28 February, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with #Author Priyanka Baranwal

*** SPECIAL FEATURE - February'14 ***

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive at every stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up.
Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur; their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairytale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her. 
Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night? Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment? 
It’s Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny; of every human who chooses the right over the easy; of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house; and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

Interview with the Author

Tell us a bit about ‘Priyanka Baranwal’ at home :)
I will answer this question based on the times when I do not write. At home, I am just myself. I do things as per my convenience as I am not so good at following a fixed schedule. If I am not writing, I enjoy watching movies, read books, take a walk, sometimes cook something special, go out, listen to music, go over to some neighbor’s house or call my family for a chit chat. Amidst all these chores, I keep thinking about the next move on my current project so that when I start writing, I don’t have to invest too much of time in thinking. But I get such non-writing times very rarely. In short, I enjoy my non-writing face.

Now tell us a bit about ‘Priyanka Baranwal’, the Author
As an author, I am highly dedicated to my work. Days and nights are filled with perpetual writing work. Whether I am tired or dying, I do my best to meet deadlines on the daily basis. I am so absorbed in my work that I often dream about it. I also read different genre books, usually two books every day. One belongs to fiction/non-fiction genre and other belongs to motivational, inspirational sort of books. See! I equally enjoy my writing face too.

When and how did you first decide that it was time to take that chance to publish your work?
When I had started writing, I was already determined to get it published. Once the goal sets in, you get the journey fixed and then it is wise to make moves.

Tell us your experience of writing ‘It’s Never Too Late…’ Why choose such a Bold and less explored topic instead of walking down a well trodden path for your debut novel?
It is not like I deliberately chose such serious topic for my debut book. I am always a believer of doing things differently and also, once I am decided to do something, I do not care whether the path down the aisle is less traveled, more traveled or not at all traveled. I discover my own path, chisel it with my own steps and do my best to fulfill my dreams. But yes…my journey is always incomplete without my family. Once my family enters with me, nothing can stop me.
As for the experience while writing my book, it was altogether different; a pleasant one on that note. For the first time, I came to know about my author self. It was fabulous and journey so far has been great. So much of hard work, new things, fresh start ups, settling in with new schedules and deadlines have indeed chiseled a better out of me. 

Do you have some unpublished work that’s lying in some old box or unopened drawers?     

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?     
Everything! I enjoyed every part of the journey towards my book and still enjoying a lot. Agree that it has incredibly invited lots of struggle, hard work, juggling on personal and professional fronts but what is a journey without all of these? I am a hard working person and often dare myself to face the challenge. I push myself over the edge to get the best out of me. I tend to enjoy every part of my work and life.

When you write, do you get into the character and decide the course of events or do you shape them as the plot requires them to be?     
As a writer, if I need to describe a character aptly, I have to put myself in my characters’ shoes. In my previous interviews, I have said that while torturing Maya by the hands of those criminals had made my hands tremble and heart wrenching with pain in reality. I could not write for few days. Every time I started writing, I just could not move my fingers on the key board. This happened because I had placed my own self in the situation, not my character, Maya.
And now when people tell me how strikingly and beautifully narration I have done, I feel satisfaction. I feel content that yes…I am able to think as per my characters live on. Story always moves on the shoulders of your characters. Therefore, a plot can only be completed if you shape your characters as per demands.

All writers are readers first! So who are your favourite authors and what are some of your all-time favourite books?   
Yeah. I agree. I am also a reader and I own a library of my own. There is no such thing as my favorite author but yes…I prefer reading some. As I read Hindi and English both genres, I have got some cherry picks from both the literary worlds. 
In English, I prefer Nora Roberts, Sydney Sheldon, Robin Sharma and Eric Segal. Dan Brown’s books too I have always enjoyed. In Indian context, Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy.
In Hindi, Shivani, Premchand and Gurudutt are my all time favorite literary giants.

Do you think your favourite authors have influenced your style of writing?
With every book, I learn something but I do not let them affect my writing style. I am more about detailing. Describing things with miniscule details make me go to an extra inch to justify the story line. At times it happens that I am reading a book that is slim and not all about detailing but I learn how to keep things crisp and concise. Sometimes when I read a thick book, I learn ways the author has given number of turns to the events. In short, with every book there is something to take away but when I come into my own writing territory, sorry! No one is allowed there.

There is always ‘someone’ who doesn’t like your book. How do you handle it?
Criticism is a part of any profession. In fact, in my opinion, it shapes your persona in a very attractive and different manner unless you take it positively. So far, some of my readers have criticized me for only one thing that the first half of my book that involves the journey of Maya and Rajat from their college life to married life is sort of common. There is hardly anything new in this phase to talk about. I listen and thank such people as they have told me what-not-to-do in any of my next project. You see! Basically you learn and grow with every criticism. I do not let them downsize me.

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie: list is long
Your favourite genre of Music: I don’t need a genre to enjoy myself with music. Music overall is my favorite.
Your favourite Cuisine:  I am a foodie and prefer everything but veg only.
Your first celebrity Crush: Shahrukh Khan and Rahul Dravid. I still have a crush on Rahul. Sad that he got married to someone else without giving me a chance. (Chuckle)
Top thing on your Bucket List: Living happily with my family ever after with a huge library of my own written National and International bestsellers.

What would you like to say to the people who haven’t read your book yet but are contemplating on whether to pick it up or not?  
I believe from several feedbacks that the cover of my book itself is pretty engaging. People also say the theme and the story line are first of its kind in this genre and it’s very inspiring. If you want to know how it’s never too late to find a solution and to win over the battle against your biggest enemy, fear, read it. 

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