After the success of her first humorous book,The Reluctant Detective, she is back with a second book.
I was happy to learn that my writer-friend, Kiran Manral, has published yet one more book “Once Upon A Crush” and it will soon hit the bookshelves. It feels good to see my friends achieve success.
I met Kiran Manral the first time at Lavasa resort. Back in 2011, we were group of 8 privileged bloggers who were invited during car rally from Mumbai to Lavasa to celebrate the women’s day. The trip to Lavasa was one of my best trips and I met lovely people there.
We met as strangers but at the end of our two-days trip, we became good friends.
Kiran Manral is very warm and affectionate woman and immediately makes the person feel as ease. During our conversations, I learnt that she founded ‘India Helps’, a volunteer network to help ‘disaster victims’ post 26/11 and has worked on long-term rehabilitation of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims and 13/7 Mumbai bomb blast victims, amongst others.
Soon after this trip, she became the part of the core founding team behind CSAAM and Violence Against Women Awareness Month, two very well received social media awareness initiatives across twitter and the blogosphere. She also blogs at ‘Tehelka Blogs’ on gender issues.
When I followed her on twitter, I realized that she is considered a 'social media star' by the TOI and ‘IBN Live’ named her as among the 30 interesting Indian women ‘to follow on twitter’ and among the top 10 Indian moms ‘to follow on twitter’ for 2013. Her blogs, forty-two and counting and karmickids, both are in Labnol's list of India's top blogs.
The best way to congratulate a writer friend of this caliber is to interview her.
So here goes my chat with Kiran Manral
Reading the synopsis of your book, I learn that this book is about the office romance, is it inspired from real life characters?
It is more inspired from a composite of many people I know, and have spoken with and bits and pieces of experiences around me when I was working full time. Office romances happen all the time, and it is inevitable I guess seeing that people spend time with colleagues even more than they end up spending with spouses or partners. I think there is always a conflict about whether one should take a crush in the office further or not and whether it would be unseemly, or not work out, in which case it could be rather embarrassing for both parties. Office romances are like a minefield. Anything can set them off, and they can be rather devastating.
How long did it take you to write this book?
That's a difficult one. One writes then one rewrites. And rewrites. And if you're a writer like me you're probably writing two to three different books at a time, so its very tough to say this book took so long, because one is constantly working on it off and on for at least a year or so, and then it goes out to publishers, after which one reworks bits and pieces that work or don't work, according to the feedback.
Did you ever come to a dead end and had to start all over?
I never start all over. I keep reworking what I have. Over and over again until I'm happy with what is done. Or the editor is happy with it.
Most of the young mothers that I meet today complain about time constrain in dealing with work load of the children and house, knowing you and your busy life, how do you discipline yourself to write a book?
I believe you always find time or make time to do what you want to do. If you really want to do something you will ensure you make time for it. I don't believe in writing when the muse strikes, I sit down and write out what I have to every day even if it is just 500 words. It all adds up in the end.
Do you have reader in mind while writing a book?
Depends on the kind of book, for the first book it was my friends, married women with children, suburban moms. For this one, it was single women everywhere.
Do you have moments when you notice something and say, “Ah! This should go into my book”
All the time, all the time. I take frantic little notes either in my notepad or on my phone or in the diary I always carry around with me and keep going back to them. People who know me will find snippets of things which have happened with me in my books.
Have you got the urge to get up in the middle of the night to jot down your thoughts, fearing that you might not remember in the morning?
Sadly, never. But I've woken up and pondered over my dreams which are rather fun at times.
Have you used the same style as in your first book or the approach is completely different?
It is still humour, but the voice is a little different, given the protagonists are very different, in different lifestages, in different situations.
What according to you is the difference between lust, crush and love?
A crush is a someone you are attracted to, it might or might not be a physical attraction. Normally, crushes pass within a few months, if it lasts longer than that, you might have crossed into love. Lust is purely physical attraction, very immediate. Love, that is very different. To me love is a state of mind, where everything else gets subsumed by the person one is in love with. Love can be passionate fiery, all consuming, or it could be gentle, accepting, encompassing. And love sometimes accepts the person one is in love with warts and all, accepting all their flaws, but yet continues to love the person intensely. I think we all have very different takes on what comprises love depending on our personal experience with it, but yes, when you are fuelled on love, you become omnipotent, you can do anything for the object of your adoration.
As a published author what advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Write as much as you can. And read as much as you can. That's it.
Don't wait for the muse to strike, don't be too critical of your work, don't over analyse it, don't write 'to' an audience. Write for yourself. And because you must write. That should work.
I enjoyed my chat with Kiran, hope you did too.