Well, my name is Raj and I like contemporary fiction. I like sci-fi as well. I love music, and working out. I attend Southern New Hampshire University as an English student with a major in creative writing.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is titled Excellence. It takes you on the journey of three siblings who are abused and neglected as children. Todd, Lee, and Ebony. They want good things out of life but are terribly flawed by their upbringing. How do you overcome and reach Excellence when you have been trained to do the opposite?
What do you have coming out in the future?
I have an outline for my next novel Life Unbreakable…this title is tentative. It will chronicle the life of a young man who experiences extreme tragedy, and has to decide why he should keep going. I think it is going to be a good one.
What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
I love literary fiction. It gives me a chance to explore characters, who like me, had a rough upbringing, but still want happiness. They get beat up but keep going. What I really like about literary fiction is the fact that you can make a profound moment with as much drama and impact in a handshake between enemies than the battle scene between arch enemies in a thriller novel. We take what you and me can relate and show the real emotions behind them. It’s great.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Love never fails. Two of my favorite quotes.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Yes I do. I think it makes your characters more relatable to the audience because you are dealing with the nuances of real people. This makes your character more filled out and “round” as some textbooks say.
What authors inspire your writing?
I love Toni Morrison’s poetic sound, and Khaled Hosseini’s intensity.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I really like deep characters, secrets, suspense, and triumph. Overcoming adversity and something that makes me think. I see a theme with this overcoming tribulation thing.
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
I am a fighter and sometimes you’re dealt a deck of cards that leaves you with a bunch of red cards in a game of spades. So I identify with the underdog. I have been the underdog, and I have experienced winning, so I operate between those two poles.
I love music. I even listen to it when I am writing. I listen to every genre just about, even classical, and country.
Is your book a stand alone or a series?
It is a stand-alone so far, but I see one more novel with the same characters in it. I feel like there is more of a story to tell about them.
Do you read the genre you write for or do you prefer other genres?
I try to read what I write because I want to remain focused. It can be hard for me when I write literary fiction and am getting ideas from a sci-fi novel I am reading. The elements are different for each genre. That’s just me…lol…but that is not the same for everyone.
What celebrity would you chose to play the main character(s) in the movie rendition of your book?
This is a good one. Todd will be played by Will Smith, Lee by Gabrielle Union, and Ebony by Kerry Washington.
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
I have joined some groups on Facebook, and Goodreads. It is a great resource. I have met a lot of other writers, one who is polishing up Excellence with her great editing skills. I would recommend joining as many as you can. It builds up your network of help.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
I get so nervous about the quality of my writing—how it will be received. You have to kill your inner critic.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
I never get writer’s block. I am fortunate that I can come up with a lot of ideas for my scenes.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Right now the protagonist for my next novel…I am playing with naming him Tamerius Bryant. He is a journalist, and is everything I’m not, but also very similar to me in certain ways.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I knew I had the talent because I have been writing poetry for years, but I became out of work and had the time to write a novel. So, I wrote one and loved it, for all its hi’s and lo’s.