Masters in Public Relations, National level Table Tennis player and debut author of 7 To The Other Side – in conversation with Roma Dutia.
I have just turned 24 and I’m thoroughbred Mumbai-ite. I have just completed my Masters in Public Relations from the University of Mumbai. I have also completed Bachelors of Mass Media with a distinction in the specialisation of Advertising in 2013. I worked for a couple of months in the field of music PR but then wanted to completely devote my time to my dream of becoming a successful author. I have also played Table Tennis professionally and been India No.2 in my category at the time along with being unbeaten for 6 years in my category in the district circuit. The little time that my sport did permit me to regularly go to school, I have won literary awards for extempore, story telling and debates. Even though I attended only 3 months of regular school from the allocated 9 months, I have managed to maintain above average grades all along.
About the book
7 To The Other Side is based on the scientific fact that humans have 7 minutes of brain activity after their death, though the exact process of the brain has not been established, it is my assumption that they relive their lives in these 7 minutes. The story revolves around Joshua White, who in these 7 minutes true to my assumption relives his life. During these 7 minutes he realizes that life isn’t about the monumental moments but surprisingly enough about the smaller ones that make life worth living. He relives moments as simple as just sitting with a friend or a gift he got on his birthday, and realizes that life is as simple as that. It’s a story about family, hopes, dreams, love and most importantly friendship. The thought behind the inception of this book came just from the phrase that we have 7 minutes after we die and it completely blew me away. I started thinking about all the things that I would want to see when I would be in that spot, and obviously I started thinking of my the milestones in my life but then I started thinking about the moments that got me to that place and that was more important to me. And that is exactly what 7 To The Other Side is, the moments that make Joshua White the person that he was till the day he died.
Why do you think readers will love the book?
What I think appeals most about the book, and this is exactly what the people who have read the book told is that, they resonate with the characters and the moments, everything that Joshua goes through and the people that he has in his life are the people that they have in theirs in some way or another. They necessarily are not the parents or the best friends, but the impact has been the same and that is what has been the most important facet of the book. It makes one thing about the more important things in life and not just what one has achieved, it’ll make you think about the impact you would want to leave and what your 7 minutes would consist of.
Your advice to aspiring authors
My greatest advice to everybody, I wouldn’t call them aspiring authors, because I’m still one myself, but I just want to say that START WRITING. Whoever I spoke to during the process of 7 To The Other Side, always just asked how I figured the publishing process whereas in reality I didn’t even think about it till I didn’t finish writing. Everyone thinks of writing a book and goes on to all these websites and forums and try and figure the process of getting published before they even start and that I feel blocks your writing more than anything. You always get caught up in the commercial aspect of the book rather than the art of story telling itself. So I think, everyone should just go for it, don’t think, don’t analyze.
The most important thing to become a writer is the story itself, and if you block yourself at the very beginning, the end won’t come.
Roma’s favourite books
Anyone who knows me, knows that the Harry Potter series is something that I am literally obsessed with. The series hasn’t been just a story that I read, but in some way taught me about life that I cannot put into words. It wasn’t just the story about a boy who finds out he’s a wizard but it truly has impacted an entire generation, including myself. And if I ever got the chance to meet J.K. Rowling, I just want to say Thank You!
A few words from Roma
It would be wrong for me not to talk about some of the people that have given me this opportunity that I am able to talk about my first book. First would definitely be my parents, you let me pursue my dream of becoming a writer even when everybody else got their Master’s degree and got jobs while I realized that this is what I wanted to do. And you put no pressure on me and were extremely supportive of my decision. Aditi Srivastava, exactly what I say now to other people, to just go for it, these are the exact same words you told me a year ago and this would be nothing without you. My literary agent, Mr. Suhail Mathur and the entire team at Book Bakers, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself as an author.
Author: Roma Dutia
Publisher: Locksley Hall Publishing LLP
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