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Author Interview: Jyoti Arora
This is the Interview of Jyoti Arora, author of Dreams Sake. She is a part of the “Authors in Talks” campaign of Cupidspeaks.com.
What prompted you to be an author or you always wanted to be one?
No, I can’t say always. Like every other person, my ambitions too have gone through a whole gamut of changes. Beginning from wanting to be a heroine to a world famous and Nobel Prize winning scientist, I have dreamt it all. However, I have always loved books. I learnt to read even before I started going to school. And I coveted books even before I learnt to read. The printed pages, covered with coloured illustrations attracted me more forcibly than chocolates. So, when I passed out of twelfth, it was an easy choice for me to pursue English Literature in my graduation course. So I took admission in English (Hons.) course from Delhi University. And that’s when the writing bug bit me, I think. As I studied Literature, the written word took new meaning for me. I started realizing that the books I so liked reading weren’t just written like that. There was a craft behind all my favourite books. And I wanted to practice that craft, to try and bring out books like the ones I loved reading. Besides, my teachers even at school had always liked my writing. So I thought I could do it. And the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that there was nothing that I wanted to do more. I wanted to create books. And I consider myself very fortunate and am very thankful to God that I could pursue my dream and make a career out of it.
How did you choose the genre and also the name?
I like reading love stories more than any other genre. So it was natural that my first novel would be about love and relationships. The inspiration for Dream’s Sake came from O.Henry’s celebrated story ‘The Gift of the Magi.’ It’s one of my favourite stories. Of course, it would be even indecent to compare my humble novel to something so great. But it’s true that while I wrote Dream’s Sake, it was my constant endeavour to bring it as close to the emotions and intensity of this story as possible.
As for selecting the name, well, I tried out several titles. But when the book was finally ready, ‘Dream’s Sake’ seemed most suitable title for it. My novel has two love stories running simultaneously. And the main conflict in both of them arises from dreams of someone. And characters of both the stories are forced to pay a heavy price for these dreams. Some recover from this struggle, some don’t. So Dream’s Sake seemed like a perfect title. It was suggested by the first four lines of poem ‘Mirage’ by Christina Rossetti. These four lines (The hope I dreamed of was a dream, Was but a dream; and now I wake, Exceeding comfortless and worn and old, For a dream’s sake) serve as the introductory verse of my novel.
Any future projects that you are working on right now?
Yes, I have started planning for my next novel. I hope and plan to make my second book a happy and positive love story.
Publishing of Dream’s Sake has been a great learning experience. With the reviews I’m getting, I now am better aware of what I’m good at and what I need to improve. I also now have a better idea of what readers enjoy and what they don’t like. I hope and feel that all this would help me in developing a better and more widely accepted book next time. The reception of Dream’s Sake has been good so far, but one always has scope for improvement.
What should an author keep in mind while writing down a novel?
Ah, there are so many things. I think, you can divide them in three categories: the market requirements, the book’s requirements and the writer’s requirements. Every author, hoping to develop a successful book, must keep in mind the market scenario and the current trend. This is one major lesson that I have learnt. These days, the trend favours smaller books. With Dream’s Sake, I did the mistake of making it too long. As a result, I had to cut it down to almost half, which was heart breaking, really. And then, the book’s requirements are most important of all. A good story, believable characters, balanced plot, interesting and natural dialogues. You weaken any one of these in the book, and the book would fail to please the reader. But in the end, an author cannot write what he or she cannot write. Every book takes birth from the author’s soul. It will never work if the writer stifles his or her feelings, ideas, views and opinions just to write for the market. It will never work because the author would never be able to nourish it with as much love as it needs.
Any advice for budding Author?
Yes, be prepared for a lot of hard work. Writing a book is hard work, revising it is harder and getting it published and accepted by public is the hardest of all. I know, these days, writers are churning out books in a matter of two or three months. But such works can never have the depth and sincerity that can make them rise above the bulk.
And be prepared to go on despite frustrations. If it’s an author’s life you have chosen, then you are going to face many of those.
Your favorite book that you have read?
I actually have two favourite lists when it comes to books. One for books that I admire, and the other for books that I love. The list of ‘books that I admire’ is topped by books like Gone With The Wind, War And Peace etc. I consider them great works. I totally worshipped them as I read them. But they are so daunting that I probably would never read them again. The second list is ‘books that I love.’ It’s topped by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and even includes books by Enid Blyton. These are books that I enjoy reading, books that make me smile, and books that I often reach out to whenever I need cheering up.
Your inspiration behind writing?
My own dreams, I think. Ever since I was in graduation, I have not dreamt of anything else. The dream of being a known novelist stayed with me as I did Post Graduation in English Literature and then in Applied Psychology. Even when I was studying Psychology, I knew I would never use it any other way but to enhance the characters and situations in my books. Every novel I read, I wondered if I would ever have my own novel in my hand too. It made me very restless at times. Well, it still does, because this is just the beginning. I am a big time dreamer, and I have a long way to go before I reach the destination I have dreamt up for myself.
How are critics Important?
Critics are very important for every person seeking to improve. As I said earlier too, publishing of Dream’s Sake has been a great learning experience. The reviews that Dream’s Sake got has taught me a lot about what works with the readers and what doesn’t. It has also shown me my strengths and weaknesses. Of course, one must be aware that tastes wary and not everyone likes the same thing. But I’m lucky to have got some very judicious reviews for my book. While they made me more confident of my skill as a writer, they have also taught me a lot. I just hope I would remember these lessons when I work on my next book.