Aspiring Journalist and Author Jyotsna Miskeen having a brief Q&A session with the Author of 'Breakup with a smile!',as he reveals information about his book that is slated for a Diwali 2016 release
Q.1 Tell your readers something about yourself.
First of all I would like to thank you very much for having me here. I would also like to thank all the readers who have given me immense love and support.
I am just a normal guy. An average teen to be precise. I bunk classes, and am struggling to pass high school. I love reading books and am a BATMAN fanboy. I love music, and Arijit Singh and The Weeknd are my favourites. Akshay and Aamir in movies, and Durjoy Datta and Chetan Bhagat in books.
Q.2 What would a regular day sound for you?
A2. Waking up at four, going for morning classes, returning back, going to school and then evening classes. It’s hectic. Seriously, sometimes I just want a break from everything. Even after such a busy schedule, I manage to write something (poem or a shayari) and post it on Instagram if I feel it is worth it. There is only one special part of the day which I won’t call boring. And I won’t tell you which part it is (Coughs heavily)
Q.3 When did you start writing?
A3. It started in eighth standard. One day, my English teacher insulted me heavily. I was the loafer type of boy of my class (still am). I used to disturb everyone; though I managed to answer each and every question. There was a chapter in our English book about the famous scientist ‘Madame Marie Curie’ and there was a word in the chapter ‘Oh lala’. Dirty Picture of Vidya Balan had just hit the theatres and all I did was just pointed the word to my friend sitting next to me. To my horror, he let out a horrific and a hysteric laugh. When questioned by the teacher, he took my name in defense. I was called out, slapped tight and made to stand for two consecutive periods/classes. The teacher termed me as ‘Good for nothing’ and also quoted an example that if I would ever get kidnapped, the ugly and useless person I am, my parents would need not worry as the kidnapper would hand me back with some money instead. Everyone laughed at me and I laughed with them too. She had a personal grudge with me, I guess. Once, when I brought a picture of my childhood to school and when every girl of our class went gaga over it terming it as ‘super cute’ and ‘aww’, she said ‘tomorrow bring your diapers to school, okay?’ It broke my patience, I went to home, locked myself and cried. I felt useless and helpless. This is when I wrote the first short story of my life named ‘Friendship’. It was a story of two friends who are in search of their third, set in the backdrop of 9/11 attacks. The next day, I took a print out of the story and took it to school. I made everyone read it and to my surprise, everyone loved it. I went quietly to her desk, took out the ten page print out from my pocket and slammed it right on her table saying ‘I wrote it’. I went back to my desk and from her expressions, she felt helpless and guilty. She never said a word to me again and neither did I. Two years later, I was assigned the editorial job of the school magazine. I started writing poems for my friends. My mind worked way too fast, more than I had ever expected as I churned poems in a minute or two. I kept writing and writing, and today, I am here for this interview, thanks to you again.
Q.4 What inspires you to write?
A4. I started writing a book called ‘The Man Who Had Everything’. It was another friendship story, a genre I had been writing since the beginning. Two years after I started it, I was only able to write thirty pages. Mere, thirty, pages. Not because I had no time or because I was busy with studies, but because I was short of ideas. I had no inspiration. Though I was writing poerty and shayaries, a novel was something I thought I would never accomplish. I had to abandon that idea and after a few unfortunate events of my life, I started writing a new one. In four months, I had a full 294 pages book ready. In just four months. The inspiration was only one. ‘Love’. Yes. I had been observing around me and life had also put me in some really weird situations which gave me a lot of inspiration to write about. The beauty of the person you write about is the biggest inspiration ever. I was fortunate enough that the person I was writing about is beautiful. Or should I say, the most beautiful.
Q.5Your debut novel, Breakup With a Smile, is going to hit stores soon. To begin with, could you tell those who don’t know a little about the book?
A5. ‘Breakup With a Smile!’ is a young adult romance book. It’s not like those ghise pite (done and dusted) clichés you’ve been reading all this time. It’s a bit different.
It’s the story of Sharief Malhotra, a teenager with a low self-esteem who craves for love. He falls in love with his best friend (since sixth standard), Mohini. He’s afraid to tell her. He fear’s she’ll even break the friendship, let alone love him back. Things go wrong and she walks out of his life. This is where Mahira Bhatt, a mysteriously beautiful creature walks in his life and saves him from falling apart. But due to certain reasons, she has to breakup with him too. The story finds the answer to a ‘Happy ending’. Will there be a happy ending? If yes, with whom, Mohini or Mahira?
I know it sounds very boring. You might be wondering ‘it’s the same!’ and ‘what’s difference between the two girls? Both of them leave him. That’s all!’ But it’s not. The story is a brief description of teenage relationships. There’s a difference between both of the girls. The former one is pretty, the latter one is beautiful. I may not be able to explain it correctly to you but if you’ll read the book, you’ll surely get to know that it’s not the same story that hits the stands every day. It’s a love story. A real one.
Q.6This is your first published book. How does it feel?
A6. I still remember it was a Friday evening and my phone buzzed. There were two notifications. One was from Dominos and the other one was an e-mail. After going through the e-mail, I called out my mom.
“Maa” I said. She came to my room and asked me why I had called her.
“Maa..Maa.. There’s buy one get one free today at Dominos”
Jokes apart, I am happy. I am way too much happy. It pleases me every time someone asks me about my book, asks when the pre order links are going to be up and what the book is all about. It was earlier available online as a free read and I had got tremendous response from it. I just hope people who haven’t read it, read it and find it interesting. I’ve put in a lot of hard work, and my heart and soul in it.
I would also like to talk about the other aspect of getting published at this age. People now expect me to behave a little sophisticated. My relatives now want to talk to me and know about the whole process. Kids, come to me or write to me that they want to become like me. They look up to me. My haters now tell their friends how they know me. Some people believe I have become egoistic. Well, I am not egoistic. I wasn’t much social earlier. I am still not much social. The only difference is that now I have a tag on my shoulder that reads ‘Published Author’ which fools people into believing that I have achieved something in my life or behave ignorantly. I don’t and I apologize to those who think I am egoistic.
Q.7Describe the route to your first novel being published.
A7. After I wrote half of the book and there was good response from people or the online community, I thought about publishing.
I mailed about seven publishers. I was very selective with the publishers as it was not the kind of material every publisher desires to publish.
It took me about 3 months for the replies to come.
Out of five, I admit two had rejected me. One for my script not being approved by a literary agent and the other because they didn’t find it ‘worth it’.
The rest five asked for money.
Now this is where it dawned me. I had not told my family that I was writing a book because: 1. The theme was suitable for young-adult age groups and I thought my family would not be able to grasp the content, 2. The language was strong and 3. I didn’t want to appear as a totally Vela (Someone who has nothing to do) person. After all, when Sharma ji’s son has hardly any time to go for a movie, how would Malhotra ji react when he would find his son has written a whole god damn novel?
By the time it was finished, one random day I took this topic up. To be safe and sure, I used my friend’s name.
“Dad, my friend has written a novel and he wants to get published but the publishers are asking for money. What should he do?”
The response was thunderous.
“He should tell his parents about it. They’ll surely be proud of him and will be willing to pay. After all, your friends are the one who are going to write books. You’ll just end up reading them.”
I stood from the sofa, went into my room, unplugged my laptop, opened the BWS file which showed only after clicking some three folders and went to him. I gave him the laptop and said “See”.
He scrolled through the large document and asked, “Your friend has written this?”
“No. I have” I said.
Then I discussed all the mails I had got and the money thing. Finally, we settled on Gyan Books. Established in 1984, its one of the oldest in Delhi. I signed the contract, approved the cover and the final copy, and now it’s about to release in a few days, near Diwali 2016. Fingers crossed.
Q.8 What is your next plan of action? Are you planning on writing a sequel or another novel?
A8. After I uploaded the last chapter of my book online, my email was probably full of texts with subject ‘WATTPAD’. Everyone who read it was deeply amazed. People wrote that they could relate to it, it was deep and romantic. They wanted a sequel. They wanted to know what happens next. And the place where the first book ends, it makes a large set up for the next book. So, Yes, there is going to be a sequel. The sequel will showcase the college life and the hurdles which both of them get in before getting married. Characters will return from the first book and trust me, the story will be really awesome. But right now, I am all focused on the release of my first book and my studies. I am in 12th standard and I can’t let my studies suffer. It would take me more time to write than the previous one but I assure my readers, it would be worth the wait. Moreover, I am writing another book side by side. It’s a modern day fairy tale. I hope readers would love it too.
Q.9 Do you have any advice for other aspiring novelists?
A9. The only advice I would give to other aspiring novelists is please, don’t rush your book. I admit I rushed with some parts of my book and it then took me two months more in order to frame the final draft that would be fit for publishing or printing. I had to rewrite some parts, tone down some and even eliminate some parts of my book. Write what’s true, be creative and don’t write to impress. People nowadays have started writing to impress. Writing is solely creativity and creativity ends the day when you start writing to impress someone. Let your emotions impress them, not your words.
Q.10 Who all would you like to acknowledge for the success of this novel?
A10. First of all, I would like to thank my family. They have been tremendously supporting throughout my whole journey of writing.
Secondly, my friends. They have been really motivating for me. Everything I am today is because of them.
I would specifically like to thank you. You are really motivating, a great person and a great journalist too.
Muskan, my friend. She had helped me with some parts of the book and the book would not have been possible without her.
Her friends: Divyasha, Ridhi, Meemansa, Kanvi, Mahima, Bhavna, all of them. They have saved me my marketing budget! (Just kidding). I am really grateful to them for telling others about my book and spreading the news.
My classmates Utkarsh, Akshat, Aryan, Priyadarshan, Kumar, Musharaf. Everyone. They were the main inspirations behind some of the characters and the dark humor the book provides.
My readers on Instagram, Wattpad, everywhere for providing me unconditional love. I don’t deserve you guys, thank you and I love you all!
My ex classmates. They supported the writer in me. (Danish and Divyanshu, I love you)
My Publishers, Gyan Books and Gen Next Publishers. I would like to thank Mr Amit Garg, the director, for being highly supportive throughout the whole process and everyone who works there. Thank you for giving me the chance I needed.
In short, I would like to thank each and every person in my life. I have picked up experiences from my life and compiled it into this book. Every person counts because everyone has taught me something. Everyone has left a lesson in my life.
I would now like to thank you again, Miss Jyotsna Miskeen for having me here. You’ll really make a great journalist one day.
Save the date people, 25th October. Pre order links will be up soon. Fingers crossed. Thank You