Welcome to the five hundred and seventy-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with novelist, poet and artist Baldip Kaur. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello Baldip. Jumping straight in, please tell us about your books. Are they available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Baldip: Two of my books are available as paperbacks on Amazon at the moment, published by New Generation Publishing (http://www.newgeneration-publishing.com). As I myself do not read ebooks, I am not very keen on this format, although I am aware that ebooks are very much in demand.
Morgen: They are overtaking paper books, have done in some outlets. I recognise NGP from my red pen no.9 novelist Danny Kemp. I know he’s happy with them. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Baldip: Strangely, my favourite characters in my two novels are in the background so I cannot see them as the leading actor / actress so would like my main characters, around who the story revolves, to take the lead.
Morgen: I love minor characters, especially when they become major ones in other books / stories. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Baldip: Yes!! All the way for me they reflect the essence of my novels. However, I do not know how important they are from a commercial point of view.
Morgen: I’d say so because they are the first thing a potential reader sees. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Baldip: My current work in progress revolves around the tsunami (fiction) which hit Asia on Boxing Day and where lots of lots of people lost their lives and others were made homeless.
Morgen: A tragic event. I can understand why you want to write about it. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Baldip: I try to but yes! I do suffer from writers block and at that time I am convinced I could not possibly be a writer, else I would be writing!!
Morgen: Oh dear, but it sounds like you bounce back. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Baldip: No, I usually get my inspiration by some piece of news which affects me. I start the book and my characters run the book!
Morgen: Don’t they. That’s my favourite aspect. Do you have a method for creating your characters?
Baldip: Yes I do have a method, for the main characters only. They reflect their characters / temperament.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Baldip: I do a lot of editing but at the same time I think my writing is more fully-formed.
Morgen: It’s all about practice, isn’t it. Like anything we get better at something we do more oftne. Do you have to do much research?
Baldip: Oh yes! As my novels are inspired on social issues, a lot of research and reading is undertaken to make the situations / plot believable.
Morgen: And they have to be, in any genre. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Baldip: Second person but I find I have to shift that as the writing progresses.
Morgen: It’s my favourite too. Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Baldip: Yes, I write poetry and have also published my works compiling both poetry and my artwork titled ‘Visual Reflections’ which is available on Amazon.co.uk. I have written a few short stories and as my next project, need to compile them and maybe have them published!
Morgen: Yes, do. I’m biased as I write short stories more than anything else but I know they’re very popular. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Baldip: Yes… maybe my short stories and some articles.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Baldip: Oh yes! I have had many rejections and although my book has been published, I still expect rejections, for I know that my book, although a lot of time, thought, research and if I may add, feeling, has been put in my book, it may not be liked by everyone.
Morgen: It’s just finding the right thing for the right person but at least by self-publishing you’re getting it to an audience who would likely love it but be denied it because a mainstream publisher didn’t want to take the risk. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Baldip: No I do not have an agent. I personally think they would be yes.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Baldip: My favourite part of writing starts off with addressing a social issue, but that soon turns to interest as the book and its characters develop. My least favourite part is the loneliness. The surprising part is when my characters have taken the lead.
Morgen: I’m lucky in that respect, I don’t get lonely especially at the moment as I have two lodgers so I get to be alone in the day and then have them around in the evenings. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Baldip: Stick to it and not give up!
Morgen: Absolutely, because you don’t know if success is just round the corner. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Baldip: One of them has to be Shakespeare! The others would be Gandhi and Churchill. I would serve Indian food, (simply because that is all I know) and of course I would make sure to hide the containers!
Morgen: 🙂 Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Baldip: I would say ‘self-enpowerment’!
Morgen: That works for me. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Baldip: Yes, I am also an artist and have had various small exhibitions of my artwork in local libraries. I am also a Scrabble player and play in national tournaments.
Morgen: Oh wow. My mum and aunt play Scrabble most evenings. I join in when I’m there. Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Baldip: I believe Facebook and Twitter, for starters, will have websites related to writing. Others sites I am exploring.
Morgen: There are so many writers on those two sites. If you do a search for #writing on Twitter you’ll see an almost constant stream of people talking about writing. Put a hash before any topic and it’ll likely come up with something. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Baldip: Yes amongst a few… writers and authors circle on LinkedIn, affiliated authors group, write connections, book marketing, published authors network, celebritize yourself…
Morgen: LinkedIn’s great, isn’t it. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Baldip: Very bleak I am afraid. There is more work, rejections to be expected. Also as the digital world is taking over…
Morgen: Which can be a great thing for, as an example, your works of short stories. 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Baldip: My books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and I am in the midst of creating my website which would include my works, etc.
Morgen: I’d recommend WordPress but then I am biased. 🙂 Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Baldip: Yes, I am sure that readers would find my book Maelstrom an interesting read!
Morgen: Thank you, Baldip.
I then invited Baldip to include a synopsis of one of her books…
Maelstrom is a novel that gives insight and understanding of the human psyche by relating events and emotions that have been extravagantly and dramatically expressed by me. The book is set in London in present times with flashbacks to a troubled state in India. Maelstrom is a multi-genre novel that covers psychology, crime, romance politics and mystery:
Physiological genre – it studies characters state of mind when interacting with internal / external influences.
Crime – ranges from light-hearted misunderstanding to sinister darker plots that involve murder.
Mystery – a vital piece of information is withheld from the reader.
Romance – The novel shows a pure and dark side to love.
Political – Has philanthropist characters who are actively engaged in highlighting and promoting human welfare.
Baldip Kaur is a British Indian but was born in Egypt but has lived in England for the most part. Her literary forte was latent till about 12 years ago when she embarked on her literary journey by painting, as a hobby, in oils and has had many exhibitions of her artwork in the local libraries. Her first work, which was published in 2002, is a book of her artwork and poetry titled ‘Visual Reflections’ which is on sale on Amazon.
She is inspired by social issues so decided to have oppression and injustice as the theme of ‘Kismet’. Her first novel. Her third novel ‘Fanish’, due out in 2013, was inspired by an incident that took place locally involving a man who had kidnapped a young girl. And themd of the novel is sex and drug trafficking whilst touching on paedophilia and incest.
‘Maelstrom’s’ her second novel has been published recently and is available on Amazon.
Baldip is writing her fourth novel which… although fictional it is based around the events surrounding the Tsunami that hit Asia on Boxing Day and in which lives where lost and others made homeless.
Update February 2013: “My third book, ‘Fanish’, is being published soon… in fact I am expecting the first copy any day, but the details of the book isbn etc can only be given later on or when I get the book. However, I can give you a little background to the book:
Fanish is the name of the central character and is a novel about Vanita and Gazal who are vulnerable girls abused and neglected by their families. They are befriended by Fanish who uses his hypnotic charm to draw them into his web of international drug and sex trafficking. He becomes their confidant and companion and as so often happens with defenceless children, they blossom in confidence. They are caught in his web of deceit and subsequently realise that his intention had only been to exploit their feeling of powerlessness and wounded trust in adults. Fanish highlights the realism that without concerned adults, children can easily be trapped and exploited whilst illustrating the trauma the victims undergo; the scars they leave which in turn inflame reprisal.”
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