Hi to all the readers! I hope you are doing great and thanks for stopping by.
Today I am going to interview Manoj Jain, an author, on my blog. He has recently launched the book ‘Ramona’. I got an opportunity to interview this talent and quickly grab it. If you are not aware that I am hosting a giveaway on my blog. You can win a copy of the book ‘Ramona’ by Manoj Jain and there will be 10 winners. Enter the giveaway here.
Moving further, let me take you on the ride of question and answers, which I asked Mr. Manoj Jain for this interview. Let’s go!
When did the first thought come to your mind to be an author?
I knew as a child that I wanted to be an author. I wrote several short stories in my teens and early twenties. I have been writing poetry forever. By the time I entered the world of business, I reconciled that I would now never write a book. I lost confidence seeing the beautiful way the modern authors expressed themselves. When I was in my late 40s, my nephew suggested I write a blog. Once I started to write for the blog, my son encouraged me to elaborate on it, consequently the story grew and became my first novel.
What does actually writing a book mean to you?
Writing a book for me helps me express many things: what I have seen, what I have learnt, what I want to share, some thoughts, feelings. When I write a book, it takes a lot of energy and I become inward looking and quieter and more withdrawn. But when it comes out, it feels like one has given birth (accompanied by the post-natal
depression) I am glad I have written books- not only is it a realization of my dreams (that seems less important to me now), it has helped shape me and become myself. It is helping me to complete myself.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a child, I thought I was born to be a holy man, who would meditate in the mountains, and seek the truth (I had been fed with enough stories from Indian mythology which I enjoy to date and a heavy dosage of Amar Chitra Kathas and Chandamamas). Once I reached my teens, that notion faded away to reality, where there was an underlying worry of how I would earn a living when I grew up. I knew I wanted to work in a line that allowed me plenty of travel and meeting people. I was planning to be a part time weekend tour guide. I thought of the airline industry, hotel business.
I then thought of becoming a painter and stay in France living a bohemian life, writing, smoking, painting
But karma would have it differently: business opportunities fell in my lap and I started a garment export business which gave me the opportunity to realize all my dreams.
Imagination is the key to write a book for every author. Where does that come from?
I think imagination comes from observing and mentally storing different things, small innocuous things that happen around you that tell stories of their own. Meeting people, talking to them at length, intimately, hearing them tell their lives without judging their words helps build up a cache in the mind. Travelling, seeing different lives, different worlds helps in building situations and stories. And then living life fully, experiencing different emotions helps creating imagination.
From the lot of amazing books, you’ve written so far, which one is your favorite?
I have two children: the first is a boy (he is nineteen years old now) and a daughter (who is eighteen). When they were young , I would tell them seriously, let me tell you who my favorite child is. They would hold their breath and wait in anticipation. Then I said its easy: the first born and the last born…and they would laugh and grumble
feeling cheated with the reply.
Each book is like a child, and it would be unfair to ask me my favorite…but then I will say what I have never said before- I am partial to Balraj.
What are the key ingredients to become a successful author?
From what I have learnt, it is word of mouth that makes a book successful. Now your question is quite different – it says what are the ingredients to become a successful author- for that you need to know what is success for the person. For me, I became successful (in my own eyes) when my book was published and read and I started getting feedback. In today’s world of social media, with everyone having little time, plenty of content on twitter and Facebook, with blogs and apps, it is increasingly difficult to find success in terms of sales as an author dreams of. You need to go to basics and evaluate what success is for you.
What do you think makes a good story?
There are a few billion people in the world. Each one is different and has different tastes, likes and interests. They all have different opinions of what is an interesting story. For me, a story that involves how a person thinks, how he behaves, relationships, passion, sexuality all combine to make a good stories. If it is dark or tongue in cheek or with black humor, I enjoy it all the more.
Let’s peep into your personal life. If you don’t mind, can you tell my readers little about yourself?
I am 52 years old although I pride myself that I look younger, feel younger. I enjoy my life a lot.
I am married (24 years ago) to a wife who balances me. I tend to not have too many filters so say and do things that cross a limit- my wife helps me with this problem.
I have two children, who are my life and biggest weakness. They study out of Mumbai- to make up for their absence, I got a Golden retriever puppy (a childhood dream that materialized) who helps fill the void and lets me survive my children’s departure.
I am always struggling to lose weight- I work out and do yoga but I always seem to put on weight – I probably eat wrongly despite a wife and a sister and friends who are qualified nutritionists.
I love to smoke and I give up for a long period of time and get back on it especially when I am writing. I do not enjoy alcohol as much and drink with close friends to get drunk on special occasions
I am blessed with being part of a big family with close relationships with my sisters and their kids as well. I have many friends and they are part of my heart and life, they make life fun.
I love art, reading, theater, movies; I am not fond of watching TV or celebrity news.
I run an export company, it is a large successful company that we had started about 28 years ago. We export garments to various parts of the world and it has grown year on year. We started small, and I have been working with the same core team of Directors (who happen to be my sister and childhood best friend) since 28 years…it has been a good ride.
How is your book different from others? Why should readers pick this one?
Ramona is an interesting book…while the story deals with a woman who is deserted by her husband and her life in the nine months before they meet again. It talks of important concepts of coping (universal theories in psychology which are used for a variety of topics ranging from AIDS patients to families of people who have passed away), about Male egos and how woman have been made subjected to a lot of subtle suppression, roles that women adhere to, and self help therapy for a person to come out of everyday petty problems. The book is with a female protagonist but there are many small incidents that a reader of either sex can identify with or learn from. It’s a short novel but I daresay, an important and compelling book.
Balraj and Ramona are both on paths of self realization. Balraj needed to step out of his comfortable world (which was yet troubling him) to learn his own lessons on life culminating with the line that happiness lies in the palms of ones own hand, in the backyard of ones house. He learnt many things along the way, small lessons
but important ones.
Ramona on the other hand did not leave her house but she realized that she had shunned happiness which was there by opinions, beliefs which made her act counter-productive to events in her life and reactions to small incidents. She had to go through her session with ABCDE therapy and self-introspection to understand how she
could find happiness (in the same place that Balraj found it): it existed in her own house, under her own control. Therefore, both stories need to be read in tandem.
Some lines for my readers and your fans.
We have this one life. It goes by so fast, so make the most of it. Enjoy it, experience it, revel in it. You are never to old to get more out of it.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this author’s interview on my blog. Do leave your views in the comments below about Manoj Jain’s interview on my blog.
As always thank you so much for taking out time and reading my blog.
Always keep smiling, it makes you look beautiful!