Skip to main content

Author Highlight: Priyanka Agarwal Discusses her New Book ‘PiKu & ViRu’ and Stories from her Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, we have with us Priyanka Agarwal—the author of PiKu & ViRu. Priyanka talks about her writing aspirations, the route to getting her book published, and her inclination towards contemporary fiction. Stay on while we chat with her.

Image Credit: Sonika Agarwal

Though you come from content-writing background, what motivates you to write fiction?

To be honest, I had no idea I’d ever write fiction. In fact, I remember the day eight years ago when I was updating my LinkedIn profile and I wondered how the likes of J.K. Rowling had such a vivid imagination. I still expressed a dream in my profile to write fiction, though I had no clue how that would happen. But gradually, I learned that fiction comes out of our own experiences, thoughts and feelings, which every author expresses artistically and imaginatively. Most importantly, you need to have a good story to bind all this in. When that happened with me, I didn’t think twice before penning it all down and getting serious about it.

What were your feelings after publishing this book?

More than happy, I was anxious—what would people say, what if they hated it, what if nobody read it… But the response has been largely heartening. I still have moments of stress, but then they’re important, else I wouldn’t push myself to keep going and do better.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

I’m a pukka Potterhead! I also love The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Besides, I’m a huge fan of murder mysteries, with the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner being my all-time favourite. You wouldn’t be able to put it down till the end.

Do you think writing a book from the comfort of bedroom is possible?

It is, but after a while, it can take a toll on your posture and back. Better to invest in a nice, comfortable chair with proper ergonomics, no matter which room you work in. Try going to your office as early in the morning as possible, or head to a café or co-working space.

Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or into the hills?

I don’t really have a writing zone. I usually write at home, but I prefer to people-watch for ideas. Hence, a Café Coffee Day or Starbucks is my preferred stop. Needless to say, a cup of coffee, green tea, or hot chocolate keeps me awake and energetic. Gardens and parks are great spots too.

What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell…

PiKu & ViRu is inspired by a period from my life. I was going through a dark phase two years ago when a few friends encouraged me to pen down my story in order to heal from the incident. At first, I didn’t want to write it and kept dilly-dallying. But soon, I came around to conceptualising a couple of web series. I sent them to a friend of mine for feedback, who, unknowingly and coincidentally, suggested I explore a plot similar to PiKu & ViRu. She added that she hated romantic fiction but was game to consuming something like that if I wrote it. That’s when I resolved to work on my story. I banged out a synopsis and read it aloud at an open-mike event, where it received a thunderous applause. The judge, a famous stand-up comedian, encouraged me to realise it into a full-length novel. And then there was no looking back.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?

I’d always heard about characters developing a mind of their own, but to witness that first-hand was an incredible experience. I was particularly stunned when the cheque-gifting idea in the climax came from the ViRu in my subconscious. It was never part of the original plot. At the same time, you can’t afford to let these characters run amok. As the author, you’re the driver of your story, not them.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a story writer?

Having a great, strong story in the first place that craved to find a place on paper. Without that, I would never have had the much-needed foundation. Secondly, I was fortunate to cross paths with the right people at the right time. I shudder to think what would have happened without my beta readers, editor, and younger sister, the person behind my book promotions and the cover. The list is also incomplete without the scores of authors and writers who have supported me in my journey.

Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers?

Live your life, travel and meet lots of people. Hidden in these experiences is something that will ignite a story within you that will force itself to come out. Note down anything interesting that goes on around you. Use your smartphone as your writing companion, not killer. And yes, develop a thick skin.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

That watching trailer reaction on YouTube is my guilty pleasure. (Though, I do that after seeing the film, not before.)

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

Currently, there’s nothing on paper—all in my head. A chick-lit novel set in Mumbai’s real-estate industry, perhaps. I’ll begin dumping my thoughts, starting January.

Connect with Priyanka:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Poem Summary: Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Poem by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. Short Summary: This poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore during pre-independence days, when India was a colony of the British. The underlying theme of the poem is absolute freedom; the poet wants the citizens of his country to be living in a free state. According to the poem, we see that the poet is expressing his views there should be a country, like where people live without any sort of fear and with pure dignity…they should

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year. Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay. Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, the