Muskan Makhija is a working professional who was always keen to make a career in the field of writing. A graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication from Jagannath International Management School (JIMS) affiliated to Indraprastha University, she was always an active participant in various inter-college creative writing competitions. From writing engaging content for the community radio to scripts of small plays in her college to poetry, she has always been innovative in her approach and still, tries to expand her horizon.
Her debut novel, Love (Re)defined, an intense love story is her first attempt to keep the readers captivated till the last page of the book. Having known for the strong hold of understanding of the relationships amongst her family and friends, she wishes to connect with the heart and mind of each reader through this book.
Having worked in different areas of media for almost two years, she now wants to establish herself as a successful full-time author. She lives in Gurugram with her parents and believes that meaningful stories can only be created when you start grasping the insights of the ordinary relationships around you.
In a conversation with Praveen Sisodiya, she went deeper to explain her dreams in writing and career. She talked about the first novel she read to the one she may write in future.
What changes you’ve observed in your life and surrounding after being a novelist?
As a debut writer, I really don’t think that I have observed any major change in life or my surroundings till now. However, I will say on knowing that I have written a novel, some people praise me for my consistent efforts in the field of writing while some take it too casually.
Everywhere people have two fronts. When was the first time you thought of becoming a writer?
I always followed the practice to pen down my thoughts and give it a form of either a poem/prose or a simple page in the diary. But, it was during my college time that I started realizing my potential when my teachers and friends appreciated my writings. That is when I started participating in various inter-college creative writing competitions and somewhere, deep inside my heart a desire emerged to become a writer.
Which are toughest and easiest things while writing?
I believe the biggest responsibility for a writer is to hold the attention of his readers throughout any piece of writing. And for that to happen, the characterisation and the flow of the story is most important. As a writer, I fathom that the toughest thing while writing is not to limit thoughts only from your point of view. You have to get into the shoes of your readers and then, develop characters and a plot that they are able to connect with.
Sometimes either getting in readers shoes or creating a grip, authors go through writer’s block? Which is your favourite motivational phrase in writer’s block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
‘When words don’t come easy, I make do with silence and find something in nothing’- Strider Marcus Jones
Well, I will just say that if you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have that sincerity and passion, then no one can stop you. Push yourself a little harder and keep writing till the time your inner voice doesn’t whisper back to you, ‘This is it!’
Readers always ask for favourite titles of a writer. Which are your favourite titles?
‘Hold my hand’ by Durjoy Dutta, ‘Your dreams are mine now’ by Ravinder Singh and ‘A walk to remember’ by Nicholas Sparks, are my favourite titles among the books I have read so far. All the three titles are winsome in their own way and convey a hidden deep meaning in just few words.
Yes, their stories are one which holds the reader till the end. Sometimes we read a novel and get obsessed with it and thinks how great it would be if we had written it. Which is the best Novel you have ever read and wished it was your work?
PS I love you, a book written by Cecelia Ahern is the one which I have read several times. I was 17 years old when I read that novel for the first time and I wished that it would have been my work. The author has expressed the love between the lead couple beautifully and narrated the journey of holding on, letting go and learning to love again in the most relatable form.
You must have started writing with certain hopes and dreams. What are your ambitions as a writer?
The first and the foremost is to make a place in the heart of my prospective readers. I strongly believe that if I am able to achieve this with my every piece of writing, then the success and the fame will automatically make a way to me.
What do you think about professional writing or writing as a career?
I have myself embarked a new beginning in this field of writing with a hope that I will be able to able to connect with the heart of my every reader. But, right now I don’t think that I will be the right person to tell the future prospects of choosing writing as a career. May be, after some years, I will be able to answer this question….:)
What made you to enter in romantic genre?
Love is a very powerful emotion. It is not only the foundation of any relationship but also is the basic requirement for the growth of an individual. I think, if you can have a grip on understanding of this one emotion, then you can easily play around it. This is where the whole idea of starting my writing career from a romantic genre came from. Every day, when I came across different people and got to know their stories, then a whole new picture got created in my mind and I took a decision to make a beginning by this genre.
Yes, love is very powerful emotion and weapon which can make an individual to do anything in life. How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
As I mentioned before, I always had a habit to write a diary. May be, it was because I was quite an introvert and inexpressive person at that time. The feelings which I couldn’t share with anyone else were all written down in my diary. And naturally, the art of observing people, nature and the environment around me emerged. I think it is because of that part of my personality that I started exploring all the things in the form of writing.
Tell us about your next title ‘Love re(defined)’ and it’s plot.
The love gets defined in your life, when you eventually fall for someone…
And that same love gets (re)defined when you walk in love with someone…
There is a thin line difference between these two and this novel clearly depicts that. It is a journey of a girl, Mehak who gets a second chance to redefine love in her life. Now, by whom this second chance is given and how does she differentiates the two and takes the biggest decision of her life is what the readers have to find out.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I strongly believe that the expressions can come out best when you yourself have experienced the same situations at some part of your life. I may not say that every event is a reflection of my own life but yes I have to agree that the main character of Sahil and some events relating to it are inspired by my own life.
How did you worked on your novel? What was the strangest thing you came cross while working?
Writing a novel obviously requires your determination and a lot of motivation from your surroundings as well as your own self. Apart from the working day and night, I had actually started living each and every character. It may seem strange to a few but yes at that time, I used to pick up lines from any random song I used to listen and actually related them to my character’s feelings at a particular point of time.
The strangest thing I came across during the entire process was that at times, it became really difficult for me to transport myself back into the reality. My heart and mind were so must lost into it that I started finding the real life too monotonous and wished that I could actually live the life of Mehak, which is the central character of the novel.
You said it was difficult to transport back to real life. Which character(s) from your novel you would like to have in your real life or surroundings?
My observation says that the guys of our generation are quite indecisive and unclear especially when it comes to taking decisions in their personal lives. So, I feel that if we have more guys like Tarun, who is the one of the strongest characters in my novel, then I am sure it would successfully work for the betterment of relationships now-a-days. Being a considerate, balanced and a person who knows his priorities well, I believe that this character is truly a reflection of what every girl seeks for in her life partner.
With a strong content of title, you need to do a lot of promotions to connect with readers as an aspiring debut writer. So, how you are connecting with the readers?
Now-a-days, social media is one of the major and powerful tool through which you can interact with your readers. Facebook and Instagram obviously come as a first option to me to connect with the masses because these two platforms have the greatest possible reach. Apart from that, I will be doing book promotions personally by going to different colleges and places and will be trying my best to establish a connection with my readers.
As a romantic author, how do you define Love?
Love to me is a meeting of two souls in which both the partners accept fully the dark and the light within each-other and still have the courage to grow their relationship each day through struggle. There will be obstacles and challenges throughout but then, love is all about holding on, never letting go and being together till the last.
Let’s talk about some first things. Which was the first novel you ever read and what impact did it created on you?
I don’t remember the name of the novel but I do recollect that it was written by Enid Blyton. As far as Indian writers are concerned, then definitely I do remember that it was one of the most successful and renowned authors of today- ‘Two states’ by Chetan Bhagat. I simply loved the way the novel was written. The way the characters were defined and the simplicity of the words with which he kept his readers bound were laudatory. I felt that the characters were really realistic and any common man could easily relate to it.
We share same first author Chetan Bhagat. And which was the first story you ever wrote?
I have written many short stories during my college time but then, if I talk about a proper script, then that was at the time when I was doing a course of script writing for films & TV. The genre was romance but it was highlighting a different shade of love. I will not reveal much about it right now because sooner or later, I will transform that script and give it a form of a novel.
You need strong characters for your piece and most of them have influence from our surrounding. How much important it is to meet and explore new people as a writer? And how do you explore people?
The writer can only write till the time he has new stories to tell to his audience. And that is only possible, when he meets and explores new people. Though I am not that type of a person who socialises much but from the time, I have given this new direction to my life, I have been trying to change it. I think I have been able to bring this small change in me over a period of time by being more interactive and an initiator when I meet new people. I believe this is the only way through which you can understand the insights of people’s mind and get to broaden your outlook and horizon.
What are other special hobbies or activities that interest you apart from reading and writing?
Acting and dancing are some of interest areas I have apart from writing. If given a chance someday, then surely I will like to have my own acting school in future.
I wish, it will soon turn into a reality. In the end, what advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
I am myself an aspiring writer though but I will like to convey one message to everyone who has an interest in writing to keep following their passion. There will be times when you will get disheartened and it will become difficult for you to motivate your inner self, but never let that spark die within you. This one spark is the only thing which can keep you going and bring out the best within you.
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You can pre-order, Muskan’s debut novel, Love re(defined) on Amazon.in –>
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