ROMA DUTIA – AUTHOR OF 7 TO THE OTHER SIDE
This time we have with us another talented debutante author of the industry Roma Dutia. She shared her journey with us and also about her novel 7 TO THE OTHER SIDE. Check out what she shared with us……
It a pleasure to have you on this platform of Indiacafe24.com. Our readers would surely want to have a sneak peak on your background.
Thank you so much for having me, it definitely is an honour to be featured by you. I have been following the blog and it was definitely on my to-do list to be here. So finally I can strike that off, you’re too kind to have given me this opportunity. A little background about me, I am 24, from Bombay, (I guess I’ll always insist on calling it Bombay). Born and brought up here, it’s always going to be my favourite place to be at. I completed my Masters last year, specialized in Public Relations, luckily I haven’t used the degree yet and writing came along the same time as I was completing the course. I graduated with a specialization in Advertising before that. I guess the magic of words has always caught my attention, since I started reading way back when I was 4. And not just in the way that’s required for school, I’m known to push people around to get my first pick of what book I wanted to read. I’ve gotten into too much trouble in school for this too, always had a story book under my text books. But luckily, I managed school very well and in hindsight, it wasn’t such a bad idea to read that much.
What did you think about Fiction genre and its popularity in market?
Though I read almost everything I can get my hands on, not just limiting myself to a particular genre, I, personally have always been most pulled towards fiction. Reading a book has been like a parallel dimension for me, the words on a page have transformed me in places that I have not physically been to ever and that for me is amazing to be a part of the story in a way that goes beyond just words on a page, and I guess that is the main reason why a lot of people read this genre. Popularity in the market, I wouldn’t know, though if I had to guess considering the kind of books the people around me picked up, I would have to say majority of them read fiction, no denying there’s a very great market for other content as well, but I guess fiction will always have an edge.
How writing came in your life? Any source of inspiration?
I wouldn’t be able to answer this question without saying how random it was the day I decided that this is what I wanted to do. Writing had always been something I did for myself, just poems and random paragraphs that I would write since school that no one got their hands on. I don’t even think half the people know me, know that I wrote prior to this book. But during my last year in graduation, my creative writing professor, Ms. Jayati Pandya, she chose me to be the editor of the student magazine. She’s amazing, she forced me to publish my poems in the same magazine, we needed some more content, and she asked me to write, she knew I loved to write because of the subject she taught me. And that was the first time, I was okay with other people reading my stuff, before that it was strictly academic and for myself. I guess that was the start, she was one of the first people I sent out my manuscript to as well, I’m so glad she said was proud of me. And finally recently, a friend of mine needed a story for her film making course and she asked me, she didn’t end up shooting it and that finally became the premise of my book, 7 To The Other Side. My source of inspiration is definitely the person that believed I could do this. I won’t name her, she hates it. But she was the one that told me that this distant dream I always had could potentially turn into something bigger and I’m so grateful that she was right.
What elements of Fiction genre stories fascinate you most?
As a reader, I love that fiction transcends the reader beyond the page. It literally puts me in the middle of the story, as a spectator of course, but the words on the page become so real, it’s amazing. That definitely is the element that fascinates me enough to constantly be reading a book. Now as a writer, there’s a quote that I always read and found to be not practical at all, “Be the author of your own story”, while that should be true to our own lives, more often it’s not. We cannot hope to control every single aspect of our lives though we would definitely like to. But as an author, I can, it’s pretty liberating honestly to be able to control each and every detail in a story with respect to characters. With other genres, that liberty would be lost, so I guess that’s why as of right now I guess, fiction would be the kind of content I would love to write.
Very recently your novel ” 7 to the other side ” got published. So how you are feeling ? What sort of reviews you are getting?
Words cannot do justice to how it feels to have my story being read and liked by so many people. Ironic, now that I am a write, I should be better with my words. But it won’t be enough, how much ever I try to describe what it feels like to go through the pages of something I wrote. Sometimes, when I flick through the pages, it feels strange. The reviews are great, I’m not counting my friends, they’re just being nice and telling me that they absolutely love it. But definitely, people I don’t know have read my book too and really liked it. Some of them have contacted me on Facebook, it’s very humbling, that they took the time to look me up on Facebook and spoke to me. But what I appreciate most, is people telling me the stuff that they did not like about the book, I’ve been lucky enough that it’s not been a lot of these comments, but I think it’s really important. If literally everyone liked the book, I would seriously question if it’s good.
Which character of the Novel is your favorite and why?
My favourite character to write was definitely George, surprisingly, that’s the character everyone loved the most as well. As a writer, what I loved about him, it was a bit challenging too, I did not want him to overshadow Joshua, the protagonist but still he had to always be in the loop. Be it any moment in Joshua’s life, there was always a reference to George, even if he was not physically present at them all, he did almost live through all the moments with Josh as well. And the end, without giving away much about the book, a lot of people told me that they would love to or do have a friend like George.
7) How the plot of story came to your mind – The story base is not all common – So how it happened?
Nobody believes me when I tell them this, but the fact that humans have 7 minutes of brain activity after they die was something I read on twitter. That’s usually the last thing I do before I sleep, I just scroll through my feed reading random facts and usually nothing sticks. But this stuck, I started thinking about what our brain would do in those 7 minutes, obviously there’s no scientific fact that we relive our lives, it is true that we have 7 minutes of brain activity. This seemed like a cool thing for my brain to do once I died, to just relive my life, it would be like a montage of everything I have ever done and all the people I have met and obviously the impact that they have had on me. It was still just a thought back then, and I still didn’t know that this would be the premise of my first book. A couple of days later, a friend of mine, who’s studying to be a director needed a story for her class project and it was then that I told her that this was a pretty cool concept and that if she wanted I would write this for her. She didn’t end up using it though, and luckily for me, it turned out to be the story that I would eventually publish as my debut.
How you reacted when you saw your first copy of debut Novel ?
I didn’t have a first reaction honestly, my family was around when my first books arrived and they opened it and gave one to me, I just looked at it and flipped the pages, it was unreal, the words on those pages were mine, something I sat up on so many nights and had written. I do have a picture of me holding the first copy of the book, but you can’t see my face, I couldn’t do it. So the book is covering my face and I was wearing a cap, and that’s all you can see in that picture. It’s a pretty goofy picture. I was overwhelmed when I got my contract though from the publishing house, I read it almost 10 times and just cried. It’s the most anti climatic response.
You are an amazing table tennis player – So how was your experience in this field and what as per you the future of India in this game?
Well, I wouldn’t go as to saying that I still am an amazing player, I definitely was. And I decided to pursue my education because juggling a professional sport and higher studied would get difficult. I’m just lucky that I decided to bow out of the sport while I was still at my peak, the last year that I played, I was Bombay and Maharashtra champion and 3rd in India. So it was fun, I love the sport with every last shred of me. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it has made me the person I am today, because I started playing at the age of 7, and have been ever since. The perseverance to do the things I have done since then, academically and now writing a book has all stemmed from the discipline of the sport. I hope to give back to the sport in my own way sometime because it is definitely one of the biggest parts of me, and the timing couldn’t be better that you ask this question because my own coach, he asked me to come and help him train the younger students and I have finally agreed after almost 4 years. It’s amazing to help out, it’s really fulfilling to teach and if I must say so myself, impart some of the expertise. I’m just waiting for the tournament season to start, if the kids I teach win something, I think it’ll be amazing, but more than that I want them to learn everything that the sport has taught me, and if I refer to tournaments, it is to lose graciously. I think that’s really important.
When you first realized that you have the spark of becoming an author?