04 December, 2014

#Interview & #Giveaway :: Jyoti Arora, #Author of The Lemon Girl

Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc.
Jyoti started her professional life as an English tutor. After that, she worked for several years as a freelance writer and content developer. Her work as a freelance writer ranged from beginning level books for kids to re-writing Bollywood based non-fiction and spiritual non-fiction. During her years as a freelance writer, she was engaged with two publishers on long-term projects to abridge English classics. In all, she has abridged more than 30 books.
Jyoti feels that working with English classics has influenced her own writing too. In fact, some reviewers of her first novel also noted the impact of English classics in her tone of writing and mastery of language.
Jyoti's first novel, Dream's Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.
She chose to self publish her second novel Lemon Girl as the theme of the book gave her an urgency to see the book published as soon as possible. And also, the advancing reach of the ebooks and retail websites gave her the confidence to take this bold step.
Besides, Jyoti loves technology and couldn't help but try out this new road of publishing where writers were intended to use wheels of technology to propel themselves forward.

An Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have always loved books. And I was good in creative writing even when at school. But it was definitely while pursuing my graduation degree, B.A. English Hons., that the dream of becoming a novelist took seat in my heart. Before that, I never gave any thought to the craft of writing. But as I studied it, I understood how much thought, skill and hard work went into the books that were being read and loved even after so many years. I too started feeling the desire to write something that people would love to read. That desire became a confirmed decision by the time I ended my B.A and enrolled to study more literature for my Post Graduation course. After completing M.A. English, and while I pursued M.A. Applied Psychology, I started training myself as a writer and had several of my articles published in magazines like Women’s Era, Alive etc.

What inspires you to write?
My love for books. My faith that I can write well. And also my dream to become famous and an author that’s loved by readers all over the world. Big dream, I know, with many odds piled up against it. But I still love this dream. It gives me something to look forward to, something to aspire up to and to strive on with my endeavors. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The basic idea for Lemon Girl was there in my mind since past several years. I think it came from a personal experience shared by someone on internet. But more recently, the events and happenings in India gave strength to this idea. The issue of girls and women being abused and then being blamed for their own injuries started being talked about everywhere. Widespread protests were held too in India. I could not join in those protests. So I decided to raise my voice through my writing. That’s what finally gave rise to Lemon Girl.
However, even though the book is about a serious social issue, I have tried my best not to make it too poignant. My first novel, Dream’s Sake, was a tragedy. And many readers wrote to me saying that it made them cry. I did not want to do the same thing with my second novel. I wanted Lemon Girl to be a positive book. And so, I decided to give the book two different narrators, using them to alternate between lighter and darker shades of the story. 

The Lemon Girl handles some very common issues of the society. How do you think we should handle situations where the victims are being victimized? 
This issue cannot be tackled by just strong laws. Of course, strong laws and policies are important, and they must be put in place and implemented as strictly as possible without any delay. But what we need even more is a change in the mindset of the people. Not just of men but also women. 
I recently came across a video that showed how boys are made to learn from very young age that boys don’t cry. And it gets ingrained in their psyche. Similarly, the idea of respecting women and their rights and liberties also need to be ingrained in the minds of kids from childhood. 
I also feel that such crimes are on the rise because virtues like patience, self control, self denial and sympathy for others are on the decline. Development in technology and betterment in our buying power is making us habitual of attaining instant-gratification and getting whatever we desire, in any way possible. And that means decline in the power of self control and self denial and less patience. 
These effects can only be controlled by a more careful upbringing of children. Sadly, modern life is also robbing parents of the time to do so. I fondly remember the stories that my parents used to tell me when I was a kid. Stories that entertained and also taught and helped build the characters of kids. But now parents have no time to tell stories, and kids would rather watch TV, play video games or surf the net.
All this is causing the cultural decline. The poor upbringing of kids and bad influencers. Not the shortening of the length of a girl’s skirt. And the best solution for it is to inculcate better moral values in our children. And do it when they are still young. Make them grow up to be better human beings. Bad human beings cannot make for a healthy culture, no matter what glory there might have been in their heritage.

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, there are a couple of half written books, including a children’s’ fantasy. I might get back to this book some day. I love writing for kids. In fact, most of my freelance writing experience was in developing books for kids on ‘For Hire’ basis. Mostly I abridged English classics to make them suitable for kids. But I also wrote some original books and collections of short stories for a publishing house. I also wrote a YA novel for them. Unfortunately, that company suspended its publishing business to concentrate on some other projects. So those books haven’t been published yet. 

Tell us about your writing process.
Ah, I don’t know if I follow any process. At best, I create a rough plot by deciding the main points of the story and how many chapters I want from point to point. But I haven’t yet been able to keep within those pre-set limits. The only thing about my writing process that I can say for sure is that I get my best ideas when I’m least trying to get them. And I write my best at night when all is quiet. And that I am a firm believer in the maxim that all good writing is re-writing. I take almost as much time in revising the book as I take in completing it.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
This is too difficult for me to answer. :)

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
When I finished my first novel Dream’s Sake, I felt that most of the characters had bits and pieces of my own personality. But I don’t feel that for the characters of Lemon Girl, except that the hero loves Smartphones and starts a tech blog. That’s like me. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
The only ‘quirk’ I can think of is that I’m no longer used to writing. I can only type! When I try to use a pen on paper, my hands tremble and I find myself wondering about even the easiest of spellings sometimes.

What is your usual writing routine?
I write best at night. However, it really depends upon the flow of the ideas. If an idea thrills me, I can ignore all other distractions and spend time writing. If I’m having difficulty getting a good idea, I can waste away a whole day surfing the web. And if I start reading a book in the meanwhile, then God help me! The writing has to wait till I’m done with the reading.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I suppose it is already pretty clear that I love reading. In fact, books so fascinated me from early childhood that I learnt reading even before I started going to school, just by watching my elder sister read aloud from her course books.
And whatever linguistic or writing ability I have today, it is all because of the books I have read. Due to my medical problems (I have Thalassemia Major) I was forced to quit school after class seventh. After that, I never had the opportunity to learn from a teacher. The only teachers that blessed me with learning were the books I read. And if today, I am any good at writing it is all because I have had the opportunity to read many beautiful books. Not only read, as a freelance writer I also had the opportunity to abridge 24 celebrated classics like Jane Eyre, Huckleberry Finn. And nobody can read such great literature without being influenced by them. In fact, some reviews of my first novel Dream’s Sake actually noted the influence of classics on my tone of writing.
As for my favourite authors, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte come first to mind. Jane Austen’s books are actually my ‘comfort reads.’ Whenever I feel gloomy, a dose of Pride and Prejudice can always make me feel better. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Write, read, revise. Then repeat, repeat, repeat…

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Write, read, revise. Then repeat, repeat, repeat…
And also, write what you love reading. Only then you’ll be able to write your best. 
And be prepared for lot of hard work, frustration and disappointments. Being a writer means chasing a big dream. And when you chase a big dream, you have to fight with nightmares every day.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
I’d love it if Priyanka Chopra could play the role of my Lemon Girl! Not quite sure about the hero.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Can I have a bottle or a lamp with a genie inside it please? That would be all I need. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
These days I get very little free time. But when I do, I love nothing better than to snuggle up with a good book, maybe with some nice old songs playing nearby. I also love trying out new gadgets, websites and apps. That’s the one distraction that I find too hard to overcome. And this often interferes with my writing.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Let’s not get me started on the things I want to do or the places I want to see. I am a big time dreamer. And dreams have no limits.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I was a Samsung Mobiler for one year. I won a blogging contest hosted by Samsung and became a part of a team of twenty bloggers who were to act as brand ambassadors of Samsung from their blogs. I was the only women in that team of twenty Indian bloggers, and perhaps the only person who had studied literature instead of science. 
I love Smartphones but am not comfortable calling people on phones. Actually, I’m not comfortable in talking to people who are outside my family circle. I’d much rather write them mails and then wait for their response.
In 2013, I was part of GrammoWriMo, which was an initiative by Grammarly to get a novel written by the joint efforts of maximum number of writers. This year too they are aiming to set a world record by getting a novel written by writers from maximum number of countries. I am part of this project too. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Not quite sure yet. I have some ideas tumbling about in my mind but I’m not quite sure which one of them I am going to choose next. I also sometimes feel like taking some time out to write cute little stories for kids.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I feel strongly about the rising crimes against women in India. I raised my voice through my novel Lemon Girl. But I also felt that maybe other people too would like to express their opinion about it. So I have created online spaces, on my website, blog and a Facebook group where people can post their messages, stories, articles, pictures or videos etc. I have named this initiative Raise Your Voice. If any of you would like to say something about the issue of increasing crimes against women, you can do so at: http://jyotiarora.com/raiseyourvoice
Also, readers’ appreciation is food for a writer’s soul. And I love to hear from my readers. So if you’d like to get in touch with me, you can do so from my website www.jyotiarora.com. You are also welcome to send a mail to write2jyoti@jyotiarora.com

Giveaway

"When it's time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it." ~ The Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora.

2 Paperback Copies are up for grabs for Indian Residents.
1 Kindle Copy of the book is up for grabs for International Readers.

For your chance to win a copy of the book for yourself, complete the following sentence with something original and comment on this post along with your email id. Last date of entry is 20th December, 2015

"When it's time for you to fall in love..."



7 comments:

  1. When it's time for you to fall in love the brain stops to function

    ReplyDelete
  2. When it's time for you to fall in love and you know it, run as far and as fast as you can :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. When it's time for you to fall in love enjoy it savor it and be ready to sacrifice your sleep for late night calls :P

    ReplyDelete
  4. When it's time for you to fall in love, both you and your heart will know.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When it's time for you to fall in love with someone for the rest of your life with your soulmate in harmony and peace.

    ReplyDelete
  6. When it's time for you to fall in love, everything is suddenly just right and it looks like even the angels have descended down to earth. :)

    -Nikita @ { nikita.johri@gmail.com}

    ReplyDelete
  7. When it's time for you to fall in love, just make sure there is someone there to catch you.
    (International - lyndajdickson at gmail dot com)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...