Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I used to be a journalist and am now an author.
I started my writing career with the newspaper Deccan Herald, Bangalore, India, and later worked for major national newspapers like The Times of India, Sunday Express and The Telegraph. I also worked full-time for the Economic Times and Business Today magazine and as a stringer for A&M magazine and the Kolkata newspaper, The Telegraph. I have also written for The International Indian, a Dubai based magazine.
I wrote on a wide variety of topics ranging from Health and Lifestyle to Crime, Education and Business. I also wrote short stories.
I wrote a very successful blog (nitawriter.wordpress.com) called “A Wide Angle View of India” for several years, with thousands of page views per day. I stopped writing on it some years ago, but have now decided to concentrate on building up my personal website.
The Educational Department of H. Aschehoug & Co-publishing house in Oslo, bought a story of mine titled A Real Lady, to publish in a textbook and related digital components called Global Visions for use in the foreign language subject. (International English in Upper Secondary schools in Norway.)
My debut novel titled “The Hawa Mahal Murders” was launched on the 20th of September 2019 at PILF (Pune International Literary Festival) by Javed Akhtar, the famous lyricist. It was a contest winner at the PILF.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My crime thriller is titled “The Hawa Mahal Murders” and I started writing it while living in a building in Mumbai. The building was out of place in the plush neighbourhood and that set my creative juices flowing. Despite this, it’s difficult to say that the place inspired me. I have always wanted to write a novel and have always been a writer of stories and novellas. I keep writing all the time and this one just worked out into a full-length novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write all the time, as soon as I get up and any time in-between, to the detriment of other activities like sleeping, eating, housekeeping, socialising and exercising! Not that I don’t do latter. Just that my mind is not on it that much.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Very difficult to say. I read thrillers and cosy mysteries, non-fiction and biographies as well as classics, Sci-Fi and literary novels. But if it’s authors whom I admire I guess it’s Stephen King, Kiran Nagarkar and Margaret Atwood, at the moment. But next year the list might be different. There used to be a time when I was obsessed with Minette Walters and Asimov.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a sequel to my current novel. A thread of the sub-plot in The Hawa Mahal Murders was left open and this is explored in the sequel.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I am not so good at promotion. I recently started an Instagram account and have hardly any followers. I have a facebook author page which is not so bad. My personal website is new. I have twitter but always forget the hashtags! Hopefully, I will get better at it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
It’s important to attend literary festivals and connect with editors and other authors. Join writing groups and book clubs. It’s important to write short stories and enter competitions. I didn’t do any of this stuff but now I have learnt the hard away. The truth is that getting attention from an agent or a publisher is very difficult if you are a nobody.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write as if your life depends on it.
What are you reading now?
I am reading the book “Story” by Robert Mckee.
What’s next for you as a writer?
After I finish writing a sequel to “The Hawa Mahal Murders” I plan to write a book on hand reading. I am a hand-reader as well as a writer.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy and Emotional Resilience by David Viscott.