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Author Highlight: Vani Discusses her Book ‘The Recession Groom’ and Stories from her Life

It’s time for another author interview. Today with us we have Vani, she is an Indian journalist, novelist, columnist and an art curator based in Chandigarh. She took a plunge into the world of fiction writing after trying her hand in business journalism, working for leading newspapers, The Times of India and The Financial Express. Her debut rom com, The Recession Groom, was released in 2015 to widespread acclaim with top class reviews in all the newspapers of the country. She has been widely interviewed by the Indian media, both print and electronic. Her dream is to have a big library of her own, something of the sort old Bilbo Baggins had in his hobbit hole. First editions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Lord of The Rings’ are on her wish list, as are selfies with all her favourite authors.

How do you handle the success of your first novel ‘The Recession Groom’?

I am grateful for the response my first novel received. It makes me want to work harder on my next book.

Did you ever feel that the title ‘The Recession Groom’ is a well-planned title? How did it occur to your mind?

I was in London, walking to my bus stop for work when I came upon the title of my novel, The Recession Groom. It suited me pretty well considering as I was writing the story of a young IT professional from India across the period of global credit crisis and his adventures to find his perfect partner. Interestingly, for all the two and a half years that I worked on this novel, this was the only name that ever came to my mind.

What if the story had been written from a female’s point of view?

Then the novel would have been called ‘The Recession Bride’, isn’t it? Well, writing about a girl and her adventures to find a perfect husband would have been the easiest, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. So I chose to write about a boy. Not that it was any easier. I had to work hard to understand male psyche and mannerisms. Moreover, I always thought men didn’t have to bear the burden of societal expectations, but I realized that I was completely wrong there. That’s what prompted me to write the story from the perspective of an Indian boy who is hot on the Indian wedding market and his chances of finding happiness when he is not ‘so hot’, you see.

How will you react if Shobhaa De writes a novel on the similar topic?

I would grab a signed copy of the novel as soon as possible.

Now, tell us what’s your area of interest (genre) when it comes to writing novels? Is it general fiction or something else that you want to reveal later with the upcoming books?

When I started writing, I was in love with romance and wanted to continue writing in that space. However, the more I write, the more I realise how much I love experimenting with my craft. I would never allow myself to be defined as a romance writer because I am so much more than that.

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

Yes, I do that all the time.

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

I work from my bedroom. I wake up early and work through the day, getting up for lunch and tea breaks. That’s so convenient, right?

Did you do proper research before penning down this book or was it something based on personal life?

I have a background in Economics and Management, and clearly, writing about an IT professional, the triumphs and tribulations of his life wasn’t easy. I needed to know the terms used in the IT industry, had to understand the routines of IT professionals, how they work on projects and in groups, what are their day today challenges and how they deal with them. I read up a lot on the internet and also had help from friends and family members who are in this industry. I am so happy that the novel clicked with IT professionals. Most of them could relate to the story.

What inspired you to write this book?

Year 2008, I was in London when the global economy started moving into a recessionary phase. The newspapers were full of stories about bankruptcies, foreclosures and redundancies. What I saw around me inspired me to write this story.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

It’s been an interesting journey and I have learnt a lot at every step. Very difficult for me to highlight and talk about one lesson. Na ah!

I was working full time in London when I started writing my book. Initially, everything was a challenge, from writing a few pages every day to completing the final manuscript. Several drafts and multiple revisions later, that story is what you know as The Recession Groom.  It took me two and a half years to write the book and I had a tough time training myself to be patient. Selling my manuscript to a publisher wasn’t easy, too. As far as that goes, here’s my advice to first time writers: sometimes, it takes months, at other times, years, to find a publisher, that is. What makes it difficult, though, is your attitude. Patience helps and so does perseverance. There are multiple rejections and staying positive is the key. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the reader works well because literary agents/publishers are often looking for novels similar to what people are reading. Sustaining oneself financially during this struggle period could be a big challenge, too. And I’ve learnt all of this and much more on my journey.

However, what I also realized was that landing a publishing deal is not the end of the story. An author is the brand ambassador for his/her book and must know how to market it to prospective readers. There are several options to choose from in addition to newspapers, magazines and TV. I used Goodreads to review books and soon enough, found success as a reviewer. I have my own website called and I also write blogs for Scroll, Quint, DailyO and The Huffington Post. I have a twitter account for promoting my book (@Vani_Author) and I’m also active on Facebook, Google Plus, Youtube and Instagram. Trust me, I’ve been on a steep learning curve, but it has been rewarding all the same.

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

I wrote a commercially viable book and marketed it well.

Any best piece of writing advice from your side that we haven’t discussed?

Writing is a lonely profession. You must sit for hours at a stretch, all by yourself, writing, revising and editing your work. True passion must drive your writing, or else, you will feel suffocated. I love to write and prefer my own company over all else. If you think you are cut out for it, then go for it all guns blazing.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

No matter what my social media profile makes you believe, I am a very shy person. I have three friends. I do not mingle much and rarely go out of my house. I hate driving. I hate partying. I love tea and have several mugs of it during the day. I am addicted to fennel seeds and have copious amounts of those every month. I am an early morning person and very disciplined. I report to my writing desk at sharp 8 am and don’t get up until it is pretty late in the evening. I finish my day with a book in my hand. I am not a foodie and I can make do with plain dal-chawal every day as long as there is mango pickle to go with it.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

I have an art book coming up soon. This one is about a very popular American Armenian artist. It will be released in the United States. Moreover, it will be available at major art galleries and museums there, but I can’t talk much about it at this moment.

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