An Interview with Ritu Lalit!

Aug 24th, 2013 | By | Category: Interviews

IWRLRitu Lalit is an author with three published books, A Bowlful of Butterflies, a coming of age story about three fast friend in school, HILAWI, a fantasy thriller, and Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way. She writes because she believes that if she wants someone to listen to what she has to say, she has to create the person.

Here she talks about her journey as a writer, and her plans about the future.

The MAG: What made you start writing? Was it something that came to you naturally, or was it a result of some external factors?
Ritu Lalit: I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, making up stories, verses etc. I wrote my first novella of 30 thousand words in longhand in registers when I was fourteen. Of course it was a controversial one featuring thinly disguised versions of my extended family and my father made me burn it and advised me to first live and then, when I was mature, write.

TM: When did you feel that you could start calling yourself a writer?
RL: I always knew I was one. Others started calling me a writer after CBSE published my short stories in their text books.

TM: How difficult was it to get published? Any interesting experiences along the journey to get published?
RL: I wrote my first book “A Bowlful of Butterflies” and sent it to Rupa & Co. They responded immediately and asked for the full manuscript. I sent it and got no response for six months. In the meanwhile, I changed, edited, added more chapters etc. to the original manuscript. They sent me an approval and I freaked, since I had no copy of the original one. So I rang them up in anxiety. Thankfully, all they said was that I could send the latest version. I did, and I got published. It was as simple as that. I guess I was lucky.

TM: After getting your first book published, was it easier to write the second book, and get it published, or was it just as difficult as the first one?
RL: It is easy for me to write. I play with genres, my first was a coming of age YA book, the second is a fantasy, the third is a murder mystery (which is still in its editing stage) and my fourth, another fantasy thriller called Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way, is out in the market. It is a part of a trilogy and I am already writing the second part.

TM: Recently there has been an increase in the number of Indian authors, but it is still not a viable career option, would you agree?
RL: I agree. I do not think I can leave my day job right now as I am not making money out of writing.

TM: You have a blog. Do you think that is good for your writing, or is that distraction?
RL: My blog is something I love, my favorite baby. It is my space, where I celebrate my life, its ups and downs, be myself, vent, laugh and play with words. It is not a distraction. I started blogging to overcome the empty nest syndrome. It was my antidote to loneliness that I experienced once my sons grew up and ceased being my companions. I made friends, became part of a community of like minded people through blogging. I am emotionally attached to it.

TM: Did the blog come first, or the books?
RL: The blog came first.

TM: Out of your three books, which is your favourite, and why?
RL: Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way is my youngest baby and therefore my favorite.

TM: Do you think writing is more about talent, or hard work and discipline?
RL: Talent just gets you to write one chapter, and I have seen amazing first chapters. Perseverance and hard work is necessary to write 60,000 or more words to build a novel.

TM: Has writing changed you as a person?
RL: Yes. Writing changes a person. It has always made me connect to myself, helps clear my mind and focus.

TM: What advice would you give to people who are trying to get their first book published?
RL: Research the publishers, if you have written a romance, approach a publisher who publishes that genre. That publisher won’t publish sci-fi or murder mysteries. Invest in an editor, so that the manuscript is readable and does not go into the slush pile of a publishing company.

TM: What are your future plans? Any book that you are working on?
RL: I am already working on three more manuscripts, one is a sequel of Chakra, the other is a very naughty book of 3 single women in their late twenties and early thirties. The third is a grim story of the politics of political unrest.

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