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...

R--ight. 



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.

12 comments:

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

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

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  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.

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

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

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  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!

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    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...

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  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...

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    1. Shower it is Shobha!

      Thank you for your wishes.

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  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...

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    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.

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