Sunday, July 13, 2014

Author Interview: Anjali Bhatia: Twice Upon A Time

She has grown up in Dehradun, India, where she lives with her family. Her articles and short stories have been published in literary magazines and in newspapers. Twice Upon A Time is her first full-fledged novel. She is passionate about Nature and individual freedom. Metaphors and symbolism fascinate her, and she would love to continue writing about otherworldly reality. The three things she considers essential for happiness are trees, water and mountains.

Hi Anjali and welcome on your page on my blog! :)

Your real name and pen name?

Real name: Anjali Bhatia, and I use the same for my writing.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I grew up mostly in Army cantonments, though some of my happiest days were spent at my Nani (grandmother)’s house. I remember long summers filled with comic books and magazines, and cartoons on Sundays. We had only one TV channel then, and a lot more to keep us entertained. I am lucky to have lived in sprawling places full of greenery.

About your education

I hold a Doctoral degree in Psychology.

What career did you plan during your education days?

I was in the 8th standard when I decided to be a teacher. After that, of course, I toyed around with the idea of becoming an archaeologist, an Army officer, and a civil servant before finally deciding to become a teacher, after all!

What languages you can speak and write?

English and Hindi. I am also trying to improve my Punjabi.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My gurus.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

In general, I have had a hard time choosing between the decisions of my head and my heart. Everyone faces such conflicts. Eventually, I learned to listen to my heart for the big things and my head for the small stuff.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I would like to spend a week, not just a day, as either Rocky or Mayur. They are the hosts of a TV travel and food show. I envy them their jobs. What could be better than getting paid to travel and eat??

What is your favorite genre and why?

In books? I love the classics—Jane Austen is a burning favourite. I also like Dickens and the Brontes. I don’t have a particular reason for it. Perhaps, it is because I am one century behind the times. Perhaps, I respect the strong moral compass in their works. Apart from that, I am developing a taste for Indian literary fiction.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I have been trying to write since the age of ten! But I sat down with a focus only around four years ago. I write, because no one else writes the books I want to read.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

Some of my short stories and articles have been published in newspapers and magazines. Twice Upon A Time is my first novel to be published. The protagonist is Arpit, a bitter young man who embarks upon a seemingly impossible journey to right the seven wrongs that have shadowed his life, all in a quest to be together with Mannat, the love of his life. When he meets a mysterious woman called Nishimaya, he seems to have finally found a way to go back into his past and reverse his errors. With every mistake he corrects, he finds a corresponding change in his present life . . . but the process is less under their control than they think. There are surprises lined up for him, for Nishimaya, and for Mannat, as their lives get caught in the web of karma, dreams, memories, and destinies…

What are your forthcoming writings?

I am working on many ideas at this time; but a dystopian novel is finally taking shape.

What are your future plans?

I will continue writing fiction along with my academic pursuits.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

A lot, in terms of influences. But whether one’s work is highly derivative and autobiographical, or whether it is more detached, depends upon the author’s skills and motives. Personally, I prefer to write about things that are not closely related to my real life.

Your dream destination on Earth?


Your zodiac/ sunsign?


What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Despite being a fan of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, I managed to read The Mistress of Spices only recently. It was mesmerizing. Now I am reading River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh.

Your favorite book and why?

An Equal Music and Sister of My Heart. Why? Because they are both exquisitely written.

Your favorite food?

Punjabi and Italian. Also Mumbai’s street food.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

“Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make ye free.”

The last line of your autobiography would be…

“See you all soon….”

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