Writing Guide

Hi Readers!

Today, I am going to introduce a series on my blog known as – The Writing Guide or TWG. This will cover my expertise as a writer and maybe, other experts to write and give you tips once I get to convince them to participate. If you are a writer and have tips to share, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you are as lazy as me, here is the contact detail – sucheta dot scribbles at gmail dot com

I am open to suggestions. The more the merrier.

🙂

Reader’s Nook: QA with Kritika

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Bio: Hello, everyone. I am Kritika Vashist from the blog, From the Soul to the Nib of the Pen. I am from India and an economics graduate. I am a lost soul finding a purpose and my pen is helping me in this journey.

Someone asked me once, “What would you choose; writing or reading?” My answer was, “There is no writing without reading. If you don’t stimulate your brain with some reading, how will your thoughts ever grow or how will you ever think? I will read and then I must write, for without it I feel incomplete and worthless.”

I was much surprised when Sucheta told me that she wants me to be a part of her Reader’s Nook. I haven’t been invited for something like this before, so I was excited and nervous at the same time. I want to thank her for inviting me and giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts and likes on books and reading.

We all have a different taste and perspective and that is what makes us explore more about books. My journey with books, reading and writing hasn’t been normal. They all have entered my life at odd times, yet I feel that anytime is perfect and right when it comes to reading and writing.

There are a lot of books that I haven’t read and haven’t known. Life seems too short when I think about it. However, I try to live a moment in all those books that I have and I can read. The number of books to read and to buy is quite high and I won’t mind if you add one that you think I must read. Thank you very much.


 

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
Ans: My Journey by APJ Abdul Kalam
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
2. A book that you have re-read the most
Ans: White Tiger By Arvind Adiga.
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul is that one book I have re-read while reading it for the first time.

3.Favourite authors and why
Ans: First is Rumi because as I say he is mystical. He digs deep into his soul and his words and metaphors give me Goosebumps. If one hasn’t read him yet, they must, right now or after reading this.
Second would be my true inspiration, APJ Abdul Kalam; he wasn’t a writer by profession, but I love how he manages to attract his readers with his simple yet motivational words of wisdom.

4. Genre you dislike
I don’t have a dislike for any genre. If I am enjoying reading a book, I will continue to read, even if it is a horror (because I usually avoid reading horror.)

5. Character crush

Ans: Leo from The vow

6. Character you strongly identify with

Ans: I don’t think I have come across any. However, I remember reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and a couple of lines made me go like, “Hey, that is so me!”

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

Ans: Hermione Jean Granger. Do I need to give reasons? I think Harry Potter is more about her than Harry. She is the real hero and heroine as well.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

Ans: I can read while I am travelling by a bus or train. The ideal reading environment would be silence, pen and a notepad or my phone (that has a Memo) I have a habit of writing down lines that I love or would want to read again and jotting down few notes of my own.

9. Must-have books in a collection

Ans: All that I mentioned under my favorite books.

10.Earliest memory of books and reading

Ans: I had Panchatantra, little books about fairytales, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Tom Sawyer; these are books that are still with me, safely and neatly . There are also lots of children magazine.

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

Ans: I was once reading a book completely unaware of its genre and storyline. I was experimenting with myself. The book was Valentina by Evie Blake. I was in the metro and reading it, and if my memory serves me correctly, after chapter two I realized that it was an erotica. It was weird because people were staring, and I was reading an erotic novel around 8:30 in the morning while heading to my college! I wanted to attend the lectures with all attention, so I closed that book, and never again thought of experimenting.


How about giving Reader’s Nook a try? Get in touch with me and I will feature you here 🙂

 

Reader’s Nook: QA with Michael Noss

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

About Michael: Married, four children, grew up in Idaho, currently a contractor living in Colorado, former officer in USAF, first time author who challenged myself to simply see “can I actually write a full-length novel” as part of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2013; completed a year later as part of NaNoWriMo 2014, published this past April. Originally wasn’t going to bother getting published, just have a copy for myself and my mother (avid reader who inspired a love of reading in me), but wife’s online friends begged for copies of their own so I went through CreateSpace to self-publish. Very limited sales thus far (~55), but very positive feedback from those who have read it.

My novel is a fantasy novel about a human girl who discovers she is descended from dragons. Now her draconic blood will allow her to travel to Draco Keep to help stop a war from breaking out between dragons and the rest of creation. Along the way she has to learn about her dragon heritage, but ultimately it’s her humanity which helps to save the day.

Dragon Born is available on Amazon or at dragon-born.com.

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

Ender’s Game, Armor, Starship Troopers, Magic the Gathering: Arena, Elfstones of Shannara, Time/Test/War of the Twins (trilogy), and of course Dragon Born (my novel) 😉

2. A book that you have re-read the most

Scions of Shannara.

3. Favourite authors and why

Terry Brooks and RA Salvatore. Beyond their characters, their style of writing is less like a college professor giving a one-way lecture, and more of a round-the-campfire storyteller. I modelled my own writing after their styles.

4. Genre you dislike

Mystery — it’s such a copout when the author reveals a crucial detail just pages before the end of the book to conveniently explain something which you, the reader, couldn’t possibly have known all novel long.

5. Character crush

Drizzt Do’Urden and Raistlin Majere (not romantic, just my favorite characters of all time).

6. Character you strongly identify with

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin.

7. One character you want to bring to the real world

Professor Xavier.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

Living room, late at night, single light on in house.

9. Must-have books in a collection

Trying to complete my collection of Shannara books by Terry Brooks, since I recently agreed to read his prequel series as well.

10. Earliest memory of books and reading

My grandfather worked for NASA, he once visited with some junior astronomy books when I was very young. He read them with me, all the excitement of wonder in his voice, and I was hooked on both reading and astronomy (got my degree in astrophysics).

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

I forget the title, but as a fan of both Star Trek and X-Men, I once found a novel which had the two worlds join together for an adventure. Let’s just say I think I prefer the two separate.


Found the questions interesting enough? How about you answer them? Feel free to drop me an email for the same at sucheta dot scribbles at gmail dot com.

 

SoundCloud – Be Warned, It Is Addictive

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

I tried SoundCloud for the first time today. There were so much noise about this app and I was anyway keen to try it personally. Now I know what the fuss was all about.

Ladies, Gentlemen, SoundCloud is ADDICTIVE.

Not only it lets you search for your favourite artists and bands and songs, but also gives you suggestions based on your taste in music.  I must mention that the suggestions are just so-so apt!

I am totally in love with the app.

Because I believe that too much of talking about apps spoil the fun, I leave you with some links to the SoundCloud web app (these are my faves). Give it a try please. Once. And then, it will be a point of no return 😉

One Republic – Counting Stars

American Authors – The Best Day Of My Life

Imagine Dragons – Demons

Poets Of Fall – Carnival of Rust

Agnes Obel – Riverside

Khuda Ke Liye – Bandeya Ho 

Haider – Bismil

Sanam Puri – Ishq Bulava (Unplugged version type)

7 Reasons Why ‘Buying Books’ Wins Over ‘Buying Makeup’ For Me

Nope. I am not against those who buy makeup and love it to the core. It is just that they are a different species and I am a different species. And after buying makeup with a friend, for the friend, I have come to a definite conclusion and that is – I rather invest in books than makeup. My reasons would be:

  1. Makeup has a poor shelf life. 3 years max. Books, well no such limit on them!
  2. Spending a grand on a makeup fetches you maybe a handful of products or just one product. Spending a grand on books, can fill up your entire shelf (if you purchase from sales and book fairs).
  3. You need to practice with a steady hand – how to apply makeup. No such skills are required to read a book.
  4. Can you multitask while applying makeup? I bet you can’t. Books allow you to multitask in more ways than one. 😉
  5. Makeup trends change with season and time. Books refuse to do so. That is why we have classics.
  6. You cannot inherit makeup products passed down several generations. With books, it is a possibility.
  7. Precision is a must for makeup. But books let you be an oaf.

These are my excuses of not investing in that perfect Marsala lipstick or the latest eye liner. I would rather have a rare copy of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, plop on an unshapely bean bag and start reading it nonstop.

Author Interview: Jenny Harper

Jenny CC 3 web cropped

Hello Jenny! It is nice to have you here with us. Now I know you are a retired journalist and a businesswoman. How did writing happen to you?

Hi Sucheta, thank you for hosting me today. Like many authors, I have been writing all my life. My mother must have noticed some kind of gift when I was a child, because she bought me a correspondence course, How To Be A Writer. But my love of creative writing was unexpectedly stifled when I chose to do a degree in English Literature – I could never be a Tolstoy or a George Eliot, so why even try? It took me a very long time to understand that not everyone wants to read such novels, and that I might find a ‘voice’ that today’s readers would enjoy.

You live in Scotland. Could you give us some insights on life in Scotland and the reading habits of the Scottish people?

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, that also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The population is around 5 million (compared to 60 million in England), and the land mass is almost as big as England, so the country is much less densely populated. There are reasons for this, mainly terrain and climate.

There are two large cities in Scotland, Edinburgh (the capital, where I live) and Glasgow (bigger, lively, but less historic), and six smaller ones. All are rich in history, with some fabulous buildings. The central belt is highly populated, but the rural areas can be quite desolate, especially as you travel further north (away from England!). Here, the sceneryis rugged and life can be difficult. Tourism and fishing are important, especially in the north west, while agriculture is easier in the east and further south. The scenery is amazing, particularly in the west Highlands and the islands (there are almost 800 islands off the coast). The climate is temperate, particularly in the south. In reality, this means that summers are mild (seldom hot) and winters also much milder than, say central Europe or Canada or America, where the land masses are huge – the sea that surrounds us has a mitigating effect. However, the wind can be very strong! In general, it’s a pleasant climate, with fresh and clean air.

I imagine that reading habits must be as varied as anywhere in the world. There is a proud tradition of Scottish writing – one that probably found its earliest popular voice in Sir Walter Scott’s tales of derring do. I’ve visited his house, a fabulous baronial mansion in the Scottish Borders called Abbotsford. It’s impossible not to admire his work ethic, and the amount of historical research he put in to his novels. You couldn’t just Google facts back then! He had to send off for books or borrow them, often from distant friends, then wait for days or months while they made their slow journey to his remote home. Nowadays a genre called Tartan Noir– crime fiction set in Scotland – is extremely popular. Ian Rankin is probably the best-selling novelist in this genre, though there are other notables such as Denise Mina and Val McDermid. Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle novels are hugely popular all over the world too. He has been kind enough to offer me a cover quote for my latest novel, People We Love!

You have written 15 books so far. Which one was your toughest job and which was a breeze? And why?

I started my working life as a non-fiction editor, for William Collins in Glasgow. When I turned freelance, they offered me the chance to research and write a book based on old postcards they had once published. This led to further offers, and before I knew it I had written three books on Scotland and Scottish life. Back then, I used to write longhand while a neighbour typed my work up for me! (I was working at Collins, however, when the very first computer-typeset book was published, amid huge excitement!).

The most challenging book was a history of childbirth called With Child: Birth Through the Ages. I co-wrote it with a friend, Therese Duriez, and we were so naïve we didn’t realize that we’d have to research the whole of the history of medicine before we could even start! Thankfully, it was very well received, and you can still find the odd copy on Amazon.

The easiest was a short children’s novel I wrote one evening, called The Sleeping Train. I found an agent and a publisher at once. Sadly, I didn’t make enough money back then to live on, which is why I began to turn more to journalism and the business world.

You write contemporary women’s fiction. What made you choose for this genre?

When I left business, I decided I wanted another go at writing fiction. It took me some time to ‘discover’ my voice – but I suppose, in reality, I write what I like to read. That is, well-written books (at least, I hope they are!), with vivid characters, strong plots that drive you forward, and compelling issues. Books that reflect the world about us and not some idealized version of it, and that show women as they battle the odds at home, at work and in their relationships.

If given a chance, which fictional world would you love to live in and why?

Difficult question! My favourite author is Dorothy Dunnett, a Scottish writer who, I believe, is the best historical novelist ever. Her books are set in the 15th and 16th centuries and span Scotland, England and much of Europe. Everything is there – politics, intrigue, scandal, life from court to cottage and, of course, romance. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in some of her scenes – but whether I’d want to live there is another matter. Too dangerous, too much disease, and far too smelly!

Could you elaborate about the Heartlands series? What is it all about and why should the readers add it to their shelves?

I decided to set my first novel, Face the Wind and Fly, in a fictional town, so that no-one would be able to say, ‘But that shop isn’t there,’ or tell me you have to turn third left, not fourth … The town is called Hailesbank, and it’s set just east of Edinburgh, but in a geographical context that’s recognizable. When my book finally found a publisher, they thought The Hailesbank Series didn’t sound right and asked me to come up with another. I liked the sound of The Heartlands, and post-rationalised it! Here’s a little of the explanation that appears in each book:

“The small market town of Hailesbank is born of my imagination, as are the surrounding villages of Forgie and Stoneyford and the Council housing estate known as Summerfield, which together form The Heartlands. I have placed the area, in my mind, to the east of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

“The first mention of The Heartlands was made by AgrippusCentorius in AD77, not long after the Romans began their surge north in the hopes of conquering this savage land. ‘This is a place of great beauty,’ wrote Agrippus, ‘and its wildness has clutched my heart.’ He makes several mentions thereafter of The Heartlands. There are still signs of Roman occupation in Hailesbank, which has great transport links to the south (and England) and the north, especially to Edinburgh, and its proximity to the sea and the (real) coastal town of Musselburgh made it a great place to settle. The Georgians and Victorians began to develop the small village, its clean air and glorious views, rich farming hinterland and great transport proving highly attractive.”

I should say that the first four books in the series can be read as standalones. The next one (Mistakes We Make, due for publication next year) follows on from the current one, People We Love.

Why should readers add it to their shelves? If you like a great read, with strong storylines, characters you can engage with, set in Scotland, hopefully my books are for you!

As a seasoned writer, what are some tips that you would like to share with budding writers?

Believe in yourself. This is very hard if you are being knocked back by big publishers all the time, but have faith.

Keep writing. The more you write, the better you get.

Listen to criticism. But only from writers or readers whose views you trust. Don’t be seduced by praise from family or friends!

Push yourself. Dig deeper into your characters, cut unnecessary words or scenes ruthlessly, ensure every line pushes your plot forwards – and make sure your work is professionally edited before it goes public.

 


This was all about Jenny. You can take a look at an excerpt from her latest release – People We Love – an entire chapter by clicking on this link.

Book Excerpt: People We Love by Jenny Harper

PWL_FC web

This is an excerpt from Jenny Harper’s latest release – People We Love. If you like it, please feel free to share your feedback here and with Jenny. You can also read her interview here.

Webpage       http://jennyharperauthor.co.uk/

Blog                http://jennyharperauthor.co.uk/

Amazon           Buy the book


Chapter One

Catalogue number 15: Child’s shoe. 16th-century? ‘Concealment shoe’. Found in rafters of agricultural worker’s cottage outside Hailesbank. Donors: Eric and Sheila Flint, Forgie. ‘Concealment shoes’ have been found concealed in wall cavities or among roof rafters of many old houses. They were thought to ward off evil.

When Jamie was alive, AlexaGordon wore hippy dresses in luminous colours and danced barefoot on the lawn at midnight.

When Jamie was alive, they ate drizzle cake and made scones heaped high with cream and jam.

When Jamie was alive, she had a future.

And then it all changed.

I don’t know what you thought you were doing,she saidsilently to her brother for the hundredth time, getting into that car that night. You might have accepted the risk for yourself. But you had no right at all to ruin everyone else’s lives.

She looked down at the bowl in front of her. Breakfast cereal stared back, sodden and limp. She pushed the dish away.

‘You must eat, Alexa dear,’ her mother Martha said, capturing a stray grey lock that was hanging in front of her face and twisting it round her fingers.

‘Don’t fuss, Mum,’ Lexie answered without thinking.

Martha bit her lip and hunched into herself as she pulled her tired-looking peach candlewick dressing gown closer round her thin frame.

Idiot, Lexie chided herself. It’s the anniversary of Jamie’s death. Think before speaking, today of all days.

The problem was that her mother’s tendency to fuss had become an obsession with her wellbeing. It was understandable, but sometimes hard to bear. Lexie looked down at her plate. She had barely touched the cereal.

‘It’s gone soggy,’ she said, trying to be conciliatory. ‘If I make toast, will you have some?’

Concern could run both ways.

She saw Martha’s mouth twitch at the corners. Whatever else she might be, her mother wasn’t stupid.

‘A little,’ Martha touched her hand lightly. ‘If you have time.’

Lexie stood up and cleared her plate from the table. Living at Fernhill again was both strange and stiflingly familiar. She was thirty years old and once believed she could build a career as an artist. Now all she had to remember this by was a tattoo round her thumb and hair the colour of a flamingo’s wings, plus a tendency to see everything in terms of how it might be captured on canvas.

Thanks for nothing, Jamie— 

‘Brown bread okay?’

‘Fine. Thank you.’

She cut two slices and pushed them into the toaster. Outside the tall sash window, the garden was blanketed in an early morning mist. In the far corner, by the pergola, she could just see the blossom on the cherry tree, delicate and wraithlike.

‘I do appreciate this, Alexa. Your being here, I mean.’

A blackbird took off from one of the branches and a small flurry of petals swirled softly towards the grass. Lexie pursed her lips. How could she fail to know this? Martha’s thanks were expressed ten times a day, their utterance a delicate trap. She was all her parents had left and she had to be there for them. This meant, she told herself, that she didnot regret marching into Patrick Mulgrew’s gallery in Edinburgh a year ago and telling him she was withdrawing her exhibition.

Even though it meant the end of their relationship as well.

Her throat swelled with unshed tears and she had to summon all her willpower to push away the hurt she still felt at their separation. Thinking about Patrick wouldn’t do any good. Instead, she retrieved the toast and rearranged her face into her customary jaunty smile before she turned round.

‘I know you do. Come on, Mum. Let’s eat. Then I must get to work. I take it Dad left early?’

She didn’t really need to ask. Where her mother was all dependence, Tom Gordon had turned into The Great Provider – strong, uncompromising and utterly resistant to any kind of conversation about his son.

Martha’s eyes glazed over.

Some family we’ve become, Lexie thought. Surely we weren’t always like this?

‘I’d better go, Mum. Dad’s called a special meeting.’

‘Please be tolerant, darling. I know he’s obsessive about the store, but it’s because he wants to show he loves us.’

‘I am tolerant. Most of the time, anyway.’

She and her father were two of a kind in many ways. They certainly both threw themselves into work as a diversion.

‘Will you be all right? What are you going to do today?’

Martha stood up. Her dressing gown hung off her body in loose, sad folds. Once she’d been a legal secretary – smart, efficient and very organised. Grief was eating her up.

‘I’m going,’ she said, ‘to do some gardening. I think.’

Lexie found the shifts in her mother’s character profoundly unsettling. And now she had to prepare to be unsettled all over again, because her walk to work would take her past Patrick Mulgrew’s house.

Ten minutes later, Lexie stepped through the front door of Fernhill and pulled it closed. It was eight thirty in the morning and she tried to leave the ache of loss behind her in the gloomy spaces that had once been filled with laughter. She tugged her old tweed jacket closer, glad of its warmth. There was no point in being bitter. It was a waste of time to think about the things that might have been.

Despite the obvious truth of this, there was no way of avoiding Patrick’s house. It took seven minutes to cover the distance between Fernhill and The Gables. Seven minutes of separation. For a brief time she and Patrick had both found it amusing that he lived in Hailesbank near her parents while she lived in Edinburgh, near his gallery. They hadn’t been together long enough to change that.

Three minutes. She reached the end of James Street and crossed onto Darnley Place. Patrick’s continued proximity was a fleabite that itched, she reminded herself, nothing more. She didn’t care about him now: she could never have sustained a relationship with Patrick because they were too different. The way she saw it, she put family first and Patrick thought only about profit. Better to find that out sooner rather than at some point in the future, when they might have become knotted together, like roots round a boulder, so that separating would tear at the fabric of life.

Six minutes. Patrick owned a smart art gallery – or, to be more precise two, one in London and one in Edinburgh. People saw him as either discriminating and astute or snobbish and arrogant. Lexie lengthened her stride. She found it impossible to forget Patrick because everything that mattered to her was so tightly entwined with him: ambition, career, and passion. Was that why she’d loved him so much? In the short time they’d been together, he’d taken her heart, her body and her brain – the complete package – and made them all his.

Seven minutes. There it was now, a million pounds’ worth of sandstone and lawn, the epitome of everything the man stood for – style, statement and substance. Crow-stepped gables, baronial turrets and an old Scots pine standing sentinel by the gate.

Lexieglanced down at the tattoo round her thumb. ‘Artbollocks’ it read – an indelible statement of belief about art and honesty.

‘Why disfigure your beautiful hands like that?’ Patrick had once asked, tracing the letters with his long fingers as they’d lain limb to limb, half drugged by ardour.

‘So that I never forget,’ she’d answered fiercely, ‘about pretentiousness.’

He’d lifted her thumb to his lips and kissed each letter, one at a time. Eleven feathery kisses.

‘You’re very different,’ he’d said, ‘but I think I might just be in love with you.’

His car wasn’t there, she noted, which was a relief. They’d learned politeness this last year, but kept their distance. Too many words had been spoken that couldnever be unsaid. Still – he didn’t know it – but  fending off the hurt she felt about their break-up was like rolling back the tide:­ impossible.

By the time she arrived at the Thomson Memorial Park, the mist was beginning to lift and the park was already alive with its quota of elderly dog-walkers and mums with buggies. She glanced right – a habit she had developed – to catch a glimpse of the river as it flowed past the foot of Fisher’s Wynd. She found the water soothing and it worked its magic again this morning because at last she was able to put Patrick firmly out of her mind and focus on Jamie. This was his day, after all, and despite her anger about his death, he’d always be a part of her.

Stay with me, bro.

When she reachedKittle’s Lane she turned right, so that she’d pass Cobbles. If Pavelwas in the shop already, she’d wave to him.

Lexie adored Cobbles. She loved the jumble of antiques Pavel seemed able to conjure up from nowhere. Each object, however humble, had a story to tell. A stone hot water bottle shivered out a tale of freezing nights in icy beds; a moustache cup in fine porcelain whispered of male vanity; a carpet beater, twisted from rattan into a Celtic knot, hinted at the hard labour that housework once was. Most of all, Lexie loved the vintage clothes that peeked tantalisingly from cubbyholes or begged for attention from serried ranks of hangers on rails at the back of the shop. She was addicted to vintage.

Half way down the lane, she spottedPavelSkonieczna sashaying out of the shop. He placed his sandwich board on the pavement and stepped back to admire it, his hands wafting up to his mouth with characteristic grace. Cobbles, read the elegant copperplate script, Antiques and Collectibles. Lexie smiled. Pavel(always dressed in vintage, always colourful) was the perfect advertisement for his own shop. Today he was smart in green tweed – his favourite suit – teamed with a mustard moleskin waistcoat and brown brogues.

She speeded up. ‘Pavel! Hi!’

Shoulders straightened and tweed turned. ‘Lexie. Darling. You’re early today.’

Lexie grimaced. ‘I know. Dad’s called a staff meeting before we open.’

Pavel shook his head. ‘You shouldn’t be working in that place. It’s not right for you.’

Spot on, Pavel. Like trying to shove a jelly through a sieve and expecting it to come out whole on the other side.

‘I know. But what can I do?’

‘Stand up for yourself. You always used to. They use you.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

She let her parents use her, because she had to. It was the only way she could think of to make things better. It was her way of helping herself as well.

‘You’re a good daughter.’

Lexie hesitated. Pavel confided recently that his partner Guy had died some years ago and he’d moved to Hailesbank to escape the sad memories. His only family now was a snake of a sister who had disowned him and, because he never talked about it, Lexie guessed how much it hurt him.

Pavel spared her the embarrassment of having to think about what to say.

‘Is it about that marketing plan?’

‘I expect so.’

She’d spent the last month working with Neil Taylor, the assistant manager at her father’s furniture store, on a plan designed to drag the old family business protesting and spluttering into the twenty-first century. Or rather, Neil had been working on it, in his careful, business-like way, and she had been attempting tomodernise the store by selecting more stylish stock and updating the layout. At least, that’s how she sawher role.Her father was proving resistant to change.

‘I’m a bit nervous, Pavel, to tell you the truth.’

‘Do you think he’ll veto it?’

Lexie shrugged and pulled her jacket across her chest. The sun might be dappling the river already, but it hadn’t dropped in on Kittle’s Lane yet.

‘You know Dad.’

Compassion glowed in Pavel’s eyes and Lexie looked away. Sympathy was always the hardest part of friendship to accept.

‘I must dash,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’

‘Good luck, darling.’

‘Thanks!’

The store where Lexie was heading was at the east end of the high street. It was part of a run of shops built in the mid-nineteenth century when Hailesbankhad been at its most prosperous. Her great-grandfather had taken up the first lease, and the sign he’d proudly commissioned to run above the entire shopfrontwas still there.

Gordon’s Furniture Emporium (Est. 1892)

The elaborate letters were painted in pure gold leaf on a forest green background and the whole sign was covered in protective glass so that, a century and a half later, it still announced its presence with undimmed glory.

‘The trouble is,’ Neil had observed when they’d studied the frontage as part of their research, ‘that sign is probably the last smart thing left in the whole place.’

He’d put his finger on the problem. Was there really any need to look further to discover why Gordon’s was struggling for survival?

Lexie pushed open the heavy oak door and marched in. A man was standing by the overstuffed chesterfield, the tartan one she particularly disliked. He was around six feet tall and strongly built, with wide shoulders and narrow hips, and he was casually dressed in a rugby shirt and jeans. One of the new guys from the removal firm, probably. She hadn’t seen him before.

Or had she? Although he was facing away from her, towards the back of the store, there was something disturbingly familiar about the figure.

‘Can I help you?’ she said, the nagging in the recesses of her brain making her voice sharper than usual. ‘We’re not actually open yet.’

He whipped round.

‘Christ! Where’d you materialise from? I didn’t hear you come in.’

Lexiewasn’t breathing. Why wasn’t she breathing? It should be simple, shouldn’t it? She did it all the time. She’d done it all her life, for heaven’s sake.

‘Cameron?’

The man stepped forward.

‘You haven’t changed a bit. Not even the hair, I ssee.’

Six years was a long time, yet it disappeared in an instant. Lexie’s lungs inflated with sweet oxygen before a sense of devastation caught the back of her knees. She was drowning in desire again, just as she always used to be. Shocked by her reaction, she forced herself to look amused – one humiliation by Cameron Forrester was enough for a lifetime.

‘Well, well, the wanderer returns. Have your folks killed the fatted calf?’

‘Nah. Mum won’t buy meat at the supermarket and the butcher’s closed since I was last here. She made apple crumble for me. I’ve missed crumble.’

His grin was just as Alexa remembered it: irrepressible. The smile faded as he scanned her face. He’d changed. Once, he would just have flashed a wink and cracked a joke; now there was something more observant – or was it more calculating? – in the way he was studying her.

‘Crumble, huh?’

The words emerged as a croak and she cleared her throat.

Cameron Forrester had been a member of the Hailesbank Hawks until injury had put him out of rugby for good. He still bore the scars: a broken nose that gave his face a lived-in look, and a scar under his chin from where a studded boot sliced it open in a hard-fought league game. ‘Badges of honour’, he used to say, when Lexie teased him about the nose or ran her fingers along the white seam of the scar.

‘You’re looking terrific.’

He took another step closer. Instinct made her edge away. How was it possible that he looked so like the Cameron she’d fallen in love with all those years ago?

‘Am I?’

Her reserve seemed to fluster him.

‘I’ve been away,’ he said needlessly. ‘Running activities for children on a cruise ship. Children! Me! Can you imagine?’

‘Not really, no.’

Questions scratched at her mind like horsehair. Does he know about Jamie? Does he know I’m back living in Hailesbank? Is that why he’s come?

‘So how are you, Lexie?’

He edged towards her for the third time. She clutched at a high-backed recliner, upholstered in gunmetal and steel blue chenille. The cloth felt coarse and unfriendly under her fingers, but this time she managed to stand her ground.

‘Why did you leave, Cameron?’

Why didn’t you write?

‘I heard about Jamie,’ he said. ‘I’m so sorry.’

‘Thank you.’

The stock response slipped out before she could stop it. It was what she always said whenever anyone offered condolences. Damn him! Using Jamie as a personal shield was unforgivable.

‘What a bloody waste,’ he blurted out.

People didn’t usually say things like that. They tiptoed round the subject, they never trampled right through the heart of it.

‘Oops,’ he said, seeing her expression, ‘Sorry. Me and my mouth. But honestly, it’s true, isn’t it? Jamie had so much going for him.’

‘Can we leave this?’

‘Shit. I’m not good at—’

Lexieswung away. She spotted a sagging cushion on a nearby sofa and grabbed it, bashing the middle to plump it up. What are you good at, Cameron? Apart from breaking hearts.

‘Did you want something? I’ve got work to do.’

‘Just to say hi. And see if you’d meet me for a drink after you’re finished here.’

Meetyou?’

‘Well,’ he muttered, dropping his head in a semblance of repentance so that all she could see was a mass of thick, sandy hair. She didn’t need to stroke it to remember how it felt.

‘I owe you an explanation.’

‘I really don’t want to hear it.’

Liar! She really didwant to hear it, but six years of hurt got in the way of admitting this.

‘No. Fair enough.’

The grin was back, but wry – another new trait. Cameron had never been one for navel-gazing. He was a physical contact man. A cheerful, generous, blunder-in-feet-first-but-in-a-well-meaning-kind-of-way man. The absolute antithesis, now that she thought about it, of Patrick Mulgrew.

‘Take your point.’

He ran his hand through his thatch so that it stood momentarily on end before tumbling, in the old way, down across his eyes again. When he turned to go, she was conscious of disappointment. At the door the grin reappeared, spiced this time with mischief.

‘It’s okay, I can see you need time to get used to me being back. It doesn’t have to be today, we can meet up tomorrow. I’ll call you.’

Infuriated by his presumption, her spirit returned and she hurled the cushion at him.

‘Don’t bother! I won’t change my—’

But it fell, softly, a yard short and the heavy oak door swung on empty air.

Six years of silence and now he was back. Where did this leave her, for heaven’s sake?

Reader’s Nook: QA with Anjana from The Greedy Reader

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

About Anjana: I’m a Libran and I live and love life to the fullest. I’ve got 2 kids, who in equal parts inspire and exasperate me. Blogging has opened a whole new world for me and I’m loving it. I also blog at The Greedy Reader about one of my passions, books !”
Anjana also blogs on The Glass Bangle. And I happen to love her take on life and other things on her blog 🙂 Do check it out!

  1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
  • Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
  • To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  • Jane Eyre – Jane Austen
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
  • Exodus – Leon Uris
  • Sister of my Heart – ChitraBanerjee Divakaruni
  • My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  • Far Pavilions – M M Kaye
  • NeermathalamPoothaKalam (Malayalam) – Kamala Das
  • Sheer Mischief – Jill Mansell
  1. A book that you have re-read the most

Jane Eyre. I never grow tired of reading about Jane Eyre. Such a plucky heroine and the best thing Ilike about her is her strong belief in herself. Of course the gorgeous brooding Mr.Rochester adds to the allure J

3.Favourite authors and why

Kamala Das – For creating magic with her words. For constructing beautiful word pictures and taking the reader right into them.

Harper Lee – For creating amazing characters like Atticus Finch and Scout. For giving me idols, fictional admittedly, but who I can look up to.

Jill Mansell – For having the most spunky and interesting heroines I’ve ever read about. For creating  truly delightful worlds peopled by endearing characters. How I wish I could live at least for a short time in one of her novels J

  1. Genre you dislike

Paranormal, Science Fiction

  1. Character crush

Ari Ben Canan from Exodus written by Leon Uris. He’s a Jewish freedom fighter who’s strong, principled and kind.

  1. Character you strongly identify with

There’s no particular character as such , but I strongly identify with certain aspects of  different characters. I love

  • the independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
  • the quiet strength of Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre)
  • the zest for life of Zoya(The Zoya Factor)
  • the absolute belief that Scout has in her father, the way she sees him as a bastion of all that is good and moral (To Kill A Mockingbird)
  • The ability of Jennifer Parker to bounce right back with renewed vigour from the countless adversities that life hands to her. (Rage of Angels)

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

Atticus Finch. It would be great if he could be my neighbor, since I can have long conversations with him over ice-cold glasses of lemonade.

  1. What is your ideal reading space/environment?

Anywhere I’m undisturbed. Reading is a passion and so I just need a book and uninterrupted time J

  1. Must-have books in a collection

Power Of One – Bryce Courtenay

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Wheel of Time series – Robert Jordan

Calvin and Hobbes series

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

The entire P G Wodehouse collection

10.Earliest memory of books and reading

Poring over books in the Trivandrum Public Library when I was 7 or 8. Waiting eagerly for the story telling aunty to start her stories.

  1. Weirdest book or reading experience

The brother of a best-selling author, who himself had written a book, had come to my town for a book reading. He spoke quite eloquently about himself and I had very high expectations from the book. It was a shock to my system when I actually read the book. It was such a let down!


How about taking part in this series? Contact me and I will reach out to you with the questions 🙂

Rabindranath Tagore : Quotes That Stay With You

“Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01073, Rabindranath Tagore” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-01073 / Georg Pahl / CC-BY-SA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-01073,_Rabindranath_Tagore.jpg#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-01073,_Rabindranath_Tagore.jpg

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.


Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.


It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.


I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.


Man goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamor of silence.


When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.

We Are Readers

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

We are readers…

There are chances you will spot us. In a park, on a bench.

At the cafeteria, probably by a window.  In the tube/sub or at a quaint little street.

On rooftops in the setting sun. On rooftops in the rising sun.

In transit from one continent to another – airport lounges and mid air.

At bookstores, catching a whiff. Fillings carts with books and filling lungs with the smell of books.

In libraries, amidst our kith and kin – having lived similar lives, embarked on similar journeys through stories.

We also hide books within books to let not the world know we are ‘UP TO SOMETHING‘.

Strain eyes to read under sheets with a torch. Take our books everywhere. Even the loo.

Raise your hand, if you are a reader too!

Reader’s Nook: QA with McCallum J. Morgan

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

BIO: McCallum J. Morgan is a twenty year-old author from Bonners Ferry, Idaho. A Hole in the Ice is his debut novel, which he worked on for five years. He enjoys writing, reading, painting, sketching, sewing, watching old horror movies, and playing the occasional game of volleyball. And tea. Don’t forget the tea. Find out more at mccallumjmorgan.weebly.com
1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Predator’s Gold by Phillip Reeve, The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
2. A book that you have re-read the most
The Series of Unfortunate Events.
3.Favourite authors and why
Lemony Snicket—his wicked humor. Phillip Reeve—his world building and characterizations. Kenneth Oppel—his gripping writing.
4. Genre you dislike
Romance.
5. Character crush
Hmm…The White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia.
6. Character you strongly identify with
Frankenstein’s monster 😀
7.One character you want to bring to the real world
NOT Frankenstein’s monster.
8. What is your ideal reading space/environment
I think a window seat with a little bit of sun (not too much or the pages get blinding) and roses outside would be ideal.
9. Must-have books in a collection
Dracula, Frankenstein, Faust (by Von Goethe), A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou.
10.Earliest memory of books and reading
Mom reading me the Hobbit.
11. Weirdest book or reading experience
The Hanging Woods by Scott Loring Sanders. Just unexpected and unpleasant.

These were some interesting answers! What about you? If you are interested in taking part in this series, I am just a ping away! 🙂

Guestpost: It’s A Steal (for The Earrings Project)

Here is one of my first guestposts to be published 🙂

It’s A Steal

And no it isn’t about my Kleptomaniacal tendencies!!!! 😉  It is about me and my bonding with…Earrings!!! Along with my collection – some if it 🙂

The Earrings Project is a lovely blog and I randomly came across it. Read it and you will know how charming a blog can get. If you get a chance, write for the Earrings Project. They need stories. Of mine and yours.

Reader’s Nook: QA with Chhimi

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Author Bio: Half Tibetan, half English, Chhimi Tenduf-La has lived in Sri Lanka, on and off, for thirty years. Educated at Eton and Durham, he runs an international school in Colombo, teaches economics and provides university counselling. His first book, The Amazing Racist, was published in January 2015 and Panther was released in July of the same year.

What I have to say about Chhimi: He is a down-to-earth persona and is extremely polite. I have interacted with him many times virtually and it is always a delight to know more about him and his work. Also, I have just read one of his books and he writes well. I will soon read and review his next work – Panther.

Here are the questions answered by Chhimi. 🙂

  1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

Fight Club, Catch 22, Chinaman, The Sense of an Ending, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Of Mice and Men.

  1. A book that you have re-read the most

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilika because I loved it and also for my own education writing about Sri Lanka.

3.Favourite authors and why

I find it hard to name my favourite authors, but I do like South Asian writers just because I live here now and it is what I am familiar with. Also I love any author who praises my books.

  1. Genre you dislike

Fantasy, but that is a bit unfair as I have not read any. I just can’t get into anything with dragons.

  1. Character crush

That’s a brilliant question but it’s very hard to answer. In real life I like good girls, but maybe in fiction I’m drawn more to bad girls, like the women I write about. So maybe Amy in Gone Girl.

  1. Character you strongly identify with

Yossarian in Catch 22. Just the way he looks at things with humour.

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

Allan Karlsson in the 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared. This is a man who tells stories about sitting the North Korean Supreme Leader on his lap.

  1. What is your ideal reading space/environment

On a sunbed by a pool, under an umbrella. With a two year old daughter, I no longer get the chance to do this. Now my reading space is with her on my shoulders.

  1. Must-have books in a collection

If not for my kindle, I would have no books in my collection. I give all the books I like to someone else to read. If I don’t like a book, I give it on to someone I don’t like (just joking). If I ever want to read the book again, I am more likely to do so if I don’t have it in my collection than if I do, for some reason.
10.Earliest memory of books and reading

I remember those books for kids where you had to choose your own ending. I loved them and I guess that is why I like whodunits now because I have to think about what I think will happen next.

  1. Weirdest book or reading experience

There are a number of books I have started that are a bit weird and I try to work out whether the author is a genius or just pretentious. It is normally the latter.  Chuck Palahniuk’s books are pretty odd. I loved that about Fight Club but some of his others are a little too weird for me even though I still really like them.


Want to feature in Reader’s Nook? Drop me a message here or on my mail ID and I will promptly get in touch with you 🙂

 

11 Reasons Why I Haven’t Read The Game Of Thrones Books Yet!

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Game Of Thrones.

I have been following the series since the past 1.5 years and I am crazy about it.

I must confess that the last time any series had so much of an impact on me was 15 years ago – and it was the Harry Potter series. But I had read the books first and then saw the movies during my Harry Potter stage. This time, it is completely different. I have NOT read the books of ASOIAF or A Song Of Ice And Fire series.

I know, I know. I can see some raised eyebrows there. I do have my reasons though.

  1. I can visualize everything just the way the HBO series has made me visualisze. Lack of imagination makes every line a tad bit lengthy.
  2. The pace. The pace. The series shows time passing in a whiff. But the books…not so much. This forms the base of my next point.
  3. GRRM writes slow. I respect him and I understand it is not easy. However, it doesn’t help my cause. I can’t wait that long. When I start a series, I want to wrap it up soonish. This is not going to happen with ASIOAF.
  4. If I purchase the books – physical books, I need to have the whole set. Buying five books in some edition and then the other two in “I Don’t Know What Happened To Good Cover Designers” is not something I am keen on.
  5. The books and the series have major differences. I don’t want to cringe and get shocks every other day!
  6. Every time I open the book, some or the other work comes up. I mean it. It is jinxed – the book. I have borrowed the first one from a friend.
  7. If I do start reading the book, I bet I will not stop. It happened with Harry Potter. I stayed up all night with a torch and a blanket and completed 3 books in a row for 3 days straight. Eating was out of question as well. But that was student life. Now I have to juggle so many things such as a full-time job and this blog. I rarely have spare time.
  8. I constantly keep comparing GOT to other fantasy series. I have called Ned Stark Boromir for a long long time. Walder Frey will always be Mr. Filch.
  9. I know it in my bones that I will like a character immensely only to find that he/she is dead in the HBO series. (Alive and kicking in the books though)
  10. Because of this guy – http://patricksponaugle.com/. He writes some freaking awesome GOT posts and I need no books for it. He is going to write posts on – Defense of Olly. AM EXCITED!
  11. I am not affected by Spoilers so I have read a lot about the series and have at least some kind of knowledge.

Is there a famous book you have not read but want to read it desperately?

Reader’s Nook: QA with Kim

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Bio: Kim blogs at – The Booklover. She is a business educator by day and book blogger during off time. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University (BBA), Kennesaw State University (MBA), and The University of West Georgia (M.Ed. and Ed.S.).

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
2. A book that you have re-read the most
3.Favourite authors and why
4. Genre you dislike
5. Character crush
6. Character you strongly identify with
7.One character you want to bring to the real world
8. What is your ideal reading space/environment
9. Must-have books in a collection
10.Earliest memory of books and reading
11. Weirdest book or reading experience

1. Favorite books: The Orphanmaster’s Son by Adam Johnson, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, The City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw, Night Film by Marissa Pessl,  and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.
2.  I don’t really re-read books because there are too many books to read in this lifetime, so there isn’t really time to go back and re-read one.  If I were going to choose one to re-read right now, it would probably be A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.
3.  I like Umberto Eco because his subject matter is so interesting.  David Mitchell is a standout, although I don’t necessarily agree with his messaging.  Authors I plan to read again soon are Donna Tartt, Adam Johnson, and John Burdette.
4.  I dislike romance as a genre.  It is so predictable and I don’t even like romance in the story except on the rare occasion. For example, the romance really ruined A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness for me.
5.  My character crush is so predictable – Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.
6.  I strongly identify with Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series.
7.  Father Peter in The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
8.  My ideal reading environment would be outside in a beautiful garden with NO mosquitos!  They eat me up.
9.  I don’t have any of them, but would love to have the entire set of Penguin Hardcover Classics with cover by Coralie Bickford-Smith.  Those are beautiful books.  I will take donations if anybody is willing!
10.  My mother was a librarian, so my earliest memories are of going to the library with her.  I loved the library in my hometown.  It was in a log cabin built in 1792, but has since moved to a larger more modern facility.
11.  The weirdest book I’ve read is The Celestine Prophecy.  It really is a waste of time.

Love books and reading? Be a participant in Reader’s Nook. I will be happy to feature you! 🙂

A Quick Note Of Thanks…

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

To books and reading – my inspiration.

To booklovers like me or even better and more well-read.

To all my readers, for visiting the blog and giving me honest opinions.

To all the authors, for trusting me to feature them through interviews

To all the fellow bloggers who willingly participated in Reader’s Nook (with gunpoint to their head 😛 )

To everyone who has given me feedbacks and motivated me. This includes some of my close friends.

I am really happy with the response and more so, with the interactions I have had in the past few weeks with you all.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Reader’s Nook: QA with Susan Tarr

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

About Susan: Susan is a very lively person, whom I came across through Goodreads. She currently resides in New Zealand and I envy her for being a part of the place where Lord of The Rings was shot 🙂 Without shameless gushing about fandoms, let me quickly give you a link of her website – http://susan-tarr-author.webnode.com/. Go through her answers for Reader’s Nook.


1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
~~ God Knows by Joseph Heller
~~ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
~~ An Angel at my Table by Janet Frame (honoured New Zealand author on mental health)
~~ Spring Sonata by Bernice Rubens
~~ Geek Love
~~ Of Mice and Men & Pearl by John Steinbeck
~~ The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing
~~ And of course, anything by Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult

2. A book that you have re-read the most

~~ I save all my favourite books, and read them all again.

3.Favourite authors and why

~~ John Steinbeck – His writing is both gentle and impacting.

~~ Louis de Bernieres

~~ Doris Lessing

4. Genre you dislike

~~ Erotica or cult

5. Character crush

~~ I don’t have a particular character crush, but there are a couple of people I wouldn’t mind crushing. The people who borrow my books and never return them. (I know, I should write a list!)

6. Character you strongly identify with

~~ In my books, Miranda and Bethany. They are part me and part my daughter.

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

~~ Both of my favourites are already in the real world. Miranda and Bethany from MIRANDA BAY & When the ROLLER COASTER Stops.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

~~ On my bed, nestled in pillows, coffee and nibbles, and my ereader.

9. Must-have books in a collection

~~ Mine!
PHENOMENA the Lost and Forgotten Children (Historic Fiction Mental Health)
MIRANDA BAY (Gorgeous young thing attempting to build up a tourism resort in New Zealand – she hasn’t a clue! Humorous drama)
JACK just an ordinary dog in the dog house (Jack, the dog, decides to write a diary about what really goes on in a boarding kennels. Humorous dog story)
When the ROLLER COASTER Stops (Another gorgeous young thing. Medical drama. Humorous. Inspirational)

All of my books are listed here: http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/susan-tarr/

10.Earliest memory of books and reading

~~ Famous Five and Secret Seven and of course Noddy and Big Ears. These were pretty much our required reading.

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

~~ Geek Love. I admired this old book, when I wasn’t in shock!, and I loaned it to someone – who now deserves to be crushed as above. Lol.


Love the series and want to be a part of it? Get in touch with me and I will have you featured! 🙂

Reader’s Nook: QA with Akansha Varma

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Bio: I’m a seventeen year old Indian, extremely shy, introvert and hate social gatherings, unless initiated by me. I am interested in English literature and I want to become either: 1) a journalist 2) an author 3) an architect. I want to live in New York and travel the world and after retirement, I want to live in the English country side.  I love laying down, and am very, very, very, very lazy. My favorite movies are Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Kal Ho Na Ho. And I’m a romantic at heart. I like One Tree Hill too. I am yet to skydive, deep sea dive, bungee jump and climb the Everest. There’s a lot to be done. And so little time.
You can learn more about me and read my stuff at https://akankshavarma.wordpress.com/. Have fun, and enjoy.
1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
The Book Thief, Harry Potter series, Those Pricey Thakur Girls, Hunger Games trilogy, Marley And Me, Perks Of Being A Wallflower and A Thousand Splendid Suns are my top ones.
2. A book that you have re-read the most.
Harry Potter or Those Pricey Thakur Girls.
3.Favourite authors and why
JK Rowling because she is godess. Ruskin Bond because his characters are lively, relatable and capture the essence of what he wants to convey. Agatha Christie because she creates suspense.
4. Genre you dislike
Not really dislike but unfathomable because I don’t relate with it: Science fiction.
5. Character crush
Dylan Shekhawat from Those Pricey Thakur Girls, Fred Weasley, Gale Hawthorne and Noah Calhoun. Also Laurie from Jo’s Boys.
6. Character you strongly identify with
Jo from Little Women.
7.One character you want to bring to the real world
Um, that’s a tough one. Severus Snape, Rudy Steiner, Liesel Meminger, Dylan Shekhawat, Katniss Everdeen, Four and Hermione Granger.
8. What is your ideal reading space/environment
Mostly, I read while travelling to my school. Otherwise, it is my bed, with a warm quilt, 2-3 pillows, air conditioned room without interruption.
9. Must-have books in a collection
The Book Thief. I would have said Harry Potter but I know a few people who don’t find it endearing. They say it’s beyond their imagination. The Book Thief on the other hand, will change your perspective entirely.
10.Earliest memory of books and reading
It’s not a memory rather it is about how I started reading in the first place. I was in class 4 when I had gone to a stationery shop to buy something for a project. There, my eyes on the red Famous Five and I found it interesting. I begged my father to buy me the book. My mother resented though since she thought that as I don’t read books, it’ll be pretty useless. My father consented though, and he brought that for me. After that, there was no stopping me.
11. Weirdest book or reading experience
I would describe my weirdest reading experience to be half Fifty Shades Of Grey that I read. I could read only half of it was because I didn’t have the heart to read the entire book, let alone the trilogy. I can assure you however, my grossing-out level is so low, I regularly threw up inside my mouth. It was disgusting. And the weird thing was I coudn’t stay away from it either. I just reread the part I already had read for some time, and then gave up entirely.

How about you share your book/reading experiences in this space? Let me know if you are up for it.