Good Tuesday morning, Anju. I can't believe I finally got you here. Make yourself comfortable and tell us about yourself and your book. (I can't believe we will soon be able to buy it.) I know you are counting the hours! I LOVE the cover.





Slices of Success

By Anju Gattani

With fifteen days to go before the release of my debut novel, DUTY AND DESIRE, on Dec 1, 2011, I’ve been thinking hard about success. What does it really mean and how does it change over time?

For a long time—nine years ago to be precise when my kids were 6 and 2—I put pen to paper and started writing the best story I could in the best way I knew how to. It took a year and half to pound out the manuscript, after which I put down the pen, breathed a sigh of relief and wondered about the sequel running through my head. Several authors suggested I reconsider what I had already written – not 1 but 2 stories.

A series, they coined the term, was what I had produced.

A series, I thought, was not what I had intended. It was not good enough.

And that was the beginning.

What followed were years of research, slicing the story in two, learning the craft of writing, re-writing, revising, reconsidering scenes, sequels and descriptions, pulling out characters (and promising them a story of their own in the future) while attending local chapter meetings, working under the critique of 2 best-selling authors and holding the ‘delete’ button at my fingertips. I had to be successful now, I figured, more authors were guiding and critiquing my work; the cream of the writing community was taking me under its wing!

And yes, I was truly successful now – at getting rejections! It was not good enough.

And that was the beginning.

What followed were years of more re-writing, revising and researching for the right agent. I found one. We signed. We celebrated. Then two years later we parted because the manuscript was still homeless. This was followed by more rounds of re-writes, revisions and researching for another agent while working on a third manuscript—not the sequel I had intended—but a story that would eventually tie into the sequel (I had intended). Then I found another agent. We signed. We celebrated. And the agent found the manuscript a home! We celebrated again. I had to be successful now, I figured, because the book was no longer homeless. The publishing contract was followed by more rounds of revisions and in some cases entire re-writes because it wasn’t good enough.

And that was the beginning.

I then secured a column in a multicultural magazine, entered the blogging world and learned about blurbs, endorsements, reviews and getting your name out while the manuscript transitioned to a book; it finally had a cover, a face… a visual, an identity… what a moment! I had to be successful now, I figured. Then I learned I had to work on the next manuscript-to-be-written while promoting the first book because simply working on another story isn’t good enough.

And I’m back to the beginning.

What lies ahead? What sales numbers will the book bring? What story will readers take to heart and to their friends? What emotions and thoughts will the characters stir? And what lies ahead after that? I don’t know. After nine years of not knowing I’m not sure if I’m supposed to know at all because, apparently, just when I figure something out, I learn there’s more ahead. What I do know for a fact is that my kids are now 15 and 11 and I’m once again putting pen to paper and writing the best story I can in the best way I know how to.

A series, I understand, is what I’m producing.

A series, I believe, was not what I had intended. Is it good enough? Is this success?

Or is this just another beginning?

Author Bio: Anju Gattani is an international free-lance journalist and fiction author. Her debut novel DUTY AND DESIRE, Contemporary Women’s Fiction (with an international twist) is slated for release on Dec 1, 2011. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, a columnist for ‘Khabar’ an Indo-American magazine and is at work on her third novel. Anju grew up in Hong Kong under a British education system; she has also lived in India, Singapore, Australia, New Jersey, Connecticut and Atlanta in the US. Anju hopes her novels will one day Bridge Cultures and Break Barriers. Visit Anju at www.anjugattani.co

30 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // November 15, 2011 at 1:10 AM  

    Good Tuesday morning! Please ignore any formatting problems.Blogger insisted on playing with my mind.

  2. Hildie McQueen // November 15, 2011 at 7:08 AM  

    You are a success story Anju because you kept going, kept writing and didn't give up! Bravo!!

  3. Mona Risk // November 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM  

    Anju, Welcome to the PFS. I wish you could write your biography. I bet it would be also very interesting, since you lived in so many parts of the world and are familiar with several civilizations. Best wishes for your first book. I'm sure it'll be successful since you work so hard at it.

  4. Nightingale // November 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM  

    Congratulations and good luck with your new release!

  5. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 10:56 AM  

    Hi Hildie, Mona and Nightingale,
    Thanks for your confidence and support... it's been rocky and hard but then isn't it for every writer? A biography.... hmmm... never thought about it... honestly wouldn't even know where to begin.... the beginning :)

    Mary, thanks for having me on your blog. You are a wonderful friend and always the sunshine of GRW!

    Regrads
    Anju

  6. Judy // November 15, 2011 at 11:06 AM  

    Nice to see you here, Anju! And congratulations on finding a home for your story. There's no such thing as an easy time of it, is there? So glad you've succeeded!

  7. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM  

    Hi Judy,
    I don't think there's ever been an easy time and there still isn't. There's just so much to do all the time and so much to learn!
    Thanks for your encouragement!
    Regards
    Anju

  8. Pamela Varnado // November 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM  

    Anji, congratulations again on the sale. I remember the excitement I saw in your eyes when you first told me about it. I'm so happy for you and wish you much success. You hung in there - and look what happened!!!!

    I can't wait to read your story and the cover is awesome.

  9. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

    Hi Pamela,
    I still how excited I was when I told you! Then I thought to msyelf... 'Now what?' and I'm still thinking that.
    Always so much more ahead I don't know.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Anju

  10. Marilyn Baron // November 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

    Anju,

    I'm glad you triumphed and stuck to your dreams. The path to publication is not an easy one and it's wonderful when a writer achieves that goal. Now, on to the next one.

    Marilyn Baron

  11. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM  

    Hi Marilyn,
    Next one... hmmm... we've known each other for years now and we always say 'See you next time.' So this is new!
    Yes, there is another in my 'Winds of Fire' series and I'm working on the 3rd novel. Just not finding the time to actually work on it!
    Anju :)

  12. Mina Khan // November 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

    Hi Anju,

    So proud of you for hanging in there through all the ups and downs, and yes the best part of writing communities is the friendship. Congrats on your almost-here release! Can't wait to have you on my blog :)

  13. Giora // November 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM  

    Nine years is a long time, Anju, but on a positive note, your book became much better. I like the storyline, and with the growing interest in modern India, the book might do well, and hopefully very well. Maybe the Embassy of India in the US will help to promote the book, because it might increase tourism (in a small way) to India. Best wishes to you and your family.

  14. mauratroy // November 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM  

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Anju! You are so right in that every success is also a new beginning. If we didn't have new beginnings with our successes, we'd never go anywhere or achieve new successes. So I hope there are lots of new beginnings in your future! :)

  15. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM  

    Hi Maura,
    Thanks for joining me and you know some of my journey as we drove down to chapter meetings together! Thanks for your good wishes!

    Hi Mina,
    Thanks for joining me today and I can't wait to join you on your blog the day before the book's release! Desi* + Desi*

    Hi Giora,
    Indian Embassy... wow... that's just too hot for me to handle! And I do appreciate your support. 9 years is a looooong time but u r right. Over the rewrites I discovered the numerous layers to the story and characters and depth to what I had written.

    Regards
    Anju

  16. Sylvia Rochester // November 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

    Anju, that first book is always special. Enjoy the moment. I wish you lots of success.

  17. Mary Ricksen // November 15, 2011 at 6:58 PM  

    Thanks so much for blogging with us her at the PFS Anju, You wrote the typical writers journey for most of us.
    But the most important thing was your determination, your dedicated drive, to learn and to write the best story you can.
    That is what it's all about. When readers get it and like it and want that sequel, that is what it's all about. Congratulations!! And much luck!

  18. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 7:54 PM  

    Hi Sylvia and Mary,
    Thanks for sharing the journey... u r absolutely right... if people want the sequel... then the writer has it nailed.

    I can't speak for future books but this first one is a complete twist of life's fate!

  19. Edie Ramer // November 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM  

    You know how to persevere, so good for you, Anju! Congratulations on your release!

  20. Barbara Monajem // November 15, 2011 at 9:13 PM  

    Hi, Anju. I think we're always at the beginning of something even as we're at the end of something else, and often we don't even know which is which, because we have to keep so many balls in the air at once, and so many duties overlap. I guess we just keep on trucking and see what happens. Congrats!

  21. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 9:23 PM  

    Hi Edie... I guess I know how to persevere and perspire too! Thanks for sharing with me :)

    Hi Barbara, well said! Sometimes you're so wrapped up you can't tell which end you're at! What a wonderful thought to end the day with - and wonder where I'm at :)

  22. Anonymous // November 15, 2011 at 9:38 PM  

    Hi Anju, I am really excited about the book and cannot wait to read it. You are really such an inspiration to future writers.

  23. Walt Mussell // November 15, 2011 at 10:02 PM  

    Anju, you are a tribute to perserverance. Congratulations! It seems like the book was meant to be a series from the beginning and now is.

  24. Tracy Robertson // November 15, 2011 at 10:11 PM  

    Wow!! What an incredible journey you are experiencing! It was really interesting to read about the trials and errors leading up to the release of your DREAM!!!! It looks absolutely fantastic and I for one am eagerly awaiting to read it! All your hard work and growth as a writer will, I'm sure, shine through in your novels! Keep up the hard work, as any story that can transport a reader into another world whilst educating them is truly magical!

  25. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

    Hi Walt and Tracy,
    I still wonder what it was supposed to be and what it now is. Thanks for sharing the journey with me and I hope others will believe that if I can do it, anyone can!
    It was honestly full of trials and errors after errors, Tracy... a needle in the haystack... and sometimes I'd be looking for the haystack! :)

  26. Anju Gattani // November 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM  

    Hi Nightingale... what a lovely name and thanks for sharing with me today!

  27. Mary Marvella // November 16, 2011 at 12:55 AM  

    Great job, Anju! I am so glad I made you blog for us!

  28. Autumn Jordon // November 16, 2011 at 9:08 AM  

    What a wonderful. inspiring story. Congrats on your new release. It sounds great.

  29. Anju Gattani // November 16, 2011 at 9:31 AM  

    Hi Autumn,
    I hope you'll order a copy and step into another world with me... a world and characters I can't wait to share with all of you.

    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for having me! I've enjoyed meeting so many new people and hearing their excitement over the release of Duty and Desire... and moreso the journey to finally getting there!

  30. Josie // November 18, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

    What an interesting journey for you and your writing, Anju. Welcome to the PFS blog and thanks to MM for hosting you.

    Good for you for never giving up--even after 9 years. I'm at 6 and counting.

    Sincere congrats on your release.