During the autumn of the new millennium, I was in the throes of planning my wedding when an idea planted itself like a seed in my mind and I couldn’t shake it. I wondered if there was a girl like me – British, Indian, Sikh – who was getting ready to marry her prince but he turned out to be a total cad. I’d always wanted to write a story and I wondered if this would be it.
I switched on my huge, box-like PC and, within a few days, I’d written a chapter.
It wasn’t literary gold, by any means, but it was the start of something.
I would dip into the book whenever I got a break from the relentless planning that comes with a Sikh wedding. After the ceremony, there was no time to write. Moving into the heart of a whole new family, with different ways, was a big thing and I didn’t have my PC with me. So, my words lay untouched on a floppy disk, not forgotten, but germinating.
My husband was a total sweetheart and, when he learned of my literary dreams, bought me my first ever laptop. In time, the first couple of chapters became a few more and I proudly printed off my words so a colleague could read them. She gave me the encouragement to keep going and so I wrote more chapters.
My seed was growing its first shoots.
Then life happened. Again.
We wanted to start a family and our journey to achieve that was a painful one, taking longer than we’d ever thought because of complications with my health. My book baby took a backseat again, as our quest for a real baby became more intense.
A few years later, I was a mother of two, a full-time teacher, a wife and good daughter-in-law when I discovered blogging. My blog got me writing again and, after tentatively offering my opening chapters up for critique to a community filled with writers and readers, I got the thumbs up. I really needed to finish the story.
But, time? Where was I going to find time? My spare minutes were eaten up with planning, marking, cooking, cleaning and looking after my family.
I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but I couldn’t wait until November. Summer was a much better time to write for me because there was no school to worry about. So, I decided upon my own challenge: RiNoWriMo – Ritu’s Novel Writing Month. That August, my story really began to put down roots and grow leaves.
50,000 words happened, then a few more.
Mentally and emotionally exhausted, I knew this was not a simple story. It was a novel in the making and it took me to spring the following year to finally write ‘The End’.
After initial edits, I sent it to two trusted readers who gave me the feedback I needed to know my story was a viable book. I’d been worried that my Indian-inspired story may not be of interest to a wider audience, but I was reassured this was not the case.
I made the decision to become an indie author early on so finding editors, proofreaders and cover designers were the next steps.
And finally, after nearly twenty years, in February 2020, I pressed publish on my debut novel, Marriage Unarranged, in a genre, I coined ‘Chickpea Curry Lit’, essentially Chick Lit with an Indian twist. My book had finally bloomed. Beautifully.
I did it. I wrote a book. It’s published and readers are already asking for book two. It’s a good thing I’ve got characters waiting in the background ready to tell their stories. Now, to find the time again…and I will. Because I know I can.
If you’ve always wanted to write a story, listen out for those seeds.
Make time for your seed to shoot, grow leaves and blossom.