Born and raised in Nagpur, Alisha Nandeshwar gave her parents the biggest shock of their lives when she just up and declared that she will become a writer. Little did they know that their daughter has been spinning tales in her mind since she was fourteen.
When she couldn’t suppress her desire of writing stories anymore, Alisha decided to keep her engineering degree aside and follow her heart. The result is her debut novel ‘NO MORE NO LESS.’ She also writes poems and short stories, which one can read on her blog ‘Words Unveiled.’ When she isn’t writing, one will either find her reading novels or… reading novels! Because she is that addicted to them.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Alisha Nandeshwar: No More No Less is the first book of this duology. The book is about a promise to be equal—No More No Less—in a relationship. The protagonist of the story, Pari takes you on a long journey full of love, fun, friendship, family and a whole lot of different emotions. You get to see two different sides of her in the book. One is sweet and shy Pari, who is still in love with fairy tales and wishes for a happily ever after. The other side of her is a badass, brave and strong Pari, who can be one stubborn woman when she wants to.
Then you get to meet Sameer, who is handsome and arrogant and why not. He’s got a sexy British accent, those killer looks and a dazzling smile that leaves every girl breathless with Pari being no exception. With those many qualities, Sameer has got this ‘tall, dark and handsome’ thing all covered. When these two people meet, they set everything on fire. Sometimes even their relationship. But let’s not forget the fate either because the fate so loves to intervene in everyone’s life. Together, these two take us on a journey full of fights, sacrifice, and love and we get to see how they learn to be strong and equal in their relationship because that’s how it is supposed to be.
Man and woman balance each other and keep this ride safe. If one stumbles down, the other is sure to fall as well. To sum it up, No More No Less is a beautiful love story of Sameer and Pari, with a hint of sass, a pinch of fun, a caress of pain and a touch of feminism with a really great social message.
TBE: How did you realize that this is your story for the book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: My mind is never free of stories. It’s like there is a whole new universe in there with different stories spinning in their own world at once. So when I had decided to take the leap and write a story, I had no idea with which story I will be going forward. I finally decided to start with one and in fact, wrote a few chapters of it as well. But sometimes it’s the characters in your mind that leads you and not the other way around.
At that time, Sameer and Pari’s story was demanding my attention fiercely and a writer is a slave to her characters. So when the characters of this story started being so compelling, I had to stop working on the previous story and then I knew that No More No Less is going to be my first novel.
TBE: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I love romance. I always knew that I will be writing romantic stories. But I also knew that I don’t want to write anything cliché. So yes, this book is indeed a romance fiction, but there are many other key elements in the book such as friendship and family. Together all these elements give out a message that in life love is important but so is friendship and family. And if you are lucky enough to have all these three then you can face everything.
TBE: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Alisha Nandeshwar: The characters are completely a creation of my imagination. There might be a few qualities which they get from me but besides that, they are completely fictional.
TBE: Who’s your favorite character from the book and why?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I love Pari. I find a lot of similarities between her and me. I could just relate to her. She is sassy; she is bold but also shy. I like the way she is so loyal to her friends, family and of course, Sameer.
TBE: What was your writing process for this book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: With so many stories playing around in my mind, it is really important for me to keep a diary to jot it all down. Because any idea or a scene would strike me anytime, like seriously anytime. For instance, I am driving and suddenly I have a scene in my mind. So I always keep a diary with me to make notes. Generally, I start working on a story with only two things in my mind – the beginning and the end. I usually aim to write one chapter a day and let the story lead me.
My writing process for No More No Less was the same. Every day I would start with a rough idea for the chapter and then the characters would take the reins from there. And then by the end of the day, with the help of my notes and the voices in my head, I used to have some pretty amazing number of words on my laptop screen.
TBE: How long does it take you to write this book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I finished the first draft in about two months and the second draft in about three months. So that is total of five months that I took to finish the book. However, it took me about two years to work on this book, which includes editing, copy editing, proofreading, and everything. Not many people know this but the whole editing of this book was done by me. I just had the whole manuscript read by three of my friends – Shreyash, Nikita and Apurva. They suggested a few changes. I took some of their suggestions and sometimes I didn’t! But besides that, it was all me. I didn’t use any professional editor at all. It was a big risk so I couldn’t afford any mistakes. Maybe that is the reason why it took me so long to finally get it out there.
TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I think every writer would agree with me when I say that the fun part is the writing one. It’s the process which starts after that that makes us grab our heads and pull our hair. So writing was absolute fun. Then came the editing but that was also bearable. But as a debut author, the most challenging thing that I had to face was to decide whether to go the normal traditional publishing way or follow the new rage and go for self-publishing.
Luckily, I have a really great friend, Shreyash, who knew I am no patient person and directed me to the self-publishing route. When all of that was decided, the process further was an easy one but of course with some usual ups and downs. Overall, the whole process was overwhelming but a good one, definitely. As for the thing about if I find anything challenging in writing then so far, no. (Touchwood!) I haven’t had any trouble while writing and hope that continues. Wink!
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I hope my readers find an escape in this story from their busy lives and enjoy every minute of it. I hope they feel the love between Pari and Sameer, laugh at Avi’s antics and cry when things go wrong. I think readers of different ages can relate to this story. The people who love any typical romance novel will definitely have something in common here. They will get all those love butterflies and tingling vibes from the main two characters of this book.
Those who love their friends and are family-oriented will get to read about some funny moments between friends, which they will easily relate to and will get to read a lighter side of a mother and daughter relationship. So basically, there is everything for everyone in this book. And that’s why I hope the readers love it. Fingers crossed!
TBE: According to you what is the most challenging thing for a budding writer?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I think the most challenging thing for a newbie author like me is to make a name in this industry. To reach out to the readers and instill faith in their hearts for your work. That is a difficult thing to do. Of course, quality of the work is a major element but this is a social media age. So you gotta do a lot of work besides writing to make yourself visible out there.
TBE: How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: It was a very touching moment for me and my family. My friends appeared at my home bright and early in the morning and together all of us opened that box of author copies that I had received. I had my CET exam so I didn’t touch that box for about 4 days and then on the day of release, I finally opened it and held the book in my hands, which were shaking. My mother and I both had tears in our eyes that day. After that, I had a little party with my friends.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
Alisha Nandeshwar: Oh, I read a lot! I am a bookworm. Give me lots of books and chocolates and you won’t see me complaining. I can survive days without internet, TV, and whatnot, but one day without books and I will go crazy. It’s kinda like I am really addicted to reading. And like I said, I love romance so fictional romance is my favourite genre. But I also like paranormal, thriller, rom-coms, adventures and so much more. As long as the story is keeping me intrigued, I can read about anything. That’s why I have a mixed bunch of favourite authors like Jojo Moyes, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Keira Cass, Rachel Van Dyken, Emma Chase, Katy Evans, Leia Stone, Sidney Sheldon, Amish, Preeti Shenoy, R S Grey, Sonali Dev and many more. Seriously, with the number of books that I have read, I have like hundreds of favorite authors.
TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Alisha Nandeshwar: If I am not writing then I am definitely reading. And when I am not reading then I am either listening to songs or singing or watching some TV series or I am out with my friends.
TBE: Have you ever learned anything from a negative review and incorporated it in your writing?
Alisha Nandeshwar: When I finished my first draft and then read it after some time, I was the first to criticize it. Badly! I felt like I could do so much better than this. With that thought in my mind, I worked harder on the manuscript and so far, I haven’t read anything negative about the book.
I think realizing my own mistakes and then working on getting rid of them is the best thing that happened while writing this book. Thanks to that, the reviews that are coming in now are all good, really great in fact. I hope that continues. But even if I get any negative reviews in the future, I guess it will depend upon the review whether I should let it affect me or not. For instance, if the review challenges me and helps me be better then great and if not then I have to accept it and move on. Because a writer can’t keep everyone happy. And I know that appreciation and criticism are two sides of the same coin.
TBE: Did you ever have a rough patch in writing, where nothing in the story seemed to fit or make sense?
Alisha Nandeshwar: Luckily, I haven’t had any trouble while writing the story yet. The words come out easily as soon as I start writing. I might go back and edit something or remove something after a few days but while writing, my head is clear and knows what it wants in the scene next.
TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about any book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I think the book must be compelling enough for the reader that the reader can see everything right in front of their eyes. For instance, I am reading a line and I should have no trouble at all to imagine the scene. When that happens, the reader is already immersed in a whole new world. The reader can feel the whole story as if they are the ones experiencing it all. So powerful and compelling writing is important. Besides that, of course, a good story and the underlining messages that a book gives out.
TBE: What was one of the most surprising things you learned during creation of your book?
Alisha Nandeshwar: Writing this book was a journey full of surprises. I learned a lot of things about me that I never knew of. And one of the most surprising things was the way I used to be so engrossed in the story that I am sure I even murmured about it in my sleep. And no, I so don’t talk in my sleep! I remember I used to be giddy if the scene I am writing is a happy or romantic one and then I remember being sad for a few days while I was writing a pretty tragic scene.
The characters in my mind became such an integral part of me that I could feel everything that they went through. It was as if they were real. I know every writer will say that it happens with them but for me, it was the very first time. It was such a revelation for me to know that I was capable of feeling so intensely for the characters that are nothing but just a part of my imagination. And believe it or not, but that’s a really fascinating experience.
TBE: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I follow my heart when I am writing. I think if I don’t like my own work, then nobody will. So my mind and heart work together and do the whole job. The result that comes out is something completely original and fresh. And I am grateful that the readers are loving it so far.
TBE: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I remember reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes when I was maybe 16 or 17 and I also remember locking myself in my bathroom and crying my heart out after I was done reading that book. My dear Lord, I cried like a baby. Many stories followed after that, some of them really sad ones that made me cry. It took me a few years to realize that the language can make such an impact on you.
To make one laugh or cry their eyes out with nothing but with your words. To influence one’s thoughts with your own and make one think beyond their imagination. I think that’s incredible. And that is according to me is proof enough to say that the language does have power.
TBE: Do you have any suggestions to help me (anyone) become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I am still very young and new in this field to give out suggestions like that. But I would say that don’t get scared to jump into this writing world even if it looks scary from the outside. Just focus on your writing, on your story and work hard. And of course, do read a lot!
TBE: A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, and they are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
Alisha Nandeshwar: Believe it or not but writers are some of the coolest and smartest people that there could ever be. There is nothing that they can’t do in their minds. So, no I don’t think they are socially inept at all. And if we come to loner tendencies then I think it depends upon the individual. For instance, I am really happy with my books and I can read all day, all night.
In fact, sometimes, I won’t even talk to my friends for a long time because I am so busy reading or writing. But when I am out with my friends, then you wouldn’t see me getting bored either. I am adaptable like that. So I think, it’s all about an individual’s preference.
TBE: Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I think I am somewhere in between of both. Like if I have given myself a deadline then I stick to it and write every day. This happens usually when I have started working on a new project. The other days when I am not working on a particular story, then I write whatever strikes my mind.
TBE: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I don’t follow any such literary magazines much but I often read Writer’s Digest, so that one is definitely a good magazine to subscribe to. Besides that, I think there are Poets and Writers and The Writer, which are good.
TBE: What does literary success look like to you?
Alisha Nandeshwar: For me, literary success would be something surreal like when a reader comes to me and says that they just love the way I write and love my words. A reader loving my work and getting inspired by it is definitely a success.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Alisha Nandeshwar: I am almost done with No More No Less 2, which is the second part of my debut novel and there is another story that I will soon start working on but I am keeping it all hush-hush for now.
Buy Now: No More No Less by Alisha Nandeshwar
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