Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids. By her writing and her spirit to excel despite all odds, Jyoti is proving an inspiration to many. Her life story has been featured in many newspapers and TV & radio shows. She was also one of the 100 women achievers invited as special guests to witness the Republic Day parade in 2016.
Indian author Jyoti’s first novel, Dream’s Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers. She chose to self publish her second novel Lemon Girl as the theme of the book gave her an urgency to see the book published as soon as possible. And also, the advancing reach of the ebooks and retail websites gave her the confidence to take this bold step.
Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. Her zest to overcome her medical problems and zeal to achieve success keeps her striving on with her endeavors to make her dreams come true.
We will talk with her about her entertaining and heart-warming love story ‘You Came Like Hope’
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
You Came Like Hope is a contemporary romance. But its story revolves around the serious theme of fake cases. The idea for this book actually emerged from a Twitter trolling attack. My second novel Lemon Girl is a feminist fiction. One of my posts about it got trolled by a group of anti-feminist Twitter influencers. All day long, they kept on hitting me with stories and news clippings to prove that women are not always the victims. It was very frustrating to be thus trolled. But it did show me that there was a problem that very few were talking about. The problem of women attacking men and their families with fake cases. In Lemon Girl, I had written about problem faced by women. In You Came Like Hope, I decided to show the other side of the story. The side where women are the aggressors.
This theme could have been turned into a very grim book. But I did not want that. So, I wove the theme into a romance. As a result, despite being based on a serious theme, the You Came Like Hope is an entertaining and heart-warming love story.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
The biggest challenge I faced while writing this book was that I kept on comparing it to my second novel Lemon Girl. Lemon Girl received very high praises from all readers and critics. As I wrote You Came Like Hope, I did not want it to be less than Lemon Girl. So, I spent a lot of time in editing and revising it. But all that hard work has paid off. You Came Like Hope is receiving excellent reviews from all.
As an author, my biggest challenge is lack of experience. Life experiences are vital for a writer’s imagination. However, due to my medical problems (Thalassemia Major), I live a very homebound life. I had to quite school after class 8th. After that, I finished all my studies through correspondence courses. I did not attend any college. And as I work from home, I do not know the office life either. So, I feel, my experience of the world is very limited. But I try to compensate it by reading a lot. I have good researching skills, so that helps.
What is your life mantra?
Never give up.
Being a patient of Thalassemia Major, I have had to overcome many roadblocks. But I know that the only way I can move forward is by trying. If I give up, that will be the end of my story. So, no matter how frustrating the path gets, I must keep walking. I must not give up.
What is your writing process like?
I don’t follow any strict plot. But I do have the ending clearly in site before I begin. Based on where I want to take my characters, I form a rough outline of their journey. Then, I form detailed plan of two or three chapters and write them out, before planning out the next couple of chapters.
I work very hard in revising and editing my books. In fact, I spend almost as much time in editing, as I spend in writing.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
You Came Like Hope uses ‘flash chapters’ to keep the Past moving parallel to the Present. These are tiny chapters, between 50 to 400 words. Instead of usual flashback, it’s through these flash chapters that the past of the hero is revealed. The rest of the story is narrated in first person by the heroine. But these flash chapters are in third person. And they are the only chapters that have titles, instead of chapter numbers.
These chapters add a unique touch to the book. Also, through these chapters, a very interesting parallel develops between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters. They make similar choices, speak similar words. But still, they are not the same.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
Diligence: Even though we may spend an entire day staring at a blank page, we do have to work very hard to bring out a good book. Envisioning the idea, forming the plan, developing the characters…all require a lot of thought and effort. So, a writer must be prepared to patiently slog at the book, before it can turn into anything worth reading.
Love of reading: I believe you have to be a good reader to be a good writer. Reading influences your language. It teaches you what works in a book and what feels boring. So, it is very important to be a good reader, if you want to be a good writer.
Observation: It is vital for a writer to have good observation power. Good observation is useful for non-fiction writers too, but it is even more important for fiction writers. It helps in bringing the characters and story to life.
What are your plans for next book?
I have written three novels so far and all three have love stories revolving around serious themes. My first novel Dream’s Sake talks about problems faced by people with physical handicaps. My second novel Lemon Girl raises a protest against the rising rape cases and victim blaming mentality. You Came Like Hope talks about fake cases filed by women. For my next book, I want to write something purely entertaining. A beautiful love story written for its own sake.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Be prepared for a lot of hard work. And, read a lot.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
“If you don’t try, you’ve already failed.”
No matter how daunting a task looks, I always try. If I manage it, I’ll gain success. If I fail, I’ll gain experience. So, I always try.