Guess who we bumped into this week? Well as you might already have read the title of this post, there is no point bragging about it. So presenting Miss Mallika Nawal, author of national sensation I’m a Woman & I’m on Sale. Mallika is a wonderful person and an amazing writer. Let’s see what she has to share with her readers.
A lil’ about Mallika.
Name : Mallika Nawal
Book : I’m a Woman & I’m on Sale
Occupation : Professor-cum-Writer
Location : Kharagpur/Bhubaneshwar
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/iammallika
So here goes the interview session with Mallika. We hope you guys will enjoy it. Any feedback is welcome!
- So Mallika, let’s start with a small introduction of yours. Tell us something about yourself.Well…let’s see. I am basically a management professor and I have had the pleasure of teaching at some of the best institutes, namely, IIT Kharagpur, S. P. Jain Dubai and XIM Bhubaneswar. Internationally, I serve as a panelist on the WHO ‘Panel of Experts for Psycho-social Working Conditions in Developing Countries.’
- Congratulations on your first fiction book, “I am a Woman & I am on Sale”. How was your experience with it? What were your expectations? How’s the response from the readers?Thank you so much Team TAB. The experience has been truly phenomenal. My management books have been doing really well and I have several leading publishers “fighting” for me…so I always knew that I write well. But I also knew that fiction is a very different ballgame altogether. So, it feels amazing to see the book garner such fabulous response. I mean, not just from the youth; I have professors from IITs and IIMs, who’ve called or written to say how much they loved the book. So, it’s been everything that I could have possibly wished for.
- This was your first book in the fiction world. You have already published 3 books related to business, marketing or, management in short. So how was this transition from management world to fiction?The 3 books were a resounding success, both nationally and internationally. In fact, my business communication book is a prescribed textbook at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Gujrat Technological University (GTU) and other institutes and colleges. So, in a way, I got much more than I could have wished for. But then I thought – “Now what?” The answer actually came to me one night – a new adventure – a new book – a new genre. Rest, of course, is history.
- You’re currently pursuing your Ph.D in marketing at IIT Kharagpur. How do you balance these two things, education and writing? How’s your students response towards your entry to the world of fiction?Ha ha ha! It’s not easy, I can tell you that. Of course, the good news is that I am almost finished with my Ph.D. Will be submitting my thesis in the next few days. So, that’s clearly a respite. In terms of the balance, I have not found that difficult. I think that’s one of the blessings of being single. As for my students, they are my biggest support system. And they have loved the book, the plot and the characters, which feels amazing!
- Tell us something about your book. What’s the source of inspiration behind it, i.e., what inspired you to take on this journey? Why a women centric thriller?You know, I can’t stand injustice (I guess, it probably stems from the fact that my dad’s a journalist). And I have witnessed innumerable injustice meted out to women (including me, by the way). So, I wanted to write a book on feminism. But you know as well as I do, how many people will read a “book” on feminism? [Only academicians, right!] But I wanted to write a book that will reach the masses. And the two most popular genres are – love stories and thrillers. [Smiles] So, I decided to write a “mash-up” novel – and it’s everything – it’s a literary fiction, it’s a crime thriller, it’s a legal thriller, it’s a psychological thriller, it’s a love story, it’s post-modern feminism, it’s a social narrative…etc. etc. I also want to tell you that I couldn’t leave the professor in me behind, so I wanted to educate people with the book. So, whatever you read is absolutely accurate – be it the legal procedures, the tit-bits, etc. In fact, my fiction entailed more research than my Ph.D. or even my textbooks for that matter.
- Compare Maya(Protagonist of your book) and Mallika. Are there any similarities?Well, the answer to this question is a bit diabolical. When I was writing about Maya, I drew a personality sketch for her. And to be honest, it had a few qualities that I myself possess – an indomitable spirit for one. But Maya was not a simple character to create. I had to meet with several psychologists and psychiatrists to chisel Maya into reality. So, Maya is every woman you see walking on the road.
- Tell us something about your daily routine. How do you manage your day? Where does writing fit in?My daily routine is completely unpredictable. I am what you call a wildly wild woman. I only do things that I want to do and only when I want to do them. And no two days in my life are ever the same. So, as you can guess, I write when I feel like writing. Which is probably why, I give my heart away in my books. So, anyone who has any of my books is actually holding a piece of my heart.
- Besides writing, what are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?I love adventure sports, especially trekking and camping. Mountains and forests beckon me, you see. Apart from that, I love playing pool, video games, chess, etc. I also love reading and listening to music. And I have some [quote-unquote] “womanly” hobbies like cooking, knitting, embroidering, quilling, craft-work, etc. [Disclaimer: Some of these hobbies are labeled “womanly” by the society we live in. I, however, do not prescribe to such labels.]
- So we’ve heard that you are an avid reader. What’s your favorite genre in reading? Favorite author? Favorite book?Oh, how does one choose a favorite star from a galaxy of galaxies! I am crazy about books – I mean, I sleep with THEM! [Laughs] I actually have a “harem”. But if I have to, then my absolutely all-time favorite book is ‘The Far Pavilions’ by M. M. Kaye. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read it. It’s a cult-book just like ‘Gone With the Wind’. In terms of genres, I enjoy history, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and some [albeit, not all] love stories.
- Your book “I am a Woman & I am on Sale’ is part of a trilogy. Would you like to share something regarding the next two parts of this series?The next two parts are titled ‘I’m a Woman & I’m the NEMESIS’ and ‘I’m a Woman & I’m the PHOENIX’ respectively. The play of words in the title is extremely important. The 2nd part is all about ‘facing your nemesis’ and the 3rd part is about ‘rising like the phoenix’. I wish I could tell you more but since it’s a thriller and a mystery, I don’t want to spoil the fun. So, I guess I’ll keep it under wraps for now. But if you are looking for hints and clues, you can visit my official facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/WomenOnSale
- So what are your plans for life? Do you ‘plan and follow’ or just welcome life with open arms?My plans for life? Simple, I plan to “live” my life…(in every literal/metaphorical way you can think of).
- Now that you are officially an author, both in the fiction and non-fiction fields, what’s your advice for budding and emerging writers? How should they move on in this field?Oh! Wow! Advice!!! I usually don’t give “unsolicited” advice. However, since you’re soliciting it…
I am a Marketing girl. And like the 4P’s in Marketing, I also have a 4P’s framework for writers (budding and/or established): BE…
o Patient – Never be in a hurry to publish sub-standard work. Do the best job you can. So that, years from today when you are looking back at your body of work, you don’t regret the haste. Patience also helps when you’re waiting for months to hear from prospective publishers.
o Pertinent – Choose a theme that’s relevant. A theme that will resonate with the readers. That’s what great books are all about.
o Pedantic – Be painstakingly meticulous with your published work. Hire a professional editor or even request your high-school English teacher to look over your manuscript. Even if you have a grasp on the language, as a writer, there’s always a chance to miss your mistakes.
o Perfectionist – Only when you aim for perfection (in everything you do), you can be assured that you’ll come back with a ‘fair’ work.
- What are the problems faced in publishing a book? How was your experience with your publisher?You know, I have heard from writers how difficult it has been for them to publish their books, be it fiction or non-fiction. I somehow never faced that problem (thank god, for that). I think the only problem I face when publishing a book is to stick to my deadline. As for my experiences with my publishers, be it Cengage Learning or Good Times, it was absolutely fabulous. I am astounded to see the kind of faith they have in my writing and that makes me work harder. Because I don’t want to disappoint them.
- Now that you’ve entered the world of fiction books, people will compare you with other writers. What are your views on it? Will you take it as a competition?I know it’s going to sound cliché…but I don’t compete with anyone. I never have! And I write because I want to educate (and entertain). That’s how I lecture in my classes as well – it’s “edutainment”. And I truly believe, that if you speak from the heart, people will respond whole-heartedly. As for if I am ever compared with other writers, I will take it as a compliment.
- You have had interactions with TAB members. How was your experience? What are your views about ‘The Author’s Blog’?Completely amazing! I never even thought I’d find friends in the process, but I did. As for the blog, I think it’s an amazing endeavor. The reviews are unbiased and it’s a great platform for emerging writers to connect with their audiences.
So this was all from Mallika’s side. We would like to thank Mallika for managing time for this session from her busy schedule. As you all must have realized by now what an amazing person she is, go grab her book right now. We guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Keep Reading… Keep Writing.