It is a pleasure to hop on an exciting platform to interview Nim Gholkar, whose new book 'Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride' will be launched on 30th November 2014.
Hi Nim, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about your childhood and your background?
Ø What were you like at school?
School days are a part of my fondest memories. I was a shy kid and enjoyed sport, particularly badminton and represented my school at several inter-school competitions. My favourite subjects were English and History.
Ø Any particular moment from childhood that you have included in a passage of your book?
I have briefly touched upon where Anjali spent her childhood holidays. She mainly went to Goa to visit the temples and also Matheran and Lonavla where they were taken on pony rides and merry-go-rounds. That passage reflects my own holidays as a child.
Ø Your book is in English. How did you begin your training in English?
I studied at Bombay Scottish which is an English medium school so I grew up with English. However Marathi being my mother tongue, occasionally I did end up mixing the two creating some funny word-combinations.
Ø This is your maiden attempt at writing. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Although I have been blogging regularly for the past three years and writing in news publications, ‘Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride’ is my first novel and the first in a planned three book series. I’m hoping to complete the other two over the next couple of years.
Ø What is the inspiration behind your writing talent?
I have fond memories of my grandmother, the late Smt. Kumudini Rangnekar, who was a renowned Marathi novelist of her time. I remember as a child, sitting beside her watching her write and being inspired to some day write novels too.
Ø Which writers inspire you?
It’s such a long list that I wouldn’t really know where to start. However, if I were to pick a few, I would say Jhumpa Lahiri, Penny Vincenzi and Dianne Blacklock. I’m fortunate to be acquainted with Dianne and have met Penny. And I hope to meet Jhumpa Lahiri in the future too.
Ø Before this novel, what have you written to begin with?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
I write extensively on my blog www.nimsniche.com.au which is a kaleidoscope of reflections on daily life. I also used to be a guest columnist in community newspapers.
Ø What is the genre you connect to?
Ø What prompted you to think of this topic?
I’m fascinated by immigrant stories…stories of people who travel to far-off lands and experience new ways of living, thinking and behaving. I’ve been keen, for many years, to explore the quintessential immigrant experience in depth and of course, my own experiences as an NRI have inspired me to write on this topic.
Ø Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My protagonist Anjali is someone many young women will identify with. Her quest for ‘the perfect love’ and her eventual, reluctant realisation that such a thing does not exist is what lends her character a certain poignant depth. She’s special, not because she has loved and conquered, but rather because she has learned to accept that love, loss and longing are all part of a complex game called ‘Life’.
Ø How much research did you do to get the plot close to reality?
Three years have gone into the making of this book. I’ve done extensive research including interviews with immigrants and those in cross cultural relationships. I’ve also read books on a wide range of topics such as arranged marriages, assimilation, personality types, etc.
Ø Any particular excerpt from the novel, that you would like to mention?
One of my favourite passages is found in the early pages of the book when Anjali first arrives in Australia…’On the other side was everything I had been waiting for. My husband. My new adventure. My future.’
Ø What is the message you want to give to your readers?
I wanted to make the book a vivid and realistic portrayal of life in general. Different people will see different reflections and draw their own inferences. The underlying theme is of friendship, attraction and choices. Life, after all, is a sum of choices we make.
Ø What are you working on at the minute?
The promotional activities for “Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride” are keeping me very busy currently.
Ø How frequent are you with social media interactions?
Very frequent. I post something daily on Facebook and Twitter and make sure I respond to everyone who writes to me.
Ø Which part of writing you consider the hardest?
Every writer knows that inspiration is not on tap. There are moments when you feel completely uninspired…when the muse seems to have gone on a long holiday with a one-way ticket. It’s the ‘writing even when you don’t feel like writing’ just to keep the creative juices flowing that I find the hardest.
Ø Your personal favorite that you are currently writing?
I blog regularly and each blog post is special in its own way, keeping me connected on a regular basis with creativity.
Ø Once character from a book you read that you would love to play in the real life?
Jo March from ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott.
Ø Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about?
The cover shows Anjali’s image made up of loosely-put together jigsaw pieces which reflect the gradual unravelling of Anjali’s personality through the book. The bright, earthy colours reflect the sunny shores of Australia as well as the general up-beat tone of the book.
Ø How do you relax?
Reading and watching movies.
Ø What is your favorite motivational phrase?
‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’