Alka Dimri Saklani – the person, the author
Sometimes I wonder what is better, to feel weird amid normal people or to feel normal amid weird people. I think the latter. I have worked with some crazy people, who loved art, who loved madness, who loved randomness and oh the bliss working with them. They never found me weird. Now, let me tell you why some people find me weird. There was a time I thought life is a fairy tale. Though life me jerked me out of the fairy world long back, I still dwell on imagination. Sometimes a little too long, a little too tight. I walk out of the lift when it opens without realising it is not my floor yet. Lost in my thoughts, sometimes I drive much beyond my destination. Well, I will disclose just the minor things, you don’t expect me to bare it all. Right? The craziest thing is that I am never embarrassed when imagination drifts me away from reality. After all it fuels my pen. I so love it. Well, apart from that my bio says that I pursued my MBA HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer.
Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, my roots hail from Dev Bhumi Uttarakhand. Sometimes people ask me if my writing reflects my own life. Well, my life is not that exciting. Moreover, I write from different viewpoints. I write from the hero’s viewpoint, heroine’s viewpoint and even villain’s viewpoint and it all can’t be me. (I am not suffering from multiple personality disorder. Not yet). Yes, there is a little bit of me in my every story, though which piece exactly, will still be a secret.
Why do you write?
Writing is my soul mate, an extension of my identity. There was a time I stopped writing for whatsoever reason. And I realised I was receding away from myself. The connection was so strong that a solid pull forced me back on track. If I don’t write I can’t be myself. It’s my passion. I don’t write to sell my novel, I write to connect. I write to connect with the person who reads it. There is something common between us. The words that I write and you read is the connection. At some point, we are in the same place, feeling the same thing and it delights me.
About the book ‘Beyond Secrets’
Beyond Secrets is the story of a counsellor who failed to counsel himself. It is a story of people who made wrong decisions. But then the decisions people make aren’t always their choice, sometimes it’s the only option available.
Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage. Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions. Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world. Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in ‘Aashiyana,’ the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined. One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore. They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again? Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
My favourite quote from Beyond Secrets –
‘Contentment and happiness paralyze the soul. It was through pain that I matured, I grew.’
Is there a writing schedule you work with?
I don’t have a writing schedule, but I make sure to write something whenever I can. With my two demanding kids, one of whom is a toddler always ready to jump from the table, I can’t keep a schedule. Writing needs undivided attention. So most of my writing happens when kids are sleeping. I take one step at a time, sometimes I am crawling and then sometimes I am running but I am always moving. It took me 2 years to complete “Beyond Secrets”, basically for two reasons. One factor was time and other factor was my obsession for perfection. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote every single word until I was convinced. I don’t believe in quantity, I believe in quality. With my toddler joining play group I guess I can stick to a schedule now.
Tell us more about your body of work
Beyond Secrets is my second novel. My first novel 45 Days in a Cancer Hospital, a suspense thriller, was longlisted for Crossword Books Award 2013. My poems have been published in many magazines. I am a blogger and mother of two naughty kids.
A few tips for aspiring writers
Don’t’ be afraid of writer’s block
Read as much as you can
Show, not tell
Never underestimate editing
Never fear criticism
Completing the novel is only the first part. Then comes the tougher part of publishing. Well, keep your patience. You will need a lot of it. Don’t lose hope and keep trying.
Your favourite books & authors
The list of the authors I admire is endless but Khaled Hosseini is my favourite. Kite Runner is my favourite book. There are so many layers to the story. At some point, you feel you are the protagonist struggling under the burden of guilt and then as the protagonist walks out of the misery you find the weight lifting off. That is the magic woven by the author.
Author(s): Alka Dimri Saklani
Publisher: Alka Dimri Saklani
Release: August 2017
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