• Writing

    Write What You Want to Write – Not What You Think is Commercial

    Before I completed my novel which was published, I tried writing several other books (plus more that never got past chapter one…), including one called The Spectrum of Legitimacy. That was my attempt to write Speculative Fiction, which I do love reading (think Clare North, Nick Harkaway, Scarlett Thomas). But I wrote it for one main reason: I thought it was what would work commercially, as opposed to what I specifically wanted to write. It was an interesting experience, and as much as I enjoyed writing it, when I gave it to a few early readers, their message was very similar: it’s okay, I liked aspects of it, but… I…

  • Writing

    What have you done today to help sell another copy of your book?

    I used to be a software salesman, and on one occasion I visited one of the UK’s main political parties to demo our system. When I was there, I noticed a small notice above my contact’s desk which said “What have you done today to help us win the next general election?” I think that as indie authors, we could use that conviction. What can we do every day to help sell another copy(s) of your book? It could be something simple: sending a tweet, posting a photo on Instagram, responding to a Group post on Facebook, making a quick change to your website to improve it. Or you could…

  • For Readers

    The Best 7 Novels About Food

    Food is in many novels, including mine, but there are some books which nail it. Some revolve around food, others incorporate it less so but in such a way that it still means you couldn’t imagine the story without food. Here are my favourites: The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. I loved all Amy Tan’s early books, and her incorporation of food into her novels is wonderful and especially evocative. (I could easily add The Kitchen God’s Wife to this list as well). You can taste the dim sum! Add to that her skill in writing about relationships and cultures in America and you have a very special book.…

  • For Readers,  Writing

    What inspired me to write my novel

    One of the most common questions I am asked is: What inspired you to write your book? I should prefix my answer with a quick overview of the novel (don’t worry, no spoilers here!). The main character, Vik has a Jewish/Indian heritage, and the core theme of the book is his challenge against racism, discrimination and standing up for what one believes in. I come from a Jewish/gentile family myself; my father was Jewish, my mother C of E, both Caucasian. Many years ago, I lived in Singapore for a while and I had a lot of Indian friends. And I started to find similarities between Jews and Indians. That…

  • Writing

    My top 4 tips on how to write a synopsis for your novel

    So you’ve written your novel, you’re ready to submit it to agents/publishers and now you have to write a synopsis. Good luck! If you haven’t done this yet and you thought it was hard writing your book, wait until you try to squeeze the plot, themes and approach into a few hundred words, or less. To summarise the process in three words: It isn’t easy. So, what advice can I offer if you are finding it difficult creating a synopsis which does justice to your work? I’m going to assume you know the basics of what a synopsis is, and why you need to write one, and I would also…

  • Writing

    It’s the journey that matters

    Ursula K. Le Guin wrote “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” This is a marvellous way to sum up my writing style. Any good story of course needs all the ingredients of challenges, uncertainties, change; and although a novel should be written so that the reader wants to know what is ultimately going to happen, I am not writing a whodunit or a crime story. I write general fiction which means, to me, that it is just as much about what happens along the way – more so – than it is for where my characters…

  • Publishing

    The Challenge of Designing the Perfect Book Cover

    In 2019, the old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ has never been further from the truth. It is exactly what many people do these days! Especially with the growth of Amazon and online sales. When we view a book on Amazon, we all inevitably scroll down until we see the row of books which were ‘Also Bought’ by customers who read this work. And other than the occasions when you have heard of an author in that list, it is of course the cover which will make a huge impact on your decision on whether to click on it or not. So the cover design has…

  • Random Thoughts

    Fictional Restaurants I Would Like to Eat in

    One of the themes in The Kosher Delhi is food, and the restaurants which Vik works in. All fictional, of course. Which got me thinking: which fictional restaurants would I like to eat in if only I could do so?! Here’s my selection. What others would you add? Milliways in The Restaurant at The End of the Universe: a five star restaurant situated at the end of time and matter? Why would you not want to go?! La Ratatouille: it’s the kitchen I was thinking of a lot when I was writing The Kosher Delhi. JJ’s Diner in Parks and Recreation: breakfast food all day… Jack Rabbit Slims in Pulp…

  • Writing

    How I Write

    I heard an interview with David Baddiel recently, where he talked about “how he wrote”; he said (and I am paraphrasing): I sit down at my computer, look at the internet for a bit, realise I should do some writing, do some writing, reward myself by looking at the internet again… Of course, he did then explain about his actual approach, but his account resonated with me. Clearly, real writers waste lots of time too looking at Twitter and Wikipedia… This is how I wrote The Kosher Delhi: When I wasn’t looking at the internet, I tended to write as follows: On a morning, I would write a few pages…

  • Writing

    How to Listen to Early Readers

    Soon after I started writing The Kosher Delhi, I gave my partner the first few chapters and asked for her feedback. She came back the next day after reading it on the train home and said, ‘Now I don’t want you to get upset, but this might be a difficult conversation…’ She then reeled off a series of points and thoughts about the book which she didn’t think were realistic, didn’t work, or where she got bored. I sat there, listened (very) politely and had to admit to myself that she was right on every account (well, nearly every point). It was sobering but unbelievably helpful. Oh, and she did…