ability to comprehend the emotions of people and romantic stories always appealed to me. So, I always knew that whenever I start writing, it would be a romantic novel,” he shared.

“It’s a story to relive and remember, set in the decade when love was not alloyed with materialism and practicalities and when relationships were not tortuous, but were straight and heartfelt. It’s a story that will touch the inner chords of your heart. There are values, bonding, love, friendship, romance – its sure going to touch the reader’s heart,” he added.

Being such a busy person himself, it would have been difficult to write? “I took five years to write the novel. I really enjoyed giving shape to the idea of my novel; the whole process was so creative. It took one-and-a-half years for the editing and I am happy with the way it has shaped. I do not want to be a run of the mill author; rather I want to be an author of repute. My Red Butterfly is the result of my seven years of toil of passion. Being a totally Indian story, I believe that it will touch many a hearts and will also appeal to the connoisseurs of literature,” added Avinash, who is now busy working on his next novel, which he feel might be a sequel to this.

Vinod Pande, author of Saanvri: The Story of Concubine

Vinod Pande has walked many a path: a civil servant with the British Government, a broadcaster with the BBC, the maker of several documentaries and ad-films, he helmed one of the popular TV networks launched during the late nineties and ran his own advertising agency in London. After his foray into Bollywood, he was a member of the jury for important award ceremonies and chaired the selection committees of the Indian entry for the Oscar Awards on two occasions. He is, however, most well known as the producer, writer and director of the Hindi film Ek Baar Phir; other notable ones like Yeh Nazdeekiyan and Sins; and acclaimed TV serials Air Hostess and Reporter. He lives and works as a filmmaker and author in Mumbai. After Don’s Wife, a story on forbidden love, born in the crucible of crime, Saanvri: The Story of Concubine (published by Niyogi Books) is his second novel.

Saanvri’s tale is about decadence in high palaces of power; the story of a woman who learns to use the wanton carnality in men in a society that uses and abuses her. It is also about the three most important people in her life, all of who use her with impunity. As Vinod shares, the characters are inspired by real-life incidents. “Interestingly, I started working on Saanvri as a film script as one of my friends wanted to make a film on the subject. Unfortunately, the project was shelved and the script lay with me for quite some time. Later, I reworked on the script and presented it in the form of a novel,” he said.

On asking how Vinod feels as an author, he replied that he has reinvented himself in the form of an author. “This gives me more freedom to express my thoughts and I am completely enjoying it. I wish to bring out more books in future and continue writing,” he said.