All Aboard, Lets get on the cruise

Kiran Manral:

A review of All Aboard on Manjulika Pramod’s blog.

Originally posted on PENDOWN:

Before I picked my boots and started visiting places in real, it was always books which took me to places far and near. I have always loved to travel and see the world through words and imagination. Yes, it is fun to be virtually transported to amazing places that may not be possible for everyone to visit.  Well, only books give you that privilege to rejoice without expenses and tickets and live some romance too….

Lets get talking around the new book ‘All Aboard’ that takes you riding on the waves…

All ABoard, Kiran Manral, Penguin Books

View original 616 more words

On Swati Rais blog

The Insider caught up with the author on Rom-coms and as a kindered spirit, talked about straddling the print and the blog world!
Read On!
How would you describe your writing style- love and romance a big part of it for sure?
I think my writing style is something that I don’t really think about too much, I just write. At times, I can be pretty convoluted to read, I tend to run off into very long sentences and very obscure references that few might get and in this particular book, I’ve tried to rectify that.
You are a blogger as well as a print media writer- your tips to the ones who are traversing both these worlds?
As a blogger you are free to write in the voice you wish, as a print media writer or more online media for me these days than print to be honest, there is the need to retain a more formal tone of voice and to pay attention to language and detail and references. Spell check and proof read. And do your research to the best of your ability.
Something very Mills and Boonish about All Aboard- who is your target audience?
It is a romance, and that is what it is meant to be, unlike my previous two books which were more humour than any other genre. Anyone who loves reading romance would be my target audience, man or woman. This is a simple, feel good book that will leave you with a smile on your face at the end of it.
Is fiction your forte or is a non-fiction something that you aren’t interested in?
Well, my next book is non-fiction, a collection of parenting anecdotes from my blog, (now closed) called Karmickids. It is being published by Hay House and should be out soon.
Given that one has been a feature writer for most of one’s life, I think non-fiction is my forte and fiction is what I dabble in, to be honest.
Your future plans?
I don’t have any plans, to be very honest. I’m just too disorganised to have any plan. I just take life as it comes and do work that interests me. That is all my plan is. And thus far it has worked for me.
Want to know how she manages work from home/ attic in her husband’s office? Read my print feature!
Read the original here

Guest Post of the week: Nut bolts of poetry by Sambit Dash

Nuts and Bolts of Poetry Writing

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found its words” – Robert Frost.

How not poetic is the title, that reads puts nuts and bolts, those steel, heavy, lusterless, dabbled in black grease things with something as beauteous, as soft, as sophisticated, as classy a thing like poetry! Well, if we separate the bulk of poetry that is written for self consumption, or say consumption of those unsuspecting roommates or the doe-eyed lover, what remains is pieces of art that have nuts and bolts which work together, with an intent, towards producing ‘good poetry’.

For most of us introduction to poetry occurs in elementary school. Some loved them others did not. I loved poetry. The ability to say so many things, having multiple layers of narratives, in only a few words, often craftily used, intrigued me. Then the rhyming of those words, more often than not in those poems in the school textbook added to the lyrical beauty. A few lines had the power to take you from the uniform riddled classroom with wooden benches and desks to just about anywhere and transform the mood to just about anything. And it was that power of poetry that was alluring.

And that ushering into the world of poetry was a lovely experience for regulators (ICSE, CBSE, etc) did a good job recommending books that had Eliot to Keats to Tagore to Ezekiel. And they covered nature, love, war, pain, mirth and scores of emotions.

‘On the Grasshopper and the Cricket’ by John Keats (CBSE Class 8)

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

By John Keats

The Poetry of earth is never dead:
  When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
  And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
  In summer luxury,—he has never done
  With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
    The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

But I often thought why someone would absolutely dread such a lovely form of expression. Why would someone abhor attending an English poetry class? Among many, notwithstanding few that had to do with disdain for the teacher or timing of the poetry class, the generic one I think has been the difficulty to ‘interpret’ the abstract, which however is the staple examination question.

The appreciation of poetry got lost in the curricular requirement. The curricular requirement since could be met by the innumerable ‘guide books’, did not incentivize deep thought, analysis, critical appreciation and understanding.

To the Indians Who Died in Africa

by T. S. Eliot

A man’s destination is his own village,
His own fire, and his wife’s cooking;
To sit in front of his own door at sunset
And see his grandson, and his neighbour’s grandson
Playing in the dust together.

Scarred but secure, he has many memories
Which return at the hour of conversation,
(The warm or the cool hour, according to the climate)
Of foreign men, who fought in foreign places,
Foreign to each other.

A man’s destination is not his destiny,
Every country is home to one man
And exile to another. Where a man dies bravely
At one with his destiny, that soil is his.
Let his village remember.

This was not your land, or ours: but a village in the Midlands,
And one in the Five Rivers, may have the same graveyard.
Let those who go home tell the same story of you:
Of action with a common purpose, action
None the less fruitful if neither you nor we
Know, until the judgement after death,
What is the fruit of action.

Eliot, T. S. “To the Indians Who Died in Africa.” Collected Poems 1909-1962.

‘To the Indians Who Died in Africa’ by T S Eliot (ICSE Class IX)

I dabbled with writing poetry since an early age. Few of them were assignments. Few of them were an effort in trying to impress someone or the other (assuming the other had the intellectual bent for such art form). Few were to try different forms of poetry, of which the 14-liner sonnet appealed the most. The dabbling paid dividend during my graduation years in Bangalore. In a ‘Creative Writing’ competition in the annual college fest I wrote a poem for a topic ‘Do boyfriend/girlfriend have an expiry date in today’s world?’ (that was in 2007). I bagged the first prize for it.

I was happy with my effort. However I was deeply aware of my shortcomings, which were plenty. I have always put pen to paper to write poems with a decent frequency. I have posted few on my blog (sambitspeak.blogspot.com), but that would perhaps be because it doesn’t cost a dime. What I write could well tuck itself in a diary which has a thread around to hold it not escape to the view of others.

‘Poetry Workshop by Arundhati Subramanium’. Seeing the announcement in the all-exchange-users of the university was delightful. I had to go for it, however strange the concept of a ‘workshop’ for ‘poetry’, which otherwise is so subjective, so personal, so intimate, sounded. Go I did.

Poets have that ‘aura’ of a mystic whose gaze goes beyond the threshold of the immediate into the oblivion to conjure images and words and weave them into the tapestry that is both mystical and mundane. Arundhati Subramanium was that and was not that. A day long of indulgence (safe to term it so because who spends a day to learn poetry writing who wouldn’t become a poet) had some significant takeaways.

The 5 essential features that makes a ‘good’ poem, as the acclaimed poet told the small audience, and as I remember it now, which is three weeks and a lot of non-poetic work later, and which I hope makes sense to anyone who wishes to polish their craft of poetic writing, are:

  1. Sound

“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty” – Edgar Allen Poe

How does the poem sound, what does the texture feel like, does it have a flavor,

rhythm, texture, does it impart a flavor, a taste… These are few questions one should ask while reading a poem or white writing one.

To rhyme or not to rhyme. That’s the question.

We have grown up with poems that rhyme and perhaps that has an indelible mark when we attempt to write one, often searching for pair of words like sun-fun, near dear, bake-lake, etc. It has been a late realization but perhaps rhyming is not a cornerstone in poetry writing. Also free verse is not prose with few ‘Enter’ keys.

The example of perhaps the most popular poem of all times is the one by Robert Frost. Note the rhyming there. Just brilliant.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Form of the poetry, iambic pentamer or sonnet or anything else might and ideally should come later in the stage of poetry writing. That, unless one is too smitten by a form and cannot help but think and write comfortably cocooned in it.

An example of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry (free verse).

(“With a glance of your eyes…”)

By Rabindranath Tagore

                                                      XII
With a glance of your eyes you could plunder all the wealth of songs struck from poets’ harps, fair woman!
But for their praises you have no ear; therefore do I come to praise you.
You could humble at your feet the proudest heads of all the world;
But it is your loved ones, unknown to fame, whom you choose to worship; therefore I worship you.
Your perfect arms would add glory to kingly splendor with their touch;
But you use them to sweep away the dust, and to make clean your humble home; therefore I am filled with awe.
  1. Imagery

A good poem, like what a good prose does in numerous lines, should make the reader see an image that the writer wishes to project, and only in a few lines.

The effective way of getting to do that with your poem is to follow the image. Stay with the image and follow it. Showing the reader should be the intention, not telling.

This can be inculcated by being reflective, by following a thought, by seeing through the eyes of mind the vividness of a scene.

Observe this example of a Luke Pretlusky poem. The colors have so wonderfully been attributed to other things that one can almost visualize it as one reads it.

Green Giant
There lived a green giant whose name was Sam.
His hair was the color of strawberry jam.
He had one brown and one blue eye,
And a beard the color of pumpkin pie.
His coat and pants were gay and bright,
Like a peppermint stick, all red and white.
His shoes were as brown as a chocolate drop.
His stockings were yellow as lemon pop.
His hat was the color of ginger bread
With a tall, tall feather of raspberry red.

 

While this is an example of literally adhering to the imagery as we best know it, with colors and everyday objects, a piece of poem should be able to build that image, practically of anything that is intended.

  1. Tone

A piece of poem need not be read aloud by the poet to convey its tone. The choice of words, the flow of lines should attain that; it should convey the tone to the reader. Tone gives emotional access to the reader.

A melancholic poem should sound sad, a romantic poem should sound filled with love.

Thus while writing one, one should observe the tone. It might need some effort to get the tone right. Often reading the poem after having written it, and perhaps after many rounds of reading, one can see that the tome that initially the writer thought was conveyed has changed.

In this example of a poem by Nissim Ezekiel note the tone (ah, the words ‘note-tone’). Set in the Indian Emergency era the ten-lined poem drips with sarcasm.

(Every day I’m reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
Lend me the ears.
Everything is coming –
Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.
Be patiently, brothers and sisters.

  1. Economy

Each word, as Arundhati put it in the workshop, should earn its place in the poem.

Using words to fill a piece up so that it becomes rhyming or use of words that doesn’t add value to the poem must be avoided. It is not as easy as it sounds.

A writer is compelled to believe that whatever he has written is print-worthy yet on revisiting one’s piece, on self-critiquing, one can observe that a poem can be shortened and it will still convey what one wanted to.

Here I am not talking about Haiku’s. They are a different genre and perhaps very tough ones to write. Though in the Twitter-land every other person may become a haiku writer, it is in actuality deeper than that.

The next example is of a translation (of a medieval Kannada poem) by A K Ramanujan. Notice the brevity, the economy of words.

The wombless

Know no pangs

Stepmothers

are unschooled

in kisses

And what do the whole

know of the broken?

Oh mothers

My lover-lord stabbed me.

I wring and writhe in the earth

his blade twist

broken in my flesh

How can you know me

O mothers!

 

 

Another example is by Emily Dickinson:

Surgeons must be very careful

When they take their knife!

Underneath their fine incisions

Stirs the Culprit-Life!

  1. Surprise

All that has to be said about love has been written, all about hurt has been written, and all about God has been written. So a love rhyming with dove or pain rhyming with disdain might well be predictable and juvenile. So would be anything that the reader can anticipate. While a poem is not a murder mystery, the surprise element needs to be taken care of.

The surprise could be the narrative itself, in the beginning or the end but ultimately should hinge upon saying something like it hadn’t been said before.

Another Jack Prelutsky example for depicting surprise:

My Neighbor’s Dog is Purple
My neighbor’s dog is purple,
Its eyes are large and green,
its tail is almost endless,
the longest I have seen.
My neighbor’s dog is quiet,
It does not bark one bit,
but when my neighbor’s dog is near,
I feel afraid of it.
My Neighbor’s dog looks nasty,
it has a wicked smile
before my neighbor painted it,
it was a crocodile.

I am no poet, or at least I wouldn’t call myself one, but a day long indulgence with the nuts and bolts of poetry was a unique experience. It had those essential two components – unlearning and relearning.

Disclaimer: All poetry shared above is freely available online.

The Book That Got Me Out of Monsoon Blues

The very first reader review. On Ramya Abhinand’s blog here:

What is it with love stories? You read them a 100 times, in a 100 million ways, and every time they weave a web of joy in your heart.

I sat in bed infected with the monsoon “virus”.  My throat ached and my body refused to listen to me. The dark clouds and the gloomy skies, just made me feel all the more worse. It was a miserable feeling. It just got me thinking- What are we humans really, just funny little people strutting about the universe thinking we own all of it. All it takes is microscopic little organisms and viruses to strike and push us to ground reality. The acclaimed writer Ruskin Bond (my all-time favourite) once said, “The graveyard is full of people who once thought they were indispensible.”

As I tossed and turned restlesslessly, I decided to pull out the Kindle Reader; my hubby dearie had gifted me a few months back, which till date I had never used. I was vehemently against having a gadget to “read”. Come on, the undisputed leader is always the crisp paperback, with tiny little thought for the day bookmarks. But today with the rain lashing outside and a weak body, I had to depend on Amazon.com. After a bit of surfing, I purchased my reading material. In less than a minute, Amazon digitally delivered it –

Kiran Manral’s love story All Aboard.

download (1)

I entered the world of Rhea and took a step with her, on her holiday and her relationships. The fast pace of the book kept me guessing- what was going to happen in the pages ahead?  As I travelled with Rhea, on a cruise trip, from Sicily to Rome, I felt the warm sea breeze across my face.  Aren’t books the best way to experience the world? As I clicked on the last chapter and the book came to a close, I was left with a delicate smile on my face. It was an elegantly narrated love story. And I could sure read it more number of times.

My temples seemed to ache lesser, and the gloomy skies outside didn’t seem to bother me much. That’s what a good story does to you. I was refreshed and felt myself getting out of my physical and mental sickness!!”

Thanks Ramya! Glad you enjoyed it.

Source: The Book That Got Me Out of Monsoon Blues

On Sakshi Chanana’s blog

The Romantic Symphony: In conversation with Kiran Manral

I vividly remember the day when I first met Kiran Manral amidst the beautifully dazzling hills of Kumaon at one of the Literary Retreats held at Te-Aroha. As the co-curator, I had a chance to interact with her and we had a great session about the ‘death of the author’. Clad in Pink, she would go about smiling and passionately discussing about life and literature. There is an aura of certain sublimity around her, which was easily discernible. Her humble demeanour inspite of being such a prolific writer and proactive social activist, touched me deeply.

With her new book’ All Aboard’ around the corner, I have been curious about how she manages to juggle between responsibilities of a Super-Mom and a constant writer and still excel at both. So, I requested her to share a part of her writing journey with us.

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail interview about her writing and the timeline of ‘All Aboard’:

1.How do you view the concept of Romance in your new book ‘All Aboard’?

To me, romance has always meant the point at which the love story ended, because then every romance has the hidden potentiality to become a tragedy. Seriously though, romance to me, as shown in my book All Aboard, is something that lifts one’s soul, makes one feel desired, and gives one hope there is happiness even after tragedy.

2. Who is your Muse? What motivates you as a writer?

Life itself, I guess. As a writer, I guess motivation has to come from within. Unless you are very driven to tell the stories you have to tell, it is difficult to be a writer because there is no external motivation, except perhaps for publisher deadlines.

3. What is ‘All Aboard’ all about?

All Aboard is the story of a girl who is ditched by her fiance practically days before the wedding and how she goes on a Mediterranean cruise for a change of atmosphere, and of course, because this is a romance, falls in love again.

4. Could you share with us something about your writing process?

I try to write every single day, even if it is just 500 words, even if it is just a blog post. When I am writing a book, I try to structure out the book chapter wise before hand and then work on each individual chapter until the book is done with. There is no magic trick to writing, it is just sitting down and typing day after day after day. It is also a very solitary profession, and we writers prefer it that way.

5 What are the challenges in writing chic-lit?

I don’t know. I write the books I want to write. I don’t feel there is a challenge per se in writing them whether they’re my chick-lit ones, the mom lit one, the non fiction, the romance or the supernatural. The stories tell themselves in the voices that feel the most authentic to the telling.

6. What do you think , is the purpose of your writing?

To be heard in a world that has no time to listen.

7. Which writers have influenced you/ your writing? How important it is to adhere to the tradition?

I’ve been great influenced by humorists like P G Wodehouse, Mark Twain, Jerome K Jerome, Erma Bombeck as well as classic writers like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, not to forget contemporary writers like Helen Fielding, Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro and so many more. I don’t think one needs to adhere to any tradition. All one needs to do is to tell one’s story and tell it well.

8. How is this novel different from your earlier works?

This book is pure romance. It is also set out of Mumbai, on a Mediterranean cruise. The style is also a bit different from my previous books, it is a quicker read.

9. What is the source of your characterisation?

Life around me, people around me. Such a rich font of inspiration.

10. What would be your advice to the aspiring writers?

Write everyday. Read everyday. And rewrite everything you write until you cannot rewrite it any further.

Read the original here.

All Aboard Contest

Creative-2-1 (2)

Hello dear readers!

Here’s a chance to take our relationship to the next level – would you like to go to lunch with me?

I’ve just written a love story that happens on a cruise and would love for you to tell me your amazing travel tales. All you have to do is write your story in the comment box below, along with your email address. 

The writers of the top 10 stories will be taken out to lunch with me! I’m already thrilled – eleven travellers sharing their stories over great food? Sign me up.

For those bloggers who’d like to have their readers participate in this too, do let me know if you’d like to host this widget on your blog!

Can’t wait to hear from you,
Love
Kiran

Psst: For Mumbai based participants only.

You could win a Monisha Jaising Luxe Wrap from MJ Essentials…

…when you order All Aboard from Flipkart here.

AllAboardflipkartbanner

And for those who are wondering what Luxe Wraps are, here’s a peek.

AllaboardwithMJStole

of course, all Monisha Jaising’s lovely creations can be viewed on http://www.monishajaising.com/

What I’m most enamoured of is her Cruise Collection and her Cruise bride, because, yes, All Aboard is based on a cruise.

All Aboard on Shunali Khullar Shroff’s blog.

All aboard with Kiran Manral

Posted by on August 25, 2015

1

All Aboard (Penguin India)

A mother, a blogger, a freelance writer, a twitter influencer, an author of three published books (and counting) and a dear friend, Kiran Manral is a woman of many talents. If I were to ever write a book on her I would call it ‘I don’t know how she does it’ because ever since we reconnected with each other a few years ago I have marvelled at just how quickly and successfully Kiran has authored several books ranging from a comic detective novel to books on romance to a book on parenting.

Apart from these books and her blog, she is also a hands-on, 5 am poolside mother who has managed to raise a 12-year-old swimming champion. Indeed Kiran Manral is one woman who does not believe in pausing for breath and does whatever she sets her mind to with depressing adroitness. To a time waster such as myself, her self discipline has caused a certain degree of anguish, anguish that is substantial enough to depress me but certainly not enough to get me out of my bed and on my writing desk at 6 am.

To me, what makes Kiran unique as a writer is the versatility of her pen. While most writers find their safe niche and adhere to it, Kiran has the flair and courage to attempt different genres of writing such as….humour, light romance, parenting (her next book called Karmic Kids) and also literary fiction (WIP).

The one common thread  through all of Kiran’s books is her irresistible wit delivered in a lush language and you can expect the same from All Aboard as well, although she insists she had to simplify her writing style because it is commercial fiction.

In this tete-a-tete with Kiran Manral  she shares her take on romance, humor, domesticity, the creative process and tells us how she does it.

The Manral

Q. Kiran Manral: From a funny woman to a romantic one. Share your journey with us.

Kiran:I think I was a romantic woman who became a funny woman when the romance wore off, and the toilet seat wars began. Seriously though, I’ve always been a romantic deep down, even though I wear a cynical carapace at the best of times and defy the romantic side of me to peep out. But yes, I believe in making people laugh. I also believe in everyone deserving a happy ending, after all what is romance but the place where you choose to end a love story.

 Q. As a ‘much’ married woman, is it hard to conjure up romance between single people in the context of today’s day and age?

Kiran: Actually no. Because human emotions remain the same and the need for love and validation from the object of one’s affection stay constant down the ages. Yes, the rules of the dating game have changed a fair bit, and I need to hover on social media and stalk conversations between the young uns to get an insight into how things happen these days, but apart from the convenience of messaging, and whatsapp and snapchat and all the other infinite mediums of reaching out here and now, I don’t see what really changes, except that the object of one’s affection is more accessible than in previous decades.

 Q. Your first book The Reluctant Detective was a light thriller set in Mumbai and I for one found it hilarious. Then Once upon a Crush was romantic but it was funny all the same. Is All Aboard purely romantic or can be expect humour from this one too?

Kiran:There is a wee bit of humour, yes, but All Aboard is primarily a romance.

Q. How long did it take you to write All Aboard? Tell us a bit about your writing process.

Kiran: I wrote All Aboard in a span of a few months, then it was the editing process and rewrites and the generally not so glamorous part of writing that is the backroom of writing a book that we generally don’t like to talk about. I sit at my desk every morning at 8.30 am and move butt from desk at around 1.30pm. If I am writing a book, I try to get as much as I can down in a day as I can and stop when the writing is going well and I can actually see where the characters are headed. If it is a bad writing day, I still try to put in time to get at least 500 to 1000 words down on the manuscript, these can always be edited later or completely scrapped if not worth the space they take.

Q. Did you have to simplify your writing style for this book because you are targeting a younger readership.

Kiran: My wonderful editor at Penguin, Vaishali Mathur, was very clear that this book had to be something that was comfortable reading, and I do have a tendency to get verbose and rather painful with sentences that don’t know where to stop themselves. In this book I have tried to tone down that tendency.

Q. Who are the writers who have influenced your writing style?

Kiran: I think P G Wodehouse would come first on that list, and the last and then everything in between, specific to writing style. But having said that, writers I have been influenced by range the gamut from Jerome K Jerome to Mark Twain to Haruki Murakami and Helen Fielding.

 Q. What are you reading these days?

Kiran: At the moment am re-reading Bridget Jones, Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding. I so love Bridget Jones, she’s a character after my own heart and feels like a complete soul sister.

Q. Out of all the three books that you have written, what character is most like you?

Kiran: I would say Kanan Mehra of The Reluctant Detective. Except Kanan makes a definite attempt at getting her weight down to acceptable levels so as not to be a blot on the public landscape while I am of the genus that counts sloth as one of her virtues.

Q. There is a lot more Indian writing that one is seeing today than ever before. Among the newer lot who are the Indian writers that you have read and enjoyed?

Kiran: I completely loved your book, Battle Hymn of a Bewildered Mother. I also love reading Devapriya Roy,  Parul Sharma, Anuradha Roy, Janice Pariat, Meghna Pant and so many more. I love the fact that there are so many new voices coming up, strong, assertive and confident, with stories to tell and the determination to be heard.

Q. Did you read any Mills and Boons when you were growing up? Do you still enjoy reading them? Is one ever too old for romance? Do married women need to reach out for romantic novels more frequently than single, unmarried ones?

Kiran: I did read a few Mills and Boons when I was growing up, and yes, occasionally they can be my deep dank funk palliative, though I haven’t read any in quite a while. I like the certainty of the fact that there is always a happy ending, and that there is only the need to ride along with the protagonists as they discover each other, and battle their attraction to each other or surrender helplessly to their passion, as the genre mandates.

One is never too old for romance I would think, but I daresay I now declare myself too tired and too cynical for romance. But one is never too old to read romance. About married women needing to reach out for romantic novels, more frequently than single unmarried ones, well what do I say, but that we live vicariously through the doe eyed, wasp waisted protagonists. There’s not much romance to be reheated after the baby is fed and burped and diaper changed and the husband growling like a starving lion about why there is peeli dal six days in row and such like and what is this damn stain on his brand new shirt, and what on earth is that face pack you’ve got on.

It is a safe getaway, those few hours lost inside a romance novel, which is easy on the pocket and one can dare get some catharsis from it, rather than run off with a travelling salesman for one’s thrills.

 Q. What do you think of Tinder?

Kiran: I find it most intriguing. But it also makes me paradoxically very wary. While it is wonderful to be able to connect to strangers off an app, I wonder how this redefines the dynamics of the dating equation, and what it does for self-esteem if likes haven’t been responded to with a match made.

But then that is life, I guess, you’re always setting yourself up for rejection. But this makes it relatively painless since it is offline and not a blind date where the other person suddenly gets an emergency life crisis call that mandates his or her leaving immediately.

Q. What else can one expect from you in the year to come?

Kiran: I have two more books due out this year, both are completely different genres. One is a humorous non fiction book on parenting anecdotes called Karmickids (Hay House) and the next is a darker fiction, a completely different kind of work from what I have done before from Amaryllis.

Q. What advise can you offer to budding writers?

Kiran: Write as much as you can. Read as much as you can. Pay attention to grammar. Rewrite, edit, kill your darlings and bury them in the backyard where no qualms reside.

Q. How easy was it to find a publisher the 3rd time around?

Kiran: I was lucky that the very wonderful Vaishali Mathur of Penguin Random House saw potential in this story and took this book up.

Q. What inspires you as a writer?

Kiran: Everyday life around me is the most potent source of inspiration I have, plus the daily newspaper. Nothing is more interesting than those little snippets that often get overlooked but have me wondering every single time about the back story that led to them.

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All Aboard on Writer’s Melon: Part 2

The art of etching charismatic characters in the book

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

– Somerset Maugham

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.

– Stephen King

As we promised, we are back with Words of Wisdom from a very seasoned Author, Kiran Manral. For all who have been struggling with etching quirky characters in your books, here are some gritty tips from the lady who is all set to take us on a romantic ride with her third book. 

What makes an interesting character in a book, is it the quirkiness of the character, the uniqueness or is it that the character is someone the reader can relate to? The etching of a character is a very exciting process for a writer, because simply put, you get to play God. You can mold, out of nothing, a living breathing character to populate the pages of your book, to live out his or her life and to play a part, however important or unimportant in the telling of your story.Perhaps that is why they say be nice to an author, he or she can put you into a book and have nasty things happen to you.

Seriously though, creating a character for me is always a process that is fraught with much indecision because I agonize over the smallest things, how the character will look, dress, react, food choices, motivations, childhood, influences, reading habits, and every little thing that goes into making a person a person. The character has to be visible to me in my head, clear as a person I know in the real world. Often I cheat, I make a character from an amalgamation of various character traits of people I know in the real world, and that works well too. At others I sit down with a sheet of paper and make spirals of free brainstorming circuits about the character, background, character traits and when it falls together, there’s this Aha moment in my head, when I can see the character, warts and dimples and all in my mind.

And also she tells us about her favorite character in the latest book. 

In All Aboard, my favourite character without question is Rina Maasi, the feisty aunt of the protagonist. For more about her, you would have to read the book.

Read the original here.