Thirty-two-year-old Vinisha Panwar is strong, straightforward, and stubbornly earnest. She loves swimming and despises prevarication. As a matter of fact, the Gurugram-based author values honesty so much that when we ask her if there is something that she would want to be changed in the world, she resoundingly says, ‘People becoming more honest with themselves and with others.’ Furthermore, there is a depth in the way she articulates her thoughts, and she loves reading. In an exclusive interaction with Stavyah Vatsarah, Vinisha Panwar talks about her favourite authors, what made her a passionate reader, her hobbies, her schedule, and most importantly, her new e-book ‘A Deceitful Evening’. She also gives some pieces of advice to budding authors. Excerpts from the interview:
Stavyah: A Deceitful Evening seems like an interesting novel. How did it happen?
Vinisha: I have been writing for the past ten years, but I have decided to share it on a public platform for the first time only this year. Once the school was over and college started, I faced a lot of challenges. To overcome my feelings, I took the help of pen. Couldn’t stop afterwards! The idea of launching a short story through an e-book, nevertheless, came into my mind this March. Finally, in May, I was able to self-publish it through the Kindle Publishing Program (KDP). Since it was a short story, I didn’t approach any publisher and decided to share it with the public directly.
Stavyah: Is this your debut novel?
Vinisha: I won’t call it a novel, but yes, it’s my debut e-book. Since it’s quite a short read, it does not qualify as a novel. It took me three months to create a final edited version of my short story and publish it as my debut e-book. Editing took most of the time, while publishing took only a week. I am working on my first novel, and it will take a few months to complete it.
Stavyah: What is the book about? What’s the storyline?
Vinisha: Isn’t the title quite revealing? (laughs)
Stavyah: No doubt the title is electrifying. A freakish romance thriller does make for a good read, by the way! Anyhow, before you start with a novel or a short story, do you have the plot and the characters you’re going to incorporate, or do you not know how the story is going to unfold unless you get done with it?
Vinisha: I did have the plot and characters in my mind before I started with ‘A Deceitful Evening’. Before I started writing, I thought a lot about the characters, their strengths and flaws, and how they could all work in the plot.
Stavyah: You must be an avid reader given the fact that you’ve been writing for over a decade now. Who are your favourite authors, and in what way do they inspire you?
Vinisha: I have many favourite authors. Ayn Rand, Salman Rushdie, Paulo Coelho, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Arundhati Roy, and many more. But the one who has unbelievably impacted my mind is Ayn Rand. Her work was pure gold. Her thoughts, her belief and her words have created a powerful impact on many readers including me. Such an intelligent author she was! Her novel The Fountainhead was an amazing experience for me. I couldn’t keep it down for a single second. It made me believe that words can brilliantly influence your mind. It made me a passionate reader. I admired the way she let you live through her words. Finally, I realised that words can influence you deeply and that they have the power to change your thought process.
Stavyah: I can’t agree more. Words are indeed powerful. Moving on, could you tell me when you generally write? Do you follow a schedule, or do you write when you have an urge to pen down your thoughts?
Vinisha: I usually write at night when it’s quiet and peaceful. I don’t follow a strict schedule as I don’t want to force my mind to write. What I want is to let my heart write it all out when it feels like. If I am not writing on a particular day, I make sure that I satisfy my quench for words through reading a miraculous work of another author.
Stavyah: That is understandable. But was becoming an author a conscious decision of yours, or did it happen by chance?
Vinisha: It was a conscious decision.
Stavyah: I’m sure you have a lot of work besides writing that needs to be attended to. How do you juggle between writing and other tasks?
Vinisha: There is no juggling, honestly. When I have to write, I find the means and time for the same. If you are passionate about something, you end up extracting time out of your life for it. Passion lets you live each second of the day.
Stavyah: Besides reading and writing, what do you like doing?
Vinisha: I love to take a deep water swim. It clears my thought process. I am a water baby.
Stavyah: Tell me a bit about your works in progress. Do you plan on becoming a full-fledged author?
Vinisha: Yes, I plan to become a full-fledged author. That’s the dream. And, as I’ve already told you, I am working on my first novel. It’s more sort of new adult fiction. It revolves around the life’s struggle of a late teen girl. It will try to capture a lot of different types of emotions, which we generally ignore and try hard to not reveal.
Stavyah: What would you like to tell the budding authors who lose motivation if a few of their works don’t do well?
Vinisha: If we don’t fail, we will never learn how to be more successful than those who haven’t faced any failure. You got to make mistakes, but whether you learn from them or not, that’s under your control. So, write and write more. Don’t rush, and take your time. The first draft is never a final draft. Take feedback from fellow readers and writers. And most importantly, work on that feedback. Connect better with not only local writers but with international writers, readers, and book bloggers as well. Finally, engage with your current followers and potential future readers through every social media platform. See which platform works for you in a better way.
Stavyah: That was exhaustive, I must say. I am eager to know what your routine on any usual day is like.
Vinisha: Reading, writing, reading, writing… No joking, it has been like this throughout this lockdown. Outdoor activities have been cancelled, or else I would have been going for swims. But I do watch movies in the evening whenever possible, I am a fan of the cinema of all sorts.
Stavyah: It was wonderful interacting with you, Vinisha. I wish you all success. Your parting thoughts, please.
Vinisha: I just wish more and more people read. We love to watch films and videos. But reading sounds old and tiresome. Just wish to tell everyone not to let the habit of reading take a hit. If people read more, they would end up exploring another world besides discovering many more truths hidden in different stories.