Author Nithya Sashi – Be shameless, Talk about yourself and your book.

By Aryeman


A brief about Author Nithya (in her own words) I work in the IT field as a Curriculum Designer. I help create e-learning courses for corporate employees.  Writing has been my way of creating multiple truths for myself. As a young child, I used to write short notes to myself in my diary. 

I would keep my diary with me always, and jot down whenever I thought of something nice or if I saw something nice. This habit slowly transformed my irrelevant and sometimes seemingly junk notes into coherent stories. My Mother has been my greatest supporter. Never one to scold or dissuade me from following my passion, she always urged me to be serious in whatever I undertook. My parents gave me the freedom to pursue any career I wanted. 

I decided early in my life that I would have two careers, one to bring in the money, the other to help me evolve. When I published my first book, a lot of trepidation and self-doubt fell away. Like chains. I saw everything much more clearly. I have not looked back or doubted my decision after that day. Of course, the progress has been quite slow, between the publishing of my four books. Every day is a new day for me. Currently, I live in Chennai with 4 fishes and one human husband. 

If I am not writing stories, I am either working on my next office project or am checking my Social Media pages or reading. 

The Interview:

How long did it take to get your first novel / book published?
It was the year 2009 when I finally realized my dream of becoming a published author. Pageturn Publishers was looking for writers (newbies and veterans) to write romance stories for their new imprint, Red Ink. I saw an article in The Hindu and jumped at the opportunity. I was newly married at that time and had no dearth for romantic notions. Adding a lot of imagination, I wrote Legal Bond in the shortest time possible. A month or so. I submitted it and waited with bated breath, it was the first time I had submitted a novella to a publisher. They replied in a week. I was in! And, before I could blink, my book was getting edited and one day, was ready to be published. The actual publishing happened without a bang. So, to answer this question, it took 5-6 months to get my first book published.

What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat? 
This is a very good question and a very important one too. Every debut author wishes that somebody should hold their hand and say what they should and not do. Rarely, people get mentors who help them on this path. I also didn’t have anybody to guide me except online research and trusting my instinct about my publisher. Although I won’t call them mistakes, I would say I should have worked more hard on the below points to ensure my book did well. I did not promote my book much, thinking it was the publisher’s job. I shied away from talking to people about my book, didn’t even show it to my friends and colleagues. I just accepted whatever my publisher gave me as royalty.
a.     Promote your book. I depended more on organic reach rather than doing promotions.
b.    Talk to people, let them know you have written a book.
c.     Be shameless. Talk about yourself. And your book. Say nice things.
d.    Don’t be apologetic when you start talking about your book. Be assertive and confident.
e.     Do some research and ask for royalties and other dues. Keep following up.

Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
Yes! Absolutely. Most of the time, I do work on more than one story. It is like I am living on multiple domains. I also read 2-3 books at the same time. Time is less and I want to expose myself to as much knowledge as possible.

Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
Well, I wouldn’t say formula. I would rather call it a habit. Whenever I get a story idea, I always sit down first to jot down everything my mind conjures up. Everything. And I keep getting these points in bits and pieces, everything goes into my diary. Then I do research. About the subject and characters start taking shape, add bone and flesh. I like my characters to have multiple layers. What’s a character without greys? Eh. For me, the structure goes in first. Then I slowly start filling it up.

Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.  
I am not sure I believe in a block per se. I see it as a duration for the mind to take a break from the task of creating an alternate dimension. When I do not get a flow of ideas, I just tune out and don’t stress my mind too much. That’s when I read more. Anything, any genre. Mostly light reading to distract myself. And I take a lot of rest. Sleep and allow my brain to get much needed rest.

What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?
I have been a great fan of Murakami for as long as I can remember. The first book I read was, ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’. It blew my mind away and I became an ardent fan. This was because I realized that this was the type of books I wanted to write, about magic, about believing in fantasy-worlds.

How often do you read other novels? Who are your favourite authors?
I read very often. There have been days when I have read 1 book a day. I can read very fast so it doesn’t take me a long time to consume a lot of content. Of course, I will surely take a few days to finish a tome like War and Peace. 😉
Some great authors who have inspired me are: Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Salman Rushdie.

1.    Legal Bond, published 2009, Pageturn publishers; Amazon link [This title is currently out of stock]

2.    Four Blocks Wide, self-published 2018; Amazon link

3.    Once Upon a Reunion, self-published 2019; Amazon link