Hello Book Lovers! In February I read A Quest for Spring by Monica Mujumdar Dixit and also got a chance to interview author later that I’m happy to share with you today. By chance if you missed my review on the book you can read it Here.
I was born in Raipur and did my schooling from Bhopal and Mumbai. I went on to graduate from Mithibai College, Mumbai and studied Law at the prestigious I.L.S, Pune. I practiced at the High Court in Nagpur till my daughter arrived. Post that I worked as a Legal Analyst at a publishing house publishing law journals. I took up a sabbatical to care for my ailing mother-in-law and since her passing away I haven’t returned to work.
Q. When did you decide to become a writer?
It was not something I decided upon. It just happened. My friend with whom I shared the first draft of A Quest for Spring which I had written as a short story suggested I develop it as a novel. After much deliberation I thought why not give it a shot. And here I am today, an author.
Q. What inspired you to write A Quest For Spring?
I have seen far too many relationships break, soulmates drifting away. It was the unseeming possibility of ending up together for a happily forever that prompted me to write A Quest for Spring.
Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?
The third and fourth parts of A Quest for Spring are based in the Valley and London. I have never visited Kashmir. Whatever I know is from friends who hail from Kashmir and a few books. The only ones that are written are Our Moon has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita and Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. Apart from these books I read whatever there was on Kashmir on the net.
I happened to visit London amidst writing A Quest for Spring so I got to observe a lot of things. The way people there dress up, the food they prefer, the suburbs that are reasonable to live in, the eateries and most importantly the tube route.
I wanted my protagonists to come across as authentic as persons. I wanted my readers to find a connect with them. I wanted my readers to identify Amolika and Raehan as persons they might know like may be a close friend or a cousin. To make them as authentic as any living beings I did a lot of research to portray their characteristics. I revised a bit of the basic French that I learnt in school. I watched Titanic and An Affair to Remember twice or thrice. I listened to the old classics Lara’s Theme and Five Hundred Miles and read books on Sahir.
Sniffed onto a bottle of Old Spice to get a hang of the fragrance.
Q. How did you break in publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding publisher?
It took me three years to complete the final draft of A Quest for Spring. I started out in April 2014 and in April 2017 I had completed the draft. Since it took me three long years to complete it I did not want to wait any further to get it published as the subject would have become redundant or someone else might have published a book on a similar premise. At that time most of the big publishing houses were busy publishing celebrities and the wait was for over two years, thus I got in touch with Notion Press and self published the book.
Q. What was your favourite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?
Part III of the book is my favourite part. I enjoyed writing it the most as it was a interesting to write about the challenges that Amolika faces in her professional life and the plot of Part III has a political background. It was as thrilling to write it as it is to read.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?
The hardest part to write was the campus romance. It was years since I passed out of college and besides I had never been in a relationship, so that part was tough to write down. I had to run down the memory lane a number of times.
Q. Your favourite quality in a protagonist.
My favourite protagonist would be Amolika coz she is everything that I would ever want to be. Her determination, ambitious nature and perseverance are her strengths more than draw backs.
Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
A Quest for Spring is so relevant in today’s times. A Quest for Spring speaks about two people in love following different faiths. It’s a long and an arduous journey of two soulmates, Amolika and Raehan. It’s about love in the most human form. The protagonists are selfish, ambitious and even vindictive at times. They betray the trust placed in them by the other. They fail in their relationships but pick up the threads from thereon. They learn to forgive and most importantly trust again. They overcome all conflicts arising out of the faiths they follow as well as the ones they were instrumental in creating. In today’s times where the seeds of distrust and fear are sown so deep, A Quest for Spring brings in new hope. “Love doesn’t come with a guarantee of safety. There will always be challenges. To overcome them together is what love is all about.” is what Raehan says to Amolika and it kind of sums up Raehan and Amolika’s journey from winter to Spring. I would want the readers to learn to forgive and most importantly learn to love and trust again.
Q. Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
My desk has my laptop, iPod and head phones, different types of journals, pens, highlighters and sticky notes.
Q. Who are some authors that inspire you?
Sarat Chandra, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuja Chauhan, Gulzar, Erich Segal,
Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, and Charles Dickens.
Q. Your favourite childhood book.
David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Six cousins at the Mistletoe Farm by Enid Blyton were my favourite books as a child.
Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes, I read each and every word. The good ones bring immense happiness. I take the bad ones with a pinch of salt. I just use them to improve my skill. Fortunately A Quest for Spring hasn’t received very many bad reviews.
Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)
My next book will draw heavily from my grandparents love story.
Q. Advice for aspiring authors.
My advice would be that one should never give up and believe in one self.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to request them to read A Quest for Spring.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Facebook: Monica Mujumdar Dixit, A Quest for Spring
Lnkedin: Monica Dixit
Book Links: (Amazon)
Many thanks to author for taking the time out of busy schedule to answer all questions so wonderfully.
I hope you all enjoyed reading Q&A as much as I did.