Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Interview with author Reenita Malhotra Hora

In a conversation with Reenita Malhotra Hora, author of the book When Arya Fell Through The Fault and several others. Her book When Arya Fell Through The Fault is about the protagonist 'Arya' who is bullied in the school because of ethnic reasons and is never considered a part of the cool group. The story is about his liking towards the Indian Epic Ramayan, because of his mother, and how he lives through it. It is also about various battles that Arya, as a kid, goes through and battles to survive. To read the complete review of the book, visit Book Review : When Arya Fell Through The Fault - Reenita Malhotra Hora.

-- Interview with author Reenita Malhotra Hora --

Q: How did it feel to hold the first copy of your book “When Arya Fell Through The Fault”?
 This book was many years in the making. I had essentially written it when I lived in San Francisco but then seven years ago I moved to Hong Kong. The book was not actually published till my fifth year in Hong Kong. So when I finally got the first copy, it was a mix of relief and elation.

Q: Apart from “When Arya Fell Through The Fault” what have you written?
A: I have written seven books in total: 4 about Ayurveda – Inner Beauty, Ayurveda-The Ancient Medicine of India, Forever Young – Unleashing the Magic of Ayurveda and then The Ayurvedic Diet. I have written a book about personal finance – Money Smart – The Indian Woman's Guide to Building Wealth and then two pieces of YA fiction: Operation Mom – How I Got my Mother a Life and a Man, and When Arya Fell Through The Fault.

Q: What can we expect from you in the near future? Any books lined up?
A: Stay tuned!

Q: When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? Or you think that you were destined to write a book?
A: Oh maybe when I was nine or ten years old! I always knew it and wasn't shy about saying it back then.

Q: How was your experience of getting “When Arya Fell Through The Fault” published?
A: Definitely a nightmare! The manuscript was rejected by several publishers initially and that can be very demoralizing for an author. But my colleagues in my writing group were familiar with the story. They urged me to keep going with it and so I did. Until Om Books International finally picked it up.

Q: Tell us about, how writing is a part of your daily life?
A: I write everyday. As a journalist, I have no choice but to – that's my job. Now granted that doesn't mean I am writing fiction every day or even long form non-fiction. As a broadcast journalist, I spend a lot of my time writing scripts. But everything centers around story – at the end of the day, I spend time every single day writing stories – be it for work or for myself – fiction or non fiction.

Q: Other than writing, what else do you do professionally?
 As I mentioned, I am a journalist. I am a Reporter/Producer for Bloomberg Radio. Previous to this, I worked for Public Radio in Hong Kong. And previous to that I was... and still am... an Ayurveda Clinician. I have worked for years in wellness centers, holistic health coaching and been a consultant to several health spas around the world.

Q: Your book, “When Arya Fell Through The Fault” is around the Indian Epic Ramayana, how did the idea of making it a part of the story came to you?
A: Essentially two things happened at the time. My son, was about 4 years old and obsessed with the idea of Hanuman. He thought of Hanuman as a superhero – in the same vein as Superman and Batman. Around the time, I enrolled in a continuing education Sanskrit class at UC Berkeley. It was an effort to keep up my Sanskrit skills – for the purpose of Ayurveda actually. But in the class, we read the Sunder Kaand. I fell in love with the imagery and the description. That really got my imagination going and before long, the combination of these two life incidents sparked the ideas for this story.

Q: How did you develop the characters of the story?
A: The beauty of fiction is that it influenced by what you see around you in your real life. Well, unless you are writing science-fiction, perhaps. All of my characters contain aspects of real people. What's fun though is that as a story-teller you get to borrow traits from Person A, B or C and then combine them to develop a particular character. And then you get to send your characters to new and different lands or settings to test how they will react.

Interview with author Reenita Malhotra Hora
Interview with author Reenita Malhotra Hora
Q: By any chance, is the story of “When Arya Fell Through The Fault” inspired from some real life situation or is it complete fictional?
A: As I said, the characters are to some extent inspired by real people but the story is completely fictional.

Q: Was there a specific reason that the story was not set in India?
A: I lived in San Francisco at the time and decided to use that as my setting. And it is set in India too – that's where Ramayan land is...no?

Q: How much time did you take to complete the book, did you ever face a writer’s block? How did you come out of it?
A: No writer's block but it took about 2-3 years to get this done. There was a lot of honing and revising and honing and revising that needed to be done to get this going.

Q: Do you think if your book “When Arya Fell Through The Fault” is adapted into a movie, it will help you deliver your message to a wider audience with more ease?
 Indeed! That would be fantastic. Anyone know a movie company that might be interested?

Q: Do you read as much as you write? Which are your favorite books and authors?
A: I love reading and my pet peeve is that I do not get to read as much as I want to or on my own time! As to my favorite books and authors, Let me defer you to this link.

Q: You prefer reading e-books or the traditional paper/hard back book?
A: Definitely traditional books. I am old - fashioned and happy with it. I love technology but reading off screens is the worst possible abuse you can give to aging eyes.

Q: Two things that you like and dislike about “Indian Mythology”?
A: I love the stories – they are so rich with vivid imagery. I also love the fact that our mythology comes from household manuscripts so essentially, there are so many different versions and interpretations of the same story. As for what I dislike... only the fact that I can't lay may hands on all those household manuscripts!

Q: If you have to give one reason to our readers to get hold of your book, “When Arya Fell Through The Fault”, what would the reason be?
A: My yoga teacher puts it well – she says the only thing we have control over is our reaction to things that happen around us. And react we do.... we are quick to react but the true warrior is one who doesn't react instantly but slows down to process where he must aim his arrow. This is Arya's story... and frankly our story too. Which one of us has not gone through what Arya experiences?

Q: Any message you would want to share with our readers?
A: I hope you enjoy reading it. And I would love to hear your take – on Goodreads or Flipkart or Amazon.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?
A: Twitter is good - @reenymal or my Facebook Page Reenita Malhotra Hora.

-- End of Interview with author Reenita Malhotra Hora --
You can order a copy of the book from Amazon and Flipkart.
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