A Dental Surgeon by profession, Dr. Roxy Arora, who graduated from the prestigious College Of Dental Surgery, Manipal, recently debuted in the literary world with her path-breaking novel Jihad In My Saffron Garden. She belongs to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and has spent many a summer holiday in the beautiful valley. Roxy Arora possesses firsthand experience of exodus and war zones; she had just cleared her twelfth grade from the Indian School Kuwait, when President Saddam Hussein invaded the oil rich kingdom (watch the movie AIRLIFT for more details 🙂 ). So let’s here it from the lady of the month, Roxy Arora!
- Hello Roxy, welcome to the literary industry 🙂
Thank you so much, Madhuri.
- Tell us something about your recently published book Jihad In My Saffron Garden.
My book , Jihad in my Saffron Garden is a romantic thriller set against the backdrop of the origin of radical Islam in Srinagar, Kashmir in 1989. It depicts how in the most idyllic of manner Hindus and Muslims used to reside together in a camaraderie which we nowadays would consider unbelievable. The book carries the message of world peace and religious tolerance. It touches on the global threat of radical Islam which has engulfed the entire world.
- When did you start writing?
Last year in the month of August, 2015.
- What is the purpose of your writing?
I want the people of India and the World to understand how it was in Kashmir before 1989. I belong to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and am of Dogra Ethnicity. It rips at my heart to see the chaos and mindless massacre which exists there today. My purpose is to revive the emotion of Kashmiriyat back to my enchanting state. To display the co-existence of all religions in harmony. I , too have had to flee from Kuwait during the Gulf War. I know what it is to escape under the threat of guns and bloodshed. I have faced racism when i lived in the U.K as a child . Let people realize how taunts lashed out a child make a marked difference in their lives.
- That is a very novel purpose indeed! What inspired you to bring forth this idea of Jihad In My Saffron Garden as a book?
I wanted to write about India, it is a country so deliciously beautiful. And Kashmir is the epitome of her plentiful bounty. I am determined that my book will make a difference and send out a strong message. We have to eliminate insurgency from that area and look at the soldiers who are losing their lives each day.
- Is any part of Jihad In My Saffron Garden inspired from real life?
No, this story is completely a work of fiction. I have stayed in that area and can relate to the culture and ethnic environment. Every thing else , every character, has originated from my creativity.
- Do you see a movie based on Jihad In My Saffron Garden being made?
My book has all the ingredients for a movie.
- That is definitely does because unlike regular novels, Jihad In My Saffron Garden is a unique concept one.
yes. It is unique in the way that the entire globe as such needs to deliberate its way towards world peace. This book details the innocence of love, locales most beautiful, an enemy so malicious, and our Indian Army so national. All topics in one book together are very seldom found.
- Agreed. What is your idea of love, family, and relationships on the whole?
For me , my family is my strength. It is extremely important and conducive to the well being of a person to have a supportive family. As for love, it is what makes us extraordinary and forces us to scale impossible heights; be it the love of our parents, children or partner.
- What is your idea of world peace?
World peace according to me is when all nations big or small clearly and honestly commit to abolish arms. Just imagine if there were no arms, there would be no skirmishes at the borders or any where else. The various international organizations have to plan accordingly. We have faced too many genocides.
- Which of your works have been published so far?
This is my first book to be published.
- So how was this journey of becoming a published author?
The journey of being a published author was a mystical one of self empowerment and living my dream. We are all blessed with hidden talents. And mine is writing. I was able to live my dream.
- Have you self-published your book or followed the traditional approach?
My book has been fortunate enough to be blessed by the patronage of a traditional publisher: Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi.
- Which approach is better according to you: traditional or self-publishing, and why?
Both are equally good. Everything depends on the quality, content, and editing of your manuscript. You should have a unique story no matter the genre, no matter the publisher.
- What should the beginners do today?
Beginners should read as many books as possible when they write. They should be able to answer the following question to themselves ‘ Why do you think you are the best person to write this story?’ That is the challenge. If they can answer this question satisfactorily, they have a BESTSELLER!
- A very prized advice indeed. What is your take on book publishing as you see the current scenario?
Publishing is a beautiful industry. With the amount of publishing houses mushrooming it is time to debunk the myth that reading is dying. We have great publishers in India. Both traditional and self. Think of the lives of children who have been changed by reading authors like Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock and Nancy Drew.
- What are your forthcoming writings?
I am currently writing about royalty, Indian Royalty. But my readers are desperate for a sequel to Jihad; so lets see. One thing is for sure that I will always showcase my amazing India in the finest of way.
- I don’t doubt that 🙂
What are the four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
- Story – it should be gripping from the beginning to end.
- No plagiarism
My books will always be written for a purpose other than good sales; they have to nurture a life. While writing my book I read a quote by an important statesman — “one should have no regrets in life.” That quote pushed me to perfection. Through my writings I want to motivate people.
- What is your favorite genre and why?
My favourite genres are romantic thriller and historical. Like most females, I am a die hard romantic. I love suspense, drama and melodramas. Throw in some hard nosed spies and the book is something you can’t keep down.
- What / Who is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
My family and close friends have always inspired and motivated me. There were times I didn’t leave my study for an entire day while writing this book, but my family cooperated. My father’s mantra was ‘Nothing succeeds like success.’
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
I have met all challenges through my meditation which has opened closed doors for me and made me strive for the best solutions.
- If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I would love to be Roshina Kapoor, the determined protagonist of Jihad In My Saffron Garden.
- And finally, any message for the readers?
Your response to me has moved my heart. I have lived my life as a dentist and received praise but as a writer you have given me a standing ovation. I promise you innumerable books which you will adore from the deepest pit of your heart.
So that was Roxy Arora for you, author of “Jihad In My Saffron Garden“.
You can get in touch with Roxy directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Madhuri for your author interview and getting your book reviewed / edited: email@example.com
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