Friday, July 29, 2016

In Conversation With Author Aditi Mathur Kumar

Author Aditi Mathur Kumar's latest book Love, Whatever That Means... (LWTM) is out in the market and as expected, drawing a lot of attention from readers and book lovers. What could be a prologue to her first book - Soldier & Spice, LWTM has kept the promise to be witty and entertaining. Media girl Tina is our lead character in LWTM and she is living a normal, uncomplicated life, dealing with her pervert boss and enjoying life in general with her friends. In comes a surprise in the form of an unexpected promotion and from there on, life starts getting exciting. Tina meets a man in olive greens and a dozen questions roll in altogether. Will Virat and Tina click? Will it be a happily-ever-after or will it be a get-out-of-my face kind of a story. That remains to be known after you read the story. Meanwhile, here are snippets of a conversation with Aditi - 

Is LoveWTM a continuation to where we left at Soldier & Spice?

It actually is a prequel to Soldier & Spice. Haha, yes! I wrote Love, Whatever That Means as a prequel to my first book, Soldier & Spice because after the first book, so many people told me that they loved the chemistry between Pia and Arjun, and they’d love to read more about them. So I thought, why not tell the readers how Pia and Arjun met? You know, their romance of sorts. But my favourite genre is Humour, and I wasn’t sure if I’ll be able to write a dedicated Romance story – so I made this one more about our protagonist and her point of view on Love, whatever that means.
And oh, in the later stages of the book and the draft and the editing, I decided to change the names to Tina and Virat. I did this mainly because I wanted it to be a stand-alone book – which it is, and not be bogged down by the notion of not getting the story if you haven’t the first ne in the series. It seems to be working well, because a lot of readers who picked up LoveWTM, have now started reading Soldier & Spice. See, there’s no rule or sequence! *wink*

What is Tina like? Tell our readers a little about LWTM.

Love, Whatever That Means.. is a story full of laughter, friendships and finally, romance. It is the story of Tina, who is caught up in several things at once – a glossy yet demanding job that isn’t living up to her expectations, a set of goofy yet amazing friends, lots of day dreams which fail on all reality checks, among other things. Tina finds love, so something like it, in a stunning Army Officer – did I mention he’s super hot and very, very intense? – but is scared of the What Ifs. This is about her conquering her fears, learning to be brave in the face of adversity and yes, learning to fall in an all-consuming love without any over analyzing.

Also, if you’ve read Soldier & Spice, Tina is Pia.

Do stories come to you or do you create them? How does the process of storytelling work for you?

I hate to admit that for both my books, I started with just an idea of what I want to say through the stories, but no real flow or plan. I do rough algorithms at several stages during a story, but they change very frequently. So, in a way, most of the story comes to me while I am writing it. And I follow my gut – I go with what I’d want to read. The only thing I stick to is the essence of the story, the effect I want the story to have on a reader.

All authors have their own quirks related to writing. What is yours? 

Mine would be being unnecessarily moody when it comes to writing. I can’t follow a schedule, that’s not how it works for me. Some days I don’t write at all, and some other days I can’t stop writing for hours, all consumed in the story. Very erratic, this thing with me is.

Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. An army wife has a lot in her plate. That and with a toddler, how do you make time to write? 

Like I mentioned above, I have no schedule. Most of the times, I am playing pretend games with my daughter, or working/blogging, or attending Army things, or wasting time on social media. I need complete peace when writing, so that obviously is not possible with a kid in the house, especially when the kid in question is always coming up with super interesting new games for us to play. I mostly write at night, after she falls asleep.

Say, someone who wants to be a published author, asks - should one write if they have a story to tell or one should start writing and let a story take shape, what would you suggest?

I think you have to definitely know what you want to say through the story. More importantly, I think before you start writing, you should know how you want to make the reader feel through your words, through your story. Having a rough plot in mind doesn’t hurt either. Basically, you need to know why you want to be a published author and the answer will tell you how to go about it.

How much of the onus towards publicity of the book lies on the author? Many people out there can tell a decent story but social media is not their game. Is social media presence important to reach out to readers and promote one's book?

Till my first book was released, I used to think that the author’s work stops after she/he finished the writing part. I was wrong, and how! Today, the author’s job doesn’t stop at writing a good story, but also extends heavily to promotions. Especially on social media. 

A few authors hire an agency to help out with engagement and social media account management and if you have the budget for this, I think it makes a lot of sense because social media for self-promotion is very, every exhausting. Plus, the agencies know the market well and they can ensure a good hike in sales.

What next? A sequel or are you thinking of dabbling in different genres, maybe?

I want to try a non-fiction next, or a story that deals with serious issues like depression, but with a light treatment. Haven’t started work on anything as yet, so can’t be sure. Like I said, mostly the story comes to me, haha (yes, that’s my lame excuse). I hope to start soon, though.

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