• 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…

  • 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…

  • Writing

    Late Night Ideas…

    Every author knows that for some reason, inspiration can hit you when lying in bed at night. (For me, often when I’m on holiday). Sometimes when you’re still wide awake, but usually, annoyingly, just before you drop off to sleep. And we have all made the mistake of thinking, Oh that’s okay, I’ll remember that idea in the morning. Then we don’t… So I have learned to do the following: Keep my mobile phone by my bed with a Voice Recording app installed, and, if I’m on my own, I quickly click on it and start recording. Simple and effective. I also keep a notebook and pen by the bed,…

  • For Readers,  Writing

    What Influenced Me When I Wrote The Kosher Delhi: Now on Twitter

    This is a brief blog post to provide context for a series of tweets I am now commencing on Twitter. These are tweets I am posting because I wanted to acknowledge, and provide some background on the various things that influenced me when I wrote my novel, The Kosher Delhi. The influences come from all directions: the books I have read; the music I listen to; locations; people – a significant set of influences; the food (restaurants, dishes, influencers); films; and a ‘miscellaneous’ category with a few esoteric influences… Most of these things influenced me positively; a few I’m sad I was influenced by, but they did, and in some…

  • Writing

    Using MindMapping for Writing Inspiration

    I am a huge fan of using MindMapping techniques when writing, to help with inspiration for plots, characters and ideas. Drawing mind maps helps me far more than simply writing lists on paper or on a computer screen. If  you haven’t heard of Mind Maps, then the concept was created by Tony Buzan four or five decades ago, as “a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that literally ‘maps out’ your ideas” [mindmapping.com], and “it is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the centre of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are…

  • Writing

    Am I Writing For The Choir or For The Nonbelievers?

    The themes in my novel, The Kosher Delhi include the issues of racism and homophobia, the need to stand up to bigotry. And so I wrote my book with scenes and storylines which try to show how wrong they are. I won’t write any spoilers here by saying exactly what happens, whether or not the wrongdoer(s) get their comeuppance and so on, but either way, I am trying to make the reader agree/understand that people shouldn’t be racist or homophobic. But herein lies my problem: are most of my readers already going to believe that anyway? In which case, why do I bother? Am I writing for the choir or…

  • Publishing,  Writing

    You don’t have to be a journalist or celebrity to get a book published

    When I see that an author is about to have their book published, I sometimes look at their background, and very often, I find that they are a journalist, or a minor/major celebrity, maybe they have worked in publishing for a while, or they have a huge social media following on Twit-insta-book. I don’t have any such background. And I suspect a lot of would-be authors are like me: keen writers but nothing more. If you fit into this latter category, then I am proof you can still get your novel published. In my professional life, I have been an IT consultant for many years, working solely with charities and…