Anupama Dalmia is a multiple award winning blogger and author whose work has been published in various coveted magazines and platforms like Women’s Era, Women’s Web, Juggernaut writing platform, Momspresso, eFiction India, Youth ki Awaaz, Readomania, SheThePeople TV etc. She has won numerous short story writing contests and has been featured by Women’s Web among the top woman bloggers of India. Her debut novella ‘Aarohi’ is a best-seller on Amazon and has been garnering rave reviews by readers as well as professional reviewers. The novella has also been featured among the top 3 Indian books to read on kindle by Goodreads. She conducts creative writing classes and workshops for kids and is a professional choreographer as well. She was featured as a part of ICICI Bank’s “Fund your own worth” initiative which was a campaign to bring forth stories of inspiring women from all over India. To know more about her and her work, you can visit her author website – http://anupamadalmia.com
“Some friendships are meant to happen. On a regular day of her life, Anusha meets Aarohi in the Badminton Court of her apartment complex. There is an instant connection and over some heartfelt chats and the game of Badminton, they develop a beautiful bond of friendship soon. They meet everyday but after a week, Aarohi does not turn up at the court. What happened to Aarohi? What is in store for Anusha? Will Anusha be able to unearth the secrets which are waiting to surface or will the twists and turns lead her to a dead end?”
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
I usually get my ideas from what happens around me and that is how I got the idea of “Aarohi”, my debut novella, as well. Because suspense is a key ingredient of the book, talking much about it would give it away but I would say that through this story, I have attempted to make my readers ponder over some important questions that as a society we all must seek answers to in today’s times. It is a story about two friends and in my own life, I have been blessed with awesome friends which is what prompted me to write a story with friendship at its cornerstone.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
Well, the biggest challenge that I faced while writing this book was the deadline that was hovering over me. This story was actually written as a part of Amazon – Hindu Wordsworthy contest and I had just about two days to meet the deadline after I learned about the contest. The idea was in my head since long and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to bring it out to the world. However, I did not realize at that point that participating in this contest would actually make me an author as my focus then was only on completing the story on time. I penned almost the entire novella in just a day with my 3-year-old jumping on me half the time and without any support from an editor (in keeping with the contest guidelines). Once the book went live through Amazon KDP, it hit me that I am an author now. Hence, I always say that I am an “Author by chance” and the response that “Aarohi” has received till date has been very overwhelming.
In my life as an author, there are many challenges I face just like every author. Apart from the fact that I juggle between various roles like that of a mother, dance entrepreneur, mentor for kids, etc., what makes things more challenging is that more often than not I have a hard time believing in my capabilities as a writer. If not for my husband, I would have never started writing professionally. He was the one who motivated me to take the plunge and though I am not as hard on my writing as I used to be earlier, I am still quite critical of it and have many moments of self-doubt. So, whenever I feel that this self-doubt is getting in the way of my creativity, I read the wonderfully positive comments of readers on my blogs and stories, and that keeps me going.
What is your life mantra?
It is the age old adage – “Live life queen size”. I strongly believe in taking charge of my life because I want to be the one responsible for whatever happens in my life, good or bad. I also follow the policy of “Live and let live”. I think as a society, we all need to be inclusive and accepting and I try my best to stick to this mantra.
What is your writing process like?
Well, honestly I do not really have a process. I just follow my instincts and pen down my thoughts whenever I feel like doing it. I usually begin by getting it all out of my system and then I do a few rounds of editing till I am satisfied with the output.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
“Aarohi” is a 5k words novella and is a quick read available only as an e-book on kindle. It is a suspense drama with a message at the end which I hope reaches out to the readers. (So far, it has if I go by the reviews it has been garnering on Amazon and Goodreads). It has consistently been a part of the Amazon bestsellers chart in the “Short Stories” category.
“Aarohi” has also been listed at the number 3 spot on Goodreads list of Best Kindle Unlimited picks of 2018 for Indian readers.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
I do not think there is any formula for success but hard work, the ability to keenly observe the world around and being a voracious reader are the key qualities an author must possess according to me. I know some authors do not agree on the reading part but personally, I cannot even imagine writing without reading.
What are your plans for next book?
As I mentioned earlier, “Aarohi” happened by chance but I am sure my next novel will be a well-planned one which will go through the entire life-cycle of a book. I have a few ideas in mind and I hope I will soon start working on the manuscript. Currently, I am working on a cookery book which is being authored by my mother and myself. We have a well-established cookery website and this book is our next step to take things a notch higher in this space.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Please do not try to ape the style of a best-selling author. Write in your voice. Your natural style will be most effective and will connect the readers to your words.
Also, please be open to constructive criticism. I understand that a lot of effort goes into penning a story and it can be disheartening when someone dislikes it or criticizes it. But, unless you receive honest feedback, you cannot improve. While “Aarohi” has mostly been receiving great reviews everywhere, there are a couple of readers who haven’t liked the book as much and I am just glad that they took out time to read and review my work. I also connected online with a reader to understand what did not work for her and am very happy that she was forthright about her views. The rule is simple – if someone’s suggestion/analysis makes sense to you, incorporate it or keep it in mind for next time else thank the reader and move on gracefully.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi