1. Please briefly describe the book.
This book is India’s first musical novel. The basis of the love story is music. How tow people listening to music with the same intensity connect to each other, attract each other. It speaks a lot about how music impacts our brain, our emotional intensity, empathy, etc. It speaks about how listening to music is an art and it is a very focused activity unlike how we treat music as a background activity. Also, this book speaks about lots of lost art – the art of expressing, art of reading, art of writing letters, art of communicating, art of listening to music, art of relaxing also in some ways – not just partying and surrounded by loud music, but beauty of solitude and connecting to oneself. The characters in the book have a very good level of awareness because of the way they connect to music. Hence, it is possible that it may not sound very realistic to a few readers.
2. How did you come up with the idea of writing India’s first musical book?
I believe that my connection to music is nature’s gift. And I have always been listening to music very intensely, and all kinds of songs – romantic, love, sad, junk, ghazals, devotional songs, meditation music, and in many different languages. But I always had difficulty in discussing them with anyone. Because not everyone was listening in a similar way. So I could only have surface level conversations at the most. And I have no musical training – as in singing, playing any musical instrument, etc. So I didn’t have much to talk even with the music creators. Hence, one day I thought of writing on music keeping in mind how intense listeners view music and only from the listener’s perspective, not the composers or singers.
3. Weren’t you scared?
Very much. Firstly, I did research for two years before coming up with a story and realized, it’s a very difficult topic that I have taken and I need to present it in a simplified manner. As I have shared in my preface, the books and journals I read were too technical. I thought it is impossible to weave a simple and beautiful story around music. But as they say, ‘it just happens’ and one day the story just happened to me. I was writing but it was something else that was guiding my hands and brain to weave a story. The first level of fear was taken care off. Then when I gave it to my friends to read and review (partial manuscript) they said its good and different, not like normal books available in the market today. That created another fear – will people love this new concept?
4. Why a musical?
I think music is really underrated. It’s not just for entertainment and a mood-keeper while doing a boring activity but something really beautiful to connect to oneself. Music is an extremely healthy alternative to drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. And that’s why the characters also in the book are simple. They are addicted to music and not any of these. That’s the whole idea of the book – simplicity of the characters and their higher level of consciousness is because they connect to music very very strongly. And with music, I could only think of beauty and hence the characters are not shady at all. It again comes from the level of listening to music.
5. A lot of research must have gone in this book?
I really had a lovely time exploring music at a very different level and I feel privileged to present a first musical novel in the world actually, not just India.
6. How long did you take to write this book?
My whole struggle to weave the story around science behind listening to music was for almost 2 years. They were so difficult to understand and then simplify it. And once the whole story was weaved, it took me 2 months to put it in writing. So approx. 2 and half years.
7. What other types of research did you need to do for this book?
Neuroscience, psychology, and music 🙂
8. What did you edit out of this book?
There were a few wonderful connections to draw between the characters again using the neuroscience research on music, but since the book was becoming lengthy I really had to remove lots of things. Maybe with that research part, I can come up with another book. When I say this I literally mean editing and deleting almost 40% of the book. The book already has around 300 pages, I chopped off about 100 pages.
9. What do you do to de-stress yourself while writing?
I eat ice-cream 😛
10. Talk a little bit about yourself. What is your background? What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I think one people will already know after reading this book that I am a music lover. Besides that, I love reading, writing, and day-dreaming. I come from a very simple Gujarati family and I was never familiar with the world of reading since childhood. But books always attracted me, the cover, smell, the pages, everything. I used to get headaches even if I read one page, so reading a book was not possible for me. I read my first book in 2006 and that too Mein Kamph. I could read one page a day, not beyond that. It took me 2 years to finish the book and that too with the help of music. To avoid headaches, I used to plug in mp3 player and read. I don’t think I could have developed reading habit without books. So from 2006 to 2012, I could read only 3 books. Slowly, I could read without getting headaches – then 4 books a year. Finally, in 2015, to my surprise, I read 33 books in 6 months, which was huge for me. Today I enjoy reading without any migraines and headaches.
I have never read any romantic novel, but have written a one.
11. What were the Challenges you faced while writing this book?
Firstly, the time. I have my own business to look after, then readers club, movies club, parents and home to look after, I then also spend time travelling in heavy traffic of Mumbai, time for exercise or swimming, time to get a good sleep, time to read, write, watch movies, then spending time on social causes I am associated with like River March and Zero slums Mumbai, etc. etc. In the middle of all these, I had to manage my time to write and with the mindset of writing a simple beautiful story which means lots of mental work to reduce stress level, tiredness, etc.
12. Did the thought to give up writing this book ever occur to you?
13. What is your motivation for writing more?
My first book is all about getting present to simple beauties of life like music, long drive, letters, books, etc. And it also deals with a social cause of eunuchs and rivers, mangroves, etc.
My motivation is to present complexities of life in an as simple way as possible in the form of a story. My every book shall promote simplicity. And it will also speak about some or other social problems – which are real but weaved in the story. Like in the book HANDWRITTEN LETTERS IN THE BOOKSTORE I speak about how characters live a real happiness instead of being cool by holding a wine glass stylishly in the bar. They are comfortable being their authentic self. My books shall only promote on being authentic self, being comfortable with who you really are and escaping life with smoking, drinking or drugs, even over-sleeping, etc.
14. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Read since childhood. As I shared, I started reading very recently with persistence efforts of 6 to 7 years.
15. What are some publishing tips?
I really don’t have any tips as I am not an expert.
16. Picture this: You feel uninspired and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
I will eat an ice-cream or shut down the computer and sleep or watch a movie. I don’t force myself to write. I write only when it is flowing.
17. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I think there are more than one. But to state here – We think fast and our hands are not that fast. As I write when the story comes to me, it becomes difficult for me to match the speed of my hand with the speed of my imagination. I have the tendency to forget what idea I got, so that’s the most difficult part for me.
18. How many hours a day do you write?
I start writing at about 11 pm and can go on till 430am.
19. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Never. I thought, its ok if it fails, I will not hide under a pseudonym. But I am happy that readers are acknowledging that this book is unique and experimental. So far 77% have given 4 and 5 stars and only 24% as 3 and 2 stars. Which is good for me as a debut author.
20. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Not yet in my case.
21. What are your favorite literary journals?
I have never read one.
22. Do you Google yourself?
After I wrote this book 😛
23. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes. I read. Initially, I used to be excited but now I am like its going out in the market, now nothing is in my control. So I will let this process also flow like my story. Currently, I am writing my second book so haven’t spent much time on good or bad reviews.
24. What is your special nook or writing place where you prefer writing?
I directly write on my computer desk.
25. Any plans on writing the second book?
Already on the verge of finishing it. And this too will be very unique and experimental.
26. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
27. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing the book?
I also can tell a story or weave a story But I really cannot write with lots of twists and turns or dark story. I realized that the stories that come to me are really simple but can have a lot of foundation in terms of social cause, psychology, science, history, etc. Basically, the study of human nature.
28. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Criminal Psychologist.
29. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing?
I always say – ‘Just sit down’ – no reasons or excuses.
30. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
Research. Even for my second book, I have interviewed 3 experts and have read about 45 books, 100s of internet articles and about 37 documentaries.
31. Do you have an author website or other platforms where readers can find more information about you and your books?
Facebook page: @AuthorRimple
32. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, now I read a lot. Few of my many favorites are books by Khaled Hosseini, books by Rick Riordan – esp. the Percy Jackson and Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series, Mein Kamph, My Hanuman Chalisa, Sita and Jaya by Devdutt Patnaik, The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor, Harry Potter, and the list is very long. Please include all wonderful lyricists like Gulzar Saab, Anand Bakshi, Javed Akhtar, Majrooh Sultan Puri, Shailendra, Prasoon Joshi, Kaifi Azmi, Irshad Kamil, Amitabh Bhattacharya, etc. And wonderful lost era poets like Kabir, Rumi, Mir Taqi, Mirza Ghalib, etc.
33. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Many of us want to write like one or the other author instead of what our hearts want. And that is one of major hindrance towards writing. Rest are traps like – I don’t have time, too busy, etc.
34. What would you like to say to your readers?
Only thing I would like to say is “Thank you accepting my experimental writing so graciously 🙂 ” I really enjoyed the process of writing this book and hope my readers enjoy reading it. It makes them relax and smile and ponder upon appreciating simple beauties of life.
Read more about her Book
A Musical Lovestory
Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore
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