- Seven Conversations (SC) is your debut novel. How challenging was the publishing industry?
Very challenging! Since I am an engineer, I had no understanding of how publishing works. Plus, I was in USA for last seven years, so Indian book market and its trends were also not very familiar for me. Good thing was that I was able to establish connection with some authors early on who had gone through the process and could give me an insider’s view and what to expect. So, I knew a rough ride lies ahead. Needless to say, it is hard to land a publisher for a debut novel especially by a person not connected to media or journalism. Writing an interesting synopsis itself is a tricky thing. For example, Anuj Bahri from Red Ink called me as my query had piqued his interest. Even though he could not take up the project at that point, he did give me couple of helpful feedbacks regarding the synopsis I wrote. This helped me later on. I was expecting a tough ride and was not going to give up easily. Eventually, Leadstart showed an interest and we signed up a deal.
- SC is a spiritual fictional novel. What inspired you to weave the Hindu mythology with spiritualism?
The book is primarily spiritual. But instead of keeping it abstract and completely philosophical, I wanted to reconcile Hindu mythology with my sense of spirituality. This is mainly because I feel our ancient Vedic scriptures hold a lot of timeless wisdom which we, youth, are quick to reject because we don’t want to be orthodox. I wanted to convey that wisdom in form of a story we can relate to. So, there is lot of focus on Gita and Krsna in the book. At the same time, the message conveyed is religion agnostic. I strongly believe that all religions convey the importance of good values and inner happiness; I have put it in a fiction format where the protagonist is going through turmoil’s that are making her question the meaning of life. I have tried to answer those doubts (which I am sure all of us face at some point) in seven conversations. One of the conversations is also focused on ‘love’ because I think it is an integral part of finding inner happiness.
- As an author what would be your best conversation with ‘Meera’, the protagonist of SC?
I crafted each conversation to serve a specific purpose. Seven conversations are of pain, truth, heart, purpose, hope, light and self. I strongly recommend everyone to read the ‘Conversation of Self’ which ties the whole book together and is the soul of the book. All our answers lie within and that is conveyed beautifully in this conversation.
- Your book is changing perceptions. How does it feel having changed lives?
It is very humbling. I was working in high paying jobs on Wall Street previously but I never got the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile. This book’s journey has given me immense happiness and a feeling of content. Frankly, commercial success was not my primary goal, I was just happy to have written a book that I loved and that I could be proud of. When that first feedback came and someone told me that the book has helped them find their peace, I felt the whole grueling journey has been worth it. And that feeling will keep me happy till I die. My family was also very proud of me after reading this book and that means a lot to me. It is a book that I could share with my parents and teachers. As you grow, you start realizing that financial success is not everything, life is so much bigger.
- One question you think we all face in life undoubtedly. And why?
One question that we all ask inevitably at some point is ‘Did I do the right thing?’. It could be about a big decision you made or in general, the life choice you opted. One variation of it is – ‘What should I do?’ when we are facing a dilemma. I have covered this in detail in ‘Conversation of Heart’ in the book. Humans are constantly facing a battle of heart vs. mind. We think that we can control and plan out things and if we follow certain strategy, then our life would be good. At the same time, we are plagued by doubts – ‘what if?’ We feel that the grass is always greener on the other side. All this leads to is an eternal tug of war between different choices. We are never satisfied because we keep feeling that we could have done something better. This is the root cause of unhappiness in most of us.
- Who is your favorite author?
There are so many of them. To name a few, I would go for P G Wodehouse in humor. He is extremely consistent and the metaphors he comes up with are so unique – signs of a gifted writer. Other than him, I am also a fan of Kurt Vonnegut in satires and Keigo Higashino, best selling Japanese mystery author.
- Not restraining only to SC, would you like to share with us your favorite quote?
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ― André Gide, Autumn Leaves
- Did you overcome any dare before you could choose happiness over convenience?
It was more like a prolonged thought process than a dare. I have made many unconventional choices in life such as leaving traditional jobs to pursue things like writing, dropping out of a very competitive MBA program to pursue a startup, ending unhappy relationships etc. I think its about taking a leap of faith. The first time is obviously very difficult but then you get more accustomed to making such decisions in future.
- Would you like to point the similarities between Meera and yourself?
There are many because the book is partly inspired by my own life experiences. We are both willing to choose happiness over convenience; we both are reserved, strong and spiritual.
- Would you like to leave a message for Team PepperScript?
Absolutely, I think it is a great initiative because I have seen the struggles of publishing journey myself. I feel there are many deserving writers out there and it would be great if PepperScript can bring them to market and help them get to as many readers as possible. So, keep up the good work and I am also psyched about PS Comics and Comic Con 🙂
About the Author: Nistha Tripathi is a writer and entrepreneur – wanderer would be more appropriate. She is by education an engineering grad from UIUC and MBA dropout from NYU which she believes is not important. “I penned down Seven Conversations when I felt that life had given me a story to tell and it was my duty to tell it aloud,” she says.
About the Book: Seven Conversations is a thought experiment on life and existence. The characters might be fictitious but their questions are not.
55 years after her debut, Harper Lee, sent the literary universe into a spin after she announced she would be releasing a sequel to, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ this summer named, ‘Go Set a Watchman’.
Although she has written the only novel, her debut novel wins the Pulitzer Prize and goes on to sell 40 million copies, perennially topping lists of the world’s best-loved books. The novel was written by Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird, but is set some 20 years later. It features Lee’s beloved character Scout as an adult, returning to her home town of Maycomb from New York to visit Atticus, her lawyer father, along with many of the characters from Lee’s debut. The deal to publish Go Set a Watchman was negotiated between the US publisher HarperCollins and Harper Lee’s local attorney, Tonja Carter.
Lee said in a statement attributed to her by her publisher that Go Set a Watchman was completed in the mid-1950s, but she believed the original manuscript had been lost. “I hadn’t realised it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”
After publication of her debut novel, Lee largely retired from public life and did not release another work of fiction despite overwhelming demand, telling an interviewer in 1964 – her last major piece of publicity – that “I didn’t expect the book to sell in the first place”, and that the reaction was “just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected like being hit over the head and knocked cold”.
Cartoonist R. K. Laxman, who died on 26th January 2015, was an institution unto himself. We wont be wrong if we call him a man whom no politician or minister could escape considering his pointed satire. The media is tagging him with various names like ‘Uncommon Man’ and ‘Uncrowned Conscious Keeper’.
In his autobiography ‘The Tunnel of Time’, he says, “Since childhood I do not remember wanting to do anything else except draw.” His cartoons mirrored the hopes and aspirations, follies and foibles of a society in transition.
He was born Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman on October 24, 1921 in Mysore. The youngest of six brothers, Laxman had as his older brother, the legendary R.K. Narayan, the creator of Malgudi.
A look at compilation of some of R K Laxman’s Best Cartoons:
Time is ticking and so the perceptions are changing. Not many believe that ‘silence is more powerful’. “Sometimes Silence speaks things that you don’t intend to, so better speak for yourself and say things which you really mean without being mean.”
There are millions ways to add a spark to your thoughts and imaginations. Literature always nailed the interest for poems, haiku’s, fictions and non fictions. Where do you think all these authors draw their inspiration from? The literature is a world heritage which is retained and sustained on and off. Talking about how to express yourself, not many will impassively listen to you while you talk. But the same people might just take little efforts to read what you wanted to say, while they are sipping a cup of coffee. ‘Action speaks louder than words’; here the action is your penning down of thoughts and words are simply the talking that you do. See the difference between writing and blabbering?
If I like something that I read I can read it over and over again. But if I love what someone just told me, I can’t ask them to repeat, right? When a person is full of emotions, you can connect with the world because you know exactly how to strike that emotional chord. Writing has always been a great medium of communication. Be it television, prints, cinemas, or even for that matter SMS and Social media. Don’t you just love receiving a text message from your loved ones? Many young writers have turned successful authors. They have taken up to writing to build a bridge to the heart of the people. Remember how Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet are re-written thousands of times, yet the original wins the loudest applause.
Anyone with good communication skills might think that I can be a great author. But that is not really the reality.
To be a good author, one needs to be original in the world of fakes.
If I talk and write the same old myths and beliefs and quotations, how am I helping myself to make a connection with the other world? If I am an author my words must be capable of making people believe in what I believe. My imagination should sink in deep into their thoughts and help the reader wander in their wonderland. My story line been a fiction should hold onto the grounds of happenings and reality. The quotes that I tag should be inspiring enough for the reader to think the way I do. There shouldn’t be a point where the reader might think ‘this is impossible’. The only way to prevent this mind blogging thought is not to exaggerate your story. Use words that a normal dictionary can describe.
Often I have heard people say this novel has very simple English. But what they lack to understand is the book is portraying the simplicity at its best. And also there are books where in people don’t understand a word of it; not even a bit of it. Still such books have been rewarded and applauded for the intensity of the story.
We have so many young authors publishing their fictions year after year. But if you study their novels you will know that they stand exactly from where they began. People today are afraid to experiment. Everyone wants to earn easy and fast money. But trust me giving time to yourself will take you miles ahead in your future. Everything should be enacted as per the desired age. We don’t marry before age, do we? We didn’t go to school while we were infants, did we? We never stood awoke until late night till the time we grew up, fell in love, took the stress of studies and work; If not then why now?
No doubt there are authors who have delivered great stories with crystal clear concepts and space for our own imaginations. But that doesn’t make every another author a great writer. There is a lot of difference between a writer and an author. An author will always publish her work but a writer will only ignite the similar minds with their perceptions and creativity. Be a writer first and second an author. Often people do vice verse, which doesn’t last long.
“Writer is a believer; Author an opinion leader.”