Praise for My Books

"Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a gifted writer of great promise. I have a gut feeling we have a new star rising in Punjab's literary horizon. She has an excellent command of English and a sly sense of humour."
- Khushwant Singh on The Long Walk Home

"An enjoyable tale of a sassy girl's headlong race up the corporate ladder."
- India Today on Earning the Laundry Stripes

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Growing a Novel

I am currently in the throes of plotting Book 3 of the Mehrunisa trilogy... 

You’d be right to pause here, tilt your head in thought, and interject - Hey! But we’ve just started to hear about Book 1...


Book 1 of the trilogy, The Taj Conspiracy, is due for release: we unveil it at the Shanghai International Literary festival 2012 on 10 March and launch it in India in April. Since I planned it as a series around an unconventional female protagonist called Mehrunisa Khosa  - a Mughal scholar and an art historian - I have spent several years in the spade work. Which means that when the work comes to you, dear reader, it is a polished product - a sophisticated thriller in a relatively unexplored genre in Indian fiction.

Book 2 is mostly written - yay! - which frees me up to begin plotting Book 3. And that’s where the “throes” I mentioned earlier come into the equation. Merriam-Webster defines said “throes” as PANG, SPASM as in death throes, throes of childbirth. Thank you Merriam, I shall take the latter.

The gestation of a book - conception and development especially in the mind - Merriam, again, is a nervy tingly itchy time for me. I find it difficult to sit, fidget a lot, pace a bit, frown, frown, frown and then hit the couch. 

I don’t know how it works for other writers but I have found that the best ideas come to me when I have invested hours tunneling after them, quit in disgust, am occupied with another activity - jogging, hiking, cooking (cooking is especially good - all those aromas tend to unlock creativity-clogging valves!) - and suddenly I am aware that THE IDEA is in there. 

It is an uncanny moment because the idea is sitting there, legs crossed, smug on a sofa with a grin on its face, as if it was always there - it just didn’t choose to show up, until now.

I don’t quibble, I don’t fight, I grab the idea and plant it in my palpably nascent new plot.

Which means I rush to grab a pen and jot it down in my notebook, or hastily tap it into Notes on my iphone/ipad, whichever is handy, or scrounge a napkin from my bag and scribble furiously. I have had ideas vaporize before - poof, like that - trust me.

In the sowing stage, I am an anxious gardener. I dig incessantly, prime the soil compulsively, weed aggressively, and plant slowly. When I had just started writing, this routine upset my disciplined MBA work ethos. I tried to make it more productive but only ended up frustrated. 

With three books behind me, I have learnt to trust this capricious, uncontrollable, self-driven Muse of mine - I follow where it leads me. 

And in time, the buds arrive.


  1. Wishing you the best for a successful launch! Ideas do come at weirdest time and place for writing:)

    1. Thanks Rahul! And yes, ideas have their own rhythm :)

  2. All the best for your book launch. A historical thriller novel, that's not explored much in Indian fiction. Eagerly looking forward for the book.

    1. Thanks Arun. It is definitely one genre that can do with more in the Indian fiction market. Cheers!

  3. good luck for the launch... :)
    I'm eagerly waiting for the book to launch in India... :)

  4. It was fascinating to be exposed to the throes of growing a novel. Do I recognize the feeling ever so faintly?

    The theme sounds both delicious and intriguing. And a trilogy promises an unhurried end. Remember, you are upping the ante!

    1. Thank you!

      A writer has to up the ante all the time. As the shayr goes, girte hain shahsawar hi maidan-e-jang mein...

  5. So true, ideas roll at the weirdest times, worse still when you are in the shower...
    Have a fantastic launch and all the best with the next, next and next...

    1. Shower it is Shobha!

      Thank you for your wishes.

  6. all the best Manreet for the launch!

    go slow Ma'm .. am yet to read the first one .. hehehehe :D

    hey i did go to landmark to buy THE LONG WALK HOME but unfortunately wasn't available .. will try some other bookstore this weekend...

    1. Thanks Rahul, and perhaps you ought to be reading faster :)

      Best bet for getting a book that was launched more than a year back would be online - Flipkart etc.