Interview with Ritu Anand – Ramona Portelli Blog

Ritu Anand started writing when she could hold a pencil, but life kept getting in the way. For the past four years, she has chosen Writing as her career. She draws her inspiration from nature around her and her scripture – Sri Guru Granth Sahibjee.

When she sat down to write Kara’s Dreams, her pen flowed its ink onto paper, as a river floods its banks. The beautiful verse within the scripture that guided her story provides – Pavan Guru, Paani Pita, Mata Dharadh Mahat, Divas Raat Duii Dayee Daya, Khaileh Sagal Jagat. It means the Wind is the Guru. Water is the Father. Earth is the Mother. Day and Night are caretakers. All the elements – Wind, Water, Earth, Night and Day work in concert to enable creatures to play and enjoy this playground called Earth.

Ritu Anand lives in Sarasota, Florida with her loving husband. Her interests include reading, writing, singing Indian classical music, dancing to Bollywood music, traveling and playing golf.

Tell me more about your latest book

Little Kara, a pine sapling, dreams of growing tall and strong like wise old Utsa, the tallest in the woods. But, she fears the elements of nature – Wind, Water, Night and Day might wipe her out, as she sees them in action, every day. Kara decides to speak to Utsa in hopes, Utsa may guide her. Utsa shares a story and through it, the secret to be brave. Kara listens well. That night, Kara resolves to stay positive through the hurricane. This experience enables her to overcome her fears, and in the end, speak with conviction, “I will hum through storms. I will dance to tunes. I will reach my dreams.”

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The most challenging aspect of writing this book was making sure that the voice was that of a child. The adult voice kept creeping in. So, I decided to listen to the seven year old within me, fearful of the dark.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

As this is my debut picture book, I wanted for it to be indie published, so I could have the control over its illustrations. In my mind’s eye, I had envisioned the movement of the leaves and how the trees would communicate with each other, mainly through their eyes.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I rely on non-fiction books and articles written on topics I want to tackle. For instance, for Kara’s Dreams, I studied the various kinds of trees that are susceptible to high winds. I learned that pine trees fall prey to extreme weather conditions, like hurricanes and storms. But of course, there are exceptions amongst them.    I research intermittently to verify my facts and spend a fair amount of time in the beginning when I sit down to outline the plot. 

How many books have you written so far?

Kara’s Dreams is my first book. My second picture book, I Am My Language, will be ready for submissions in April, 2022.

What’s the best way to market your books?

I am no marketing expert. I feel that by continuing to participate in podcasts, blog posts, radio interviews and social media sites, I share the beauty of Kara’s Dreams with the world. Kara’s Dreams stands out for many reasons. It is not only for reading pleasure, but conveys the underlying message of staying positive in the midst of adversity. I believe it can be effective as a teaching tool in schools. Therefore, I have author visits set up in a few schools.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write every day in the mornings from 5 a.m. to typically 10 am, sometimes longer.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Enjoy the process of writing. Writing allows us to go into the depths of our personalities. It jogs memories. Pay attention to life within, and honor every moment. Capture some of those moments. Invite them to have a seat on the page. Life matters. Your life is the most important gift the creator gifted you with. Enjoy life. Then write some more.

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