A former attorney, Sejal Badani is the author of the bestselling novel and Goodreads Fiction Award finalist Trail of Broken Wings. When not writing, Sejal enjoys reading and traveling.
ALC: Tell us about your writing process, how you set goals, and the amount of time you spend writing vs reading each week.
SB: Once the story idea – usually just a concept - comes to me, I spend a few weeks fleshing it out and outlining. I will read books in the same genre to get my imagination flowing. Once I have a concrete outline I will reach out to my freelance editor and see when she is available to review a first draft. That deadline helps keep me focused and on track. From there I am at my desk from morning until dinnertime. Though I’m not always successful, I try to read about two to three books a month.
ALC: What is your editing and revision process, and how do you stay motivated to get through to the final draft?
SB: Depending on the book, it varies. After finishing Trail of Broken Wings in six months, it went to the house and through another four-month revision process. Storyteller’s took over five years to finish. It is two stories in two different time-periods, so I had to carefully balance each and make sure they organically supported one another. What keeps me motivated is to have multiple projects going at the same time. Once I have reached my threshold for writing/revising one project I put it aside for a period of time (sometimes months) and work on the next project. Then I come back to the previous project with a fresh eye and perspective.
"The stars will eventually align if you keep working at your craft and believing."
ALC: Looking back at your less-experienced writer self, what do you know now about being a writer that you wish you knew then?
SB: That the stars will eventually align if you keep working at your craft and believing. The first novel I ever wrote should never see the light of day. However, I kept writing, took writing classes, read often and never stopped trying and believing. I received countless rejections and wish I had known then that it would all work out so I would not have lost so much sleep.
ALC: What have you found to be the most effective ways to connect with your readers?
SB: Skyping with book clubs has been especially rewarding because I have the opportunity to meet so many readers. I also love to communicate with readers via Facebook, Twitter and of course email.
ALC: What is the most rewarding part of being a published author? The most challenging?
SB: The most rewarding part is hearing readers’ reactions. I try to read every review and it is just so heartening to learn why a reader loves the story. I sincerely appreciate the time readers take to leave reviews. The most challenging is trying to maintain the standard set by the two previous novels. The reception that both novels has received means so much to me and I want to honor the readers by continuing to write at the same level.
"My best advice would be to find an outside publicist before publication."
ALC: What was it like having your debut novel, Trail of Broken Wings, nominated for a GoodReads Choice Award and become an Amazon #1 bestseller, and how long were you working on the novel before its release?
SB: There are no words that adequately convey my elation at and gratitude for the readers’ response to Trail of Broken Wings. Having been a struggling writer for so many years it was incredibly heartening to have TOBW do so well. I wrote the original draft in six months and then went between four to six months editing with the publishing house.
ALC: What inspired you to write your latest novel, The Storyteller’s Secret, how much research did it require, and what do you hope readers will take away from it?
SB: My maternal grandmother contracted encephalitis from a mosquito bite and died young. The heartache and tragedy of her death served as the main inspiration for the novel. From there, I spent years building and fleshing out the story. It took years of extensive and intensive research to understand the Raj period and the details of the British occupation. Many readers have commented that they come away with hope after reading the story and a sense of gratitude for everything they have.
ALC: Was it challenging writing about the emotional topic of domestic violence? What advice do you have for other writers wanting to tell a story that covers sensitive or dark topics?
SB: It was challenging, however all the stories of resilience and survival I read were truly inspiring. My best advice would be to stay as true and honest to the subject as you can whilst giving the reader some breathing room by offering hope throughout the story.
ALC: Were there specific promotional efforts that helped drive your success with this first novel? What else can debut authors do to create awareness for their work?
SB: Being a Kindle First book brought it to the reader’s attention immediately. A number of readers also told me they had heard about the book via word of mouth and through book clubs. My best advice would be to find an outside publicist before publication. They can really help to get the word out on the book.
ALC: You recently stated that one of your favorite things is being able to join book clubs virtually. How do you get in contact with book clubs, what platform do you use to interact with the readers, and what does a typical book club event entail for you?
SB: Meeting readers through speaking with book clubs is one of my favorite things to do. A reader will usually contact me via my webpage or Facebook and then we set up a time that works. Often I use Skype or use Google Hangouts and can spend anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour answering questions and just listening to the members discuss the book. I am always so grateful to be asked to join the discussion.
For more on author Sejal Badani and her work visit https://www.sejalbadani.com/
© Copyright 2018 Author Learning Center. All Rights Reserved