Saturday, January 05, 2013

Review + Author Interview: Truly, Madly, Deeply by Faraaz Kazi



Hello, all! Today, at The Readdicts, we have with us author of one of the most lovely Indian novels, Truly, Madly, DeeplyFaraaz Kazi. My review of the book can be read later in the post or separately right here
Faraaz is truly an inspiration for all young aspiring Indian writers out there. Truly, Madly, Deeply is his debut novel and it has garnered a lot of praise and has found a special place in the hearts of Indian readers. 



GOODREADS SUMMARY OF TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY:

What happens when the most popular guy in school falls in love with his beautiful female equivalent?

A pompous Rahul is head over heels in love with Seema, a shy lady from the same school. After a whirlwind of innocent encounters, their teenage romance blossoms but the two never confess their love for each other. Friends and even a few teachers approve of their relationship which is no secret to anyone thanks to Rahul’s flaunting nature.


Seema, on the other hand, finds it difficult to handle the unnecessary attention she gets due to Rahul’s ostentatiousness. What follows is a series of misunderstandings and ego clashes causing them to drift apart.


Rahul loses his popularity, his numero uno status, his sanity and ultimately his love. By the time he realizes what he has lost, it’s too late. He takes desperate measures to woo her back and win back her love. But will Rahul ever get back Seema? And will Seema ever realize how much Rahul loved her and all the misunderstandings that transpired between them? Is there really any room for misunderstandings in love? In today’s world, can a person’s first love ever be his last?


This teenage love story seeks answers to all these and more as it alternates between the past and the present events in the life of Rahul and makes you wonder; do all love stories have a happy ending? Or do all love stories end, ever?

TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY promises to be a heart-warming and emotion filled tale that will captivate the reader’s heart and fascinate his mind and leave him pondering-DOES LOVE TRULY CONQUER ALL ODDS?

REVIEW:

I thought the book Truly, Madly, Deeply was a great read. I loved it for it's innocence and pure emotions. It is a must- read for every Indian who loves to read. A little reference here and there to Bollywood films and music makes it all the more fun. Rahul and Seema make a lovely couple. The book took me back to my school days. It makes you realize not only the power of love, but also that of memories... something that will remain with us forever, even when the world backs out. The lines from poems and shayaris add a beautiful, romantic touch. The brilliant quotes by Rochefoucauld are worth jotting down in your personal diary! I would most definitely recommend this book to one and all. The experience for me was like watching a movie, but of course, a book speaks much louder and much clearer than a movie! One can easily relate to all the incidents that take place in the book, be it the ones with friends, love or even our families and especially our rather interesting Indian households!
Hats off to Faraaz Kazi  for writing this book. It is a job well done and I am looking forward to reading the many books that I hope and wish he will write. 



RATING:



X 4

ABOUT FARAAZ KAZI:

Also called as the ‘Nicholas Sparks of India’, Faraaz Kazi is rated amongst the top romance writers in the country. A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi operates his own academy in Mumbai and is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India’s first exclusive promotions agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as 'The Young Marketer’ and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.
Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed ‘Film Writers Association of India'. ‘Truly Madly Deeply’, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to be nominated in seven categories of the Goodreads annual readers’ choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the ‘Top 100 YA Global Fiction’ list. He is a voracious reader and counts music as his second love. He can be reached at contact@faraazkazi.com. To know more about him do log onto www.faraazkazi.com. Of course, he does ‘face’ books and ‘tweets’ when he is not speaking.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Faraaz has very kindly answered all of our questions in an interesting and informative Author Interview. 

1) Can you give us a glimpse into the whole writing, publishing and publicizing process of your first book and tell us a little about Truly, Madly Deeply? 


Truly Madly Deeply is a tribute to my school days and to everyone’s first love. On an honest note, the book stems from a short story I had written for a national story-writing competition of a popular newspaper, seven years back.
Once it won a prize there, I knew it had potential and six years later, an idea came to my head that it could be expanded into a novel. People advised me against it, saying it will lose the flavour of brevity. But I believe if your heart says so, then there’s no use delaying it. I had the plot, I just changed the surroundings a bit and did all the things that fiction writers do, to make it more appealing and more pleasurable to the reader.
Once the draft was completed, then I started my journey of scouting for a publisher. I gained so much experience of the publishing process that if it was not for capital constraints, I would have turned a publisher overnight. I was even contemplating writing a book on the publishing industry in India meant for newbie writers but I ended up doing a simple analysis of the market in an article and that was it.
Finding a publisher is very difficult for a new writer and almost always you have to cross out the biggies from your list. That doesn’t leave you with many options with respect to quality. The moral of the story is simple- Beggars can’t be choosers.
I lost count of the rejection mails in my inbox and sought guidance of everyone from the writing industry I was in contact with. May be that was not a good strategy as I ended up sounding desperate. Some people were very helpful, others whom I would not name were equally helpful in the sense they gave me all the more reason to fight it out to prove myself by discounting me as just another kid on the block.
I was determined to get the book published and ultimately, I had three publishers interested in the work and it so happened I landed up with Cedar. Over the year, differences developed between the publisher and me as I found they were not doing justice to the title and other writers from their stable had the same complaint. I still haven’t been paid any royalty amount from Cedar and even after the NoC, they are retailing the old edition to earn a quick buck over someone else’s efforts. I decided to move out with ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ from Cedar and republish it with a new publisher- Mahaveer Publishers. The second release is an improved and concise version of the first. The trick is to be persistent in your efforts and never lose sight of your goal.
Once the book was out, the entire focus was on marketing it through non-traditional platforms. The campaign for the book was planned out in detail right since the beginning and drew a lot of admiration from the online public. Being the founder of a promotional agency for authors, Facebook and Twitter were at the forefront of my promotional efforts and helped me connect with my readers a lot better than I would have done otherwise. Viral promo trailers of the book that rocked the social media circuit were well received by my network and then of course, for the first time ever a promo ringtone for a novel was created. Again, it was made available for free for the online world. Posters are going to be put up in bookstores and signed copies of the book are retailing on Flipkart and Infibeam, apart from that some major contests are in the run with leading e-commerce hubs. As a marketer, every effort would be to create virality amongst the reading public through social platforms.


2) Truly Madly Deeply takes place during Rahul and Seema's school years. They experience love at a tender age. Don’t you think that, based on the Indian upbringing, it was too early for Rahul and Seema to give in to their attraction or is it justifiable as they do really like each other? 

At some point of life, each one of us has experienced love and especially when it happens for the first time, it weaves a magic that not many can escape. Teenage years are unstable years and a lot of learning takes place from the environment around, hence the impact of Bollywood movies, words and actions of friends, etc. as portrayed in the book become deciding factors for the protagonists. There is a lot of human psychology involved here. And to be blunt, let me just say that today’s sixteen year olds know a lot many more things than what appears to the eye (not all we would have been proud of knowing during our times!) The book captures the essence of first love as it is, in its raw form and that I believe is what sets it apart.
I’m not implying here that my book has a similar storyline than any other book in the market, for all I know (and trust me, I read a lot) there haven’t been any books or any stories that deal with teenage infatuation, that joyous feeling of first love in school times and its impact if it breaks all barriers and shatters all bonds, the way ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ does. My USP is very simple- people will identify with it; it is as close to reality as the plot may seem surrealistic.


3) I loved how easy it was for me to relate to the average Indian student's life that you portrayed in the book (school, tuitions, sports, extra-curricular activities, peer and parental pressure, friendship, crushes, love, etc.). Was it easy to write about it or did you find it challenging at times? 


As stated, the book is a tribute to my school years, so a lot many things I had experienced during my growth phase was easy to recollect but tough to put down. A good deal of research went into teenage psychology and hence every action in the book has a plausible explanation if you examine it minutely. I wanted that unadulterated impulsiveness to come out of my characters and at the same time I didn’t want to lose out on the fun elements and the nostalgic memories we all have experienced during our school days. Writing is never easy, one needs to get under the skin of every character and find out the inner motivation that drives them to commit what you want them to. You need to talk to your characters and the characters should talk back to you. Fortunately, with ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ such was the case!

4) Is there any chance of Rahul and Seema getting a happily ever after? 

At this point of time, a sequel is not on my mind but you never know!

5) Truly Madly Deeply is about friendship, first love, unrequited love, heartbreak and school life in general. Is the book inspired by your own experiences in school? 


Most people talk of an author’s book as his child, made of his blood and sweat. In that sense, the child does have his parent’s DNA. So yes, the book has a part of the author somewhere, either hidden or easily visible to people who know the author. And this all the more applies to the first book.
‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ is a mix of fact and fiction where dominant traits of certain characters have been drawn from people I knew in the past and my own memories of my school days.

6) Share one of your fond school memories with us! 

A lot of them form a part of the book and all of them are special to me. But the best feeling that I can remember was having nothing to worry about then except for exams and other boy matters which seem so trivial today yet it feels like it was just yesterday when I would walk down my school corridor and greet my teachers as I passed.

7) What advice would you give to young aspiring Indian writers? 

Most important thing is they should pursue writing only if they are confident about their work and are capable of handling criticism. Today, I see so many writers with poor writing skills, coming out with their own autobiographical fiction set in some engineering college or management institute. Small publishers lap it up because the market (read nouveau readers as India is seeing a growth in habitual readership) demands so.
Some who have good financial backup even go to the extent of starting their own publication houses that just produce their own title and no one hears about them again.
Second most important thing is too approach publishers directly as much as possible. It doesn’t make sense for new writers to trust strangers and I learnt it the hard way. Yes, it does get irritating while you await replies of the publishers but that also teaches you perseverance and patience, two of the most important qualities for a successful writer. Also avoid people who ask for money even if they are literary agents. At the end of the day, they will return you the manuscript with some changes that any English graduate could have picked up and you’ll end up losing your wallet in the bargain. In short, be cautious and active at the same time while never losing sight of the fruit that awaits you.


8) Finally, the most awaited question! When will we get to read another book by you? (Trust me, we are all waiting for many more!)

My second books is currently lying with my agent and we expect to sign up with a leading publication soon if all goes well, before that I may not be able to divulge any more details about the project but trust me, this one will work on a far greater emotion than my first. The project would be a sort of first attempt in the Indian literary segment  on such a large scale. And I’m sure people will like it!


We also have a cool new 'Top Ten Favourites' column for Faraaz, where he has shared some of his all time favourites! 

FAVOURITE TEN:

1) Favourite author? Khaled Hosseini

2) Favourite book? The Kite Runner

3) Favourite movie? Chak De India and 3 Idiots (both!)

4) Favourite actor? None

5) Favourite actress? Kareena Kapoor

6) Favourite song? All the songs on my Soundcloud channel

7) Favourite sport? Cricket

8) Favourite food? Yakhni Pulao

9) Favourite place? London

10) Favourite word? Love!

Absolutely great choices! 

Thank you so much for answering all our questions, Faraaz! 

It was lovely having you at The Readdicts and having you give us such a lot of information/facts and we wish you lots of success and happiness in the future. 


TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY  LINKS:

Truly, Madly, Deeply on Goodreads





MORE ABOUT FARAAZ KAZI:

Thank you for stopping by, guys! I hope you liked reading this post as much as I liked putting it up for y'all. I would highly recommend Truly, Madly, Deeply to you all. 


Sarika



9 comments:

  1. Oh Nicholas Sparks of India. Well you've got me now. I haven't read some good romance book recently so I'm very curious about this now. And after reading your review even more! :) Thanks for sharing :)

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    Replies
    1. I really hope you get to read the book soon. I dunno if it's available in e-formats, but *fingers crossed*. :P I'm sure you'll really like it! Thanks for stopping by, Tanja! :)

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  2. Hm..I saw this around and it looked interesting plus it's an Indian author... Will be sure to check it out :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear that and I hope you get around to reading the book real soon! Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Delete
  3. His favorite word is love. That is so cute! This book sounds like a typical bollywood movies, and don't get me wrong I enjoy those time to time. I'll add it to my TBR shelf. Thanks for sharing =)

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    Replies
    1. I know, right! Yes, the book is just like watching a Bollywood movie, fully entertaining with emotion, drama, love and all things nice! Thanks for stopping by, Aman! :)

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