Shuchi is an Author of debut book Quest for Paradise. It was pleasure interacting with her
Q 1: Hello Shuchi. Your background is in the engineering field. Can you please tell us how you came about to write your first novel titled Quest for Paradise?
Shuchi : Hi Subrat. I’m an IT professional, working for a year now. But English literature has always been my first love, which sprouted from the first novel that I read when I was in the sixth grade, ‘And Quiet Flows the Dawn’ by Mikhail Sholokhov. Since then I’ve read many novels, and have written many poems. Regarding Quest for Paradise, the idea of writing a story about a girl aspiring to be a tattoo artist struck me, and I went ahead with the flow, telling the story of achieving the unbelievable in the extraordinary of circumstances. Before Quest for Paradise got completed and published, I was in the process of writing an adventure suspense thriller, which is still in the pipeline to be completed.
Q 2: Please tell us something about your journey as a simple girl from a small town, Ranchi to an engineer, working in a reputed IT firm of Bangalore, and now, an author. Would you like to share with us a source of inspiration?
Shuchi : Yes, I was, and still am a simple girl from a small town, and proud of my roots. The simplicity and flavour of the small town laid-back life, if infused in a person at a tender age, becomes one of the greatest gifts of life fathomable. But don’t let this deceive you that I didn’t have a fair share of adventures in my childhood! However, when it was over, I went through that clichéd phase of ‘engineering’, and then landed in an IT firm, and again, like another cliché, my heart lied somewhere else. I’m an engineer by profession, but a writer by heart!
Talking about the source of inspiration, I don’t have one as such, but I would like to mention a person whom I admire immensely. Elon Musk. Not because of Tesla. Not because of SpaceX. But because of that rare state of mind that he has, which is almost impossible for almost everyone to have. That is, huge monetary, or life failures do not bother him, as much as a failure to do something challenging, worthwhile, and exciting. “Life can’t be just about solving everyday problems, there’s got to be things that inspire and make life worth living.”
He views not doing something impactful as a much bigger risk than financial or social failure. It’s the vice versa for the general human.
Q 3: Please tell us something about Quest for Paradise. How can we relate the character of ‘Ishana‘ from Quest for Paradise with you?
Shuchi : Well, one thing that the readers perceive is that Ishana is me, and her story is mine. Sorry to disappoint, but that’s not the case! I wish I were fortunate enough to face the kind of challenges that Ishana goes through, and achieve the kind of milestones that she is able to achieve in the story, though!
We all have some passion or the other firing up inside us. The point is, do we fire it more, and strive to achieve something in which our heart lies, or just go on with our daily lives, not aspiring for more at all?
Q 4: Are you happy with the response to your book? How are you trying to promote your book to reach the target audience?
Shuchi : The readers love it. The response has been amazing till now, and it’s pretty heartening. Some amazing bloggers have also shared positive reviews of the book. I’m promoting the book by sharing it’s reviews and my book launch events on the social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to reach the target audience – the youth.
Q 5: How was your experience in the World Book Fair, Delhi and other events? Are you planning any book launch events in recent times?
Shuchi : The book was among the bestsellers in the niche English fiction romantic genre at the World Book Fair, Delhi. After that Quest for Paradise was also selected to feature at the Allahabad Book Fair, where the books were sold out, and the subsequent interested buyers had to be given my social contact details to buy my books. It gave a beautifully ecstatic feeling, which I had never experienced before!
The book was also featured at the World Book Fair, Agra, organized by the National Book Trust, NBT, where over 60% of the books were sold out.
I’ve two book launch events scheduled in the near future, one is at the Atta Galatta, Bangalore, and the second would be held on 14th April, 2018 at the Hotel Safari in Jaipur. Bangaloreans, and Jaipurites, gear up and come!
Q 6: Are you working on your next book? What can we expect from your next book?
Shuchi : Yes, I am. The next book is a fiction romantic thriller, where the boy belongs to the Karnataka Royal family. The thrill sparks from Bangalore, to Maddur, all the way to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh! Let’s see how Jeevisha, the broadcast journalist who is the protagonist’s obsession, survives this storm!
Q 7: How did you get a chance to be published? How was your experience with the publisher?
Shuchi : Well, just like the first stage of struggle that every aspiring author goes through, I faced many rejections. Some publishers outright rejected the manuscript, and some were kind enough to respond with some encouraging words, to work better the next time! I didn’t let my morale sag for long, and kept on trying, as I believed in my story and it’s worth, until finally, one publisher was interested to go ahead with it. That day was another one of those days when you get that rare ecstatic feeling!
The publisher was very supportive from the beginning to the end, helping and guiding me through the process, with patience. From the ragged manuscript in my hands-on day one, to a finished beautiful book with crisp and fresh inked pages inside at the end of the subsequent 4 months, it has been an amazing journey in itself.
Q 8: Can you please share your editing experience about your published book? Did you use any editing tools or took any help from Literary Agent? How important is that?
Shuchi : The edits were done by me, and then the publisher. They were patient enough to incorporate some later changes in the text, and the images that I wanted to be done.
I provide editing services to authors independently too, using Scrivener and MS Word.
Well, you ask, how important is editing? If writing is forging the sword, then editing is sharpening it, using the whetstone of editing tools. Even the swords of finest make, are useless, if they are not sharpened.
Q 9: How did you react when you saw the first copy of your debut book Quest for Paradise which is already a sensation among readers?
Shuchi : Can blood, sweat and tears make something solid, something tangible? If you say no, then you can’t be more wrong. When I saw my first copy in my hands, what I saw wasn’t a book, but something beautiful churned out by an amalgam of these three.
Q 10: Could you please share a few tips for writers who would like to get their first book published?
Shuchi : I just believe in one tip for writing. As the legend Stephen King says, ‘write.’ That’s more than enough. There are many aspiring authors, who haven’t been able to complete a book and publish yet, despite a beautiful story in them, just because they are stuck with the ‘problems’ like, ‘I can’t continue after 3 pages’, ‘I’m blank’, ‘when I sit to write, the mind goes numb, and the hand freezes’, ‘I don’t get the time’, and so on.
Just. Write. You feel that you’re writing rubbish? Write. You are thinking of what people would say about your work? Write. You think you’re not ‘worthy’ enough to write? Write.
One always finds the time to dedicate to one’s passion, no matter how hectic their schedule is. Are you really passionate about writing? If yes, then you’ll get the time.
Q 11: Would you like to share any specific pattern or style of writing with our readers?
Shuchi : It all begins with an idea, a theme. Surprisingly, the ideas always strike when our minds are in a relaxed state, and free to wander anywhere. They don’t come to us when we try very hard to think of an idea. It doesn’t work like that.
After this stage, comes the execution, i.e., the craft of it. I think of a character, and an event from where I think it would be good to begin the story. It acts as a bay for the ocean of the rest of the story to follow.
If you ask me the evergreen fundamental question, if I’m a plotter or a pantser? I would consider myself to be a pantser, with a hazy overall plot on my mind, going with the flow of the story, when the story begins to breathe a life of it’s own, and takes me to another journey crafted by it.
Q 12: Who is/are your favorite author(s)? What do you like about their work?
Shuchi : My favourite authors are George R.R. Martin, Dan Brown, and Stephen King.
If I begin to say that what I love about these legends, then we would need to camp for the night too, haha!
Who would have imagined to concoct a parallel of the real historical War of the Roses in such a way, that it becomes a breathtaking fantasy of the human race, fighting with each other for the one ultimate throne, in a world of magic where exist an army of zombies, headed by clever kings; the mysterious lands of Asshai, living magical dragons breathing fire, and practices of bringing the dead to life? George R.R. Martin is a magician.
It was because of Dan Brown, that I became hugely interested in symbols, both ancient and modern, and the importance of them in our lives. With his books, the world seemed like a big treasure hunt to dive into. Solving puzzles and mysteries went to a whole new level with his books like ‘The Digital Fortress’, and ‘The Inferno’.
It was because of Stephen King’s ‘It’, that the funny and jovial clowns came to be viewed as a source of horror and nightmares! Hotels came into a new light of dreadful omens, after his classic ‘The Shining’.
Their creations are unparalleled.
Q 13: How is your average day as Shuchi? Have you experienced a situation where people have identified you in a public place? Please share those moments.
Shuchi : My average day goes in writing short pieces, my next novel, and editing works of clients, marked in between by book launch events and bookstore signings.
There were a couple of moments, which felt warm and beautiful. Once, I was recognised by a group of young college students, who had read my book reviews on a blog, and they clicked a selfie. There was another time, when a young girl came to where I was dining at a restaurant to have a copy of Quest for Paradise signed, which she had with her in her bag.
Q 14: Have you done any course in writing? Or any course in editing?
Shuchi : I haven’t done any course in writing, or in editing. The formation and play of words come kind of inherently. I’ve edited seven novels for various clients.
Q 15: If your readers want to connect with you, how can they do that? Tell readers about your social platforms to connect. If you have any blog/website/social media accounts, please tell.
Shuchi : They can easily connect with me on the various social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or drop a mail!
You can grab a copy of my book at Amazon – Click here