Today on 'On Writing', we have Dr Jisha Rajesh, a doctor by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid reader while music and cooking are her other hobbies. She has published various articles in the Youth Express magazine of The Indian Express during her college days. After completing her post-graduation in medicine, she is taking the time off to follow her passion for writing. She dreams of spreading the message of humanity, compassion and universal brotherhood through her stories. She resides in the beautiful city of Dubai with her family and admires the rich cultural diversity over there.
Welcome to 'On Writing', Jisha!
Was becoming an author always your dream or was it a particular event or incident that gave birth to the author in you?
I met the author inside me serendipitously. When I was in my 9th standard, a creative writing competition was held in our school as a part of Independence Day celebrations. A friend of mine dragged me by hand and made me participate in it. I was myself shocked when my first ever poem won a place among the top three beating all others. Then there was no turning back. As the years passed by the passion for writing grew inside me.
How important are the names of characters in your book?
The story emphasizes the pivotal role that the power of hope plays in the journey from dreams to realization. I have named the protagonist ‘Jai’ and his ladylove as ‘Asha’ to highlight this theme. Jai in Hindi means success and Asha means hope. In the last chapter of the book, Jai tells Asha – “You have always been my ray of asha, Asha!”
What is your writing process like?
Writing is like doing meditation for me and it’s a part of my daily regime. No matter how busy I get, I still find time to write. On some days, I write only for a few minutes while on others it’s for hours at a stretch. I prefer to write in the solitude of my room where there are nobody and nothing around to distract me.
What is different about ‘The Ray of Asha’?
The plot is unique which makes an attempt to redefine success. And it’s a complete package. Apart from romance and mystery, it has a tinge of spirituality added to it. All kinds of readers will find it entertaining.
Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
Jai is my favourite character. He has the qualities of head and heart as well as an indomitable spirit which makes him stand up again and fight back for the eleventh time after already being knocked down ten times.
Which do you prefer as a reader – an EBook or paperback?
Personally, I prefer EBooks. There will be no need to slaughter so many trees if EBooks take over paperbacks
How long did it take to finish writing ‘The Ray of Asha’?
It took me about a year to present the book in its current form. The process of editing took longer than carving up the plot. I kept on making additions and deletions every now and then.
How important do you think is marketing in today’s world for any book?
If you have written a book, you should let the world know that you have. And for that, you should have an excellent marketing plan. To be honest, I feel that in today’s world marketing is even more important a thing than the quality of contents of a book. If you have a good marketing strategy, you can make it work even if the quality of the book is not up to the mark.
Please share a passage or quote from ‘The Ray of Asha’.
This one is my favourite. It’s a conversation between Jai and his father. Jai is trapped in a conspiracy and he visits his father to find some solace. It goes like this…
“Do you love me, Dad?” I (Jai) asked after the consultations were over. I kept my eyes lowered while asking. I didn’t want him to read the agony of my soul through my eyes for I knew he was an expert in doing so.
“Why are you all of a sudden asking such a question? Don’t you know?”
“Tell me na, Dad,” I cajoled like a kid.
Dad leaned back in his chair and said, “You are not only my s-o-n but also my S-u-n. The Sun is the centre of the Universe and the vital force without which everything will perish. So are you to me. You are the very reason for my existence, the hope of my future and the dream of an entire lifetime. Without you, there will not be me.”
A lump built-up in my throat as those words fell on my ears. How could I tell him that your ‘Sun’ is under the threat of an eclipse?
What are the three tips you have for aspiring writers?
1) Never ever give up on your passion.
2) Try to make time and write daily even if it is only a few words.
3) Practice makes a man perfect. Your writing skills will improve with each new piece that you pen down.
About A Ray of Asha:
A young journalist Gayatri Chaturvedi, was assigned to interview a spiritualist who was the talk of the town for his unique healing powers. Initially, she takes him for a fraud but as the interview proceeds, she realizes that he has a deep knowledge of medicine. Smitten by the charms of his looks and fascinated by his intriguing personality, she decides to probe into his past. Her investigation leads her to that era of his life when he was a post-graduate student of medicine. Right at the time when he was about to propose to his lady-love, his life turns upside down and he finds himself accused of the murder of a fellow student. The story unfolds as Gayatri seeks answers to the questions that keep reverberating in her mind. What has made the boy who has a heart of gold, commits a crime as heinous as murder? Is he really guilty or was he trapped? A story of indomitable courage, selfless love and ardent friendship will reaffirm your faith in the power of hope.