This is the last interview lined up for #AuthorChatter. And we are going to end on a high, I promise!
Today we meet an award-winning writer, famous veteran blogger, four-time author, editor of a lifestyle e-zine, a columnist who has been in the literary ring since 1996 and an influential member of the Twitterati. She has been featured in Paycheck India –IIM (Ahmedabad) Project, Baggout, The Directory of Best Indian Blogs, GeekPost, Buzz Magazine, Speaking Tree (Times of India), Blogchatter, WritersMelon, Money Control, Writers Conclave and Mumbai Matters. Phew! And we’re not done yet! 🙂
This lover of literature is forever ready to take a leap into creativity, either through her writing or by colouring or by being lost in the world of music. She is an impulsive poetess and a coffee addict. She likes to travel, share ideas with like-minded people in the real as well as virtual worlds and loves to spread happiness around her. She also enjoys watching movies, sleeping and dreaming of honing her culinary skills. 😉 She will say hi back if you tweet to her @romspeaks.
I have followed Romila’s work and tweets and used to think that she has a cheat code to getting so much done in a day! I mean how does one send out dozens of tweets, participate in so many Twitter communities, write and review books, encourage other young authors, contribute to one’s blog and have time to breathe, let alone share positivity all around! I asked her how she did it and she was gracious enough to share her philosophy about time management.
Let’s meet Romila or Novemberschild (her Twitter avatar) who in this heartfelt and honest interview shares her thoughts about her latest offering ‘Midnight Musings’ a collection of 26 Haiku poems as well as what inspires her. Some great tips on offer as well to publish and market your eBook!!
1. Your book ‘Midnight Musings’ is a collection of 26 Haikus. Haiku, originally developed by Japanese poets about 400 years ago, is a short three-five-seven-line poem that uses sensory language to capture a feeling or image. Where do you find inspiration to write Haiku? What is the recipe for writing a thought-provoking haiku?
A: Poetry is an art form. It connects me with my inner self and makes it possible for me to express my innermost thoughts. For me, inspiration comes from within. It gets triggered by gazing at a raindrop sliding down the window or by the death of a loved one or how life treats me. At 2 am, staring at the stars from my window, music (read ghazals) playing in the background and notebook in my lap – that is when I write best, when the inspiration kicks in and words flow from my fingertips. The smallest matter of jotting down my thoughts on paper has always turned into something magical. I would like to mention here, the example of ‘The Solitary Reaper’. William Wordsworth wrote that poem while he was visiting a Scottish village, where he saw a beautiful maiden working as a reaper in the fields. That led to him writing one of the most well-received works of poetry. I always look at the reality around me and transform it into a beautiful piece of poetry, this is how my Haikus were born. To write a thought-provoking haiku you have to read poetry, stop for a while, and start developing your own voice on the page.
2. I like the title ‘Midnight Musings’. How did you choose this title? What was your thought behind choosing this title? Which is the favourite story from this collection?
A: I wrote all the Hakiu poems after 12 am. I write during nights. Every poem has a story behind it. It took me more than 26 nights to write them and all these nights have been special for me, this is how I came up with the title Midnight Musings. I have no specific favourite poem as all the 26 Haiku poems are very close to me.
3. You have written Haiku poems, micro poems and micro-fiction stories. Which medium do you feel that you express yourself better in?
A: Without a doubt, I feel poems are better and writing them comes naturally to me. I find fiction difficult. Poetry allows me to let out my feelings out in an abstract way such as sadness, madness or happiness. Expressing your emotions in words is a lovely experience and when it is shared and appreciated, the satisfaction blossoms. Words are so powerful – both for good and for darker emotions. I realised that there are moments when I am inspired and only writing a poem satisfies me.
4. You are very active on Twitter. You have published four books. You are a prolific blogger-writer. How do you find time to do all this? What is your secret? Are you from another planet? Well jokes aside, would you like to share your time management tips with other bloggers.
A: I tweet, I blog, I write, I edit, I take care of my house – being the eldest daughter I have many responsibilities domestically which takes lots of my time, but I have learnt the art of time management and I am glad I don’t disappoint anyone/anything. I have been told a couple of times that I am from Venus – with reference to the book title Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray. I express myself through my work, people feel, hear and understand me. I give inspiration, trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement to the people around me. I work smart, I work hard – this is my motto. Success in almost everything involves time management. It may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything that you need to accomplish, but if you want to achieve much more than others in a shorter amount of time, you must improve how you manage that time. Instead of being robotic in my approach to tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if something can be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether. Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress. It’s about clearing away space in my life to make time for people, play, and rest. Writing is a regular task for me. I have to write all the time. The amount of writing I do may seem like a lot to most people, but it’s very manageable for me because it’s habitual. I’ve made it a point to write something every day for a long time. I rarely break this routine. Because of this, my mind is in the habit of doing the work of writing. It has become quite natural and enjoyable.
5. What are you currently working on?
A: Flash fiction or Microfiction as it is called. This is my second attempt at fiction. It is a collection of tiny stories which I wrote in the early months of this year. I am re-writing some pieces and hoping to get the book out for my readers by the first week of September. Fingers crossed!
6. If you had to summarise yourself in a Haiku or in verse, how would you do it?
Writing all day long
In the nights I find solace in reading
I live on the internet
Happy, Happy life I live.
7. If you were given a choice, who you would like to be reborn as?
A: William Shakespeare, for he rose above the rest through his eternal notions and literary tongue. His work not only captured and motivated the hearts and souls of his tim but also inspired an epic movement in literature that has set a standard for writers throughout history. He was a mere mortal, but he still remains alive in the hearts of millions through his writing.
8. How do you overcome writer’s block?
A: I don’t believe in writer’s block. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write. When you get writer’s block (or any other creative block) it can be tough to get past it. There are strategies you can use to get the juices flowing. All of the strategies have one thing in common: they involve actually doing the work. Why is that? According to author Jodi Picoult, it’s because writer’s block is just another name for procrastination. Just pick up your pen and pad, get to writing.
9. Share tips on publishing and marketing your ebook.
A: Self-publishing has given lots of people the ability to write lots of books and get them out there. People need to remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Here are some tips:
- The most important thing to remember when you write a book and release it, that you are entering into a relationship with the reader and you owe it to them to provide a product that is as professional as possible. Books are not sandwiches – they are not instantly consumable things and they shouldn’t be rushed quickly. Always respect your reader and put yourself fully into every book that you write.
- Do your homework on the rules of publishing before starting out. For example about the requirements, sales, paperback expenses and promotional strategies.
- You have to pick a genre that suits you as a person and a writer. If you are a happy-go-lucky person it might not be best to write about a serial killer or vice versa.
- Books are still judged by the covers. It doesn’t have to be the best one but it definitely shouldn’t be the cheapest looking cover in the bookshelf. Make it enticing and provocative to boost click-through rates. A product’s appearance has a positive impact on consumer decision and implies superior quality.
- Getting positive reviews is really important. Pick a reviewer who is accessible and is familiar with your genre and he/she will help you improve and promote your book’s sales. Craft a short and concise pitch email where you let them know why you need their specific review and how much it will mean to you. Once you get the positive reviews, use them and repurpose them as testimonials, tweets or posts.
- Let your users know what you are all about. Your values, interests, passion, and purpose. True authenticity is what readers love, be yourself and let your audience know what you stand for to connect with them.
- Be consistent in the message you spread, be it in Social Media, blog posts, your bio, or real-life interactions. Once the content is written and published gaining awareness is essential.
10. How do you conduct research before or while writing?
A: Research is essential to most forms of writing, and with some genres like science/history, it’s impossible to start without research. Because of the more personal nature of my writing, none of my four eBooks or my upcoming one required much research. I read other poets/story writers from a lot of different genres to imbibe their style of writing. But if anytime in the future I happen to write non-fiction I am sure that would require a lot of research.
Book Blurb: Though a short book of just 26 Haiku poems, it’s an anthology of contemporary English-language Haiku incorporating a broad definition of what constitutes Haiku. The poems are based on different themes and will stay with you because of their depth and insight.
Best of luck, @romspeaks, for your eBook as well as all your future endeavours!!
Hope you enjoyed this interview. Please comment and let me know.
This interview is a part of a series conducted jointly by @anshuwrites, @priyreflects and me. I had a lot of fun carrying out virtual interviews with Arjun Gupta, Rashi Roy, Tomichan Matheikal, Varad, Saba, Kanika G, Neha Tambe, Monika Davessar, Reema D’Souza, Deepa, Namratha, Rashmi, Dr Amrita Basu, Priyanka Vermani and Surbhi. In case you haven’t caught those interviews, please do so and share your thoughts! Our aim is that each one of you finds something to take away from the honest and heartfelt experiences shared by the authors.