Q&A With Sapna Srinivasan

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Q&A With Sapna Srinivasan

Today’s Q&A is with author Sapna Srinivasan. Sapna is the author of the standalone series called The Sood Family series. Book 1, A New Mantra was released Jan 21st 2022 of last year. Book # 2, A Rebel’s Mantra was released July 12th 2022. This year both book 3 and book 4 will be released. Book 3 is titled A Mantra for Miss, which will be released January 19th. Book 4 is titled A Homecoming Mantra which will be released March 21st. I was connected to Sapna through author Jane Porter. 


Q: When did you realize that writing was what you wanted to do with your life?


A: My evolution as a writer, and my realization that I was—ahem—a “writer” happened very slowly. I was a shy, latchkey kid growing up, and writing became a safe outlet that I trusted, and used often, to express my emotions. All the things I felt, negative and positive, and nerve-wrecking, I put into words and stashed away. This process evolved over time, as my “notes in my diary” took the shape of a storytelling process. And it became a process I began to enjoy more and more. I also realized that the fun was doubled when the stories were made-up and there was someone I could tell it to, whose reaction I could enjoy as I narrated the story. And before I knew it, which was the path I was on. To me, it always has felt like the path to writing chose me, not the reverse.


Q: What is your advice to someone wanting to write a series? What is your advice to anyone dealing with writers block and how do you deal with it?


A: I would say that first step—that first paragraph, that first chapter, is the biggest challenge, and it can be overcome. Believe me, it can. I would often have these blood-pumping ideas, like flashes of creativity in my brain where a brilliant story or scene idea would hit me, and right at the worst possible moment—right when I’m in the dairy aisle at the grocery store, reaching for a wedge of Blue cheese. And from there, on the drive home, I would feel excited about it, pumped. But the moment I’d sit down at my desk to execute, suddenly, the brilliance would fade and begin to feel, well, like a stinky wedge of Blue cheese. And I would stop. That was my mistake. Don’t stop. Keep at it, and take notes, wherever you are—while you sit on the sidelines during your kid’s swim lesson, while you’re at your 9-5 job, while you’re shopping in the grocery store, or out on a run, or walking your dog. Use your smart device to grab a quick note of your idea, and when you have time, sit down and write it out—the scene, the outline of the plot. Take that first step, and I guarantee you, the next steps will follow. We have all faced writers block, and do often. A writer’s brain can be unpredictable. It’s a moody little brat, that doesn’t do what you want, right when you want it to. But the trick is to take your notes and scribble out some of your writing whenever inspiration hits, versus, based on a schedule. Also, I have found that listening to good music can trigger some ideas as well. Play a song you like, and picture the scene in your mind—with your hero and heroine, as if it were playing out like a movie. This helps me sometimes to jiggle some creativity loose, and tickle those romantic ideas out of my brain when it doesn’t want to play. Finally, don’t beat yourself up, and stress when you can’t deliver. It doesn’t help, it only makes one feel inadequate, which you are not.


Q: Is it fair to say that the characters you created in your novels are based off of people you know in real life? I love it when authors can base the characters and places from their novels to people they know in real life and places they’ve been to in real life. 


A: I would be lying if I said that every aspect of my storytelling was pure fiction. I am not that creative. People inspire me, and I find beauty in our individuality. I love how each of us is unique in our own way. We each have a unique personality, a style by which we live our lives, our thought process, our humor, our principles. And when I encounter these amazing, different people in my life, they triggers ideas for characters in my brain. My heroines—Mira Sood, the dutiful, sacrificing daughter forced to consider a new, unchartered path to find her voice and possibly love again; Laila Sood, the rebellious cousin who gets exactly the kind of man she doesn’t want but poses the treat of being her true love; Sahana Sood, the perfectionist cousin who must open the door to imperfection if she wants to snag the man of her dreams; and Shaan Sood, the handsome, devoted single-dad who must take a chance on a woman in a way that doesn’t threaten the delicate balance he has with his precious daughter—these characters are products of my imagination mixed in with the people that I have crossed paths with in life at some point.


Q: Do you have the plot ideas for book 5 and 6 mapped out since books 3 and 4 come out this year? 


A: The Sood Family series is a four-book series and each book in this series is a standalone contemporary romance story. No plans to add any additional books to this series—this one is all done cooking 😊


Q: How would you advise someone who is a new author who is new at dealing with negative reviews, online trolls and unsupportive friends and family members?


A: Oh, I can completely empathize. If someone said anything negative about my daughter, for instance, the Mama Bear in me, will automatically puff her chest out, and stick a pointer right at comment and say: “You take that back, right now.” Our stories are like our kids. They are a product of us, and so it’s very natural to feel hurt, and protective, and defensive when we hear anything negative said about them. But I also believe that negative feedback and criticism, is a great opportunity for growth, especially for new writers. Mean trolls, that make personal attacks on anyone, are never to be tolerated. But constructive criticism, is something writers—or any human being, for that matter, should be open to, because without it, we can’t grow. We can’t get better at what we do. Some of the most useful feedback I have ever received was from people who provided negative feedback. Don’t get defensive when you hear it. Think on it, ask yourself if they have a point, if there is something positive you can extract from that negative feedback, and then apply it the next time you take pen to paper. And remember, you can’t please everyone. And it would be weird if a writer wrote a story and every single person who read it gave them a gold star for it. That’s an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion. There will be people who love your book—enjoy their feedback and gain confidence from them. There will be people who don’t like your book as much—give them an open mind, and take what you can from it that you can use to build on your skills. As for family and friends who are unsupportive, let me just say this—if someone truly loves you, you will feel it. And if you don’t feel it, then it was never there, and its best we learn to move past it, and find comfort elsewhere. I speak from personal experience.


Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your series?

A: No, but I like that you asked the question. 😊