Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ten Of The Best

Popular author Nikita Singh talks about her just-released novel, 'Every Time It Rains'

By Shevlin Sebastian

One day, recently, best-selling author Nikita Singh, got a message on Facebook.

It was from a 16-year-old boy, Akash Agarwal (name changed). He said that his mum was seriously ill at a hospital in Vadodara. In fact, Akash was sleeping in the same room.

Feeling disturbed, he chanced upon one of Nikita's books, 'Like a Love Song'. “As soon as I started reading it, I could not stop,” wrote Akash. “It removed me from my present situation. I have now read all your books. It helped me cope with the stress that I am going through.”

Interestingly, the 25-year-old Nikita has already published 10 best-selling novels, with the latest one being 'Every Time It Rains', which has just been published by Harper Collins.

Asked why her books have been so popular, Nikita says, “They are very honest. The characters are real, they make mistakes, they are not perfect. And it is about life and relationships. But I always give happy endings. I am a firm believer in that. People want to feel good.”

In fact, her new novel is a continuation of 'Like a Love Song'. The earlier novel is about Maahi and her best friend Laila. But there was not enough space to develop Laila's background. So, Nikita decided to tell this story from Laila's perspective. In the earlier book, they had set up a bakery, so the action takes place in the same environment, as they are building up their business, but the other characters are new.

Nikita's stories are character-driven. “They are very real in my imagination,” she says. “Every time I write, I can see them clearly in my head. I am very close to them. I am okay with changing the plot, but not the characters.”

Nikita is also an interesting character. She seemed an unlikely person to become a writer. She was doing her B. Pharm at the Acropolis Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Indore. But when Nikita was in her third year she realised that this was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. “Writing was always at the back of my mind,” she says.

Her entire family – father, mother and older brother – are avid readers. And Nikita also read extensively from her teenage years. But, one day, when she read a poorly written novel by an Indian author, she felt that she could do better. So, she sat down to write – long-hand, in a notebook.

Within weeks, she sent a synopsis and the first two chapters to the Delhi-based Pustak Mahal publishers. In just two days, they conveyed their acceptance. And her life changed thereafter.

Meanwhile, after graduating from pharmacy, Nikita completed her masters in creative writing from The New School, New York. Today, she works as a men's fashion stylist at cloth retailer J Crew in the same city. “I am always looking for new experiences,” says the hot-shot author. 

(Sunday Magazine, The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi) 

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