- Hi Sohini, please tell us something about yourself.
First of all, thanks for giving me the opportunity to feature in your blog. I am Sohini, a journalist, blogger and author of ‘Road to Cherry Hills’, a contemporary adult fiction.
I was born and brought up in Kolkata. I have always enjoyed Writing and reading story books. As a child, I liked making up stories and writing them on my personal diaries. I remember how in my high school, I was so rejoiced to get selected to write for one of the leading newspapers in the city, The Statesman for its school supplement. It was a great learning experience at that tender age that motivated me to become a journalist.
Later, I pursued my masters in media and communication studies from Manipal Institute of Communication in Karnataka. I also received the National Human Rights Promotion Award for my work on Child labour in 2003.
I’ve worked with several media organizations including Hindustan Times, Times of India and IDG Media. Currently I work as Chief Editor with a leading tech media firm in Bangalore. I love to mentor young minds in the field of writing and communication. I’ve traveled to various countries and exotic places. Traveling, I believe is a great way to learn and excel. During my spare time, I love to read, listen to music and practice Karate and Yoga. More than anything, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially with my son Kush.
- You have recently published ‘Road to Cherry Hills’, please tell us something about it.
‘Road to Cherry Hills’ is a contemporary adult fiction. It revolves around the story of a young woman, Rimjhim, as she walks down the memory lane of her college campus, and recalls how her love life began in the lively educational town and just when everything seemed perfect, life took a shocking U-turn, leaving Rimjhim distraught as she had to fight her own battle. In her journey of life, she runs into different people, meets with new experiences, and explores new places, and in the process starts to bring bigger changes towards communities and the society. The book spans over a decade, includes different characters with shades of black, white and grey - who play a part in Rimjhim’s journey of self-discovery. In other words, it narrates the challenging and inspirational story of Rimjhim and her tryst with life.
- What inspired you to write your book?
There are so many inspirations when I look around; so many things we learn, or experience from people, books and the world around us - some keep inspiring us and help us to move ahead in life with greater zeal. At some point in time, it becomes important to reflect on those experiences. To me, the best way to do so is through written words. I must have wanted to write books since I was a child and unknowingly followed my dream. My parents always encouraged me to do what I liked to do. My mother is a writer. Her simple yet powerful style of writing also motivates me to keep writing. All these inspired me to write my debut novel.
- What do you like more – writing your stories or working in your profession?
Unlike many people, I’d been fortunate to turn my passion into profession. I am an editor and my job involves writing on people and their businesses. Even though that’s different from writing a fiction, end of day, you tell stories about people to your readers – their success, challenges and aspirations and so on. While working on my debut novel and in the process of getting the book published, I learnt a lot of things. Writing to me is like breathing. It gives me a voice, a sense to my life and connects me with people and ‘myself’ better.
- What kind of books do you read? Any favourite authors/books?
I love reading different kinds of book to indulge my curiosity and never really restricted myself to a particular genre. I read both non-fiction and literary fiction. I’m fond of autobiographies, memoirs, science fiction, horror, historical fiction, mythology, technology, and many more. Likewise, books on cinema, as well as economic and social issues equally appeal to me.
Well, it is really difficult to single out a few favourites from the troves of books I’ve read [smiles] – there are actually so many - from Shakespeare to Tagore, from Tolstoy to George Orwell, from Jane Austen to Enid Blyton, from H.G Wells to JK Rowling and from O’Henry to Ruskin Bond [the list is endless] – they all inspire me right from my growing up years. My mother Shampa Bagchi is a published author of several books and I enjoy reading her books too, along with other contemporary writers.
- What were the key challenges that you face while you write?
There’s so much to write, but so little time. With so many details to attend in our day to day life - both at the workplace and personal life, I sometimes delay writing for a ‘better time’. However, the truth is that the ‘better time’ will just not come unless you make that happen. So, since my college days, I have Friday nights to myself – that’s my dedicated writing window, and I look forward to it every week. Also, for new authors like me, finding a good publisher is certainly a challenge. I also came across some fake ones. As for me, my manuscript was rejected twice till a found a very supportive and detail-oriented publisher who took a lot of interest in the story and my book.
- Which phase of book you hate most? Writing, Editing, Marketing, or something else?
Writing and editing [and even rewriting] are things I enjoy, as that’s been my domain, while, marketing and promotional activities are gradual processes for which I rely a lot on my publisher LiFi Publications, who has been very kind. There’s nothing that I hated in particular in the journey of writing my book and getting it published. Every phase is like a learning experience and I still have a long way to go.
- Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to share with new authors?
New authors, especially millennials are smart [and very focused] hence I have nothing much to say, except that I would gladly quote Steve Jobs' famous saying which I too believe: the best way to learn more and achieve more is to ‘Stay hungry… stay foolish’. I also add to that ‘Stay humble’. By following our heart, our intuition, and dreams, we can attain greater heights.
- Any other projects you are working on? Yes, what are they?
I have started working on a collection of short stories and I hope to complete the book by the end of this year. There’s also another novel in the pipeline, which may take some time. I also intend to update my blog more regularly.
- Lastly, if you have to describe your book in few lines, how will you do it?
Road to Cherry Hills can be described as an inspiring story of a strong willed woman. In my book, the main female protagonist appears as the girl next door, but under circumstances, she turns out as a strong, independent woman who struggles to beat the odds against her and moves ahead in life. She is also sentimental and passionate. While writing the book, I felt connected to Rimjhim and believe many of you can identify with her joys, sorrow, passion and aspiration.
Hope you enjoyed reading about Sohini and her book 'Road to Cherry Hills'. Do grab a copy of her book today.
Lots of Love