Today I'm very excited to welcome author Rajdeep Paulus to promote her book:
Swimming Through Clouds
I live in the in between. Between what if and what is. It’s how I manage. It’s the only way I know. Everyone has their way. This is mine.
When high school, cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together
Swimming Through Clouds won several honors in 2012:
Let's see what Rajdeep had to say to our questions!
- Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
No one’s ever asked me that one before. *wink* I think I knew as early as fourth grade, but I didn’t voice it until I was on the verge of high school graduation.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Well, I’ve written about three in three years, so I would venture to guess that at this rate, we’re talking roughly a book a year.
How do you come up with themes for your stories
The central themes for my stories resonate from my values and what I’ve learned along the way from my peers, parents and friends who inspire me. Hope inspires, but grace rescues. I want to write stories of characters who don’t lose hope and discover the wow factor of grace.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
During the school year, I tend to write when my kids are in school and dedicate one Saturday a month as well.
- How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
- I’m honestly still learning how to do this. I think taking the summer mostly off to spend time with my girls and family has helped to restore some balance and perspective, but it’s still such a work in progress. Even squeezing in exercise and time to relax and not think about writing is a challenge, but if I don’t, my back and neck curse me for it and I get the worst case of WNN - Writer’s NumbNess.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
Memorable characters, a struggle that seems nearly impossible to overcome, and a setting that paints a picture in readers’ minds for weeks after they turn the last page.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Knowing when to say, “The End” for real. Because you can always edit one more scene, sentence, or even word choice.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve written four, but only published one. I would have to say that my favorite thus far is a biography of my sister’s fight with breast cancer. A very tough story to write but the process helped me get through the year she fought cancer. She’s doing well now, but the story might never leave my desk drawers, only because it’s very personal.
Do you have a favorite character?
Sure. I’d have to say Lagan, my male protagonist in Swimming Through Clouds. But I’m also fictional besties with Talia, Meena and Neela, three of my female characters.
Where do you write?
I park myself in a little cafe in downtown Glen Cove. They make the BEST quinoa brownies and coffee! Or at the kitchen table. Just my laptop and a pot of java.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
My agent really encouraged me to give this option a try, to publish with a group of Young Adult Fiction authors in an E-book Line called Playlist Fiction. All five of us are rep’d by the same company, MacGregor Literary, and I not only found four authors who inspire me, I have four new writer friends that I cherish.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My parents have read my first published book and actually posted a short review on Amazon! Even called themselves, “MomandDad From Atlanta,” so there’d be no confusion. Ha. To quote my dad, “We have read the book, and once you start reading, you can’t stop.” So yes, the feedback has been both positive and priceless.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing
Play basketball, kayak, watch movies, stargaze, hike, attend concerts, and eat chocolatey products for breakfast. With my coffee. Hey, everyone’s got a weakness.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Write. Let others speak into your writing. And tell the story that’s inside you, not someone else’s story.
What is your favorite book?
Within Contemporary fiction, I would have to say A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Beloved by Toni Morrison. But from the classics, Sound and Fury by William Faulkner still resonates with me when I think of amazing writing. My favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? John Green is a favorite when it comes to Young Adult fiction, but I think the book that inspired me to start writing was Jasmine, by Bharati Mukherjee.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
My BFF is my go-to person when I’m planning the story and she’s usually first to read all my new material. I also have an amazing writing crit group and they both challenge, sharpen and affirm my stories. Can’t imagine doing the writer’s journey alone.
Are you working on anything now?
Currently working on the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds. I’ll dive in deeper once the kids are back in school, but the story is shaping up and I’m excited to see how the characters will finish their journey. :)
Thanks for having me, Brooke! You rock!
Sincerely aware that great stories change lives,
Rajdeep decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging weekly at InSearchOfWaterfalls (dot) com.
When Paulus is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her four princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She secretly hopes to one day own a laptop that functions under water! Oops. The secret’s out.
Genre: YA Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary YA
Social Media Links: WebsiteGoodreads a Rafflecopter giveaway