A couple of weeks ago, we had a Facebook live session with an impactful writer who has quite a wide readership. Our notion of men is usually that they are always a little distracted and not so observant of what goes on in the life of those around them. But this writer is the epitome of proving that preconceived notion otherwise. And because of this, it’s not only women who love his work because of all the emotions ranging in it, but also men. The author in question is Ravinder Singh – one who has the ability to draw the reader in and make sure that they live the lives of the characters they are reading about. His latest novel, Will You Still Love Me? contains the same levels of intrigue and identification as his earlier works.
Will You Still Love Me? – The Journey:
Ravinder Singh’s sixth book, Will You Still Love Me? is about two people from different cities who meet on a flight. While love eventually happens, obstacles are not hard to come by. Love is put to test when things go wrong and there’s no saying whether Rajveer and Lavanya’s story will have a happy ending.
“We launched Will You Still Love Me? in Dubai – the very first book to get an international launch – on 14th February. The book is a romance but it also has a plot that focuses on road safety. This year we are also celebrating the tenth year anniversary of my debut novel, I Too Had a Love Story. And now, ten years later, when I pick up a newspaper, I get to see that so many road accidents would have occurred in the past 24 hours in my city.
Which brings me to the thought process that nothing has changed in the past 10 years. Even last night, somebody’s Khushi would have taken her last breath because of some road tragedy out there, irrespective of gender, age, and religion. And that’s when I thought: Why don’t I talk about road safety in a different light altogether in my new book? My idea is that if I can change even one person to be more careful when he or she is driving on the roads, that’s my ultimate agenda. And that’s what Will You Still Love Me? talks about.”
The Impact of ‘Will You Still Love Me?’:
Authors mostly write for themselves, about the topics that are closest to their heart. But when the given topic or story hits home for a number of readers, too, that is when an author can say they are most successful. That is exactly what happened with Ravinder Singh, too.
“I’ve been getting some fabulous reviews of people telling me that they never wore helmets till now, but they would be careful enough henceforth. And that they wouldn’t use their mobile phones while driving. That’s what means success to me.”
Ravinder Singh – The Writer’s Journey:
While many authors nurture their writing dreams for a long time, there are others like Ravinder Singh who didn’t think of it in the first place.
“I’ve always maintained that I became an author by chance. And I remain so by choice. It was a blessing in disguise, though. A personal tragedy shook me a lot and I ended up writing a book. It worked well but that doesn’t mean that subsequent books are also going to work well. My writing journey has been one hell of a journey. For somebody like me who didn’t even read a single book when he started penning his first novel, it’s unbelievable to see where I have come. And now I’ve taken up reading as a hobby because I write.
But at the end of the day, when I think to myself why my books work and why people want to read them, I think the USP is the emotions that I talk about. Every author has their own USP – the style, the content, the plot, the characters that they talk about. I observe people and circumstances around me. My books are experiential in nature. While people experience emotions and do not want to come out and share those intimate emotions, I need to share that pain and grief in order to move on.
And when the people around us connect with the content, that’s where a bond between the author and the reader is created. So I really want to write about human emotions that everyday people go through. And that’s where the entire connection comes into picture.”
How Easy Is It To Get A Publisher The First Time Around?
The woe of every first-time author is getting a publisher to notice their work. While very rarely does anyone get the full attention of a publisher, most of the author population slog it out before publishers even look their way. Ravinder Singh, when asked this question, gives us an enigmatic smile before commenting on it.
“I haven’t met anyone who has said that it is easy. It is always going to be difficult. The majority of my friends who are published and bestselling authors would have similar stories of rejection. I was rejected by all publishers that I knew about back then. I think in today’s world, it is slightly easier because of digital media and the Internet coming into the picture.
When I was hunting for a publisher in 2007, there were no blogs, Instagram, and Facebook where we could write content and get our own followers. I think if I were to start today and if I am rejected by a publisher, one thing that I’m going to do is start my own digital platform where I start writing content, and make it interesting enough to get followers on it. And once I have a considerable number of followers who are willing to swear by my content, I’m going to reach out to the publisher and tell them that there are a bunch of people who read me anyhow and therefore, they should have some confidence in publishing me now. I think that would be the protocol I would follow if I were a debut novelist today.”
Ravinder Singh on Discipline and Writer’s Block:
“I’m the most undisciplined writer. I’m always late in submissions to my publishers. I at times don’t write for weeks and then suddenly I feel that I need to write because it’s been a long time since I wrote and my bank account starts emptying. We don’t get paid on the 30th of the month.
And I think people have started riding on the term writer’s block. I think that happens to every creative person. But I think we have started taking advantage of this phrase just because it exists. Writer’s block isn’t when you don’t get the idea in the moment. If you can’t place a finger on it, you can’t. Sometimes it runs for days and weeks.
My way of dealing with it is to take a break and read some other author or poetry or listen to a different song. Unless and until I find the right thing, I wouldn’t go ahead and attempt something. I would start talking about this to people close to me. I always go back to reality because there’s nothing better than reality to connect all the dots. This isn’t always possible in fiction.”
The Next Ravinder Singh Book:
“Hopefully it comes out by this year end. If that happens, this is going to be my fastest book, given that the gap between two books is less than a year. It is also a real-life story about 4 friends who appeared in my first two novels, I Too Had A Love Story and Can Love Happen Twice?”
Advice for Aspiring Authors:
“Hold on to your USP and get going about it. Also, there’s an art to storytelling. Nobody can teach it to you. You need to learn it on your own as to what people want to read. I think what storytelling is all about is when you start adding layers to the story. It shouldn’t just go boy-meets-girl -> events -> end. Great storytelling is all about what these characters talk to each other.”
Author(s): Ravinder Singh
Publisher: Penguin India
Release: February 2018
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