Author Interview: Shilpa Suraj

by - Wednesday, April 22, 2020

So lucky to have the chance to interview the lovely author of Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters, Shilpa Suraj. Take a look >>> 

Ara of My Book and My Coffee: Hi Shilpa, my name is Ara and I am a book blogger and reviewer from It's very nice to meet you. Thank you for being “here" today. I'm so glad to have this interview opportunity with you. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you up to these days (aside from the new book)?

Shilpa Suraj: Hi Ara. It’s lovely to meet you, albeit virtually. I am, in calmer times, a working professional, mother to a pretty fabulous toddler and author all wrapped up in one messy package. I head HR & PR for an architecture and interior design firm and am currently because of the Covid – 19 pandemic working from home and trying rather unsuccessfully to homeschool my child.

Ara: Oh, yes, homeschooling is very serious business. We can do this! :)

Writing, heading HR & PR for an architecture and interior design firm, and being a parent – wow! You are busy busy busy! 

Congratulations on the new book! When did you start writing this book? How long was the process of writing this book? Did you base it on anyone you know? Are you dedicating it to someone you know? Lots of questions! 😂

Shilpa: Thank you. Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters was written a few years ago and revised and tweaked for publishing only recently. It is entirely fictional and not based on any one person but Alisha certainly has a lot in common with me personality wise. Her snark, her bravado, her intense familial loyalty, all of it echoes bits and pieces of me. 

I am dedicating this book first and foremost to Debdatta, who’s kept me sane and helped make sure this book is out there and in the hands of readers. 

And second but no less important, I am dedicating this book to my writer tribe. To the friends I’ve made in this wonderful journey and to the incredibly supportive network we’ve formed over the years. 

Ara: Thank you for sharing that. What's the biggest struggle (if any) you've encountered during the creation of this book?

Shilpa: When I finished writing this book and pitched it, I was told that Indian readers wouldn’t be accepting of a divorced heroine. And that was the single most important reason that made me want to get this story out there for people to read. 

Acceptance. Why is it conditional? And even worse, conditional to our prejudices, our preconceived notions, societal judgments, the list is endless…

Can we not lead with kindness, with an open mind, with no judgement of people and their choices and most importantly, with love and acceptance? At the very least, can’t we try? 

Why should a label and not just the label ‘divorce’ but any label define a person? Can’t we look at someone and ‘see’ them? Not the packaging the world insists we see but ‘them.’

Ara: I agree with you. This story needs to be written for people to read and understand. I love the message that you want to share with others – Love and acceptance. Two things that are most important nowadays. 

I've read the synopsis of the book and it's very interesting. I'm already excited as to which path this story would go. I'll definitely add this to my reading list. Any ongoing/future projects that we should be excited about? Is there a book 2 where readers can see what happens to Alisha after Book 1's ending?

Shilpa: There is definitely a Book 2, I won’t tell you whose so this interview stays spoiler free, and I’m halfway through writing it already. Book 3, Arav’s story, should follow soon after but I still have to finish plotting that in my head so that may take a while longer. 😊 

Ara: Definitely exciting stuff! Do you have any advice to bloggers out there who wish to be a writer someday?

Shilpa: Not just bloggers but anyone who wants to write – the only way to do this is to start. Don’t overthink, overanalyze or wait for the perfect time to write. If you have a story you want to tell, go ahead and do so. Don’t worry about genre, word count, marketing strategies or which publisher to approach. All that is for later. For now, write. Tell your story.

Ara: Thank you for that. Very good point. Yes, anyone who wants to write and get their story heard. I agree. Thank you so much for your time today! 

Before we end the interview, I really have to ask these. Coffee, sweet tea or hot cocoa? 

Shilpa: Black coffee, no sugar. It’s quite addictive. 😊 

Ara: Ahhh yes. And lastly, who is your favorite ‘friend’ from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Shilpa: Oh, this is a tough one. I think I’ll pick Chandler but only because his snarky sense of humour matches mine. Or maybe Joey...because “How you doin?” 

Oh dear. Can I pick two? Never mind…It’s a moo point. 😊 Chandler. I pick Chandler. I think…

Ara: Haha. I also cannot choose, really. I like them all. Thank you for your time, Shilpa. This was a really great interview and very informative. 

Don't forget to check out Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj.

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