About Simran Mittal:
Simran, a former Assistant Professor of English Literature, is currently working as an Editor and Proofreader. She has edited a college magazine earlier in which she appeared as an author and poet. As a passionate writer, one can find her carrying either her diary and pen or her laptop in her hands, ready to write. When not busy writing and editing, she is usually reading novels and short stories, listening shayaris and poetry. This black coffee lover is not up for travelling unless one mentions historical monuments and mountains. Once in a while, if she gets the right motivation and time, she paints and sketches unconventional themes which are usually found in her writings too.
LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content.
Simran: “How is it Love?” explores the themes of contemporary love stories set in Indian states and Utah to the strained family ties of the modern era. The five short stories raise the issues of how family background impacts the lives of people in the long run which makes them vulnerable to violence, abuse and insecurities. Hidden in the layers of love and romance, the focus is on how love beyond gender, age and caste, self-love, and firm determination become the indispensable elements of healing others and oneself. Besides, another theme highlighted, stemming from mental health issues, is self-harm by a male character to show that men suffer too. The last story in the collection is not the representation of the usual terrorist activities that people come across in society, but it shows how some events make a teenager turn into a body thirsty for blood and vengeance.
As far as the journey of writing is concerned, I realized that I have a knack for words once I penned down my feelings before I had any knowledge of the writing jargon. There was no looking back after that and more often, I use writing as a medium to express what I believe in, and the messages I want to leave for the world.
LiFT: Why you chose this title?
Simran: One has to read the stories to get the answer. “How is it Love?”, indubitably, sounds like a romance collection but more than that, it sheds light on some other crucial issues which are still taboo in our society. This title, somehow, sums up everything that I, not just as an author, but also as a human being, wish the world to listen and ponder over.
LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer and what’s your inspiration behind it?
Simran: Interesting question, something my friend always asked me. I realized that about ten years ago when due to some personal issues, I found it difficult to give an expression to my thoughts through my sketches and drawings. Writing stories, poetry, even one-liners, and novels acted as a much needed refuge and I took it greedily. Now, being an introvert, I know no other to put forth my perspective so writing helps in inexplicable ways.
About inspiration, that could take a while as almost everything inspires me to write something but I would say pain is the driven force. Something I have unflinching faith in is the fact that creativity comes from deep rooted, burning pain, unhealed wounds and madness.
LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?
Simran: Tricky. I have just begun my journey in this mesmerizing world and right now, I do not wish to think about something which is so uncertain. I have stopped giving power to future by not planning it, not seeing myself in it. I see myself nowhere yet everywhere in general.
LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?
Simran: It would be foolish to say that marketing and quality of book are not the key players in promoting a book and catching the attention of the readers. But more than that, I would say author branding goes longer than marketing just one book. When the readers connect with the author on some level, be it personal, emotional, intellectual, political, mental etcetera, they are likely to come back to read someone who writes about their feelings.
LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?
Simran: A simple yet barely talked about fact that health means mental and emotional fitness along with physical one. Secondly, let us talk about things which are important to us, all the “taboos” that should not be taboos anymore for they harm us in the name of shielding us.
LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?
Simran: Enjoy black coffee or chai, stargaze, admire the moon. listen to the honking of the trains, listen songs, teach literature, edit and proofread manuscripts, read, type texts and delete them, try to convince my mother to let me have a pet, complain about not having wings, be a couch potato, surf Internet, and lose myself where I exist with my muse.
LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?
Simran: Nostalgia helps in such times, going down the memory lane and trying to stare into the eyes of the wounds to extract a theme to continue writing or to write something new.
LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.
Simran: I am working on multiple books, it has always been like that. I do not work on one. Many things go inside my brain, thanks to anxiety, so I need to write poetry, shayari, short stories and novel simultaneously. But the one I am ardently working on right now is a love story of two people whose fate played a trick of bringing them together only to make them part ways with those two surviving but not living.
LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?
Simran: Pen down your faith, not someone else’s. You matter and so do your thoughts so let the world read what you have to say. Besides, read, read, and read because that gives you writing skills. vocabulary, and perspective to align with your thoughts.