I’d love to be the Queen from Alice in Wonderland: Kiran Manral
With three books — The Reluctant Detective, Once Upon A Crush and All Aboard — to her credit, and two more — Karmic Kids expected by the month-end and The Face At The Window later this year — Kiran Manral is on a roll. Apart from churning out chick-lits, she juggles her time between being a mother and handling NGO India Helps.
What are your all-time favourite books?
There are many books I call comfort books that I keep going back to. Any book by PG Wodehouse, The Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien, Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Great Gatsby, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome and many more.
Which writer influences you the most?
PG Wodehouse. He is God to me. The principle of ‘all is well that ends well’ is evident in all his books. I love the characters of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster and the 1920s era where there is nothing wrong with the world.
If you could ask just one question to a writer, what would it be?
I am curious to learn from fiction writers how they know when to end a story. When do you stop writing? Especially, when you are writing organically and not following a structured plot.
If you were a fictional character, who would you be? Why?
The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. There are many people I’d like to say, “Off with his head!” to.
Given a choice, what would you prefer to be — a commercial success or a literary success?
Both. Commercial success is important because it ensures my bread and butter. I view literary success as the ability to make the reader smile or identify with a character. For instance, I have had middle-class women tell me that they can relate to the protagonist in my first novel, The Reluctant Detective, about a housewife who turns investigator because of her curious nature.
Do you follow a particular routine while writing?
I have a desk in my husband’s office, where I report to at 8.30am and stay on till 2.30pm. I believe in writing something everyday. To avoid getting distracted, I switch off the phone. I tweet, make calls and access the internet only during coffee breaks. For All Aboard, I first wrote the synopsis, then the chapters and then fleshed out the whole plot. However, with The Face At The Window, the words just flowed out of me.
What inspired you to write your latest book, All Aboard?
All Board is solely about romance and has not a hint of humour. It has the protagonist going on a cruise to get over a heartbreak. In that it is similar to the recent movies Dil Dhadakne Do and Queen, but I assure you the movies were not the inspiration. It was after bouncing off ideas with Vashali Mathur, my editor at Penguin, that we settled on a plot involving a person not looking for love but forced to encounter it in a contained space from which there was no escape.
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