By Guntas Bedi
An avid reader tends to suffer from withdrawal symptoms post the completion of a good book. Kiran Manral; author,blogger and media consultant has contributed to the literary world by writing fiction that can move your thoughts and encourage you to face life with a pinch of humour.
Spending her childhood amidst the hustle bustle of Mumbai, Kiran was raised by her mother. She was nine when her father passed away and her mother took over the role from being a mother to a single parent. Being a ‘latchkey child’ even before the phrase latchkey child came into existence, she spent time alone at home which fuelled her interest in books and reading. She moved homes every few years because her mother was a bank employee.
“I was a reader who decided to write.”
Prior to becoming an established author, Kiran worked as a journalist for many years before she quit full time work to raise her son. She turned to blogging and through the encouragement from a couple of friends, she was convinced to make an attempt to write a book. Upon completion of three chapters of her first book, she sent her work to Deepthi Talwar at Westland who liked the first draft and asked to read the rest of it. That was the beginning of her journey as an author.
A good author can always empathize with all his or her characters and that is what Kiran loves most about her work. “I love that it gives me the freedom to live many lives while seated at my desk.” Her refreshing take on relationships and romance has managed to widen the palate of books, especially for the younger generation.
“It must be difficult to maintain that work life balance in a regular full time job, and hats off to those working moms who manage to do so. I admire them.”
Kiran switched from a full time career as journalist to being a writer after the birth of her son. Writing has given her the freedom to choose her work hours as her schedule revolves around her son’s and hence she can maintain a work life balance with ease. Even with the pressing deadlines for her book release, Kiran plans her day and allocates enough time for completion and post editing inputs from her editor.
“Failures are always with a purpose, perhaps to not make one too complacent.”
We underestimate the importance of failures in our lives and how mundane our lives could be without any challenges to keep us motivated. Kiran’s journey has been full of failures but her take on them is that life is a stepping stone from failures to failures which then eventually make the path one chooses. Failures are always with a purpose, perhaps to not make one too complacent, to make one try harder, to make one re-look at what one has been doing so far, to make one re-examine one’s priorities.
We discussed how gender bias has effects on female writers to understand Kiran’s take on them. She tells us that the most obvious ones women deal with is the assumption that women write chick lit genre of books. However she just owns it now, she writes chick-lit and she writes romance and she writes humour, and she writes non fiction, and also writes fiction. She owns them all, refuses to be bracketed! Biases are inherent, not just in the workspace but also in homes. Sometimes these are so ingrained that people don’t even realize that they are being biased, she thinks the only thing that is to be done when one comes across any kind of gender bias is to call it out, gently at first but firmly and insistently if it continues. Her advice to women who want to make a career in writing is that they should be passionate about words. That’s all. The rest will follow if you are driven enough.
Mentoring is crucial to women’s growth; Kiran’s mentors include all the bosses she has worked with, Rauf Ahmed at Asian Age, Hutokshi Doctor at what was then The Sunday Review are two who stand out because they were wonderfully tolerant of all her scatterbrained-ness. A good mentor can measure and understand the space needed to grow and explore the potential in one’s ability therefore Kiran is grateful for their presence and guidance in her professional growth.
Kiran’s personal interests include reading and the books that top the list of her preferences works of P G Wodehouse and Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. She spends quality time in the upbringing of her son and looks up to her mother for inspiration. She credits her success to the hard work of her mother who overcame so many bumps and troubles in life.
Kiran is a passionate person who has the ability to expand your thoughts manifold with just a few words. Her latest book is ‘All Aboard’ and it is already out on the market shelves, it is a romance about a girl who has been jilted at the wedding mandap and goes on a Mediterranean cruise with her aunt to take her mind off the depression. The story turns to what happens on the cruise and how love comes to her when she least expects it. ‘All aboard’ is now available at all leading stores and can be ordered online as well.
We thank Kiran for sharing her thoughts with us and we eagerly await her next publication.
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