Sunday, June 4, 2023

Author Interview: Nithya Sashi, author of The Kamin's Daughter

Available on Amazon!

RM: Congratulations on getting your most recent book, The Kamin’s Daughter, published! It has been receiving rave reviews and is already making a mark on the charts. Thank you for joining me for this interview.

1. Tell us a little more about yourself.

I am a Learning and Development professional based out of Chennai. I live with my family and have been in Chennai for two decades. I grew up in various places in West Bengal and Maharashtra. I have written 4 books: 1 short story collection, 2 romance titles, and my latest, The Kamin’s Daughter.  

2. What began your journey as a writer?

As an introverted, shy kid, I would jot down my emotional outbursts in a diary. Stories of how other kids fat-shamed me, how teachers made fun of me. My diary kind of became my medium for creative release. Over a period of time, I started jotting down my observations and thoughts. Somewhere this habit transformed into a daily writing habit. I kept writing on and off. Short stories, poems, thoughts, dreams.
After publishing my first book, Legal Bond, a romance novella, I got a confidence boost, and I started believing that I could actually write a full novel and get it published.          

3. How different was your experience with your latest book when compared to the previous ones?

My latest book was traditionally published, by Vishwakarma, Pune, whereas the short story collection and one of the romance titles were self-published on Amazon. My first book was published by Red Romance Publishers, Chennai. Apart from this, the experience of going through the traditional publishing process was enlightening and insightful. I had to wait 8 years to get my book published due to several roadblocks, including Covid, which pushed my publishing date further down the pipeline. Through all this I developed a lot of patience and got to learn new things about the craft of writing.   

4. You have an interesting title for your latest book. How did it come through?

A kamin is any woman who works for wages. This is a term used very typically in the coal mining belts for women workers who work outside the mines or as domestic helpers. My story is set in the coal mines so I thought it was an apt title.   

5. Was there a single event that prompted you to pen this story or was it something that had been simmering in your mind?

A single incident. I was exposed to an abuse incident that left a deep scar on my psyche. I could not shake it off despite doing multiple things. So, to deal with it, I decided to do the best thing, I wrote about it and put it out into the world.

6. It was an engrossing experience to read your book. The writing flowed seamlessly and the story kept the reader hooked till the last page. Was the genre a conscious choice?

No, actually. I just wrote. I had to think a bit to peg my book into a pre-set genre. Three publishers I reached out to wanted me to rewrite to suit the “delicate sensibilities” of their audiences. I did not want to call it a thriller/murder mystery or any such thing. I would rather call it a book and be done with it. But then it doesn’t work like that, does it? So, to play to the gallery, I agreed to call it a drama-thriller and slotted it in that genre.

7. Tell us something about The Kamin’s Daughter that we wouldn’t know from any other source!

TKD was supposed to be a non-fiction book: an abuse survivor’s tale. Over the years, it took its present form. And I feel this is the best version of it.

8. Your knowledge and research shine through your writing. Could you tell us how you were able to achieve that kind of detailing?

For my research, I went back to my notes about my life when we were still living in West Bengal and Maharashtra’s coal mining areas. I spoke to several people to get an authentic account of the incidents. Apart from this, incidents that got imprinted on my mind, such as living around and seeing Naxalites at close quarters, hearing crude bombs going off at night, and many more.

9. The lead characters of your book were multi-dimensional and had their moments of human fallacies as much as they had heroic traits. This probably makes your reader relate to Koena and Shom more. Was it a conscious choice to avoid any form of perfection or larger-than-life actions with them?

I have never believed in larger-than-life picturisation. As humans, our imperfections only make us beautiful. And relatable. Perfection is for God. Also, even in our daily lives, we keep yo-yoing between this and that, right and wrong, and what not. Why should fiction be too separate from our realities? Why should it be so far removed that it becomes fantasy? My heroine is a vulnerable woman. She like me has her limitations, her fallacies and her strengths. She is also broken but she has the courage to pick herself up and rebuild. Like all of us, she also embraces her greys and her pure whites. I like my characters to be grey: neither too white nor too black. Like me. 😊

10. There are so many twists and unpredictable curveballs in your book! Surely this is a product of a creative imagination and a well-read mind. Please tell us about your favourite genres/authors/books.

Not sure if I have a favourite genre but I read/tend to pick up, medical thrillers/murder mysteries/drama. I find it very tough to consume poetry/comedy/horror. A few favourite authors are Murakami, S.L. Bhyrappa, and Elena Ferrante. I used to follow Amulya Malladi’s work a lot, reading all her new releases, first-day-first-show type.

11. Are there any other projects in the pipeline?

Oh yes! Working on a different genre, this time. Hoping to finish it soon.  

12. Do you have any words for other writers looking to be traditionally published?

A few words of advice:

  1. Always research about the publisher before accepting the contract.
  2. Do ample research about your topic. Be it fiction or non-fiction.
  3. Get your manuscript edited, preferably by an external editor. If your publisher offers superlative editorial services, good for you, else, please own your script and edit it till it screams. 

13. If not an author, who will you have been?

Film maker, I think.

RM: Thank you so much for your answers, and giving our readers a better glimpse into the mind behind your words. Here’s wishing you great success in your journey and in life.


Nithya Sashi is an author and book reviewer from Chennai. She lives with her plants and her human family including her beautiful baby Tara. To earn some paper currency, she slogs at a day job creating e-learning courses and manages to balance her remaining personal time between her baby, her writing engagements, and her husband, in that order. She has written 2 romance titles and several short stories. One of them, Kalyani, got shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Award for the year 2018. The Kamin's Daughter is her second literary fiction title.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Book Review: Mother Knows Worst by Sofia Bella Roma: iRead Book Reviews



Book Details:

Book Title:  Mother Knows Worst by Sofia Bella Roma
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  280 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Novel
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:  December 2022
Content Rating:  PG -13 

Pinnacle Award Winner!
"Author Sofia Bella Roma tells an absorbing story about two people from very different backgrounds falling in love and struggling to navigate the circumstances and people around them. Infusing romance, humor, and plenty of drama, Roma weaves an engaging narrative that keeps hold of the reader until the last page. Mother Knows Worst is not just a dramatic comedy but also a novel that showcases the challenges people sometimes face in adapting to other cultures, especially in relationships involving in-laws. The characters have their own idiosyncrasies, which make them very intriguing to read. Rose and Anil's dynamic feels genuine, as do their respective struggles and conflicts. Recommended to readers who savor drama novels revolving around relationships." - Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

"A lively, thought-provoking journey into one young woman's marriage, cross-cultural encounters, and life. Mother Knows Worst is recommended not just for novel readers seeking stories of women's experiences, but for reading groups interested in the psychological entanglements between different cultures and generations." - Reviewed by Midwest Book Reviews

Book Description:

After trying her hand at acting, Rose decides to change career paths and enter law school.

She enrolls in law school in a sleepy New England town, only to find that the practice of law is not all she will study. This quirky thirty-something Italian girl falls in love when she lays eyes on Anil, a handsome intellectual from India. The two discover a deep connection and quickly begin a romantic relationship. What could go wrong as their romance blossoms? Their future looks bright. They have each other. They have great friends. They also have Anil’s mother. Inspired by true events, Mother Knows Worst is a humorous and heartfelt novel. Rose is on a path to finding herself, love, and relationships, taking the reader on a delightful and often comedic journey as she explores two cultural worlds colliding.


When a book’s title completely twists a popular ‘phrase’ and gives a similar-sounding one with an opposite meaning, that is a sure sign to sit up and take notice. This book sure did make me curious with that.

The beginning chapters were also clear, introducing the lead character’s life through a session with a therapist. This different approach normalising the consultations with a therapist for mental health gave me an immediate positive feeling about the book, as I went into it with an expectation of unravelling the life of a woman who was facing a multicultural lifestyle dilemma.

That was where things changed, though. The story, despite being touted as a comedy-drama, leans more heavily on the latter element to present itself to the readers. The premise is surprisingly simple and welcome – a multicultural marriage where both people have nearly dysfunctional families (but then who does not?) and try to overcome their individual issues versus the collective ‘family weds family’ issues, too.

Even as I appreciate the research that must have gone on behind creating this story, I could find some (un?)intentional discrepancies creeping through. There is so much to unpack in a marriage that goes wrong, and some of it is not always between the two people involved. And it takes a lot more than a cultural divide to break what should necessarily be a union of love.

The story flows with ease and does keep the reader engaged, but a better form of writing without resorting to fragmented sentences will have made it a much easier read. There are also pronoun errors – with the narration slipping between the first and third person (‘me/I’ instead of ‘his/her’ or names) POVs and some easily fixable grammatical issues that could have been avoided.

Being a part of one of the cultures that predominantly feature in this book, I could find myself relating to some of the observations that could become a lesson on how (and how not) to be, and what has to change, I could not help but feel that the callousness in dealing with the subject’s depth is what has cost the book the chance to be an ‘absolutely enthralling bestseller’, or the next big ‘coming soon as a movie’ book.

Overall, Mother Knows Worst is more than just a story about a domineering but misunderstood mother whose life and style are (rightfully) criticised under the awning of an ever-widening cultural divide. It takes on an entire culture and brings out the incompatibilities under a harsher light than most visual mediums had ever done. The story could have worked with better language and presentation, and the focus should have been on this instead of where it now lies.


Mascot Books
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Meet the Author:

Sofia Bella Roma is a lawyer in North Carolina. She has been practicing law since 2009. She was first licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and then went on to become licensed attorney in North Carolina. Sofia has spent most of her career telling stories. She regularly performs to judges when litigating her cases. Mother Knows Worst is Sofia’s debut novel. This book tackles common problems in relationships and takes on mother-in-law drama with a quirky point of view. Sofia knows firsthand about difficult relationships since she has been practicing law as a divorce attorney. She currently lives with her son and their pet lizard. She has a love for the arts and enjoys making people laugh.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Book Review: Underneath the Fireflies by Marianne Scott (iRead Book Tours)



Book Details:

Book Title:  Underneath the Fireflies by Marianne Scott
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  496 pages
Genre: Murder Mystery / Thriller
PublisherCrowe Creations
Release date:  January 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 - Colloquial expressions in dialogue.
Book Description:

No matter where Grace Walker goes, her extra sensory power goes with her. She's an empath and she sees things -- terrible things. After a tragic accident at the place where she works, she decides to take a mental-health break on a remote West Coast island. But she no sooner gets to Galliano Island when a vision of the murder of an Indigenous woman draws her into a disturbing and threatening dilemma.

Having just read the author’s previously published book, Reinhardt, I set upon this book with an idea of the writing style and the narrative experience.

Underneath the Fireflies, however, broke all the notions with its very first chapter. The inclusion of a well-written paranormal (and definitely not the ‘usual’ stereotyped version of this genre) scene shifted the readers’ gazes and opened their minds to expect something different.

Grace is a protagonist with special sensory powers that had already gotten her into trouble once at her workplace. Her ‘visions’ have led her into a questionable situation where she escapes by a hairsbreadth and visits Galliano for rest and retreat.

But as is expected, her visions follow her and she is affected by another one even before she lands in the place. With an overly helpful co-passenger who arouses her suspicion, she lands in the place and tries to find her footing. What happens in that place forms the rest of the story.

Underneath the Fireflies is one of those stories that sound straightforward but include surprising elements that keep the reader hooked to the book. The author has deviated wonderfully from her earlier narrative style and provided a different kind of experience with this book.

Grace as a protagonist is three-dimensional and makes one want to follow her journey with interest bordering on concern. The paranormal–supernatural elements have been done with a believable streak and do not take the reader on the track of a suspension of disbelief.

Overall, though the book has been written with a specific audience in mind, it works easily even with readers who are new to this genre. It is surely an engaging read throughout and does not slacken in pace. The thriller elements take a backseat when it comes to the story though they add to the mix with just the right amount of force.

The significance of the title – which in itself indicates the presence of something beyond the usual – is revealed in the handling of the original disappearance of Tamara and the reasons and explanations behind it.

What does nature see beyond human eyes? What do humans ignore to protect their conscience?

Marianne Scott has written a book that blends the answers to these questions.


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Meet the Author:

Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently working on her fifth novel, a sci-fi/thriller. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of blog, Quick Brown Fox and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog. She is a full-time writer who lives in the historic small Canadian village of Hespeler Ontario (now amalgamated with the city of Cambridge).  

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram goodreads

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Book Review: Reinhardt by Marianne Scott; iRead Book Tours



Book Details:

Book Title:  Reinhardt by Marianne Scott
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  234 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
PublisherCrowe Creations
Release date:  October 2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 - mild profanity as in street dialogue
Book Description:

He's a Cold War spy hiding from one of his own. His real identity is tied to a treacherous past associated with American intelligence operations closed down after the end of the Cold War, and his enemy is relentless. All he has to do is change his name. Right? Wrong. Very wrong. Felix has eyes and ears everywhere.

The most difficult part of writing spy thrillers is, perhaps, exploring the idea of love, loss, and betrayal with respect to the main characters and interplaying them with the thriller elements.

Reinhardt obtains that fine balance with surprising ease.

Rapidly moving scenes setting a good pace, fleeting character mentions with far-reaching impacts revealed only in the later stages, and the impressive blend of facts and in-depth fictional detailing make this book stand out in this genre.

The scenes garnering the readers’ interest (an unavoidable passionate encounter, an abduction, etc.,) happen early on. And despite presenting a feeling of all checklist items of this genre ticked, have enough bearing on the plotline to make the reader want to remember and recollect them as vital plot elements.

The protagonist Darren grows on the reader as a person who rolls with the situation and tries to find his footing amidst conflicting elements constantly keeping him on edge. Every secret he holds in his life is a weapon against him. As the author so memorably puts it,

Darren Masterson had his own secrets, but he liked to think he’d at least come into a life of secrets honestly.

And on the context of a man’s past and present actions affecting his psyche, Scott writes,

The only thing that would stop the terrible hate from eating him alive was to save others from meeting the same fate.

The book makes readers’ interpretation of the events easier with explanations and a ‘tell’ approach instead of a ‘show’ approach. The author maintains the pace well, however, with scenes racing quickly in interesting settings; the experience is enriched by the descriptive tone of the narration.

The futility of the name changes (spoilers withheld) provides an interesting insight into how identities can be shifted in moments with a powerful adversary trailing a person. The book offers little in the way of insights (which is a plus for this genre, where fast action matters more than quiet reflection) but the contrast of a quiet life versus one on the run is brought out quite well. It would have worked much better if the readers had time to absorb the same and identify with the characters’ ceaseless state of motion.

Overall, Reinhardt is a book that won’t disappoint the fans of this genre. It has all of the required elements – a ruthless antagonist, a protagonist with skeletons in his closet, suave spying moments, near-death experiences, and an ending that leaves way for an equally anticipated sequel.

add to goodreads

Meet the Author:

Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently working on her fifth novel, a sci-fi/thriller. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of blog, Quick Brown Fox and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog. She is a full-time writer who lives in the historic small Canadian village of Hespeler Ontario (now amalgamated with the city of Cambridge).  

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram goodreads

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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Finding A Balance Called Life: In Conversation with Janani Srikanth

Reader's Muse interviews Janani Srikanth, the author of the bestselling self-help book, A Balance Called Life.

We get a glimpse at the mind behind the thoughtful words, her two decades of writing journey, her creative process, her experience with publishing, and the phenomenon that is #MentalHealthSundays

RM: Congratulations on the success of your debut book. It is consistently on the global bestseller list across categories. Wishing you continued laurels. Thank you for joining me for this interview. Tell us a little about yourself! We’d like to know the mind behind the book.

JS:  I pursue knowledge for the pleasure of it. I am a Psychologist, Life Coach, Corporate Counselor, Engineer, Philosopher, and now an Author.

Growing up, getting a good academic rank meant pursuing a professional engineering degree in a reputed college, a corporate career in a top IT company, and overseas opportunities. These were considered the major milestones of success and I did cross them all. But, somehow, equating success to promotions and higher positions in the corporate hierarchy did not appeal to me.

After a successful corporate stint for 8 years, I found something lacking in life. Existential angst was at an all-time high and I had more questions than answers regarding our purpose in life and finding my place in the larger scheme of things.

Life is too short to stick to a plan made in your teens. I knew I had it in me to do more that contributed directly to society and its wellness. I decided to quit my job and look for answers.

The decision to qualify for a Master’s degree in Psychology happened much like all the other certificates and degrees — as a seeker wanting to explore a particular area of interest and intrigue.

And with every degree and certification I have acquired, one thing is clear –

“Katradhu kai mann alavu. Kalladhadhu ulagalavu.”

(What we have learnt is barely a fistful, while what we don’t know yet is the whole world)

To me, a life spent pursuing and sharing knowledge is more fulfilling than the pursuit of what the world deems as successful.


RM: Having read A Balance Called Life, I could not help but note that it reveals new perspectives with every re-reading. It has various concepts blended into a fine form. Is there a reason behind this variety?

JS: Life, as such, is characterised by variety and choices.  Our experiences and opinions are as unique as our personalities. No two people are the same. No two people experience the same reality even when they have similar educational and financial backgrounds.

Since the nature of the book is grounded on the insights derived from human experiences, the variety and layers got interspersed into the content. I am glad I was able to articulate and weave it together in a lucid manner.

A Balance Called Life’ is a product of all the life experiences and academic knowledge I have acquired over the years. The complexity and intensity of human experiences and people’s varied perception helps reveal the facets they need to see in the book.

Your question about re-reading is very interesting. I have always believed that one does not read the same book twice. To give an example, we had the book ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell for our Humanities paper in college. For those of you who haven’t read this book, it is a beautiful political satire about Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. I have read it thrice so far, and my insight has been markedly different each time.

It is like this – the distracted teen who just had to read it to finish the course read it as if it were the story of barnyard animals who come together and plot to overthrow their human masters. I liked the book, then, for it was an engaging read.

I read it again a decade later to relive the nostalgia of my college days and saw the depictions of the egalitarian society and how the promised utopian agenda was difficult to practice and was revised continually by those in power. I still liked the book.

I read it once again a couple of years ago and saw how it portrays the Russian Revolution that resulted in a government that was more oppressive than the one it overthrew. The parallels between the characters and events were so uncanny and brilliant. I appreciated the book even more.

My knowledge, focus, and priorities at the point of reading the book defined what I got out of it.

To answer your question, this is also why you are able to find a new perspective with every re-read. It could be the case with any book grounded on human reality. Glad you observed that.

RM: Your posts on mental health and lifestyle changes have been a regular feature on social media. How different was your experience when you wrote a book combining these aspects?

JS: My posts are based on random observations and the challenges that my clients go through at that point. I just absorb the challenge, articulate my point of view (PoV) and then type out possible solutions to overcome the challenge. The content is relatable because it is based on real experiences and challenges. My posts are written to tell people that they are not alone. I want them to believe that every challenge has a solution if we approach it with clarity and the right attitude.

A book is a different ball game. It cannot be a random snippet of thought. A book about life should be as structured as – and flow unhindered like – a human life cycle.

Psychology is a social science where everyone has an opinion about any topic related to the human psyche. Self-help as a genre is chosen as a writing medium by people mostly based on life experiences than academic qualifications.  So, as a qualified psychologist, I had an additional challenge to ensure that the content was not just structured but solidly based on psychological concepts and theories. I have tried to do justice even to my background in philosophy, because what is life without some profound reflections and opinions?

It was both a challenge and a pleasure to bring these elements together and present them in a simple, easily readable form.

I have constantly received strong support from my husband Srikanth, who was brilliant with his involvement and input throughout the writing process. He also aided the creative process with his additions regarding the cover and presentation. Special thanks are due to my editor, Dhivya Balaji who comes with a decade-plus of experience in the field and has a good handle on the publishing industry with her venture Precis Penning Literary Services.

The feedback and reviews from readers that say that the book is easy to read while being insightful is exactly what I hoped to achieve.

RM: Corporate culture has gone through a noticeable shift in recent years due to the global pandemic. How effective do you think the ‘tried and tested’ methods would be in this scenario?

JS: The global pandemic was one reminder to all of us that life can be uncertain.

My experience while employed in the IT industry gave me a better insight into the inner workings of the culture. I have many clients in the corporate sector. I connect better with them and also stay updated with the happenings in the corporate world.

When you consider the corporate scenario, the changes in people’s style of work were so abruptly enforced by another entity. With the sudden restrictions, people needed to tackle the challenge posed to their health by the pandemic, adapt to a different routine for WFH, and also care full-time for their children and help them with their online classes. Stress was – and is – at an all-time high. While some people have reached out to mental health professionals and are on the road to recovery, many have not processed it fully, yet. It is very important to deal with this in a professional space.

Companies can help do this better. The changes in corporate culture have to happen from both ends – the companies and their employees.

While the people have to take time to pause and deal with the toll this has taken on their mental health, organisations also have to spend some time to provide wellness programs that take into consideration the freshers who are just beginning to step into office settings, managers who have had to deal with attrition and getting work done through meetings and calls, and the employees who couldn’t work for a while due to health issues (including long covid) or personal situations.

I am an Organisational Psychologist by qualification and I would strongly recommend that corporates employ experts to design wellness programs and policies and go a little beyond the sporadic and inadequate mental health sessions. A custom plan across age and seniority levels based on the ‘tried and tested’ techniques would be the key to progress.

RM: You have often brilliantly articulated the need for expressing gratitude and finding happiness in everyday life. Do you consider this a necessary component for every venture we take?

JS: I believe that constantly seeking happiness or hoping to find happiness in everything would be a futile pursuit. A life that is defined by kindness towards self and others, gratitude about the positivity abounding in the universe, and mindfulness with even the simplest activities would definitely ensure inner peace and consequently happiness.

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, calls gratitude a virtue that has the power to reframe negative thought patterns. The study of positive psychology has helped me appreciate positivity in a realistic light and approach life with open-minded enthusiasm. Life is not perfect because everything goes according to plan. Life is perfect because I get to choose my attitude and outlook to approach it my way.

So, practising gratitude in everything you do should become a way of life if you want positivity to be your companion.

RM: How was your experience with publishing as a debut author? What parts of it were your favourite?

JS: I love writing and I believe in the power of the written medium. If I had not chosen to be a psychologist, I would have been a journalist. Nothing beats the joy of writing and seeing my name in print. It indicates that my voice is heard and has the potential to make life easier for many.

To answer your question, I found the whole process exciting. I have always been curious about life and eager to learn new things. Seeing all the elements coming together to create that final product is so rewarding. I am very thankful to Amazon for providing this platform called Kindle Direct Publishing to self-publish, and a stage to showcase us as authors using their Author Central.

RM: Your creative process is a stellar example of aesthetic appeal. You have an artistic eye that is evident in the posters in your book, in the design of your book’s cover, and in the various shorts and promotional videos you’ve shared that are gaining a lot of appreciation on social media. How do you balance the brevity of content with an attractive presentation?

JS: I am glad you noticed the book cover. My husband is an artist, too, and painted this for me to depict the content for the readers at a glance. It represents symmetry, balance, and layers and emphasises my core ideology that life is simple by design.

As for social media posters and videos, content is the backbone of any good design. If your content is not strong or unique, people will not connect to it even if it is aesthetically brilliant.

The key is to blend the content and aesthetics to appeal to the emotion and relatability of the audience. I also believe in the psychology of colours and play around with the design till it reflects how I feel. I do things for the joy of it. This is why I do every poster and every video by myself and ensure that it represents a piece of me and reflects the soul of the book.

RM: Tell us a bit more about Mindful Conversations, and the beginning of your writing journey.

JS: I have been a part of the blogging community for around two decades now. I developed a stronger voice after completing my Masters in Psychology. When you qualify for a master’s degree in your 30s and specialise in a social science like psychology, you bring in a lot of life experiences and value to the theories you learn. I think Mindful Conversations happened thanks to my life experiences blending with the psychological theories.

It is a space that gives a glimpse into the mind of a realist who also dares to be a dreamer.

Creating awareness towards mental health and breaking the taboo around it has always been my vision and everything I do is directed towards that. I dream of a society that keeps things simple and stays non-judgemental. It is not as difficult as it seems to the cynical mind. It is possible. It is just a mindset change away.

Mindful Conversations finds its voice in LinkedIn and other social media channels these days.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I write a post every Sunday on a relevant topic. I have been doing this since 2019. 

Follow #MentalHealthSundays and for more details.

RM: You have given us a wonderful non-fiction self-help book that is one of the most engaging books of the year, going by the consistent presence in the international bestseller charts on Amazon. What are your favourite books in this genre?

‘A Balance Called Life’ is not just my book. It belongs to the readers who have ensured that it stayed in the ‘Top 10 rankings’ in the self-help genre for many weeks in a row. It is a dream come true for a debutante woman author in non-fiction to have their book featured in the top rankings under multiple categories like ‘Stress Management,’ ‘Motivational,’ and ‘Spiritual Growth’ across India, US, and UK. It makes me believe in the power of content and passion towards a purpose.

As for my favourite non-fiction books, it is very difficult to name just a few. I am an avid reader and I have at least 50 books that come to my mind when asked about this. Perhaps the most profound one that had a lasting impact on me is ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ by Victor Frankl. Victor Frankl writes in detail about his experience in a concentration camp and the line and thought that stands out is this –

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Psychology and self-help are not about seeking happiness or craving favourable circumstances. They are about powering through any challenge with a positive attitude and hope. Victor Frankl instilled that in me and is a prominent reason for my pursuit of creating, owning, and practising my own philosophy. I hope to publish a book on this topic in the upcoming years.

RM: Are there any future projects on the cards?

I have at least five different book ideas simmering in my mind. I want to make a mark in the non-fiction genre. It is surprisingly rare to see women publish in non-fiction. There is a popular opinion that they make better sales in fiction, especially in the romance genre. Even today, when talking about women in non-fiction, people quote Virginia Woolf, whose last written work is almost a century ago.

I want to change that trend and I sincerely hope that traditional publishers give more opportunities to women in non-fiction, especially when we have the backing qualification as well as insight.

RM: Thank you so much for your answers, Janani. It has been a pleasure talking with you and learning a little more about yourself. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to give Reader’s Muse your insightful answers. Once again, wishing you great success! And we eagerly look forward to your future projects that would benefit your readers.