Saturday, October 5, 2013

#AuthorInterview-->Author in the Spotlight- Mita Jain

A writer's mind is NEVER silent. It is always conducting the next symphony of words.” 
―Leslie Austin 

I felt the above is very true for the very talented Mita Jain who is the author of books like Dead Man's Alibi, Meeting Miss Konni Chiwa and In Love of Honey, Money ..And My Virgin Passport because she is always weaving stories and sincerely blogs all her famous nano stories on her blog http://mitajain.wordpress.com/

Mita was born in India, and spent her childhood there. She clearly remembers how her love for reading and writing grew. It was "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens which drew her into the world of reading and writing. She was about ten years of age when she started penning poetry.
As she grew, her dreams changed too. But one thing that never changed was her love for art and writing.
Her work took her around the world, and she weaves those experiences in her writing.

Today I am so glad to invite this talented author, painter, poet and cartoonist to my blog..  :)

Welcome to Njkinny's World of Books, Mita!
Let's start the interview. :)


Q1. Tell us something about yourself? 

 I was born in India, and spent my childhood there. Right from the early days, I dreamt of      many things from being an astronaut to an architect to a singer (now, now… that’s not true). But, one dream that didn't change over the years was to be a writer. I have been writing since I was about ten when I started penning my poetry.

Q2. So, what have you written?

I have written a fast paced Murder Mystery (Dead Man’s Alibi), Indian contemporary fiction (In love of honey, money…and my virgin passport) , a short romantic comedy (Meeting Miss Konni Chiwa) and currently working on two other projects.




Q3. Where can we buy or see them?

My works are available here:
Meeting Miss Konni Chiwa: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EBI5Z6G/





Q4. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

I will talk about three characters here:

1.   Jay (Dead Man’s Alibi): Jay is the lead protagonist of this murder mystery. He is a successful lawyer who is rich, suave, stubborn, crime-hater and a man of loneliness. He is a box of paradoxes where he holds extreme emotions in his heart. He loves with passion and hates with vengeance. He loves logic over everything else and despises the uber-scientific explanations. And last but not the least, he waits for his lady-love and is a man his friends and family can always count on.

2.   Vinay (In love of honey, money…and my virgin passport): Vinay is you and me. He is just another urban Indian youngster with a spring in his steps and a song in his heart. He is a loyal friend you would be proud to have. He dreams of success and love. 

3.   Aman (Meeting Miss Konni Chiwa): Aman is a global Indian. He is funny, witty, a hopeless romantic and has a gift of gab. Despite all this, he fights for the right words when he meets the love of his life – Miss Konni Chiwa.


Q5. What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a fantasy novel at the moment.

Q6. What’s it about?

It’s the story of a boy who is not ‘the one’. In fact, he is not accepted in human-land for being ‘something else’ and disregarded in other-land for being a human. He searches for his identity and someone to call his own.

Q7. What genre are your books?

Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary Indian fiction, Romantic-Comedy and Fantasy.

Q8. What draws you to this genre?

I write what I love reading. And I love reading in the above mentioned genres.

Q9. What inspired you to become a writer?

I always had a story to tell. As a kid I would play where I would be teacher who told stories to imaginary students, and had even setup a library of my story-books (The only library card holders were me and my little sister ;-) ). And though I didn’t realize at that time, my teachers weaved magic with words in those literature classes in school. I had no way out but to pen my thoughts.

Q10. Had you not become a writer which career would you have chosen and why?

I would have loved to be an architect perhaps. Or maybe a professional painter. I love everything about arts and craft. I paint in my leisure time and blog about that sometimes.

Q11. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

As a writer my only wish is to be read.

Q12. Which writers inspire you?

Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie.

Q13. Why do you write?

I don’t really have a choice there. I would fall in a deep chasm of turmoil if I don’t write, to say figuratively. I just have to walk into that world where I dream of those characters, their stories and their dilemmas. It’s something similar to why someone would watch a movie or even read a book. It’s about entering a whole new world. It’s magic. Yes, it is.

Q14. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

As I said, I have been writing since I was ten. But, the idea of writing a book grew in my head when I was preparing for Business Management Institutes. Perhaps, I read too many books in that short duration of time. One day, an idea of alternate worlds came to me, and I started jotting it down with a pen and a pad (yea, I was a student, had limited access to computers and of course, had no laptop those days). That story never got completed, but it gave rise to “Dead Man’s Alibi”.

Q15. Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part time.

Q16. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I mostly write at night where I have uninterrupted flow of time at a stretch.

Q17. Where do your ideas come from?

It’s a no-man’s land inside my head, I guess, which gives rise to these ideas. I could be looking at a painting, reading newspaper, sipping coffee, or simply staring into the vast horizons. 

Q18. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

It’s been different for each work till now, and I think the writing style evolves as we proceed. For “Dead Man’s Alibi” –the plot was defined. It was necessary for a mystery/thriller work. The challenge was in weaving mystery and clues. For “In Love of honey, money…” it was more sequential. And for my current fantasy novel, I do have an outline defined. But, I’m not writing in a sequential manner. I’m writing in different stages of the protagonist’s life.

Q19. How do you think you've evolved creatively?

I’m clearer about the whole writing process unlike the initial days when I was figuring it all out. It’s the difference between when you are just learning to swim vs. when you at least know how not to drown. So you see, I’m not an Olympic level swimmer yet, but I can swim across the river next to my house. I’m much more confident.

Q20. What is the hardest thing about writing and what is the easiest thing about it?

The hardest thing is to give up all the distractions like television, facebook, internet surfing etc and actually sitting down to write. The easiest thing is well, to write. Did I just say that? Writing is easy? No. But it does make a writer feel a hell lot better. And you have no idea about the happy dances when the novel is eventually completed. :)

Q21. Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Innumerable times.

Q22. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Just start working on another scene. As you write ahead, the missing links in the story will crop up in your mind, and you can go back to sew those parts.

Q23. How do you market your books and why did you choose this route?

I market through social media because that’s where today’s readers are mostly. And unlike older days, where the only way a reader and write could communicate was through some literary fests or rare mails, social media gives ample opportunity for spontaneous interaction and feedback. It’s very encouraging.

Q24. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Try the social media. It’s the life line of today’s lives.

Q25. What do you do to get book reviews? Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

I simply introduce my work with honest enthusiasm for my work. After that, I leave it to the reader to pick up my work or not. After all, just like clothes, books are a matter of personal choice and taste. The choice stays with the reader.

Q26. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you and any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Facebook and Goodreads are great. Though I’m on twitter, I’m a total newbie there and don’t use it often. Spread the word about your work, just don’t e-stalk the readers.

Q27. What are the four most important things that you take care of before writing a book?

I plot, then I plot, and then I plot and in the end I plot. (And then the plot changes a lot while I write). :)

Q28. What do you do when you are not writing?

I cook. I have fun with my family. We go out. I love watching movies though I haven’t seen a lot lately. And of course, I paint and sketch.

Q29. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write. I read that advice years back and thought, well, what’s the big deal. But it IS a big deal. Sitting down day after day, stitching the plot lines without getting discouraged and distracted, as you stare at the word count where you have been lagging behind, is tough. Good news is that it can be done with perseverance.

Q30. Do you have a nickname? 

Some friends call me MJ…. They are my initials too. :)

Q31. Do you ever write in your PJ’s?

All the time. :)

Q32. Do you like to cook?  Do you have a favorite food?

I like cooking but not a big fan of culinary art. Pasta is my favorite.

Q33. Which of the following you like more : White wine or red?

None.

Q34. Which of the following you like more : Coffee or tea?

Coffee all the way... :)

Q35. Which of the following you like more : Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?

Vanilla topped with chocolate. Add some nuts and jellies too! :P

Q36. Do you sleep in or get up early?

I wish I could boast of Surya-Namaskar at 7 am. However, the opposite is true. :D

Q37. Do you prefer Laptop or desktop for writing?

I can write longhand as well as with Laptop. Laptop makes it easy to compile everything together. But in the preliminary stages when I’m just conceptualizing the story, I prefer longhand.

Q38. What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?

Never skip breakfasts. There is no easy way to learn of its consequences.

Q39. What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

To the list of material things, I think I would add sunglasses. For the immaterial, I would say – A song on my lips, a bounce in my walk, a story to tell and a story to find. :)

Q40. Your favorite gadget?

I’m not into gadgets at all. Is phone a gadget? ;)
It is a gadget alright Mita! So now we know mobile is your gadget of choice.. :)

Q41. If you were deserted on an island, who are the 3 famous people you would want with you?

Maybe Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Oscar Wilde – that would make for some very interesting conversations. :D

Q42. Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday and why?

Venice. It looks so romantic in pictures.

Q43. One of your favorite quotes –

Well, there are so many… The one I remember from the top of my head would be –
“In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.”

Q44. List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Not recently read, but few of my favorites are :

   


Q45. List 3 of your favorite movies?

Not in any particular order:
1. Lagaan
2. Catch me if you can
3. Jerry Maguire

Q46. An actor or a book character you have a crush on ?

I guess I’m past that stage (wait… this sounds like an oldie me). ;)

Q47. What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?

I surprised myself when I liked ‘Barfi’. I was half prepared to find it full of cliches  but it wasn't. I love watching ‘How I met your mother’ too. :)

Q48. If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters? 
All my current books have Indian Protagonists. For ‘Dead Man’s Alibi’, maybe Aamir Khan would suit Jay’s role. I like his movies.

Q49. Where can your readers stalk you?

Twitter: @MitaJainHere

Q50. One fictitious character you love and why?

Harry Potter– What’s not to love about his magical world. :)

Q51. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I post about my works on Goodreads and my blog
Q52. What are your future plans?

To write and to be read.

Q53. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Excerpt from “Dead Man’s Alibi” :

“You can call me what you want to, Rathi. But speak with respect for my mother.” Jay shoved Rathi with an unhinged force. How could he? How dare he? Rathi was much stronger, but he had not expected Jay to attack with such belligerency. He didn’t get a chance to defend and fell back on the floor. He landed with his head striking the floor.
            “I have no respect for criminals, Jayi,” Rathi screamed in pain and fury, “So even if that makes me say that both of you ...”
            “Don’t say that...” Jay too went down on knees besides Rathi, losing his patience and giving in to the madness of the moment.
            “Killed Ravi Gandhi...” Rathi spitted the words out. “I will say that. And you can’t stop me.”
            Jay made a punch out of his fist to blow Rathi’s face, but stopped a few inches away.
            “You know that she is paralyzed. You know how austere a life she lives.” Jay yelled and shook Rathi by his shoulders.
            “This man blamed your mother in his note. Didn’t he? Your mother recognized this man. Didn’t she?”
            “How could she kill Ravi Gandhi? How could she kill Ravi Gandhi?” Jay shook Rathi again, who was writhing in pain. He watched Jay with frightened eyes. Jay kept shaking Rathi as if he was possessed.
            “How could she kill Ravi Gandhi?” Jay continued in his rage, “Ravi Gandhi was my father. And he died twenty years back... Are you listening... he died twenty years back.”

 Wow that sure gave me the spooks!!
Thank you Mita for sharing your thoughts with us and making time from your busy schedule for this very engaging conversation..:)

Njkinny's World of Books wishes you all the success in your future endeavors.. :)

Buy Mita's Books:



Read my reviews of Mita's books:

Dead Man's Alibi
Meeting Miss Konni Chiwa
In Love of Honey, Money.. And My Virgin Passport




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