Rishi Vohra, author of 'Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai' was kind enough to take out some time and answer a few questions.
Rishi Vohra recently relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he has had a successful career in the Indian entertainment industry.
Having been a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine.
RG: How did book writing started for you?
RV: I had this character in my head and felt this pressing urge to give him a life on paper. One day, I just sat down and started writing and wrote every day, before and after work. Several months later, I had the first draft of my book in hand. At that time, I was writing for fun. The thought of trying to push it for publication came in much later.
RG: How did you get the idea for "Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai"?
RV: I had only the character in mind and just a rough storyline. Random thoughts started hitting me while writing the book, and his story unfolded with each page.
RG: What were the challenges you faced while publishing your book?
RV: I was in California at the time of deciding to push this book for publication. I faced more challenges there than here, as literary agents abroad told me that the book "wasn't written with Western sensibilities." When I turned towards the Indian market, within a few months itself, several publishers expressed an interest to pick up the book for publication.
The book was just awarded an 'HONORABLE MENTION' in the General Fiction Category at the Hollywood Book Festival 2013, so now readers in those circles (in the U.S.) are beginning to take notice of the book.
RG: How was your reaction seeing your published work in your hands?
RV: It was like holding your newborn baby! I can't explain the feeling but I count that moment among the several moments of true happiness in my life.
RG: Any memorable moments you remember while writing this book?
RV: I was in Berkeley, California at the time. Besides UC Berkeley and its eateries, the place is known also for its thriving arts and culture scene. This made it an environment conducive to write all over the place - on the footpath, the UC Berkeley campus, coffee shops, the lawns etc. In the process, I met many artists (painters, musicians, poets, jugglers etc) and we always exchanged ideas about the kind of work we were doing. It was a learning process for me, which also encouraged me to keep at it. I learned that anything created by or done from heart will always bring you joy and that is what we should strive for rather than constantly looking for the approval of others.
RG: Are you currently working on your next?
RV: My next is ready. It's a fun ride set in Bollywood.
RG: Who is the first one to read your initial drafts?
RV: Close friends and family.
RG: When not writing, what do you usually do?
RV: I don't have a set routine, but I'm always doing something productive!
RG: How do you handle criticism?
RV: Positively. After all, criticism is always intended to steer someone in the right direction. I use it only for betterment and never take it personally.
RG: Any last words for the readers?
RV: I'll be back!