Author Anjali Kirpalani takes us on a roller-coaster of the past with her third book, 19 Till I Die. Set in a college, this book tells us the story of four 19-year-olds and reflects the nostalgia that the author feels about college. Anjali Kirpalani gets candid with Writers Melon in this interview and opens up about herself, her writing, and her inspirations.
Who is Anjali Kirpalani?
Anjali Kirpalani’s first book came out when she was working as an anchor/producer with the TV channel, ET Now. In the last few years, she tells us, she has been working for herself. She ran a PR/marketing consultancy and now, she works on other writing projects including screenplays for web fiction and nonfiction.
But nothing is possible without dreams. Anjali tells us about how big of an impact dreams have on her:
“I’m a dreamer. I’ve always wanted to leave a mark on the world. When I was younger I would tell my mum that when I die I don’t just want my family and friends to mourn my death; I’d like the world at large to know I’m gone! I live to travel. I want to see the whole world before I die; I’ve managed to travel a fair bit; but as every person bit by the travel bug knows; you can never have too much travel!”
Anjali Kirpalani – The Whys of Writing:
Every author knows why they write. There are a plethora of reasons, but every reason is different from the next, because every person is different from the next. Anjali Kirpalani talks about her reasons for writing and how she started doing it:
“I write because I can! On a serious note, I write because it gives me the power to create a fictional universe. Nothing parallels the feeling of satisfaction you get when you create something. I started writing poetry in school when I was about thirteen. I followed this up with short stories and freelance articles in college. Then I wrote stories and screenplays for radio dramas in South Africa in my early twenties. I always wanted to write a book someday but I thought I would end up doing that when I was much older. But then I got the idea for my first novel when I was twenty-three and there’s been no looking back since. “
The History Behind ‘19 Till I Die’:
While the story that is contained within a book is interesting, sometimes it is the story of how the story came about that is even more exciting. Be it happy, sad, or filled with anger, every backstory touches a chord within us. Anjali Kirpalani tells us about something similar that happened to her.
“I received the opportunity to be an exchange student at the University of Guelph in Canada for one semester when I was nineteen. It was one of the best experiences of my life. My first two novels were about the messy twenties but for my third novel, I wanted to go back in time. I think one’s college days are the best days of your life. You’ll never be as a carefree as you are when you’re in college. So 19 Till I Die is basically an ode to the best time of my life. In a way, I’d been carrying the story within me for ten years.”
About ’19 Till I Die’:
“19 Till I Die is about four 19-year-olds from different cities (Fiona from Delhi, Tia from Mumbai, Zaid from Durban and Rachna from Canberra) whose lives intersect when they go to study at the University of Guelph Canada. The book is about relationships – friendship, love, parental – and how we can forge connections with people even though we’re from different backgrounds. It’s a fun, dramatic, slice-of-life, millennial coming-of-age tale. Who says eighteen is the best year of your life? Sometimes it’s the year after that that can change your life forever.”
Why Read ’19 Till I Die’:
“If you’re a teenager in college, you’ll relate to the heartbreak, angst, relationship woes, social awkwardness, finding love and conflicts with parents in the book. If you’re older, the book will be nostalgic and will take you back to your college years. The relatable characters and the situations they find themselves in is what people will love about the book. “
Anjali Kirpalani and the Past:
“My first book, Never say Never is about a 25-year-old character, Nikita Kumar. She makes a list of things she’ll never do. But since life has a plan of its own, it seems like the universe is bent on ensuring that she breaks all her resolutions.
My second book, Written in the Stars is about Ananya Jhangiani. She’s the middle child in a family of overachievers. She flits from job to job unable to find the career that will grab both her attention and her heart. A debacle at work brings her career crashing to the ground and at the same time, she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is going to get hitched very soon. Ananya is distraught. An impromptu plan sends her to New York to visit her brother. There she meets the dashing Sameer, who seems to like her as much as she does him. What will this trip augur for Ananya?”
Playing Favorites with Books:
If you’re an author, there is no way you don’t have a book that you absolutely love and take inspiration from. Anjali Kirpalani here tells us about her most favorite books.
“A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is an all-time favorite. Its set in post-independence India and is a reflection on the romance, drama, politics and society in those times. It’s an absolutely engaging book. I love how you can relate to it even though it’s set in a different time.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is another favourite. Mr. Darcy is absolute perfection! I read it for the first time when I was fourteen. Since then, I’ve gone back to it numerous times. In a way, Pride and Prejudice was one of the earliest chick-lit novels because it had such a strong female protagonist and was narrated from a woman’s perspective. I love how the book depicts human nature and society so well. To the extent that, one can read it today, two hundred and five years after it was first published, and still connect with it!”
Advice to Aspiring Authors:
“Write write write! If you have an idea for a book, sit down and write. Writing takes discipline; your book will never get done if you don’t sit and write! You can worry about the editing and grammar later. First just get the plot down. That’s the most essential part.”
Author(s): Anjali Kirpalani
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Release: February 2018
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