In an official interview for Hues of a Soul, Lipa Rath, the author shared personal experiences and her efforts of helping people. She shared the story of becoming a published author and exploring a whole new life for herself. So, here are the answer from the author.
Question No. 1) How your book can help a depressed and frustrated reader?
This book, “Living Courageously” as the title suggests, can inspire them. Give them hope. Lighten up their hearts with simple meaningful true life stories, and not give up on life and succumb to pain. It can give them a sense of purpose of their depression. Like as they say, “Your mess can become your message”.
Question No. 2) Why and when you decided to become an author?
I had no plans to be an author. I’m a spiritual counselor and a therapist. I love my job. I never really thought of being an author. But along the way I started feeling the inner nudge that it was time I wrote something about my life story with an intention that God is your best friend and your greatest strength. But I procrastinated about the thought because I felt very awkward and shy to talk about myself. But over a period of time I learnt how to be detached from my unpleasant life experiences and be impersonal about them. And hence I was able to make it a gift. Strangers and friends saw treasure and value in the manuscript.
Question No. 3) Who are your potential readers and why they should read your book?
My potential readers are people above the age of 35 years. Below that you may not have the life experience to understand the intensity the book is speaking from. But if you never had pain and you are indifferent to other people’s pain, I would say then this book isn’t for you.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with pain, my book, Living Courageously, talks about one such way. This book demonstrates that you have a lot more power. And your pain is afraid of this power. Yet its ironic that sometimes the pain you go through reveals your inner power and strength.
Question No. 4) What do you intend to deliver with your book to your potential readers?
That you are the creator of your life. You can mar it or you can make it. You may call it destiny, but destiny along the way through your life gave you choices to choose. So you are responsible for bringing everything into your life good and the bad. At the same time you still have a choice “now” to create a wonderful life despite all your mess. One of the greatest lesson shared in the book is about accepting and forgiving yourself in order to live a joyful life.
Question No. 5) What you intend to say by surrendering to situations?
Sometimes situations are beyond your capacity to understand and deal with them. That is a very helpless moment. But when you trust in the higher power, that takes care you in ways that you have never thought was possible. Its is not being timid to surrender to that power. Its like logging on to a greater wisdom. And that wisdom knows how to take care of you.
Question No. 6) How you deal with criticism on becoming an author, especially in this virtual era?
When you write a book like “Living Courageously”, it also means you have dealt with a lot of criticism and unpleasantness to dare to write a book on a title like this. In fact the book talks a great deal about how to handle criticism from others and your own self-criticism. Criticism existed before the virtual era.I welcome people’s feedback to improve upon my communication. I have faced many dire situations in life and I have faced them bravely.It’s a part of the story in my book.
Question No. 7) Was it difficult to attain publisher’s trust to get the book published despite being an off-beat project?
Yes, it was difficult. After writing the first manuscript I bought the book, “How to Write a Book-Proposal” by Michael Larson. I think that book is worth its weight in gold for authors who wish to publish their book. One advise from Michael stayed with me and I worked around that principle. He said, I paraphrase, “Write that book you have never read, and would love to read.” He also said, a book that is meant for everyone is actually for no one. If you loved your book, you would find others, that it is meant for love it too.
Question No. 8) Why you have chosen the memoir format when that doesn’t go well in self-help genre?
The book is categorised under non-fiction inspirational genre. It’s not a self-help step by step guide- more in the personal development category. There’s a fine line separating memoirs and books written in the category of personal development. That line is increasingly blurred as authors bring together spiritual information and stories about how their own development has been impacted by the material they’re presenting in the book.
Question No. 9) Who are your favourite authors and why are they?
When I was growing up, we did not have many Indian authors, although I loved reading R.K. Narayan’s writings. I also liked O’Henry’s short stories. It was a norm during those days to read Ayn Rand’s books. I was influenced by The Fountainhead, and that confused me a lot. I read a lot of popular fictions by Jeffrey Archer, Fedrick Forsyth, Arthur Hailey, Collen McCullough. And an honest admission more than a hundred Mills and Boons stories! I wish I had read some more meaningful books then.
My all time favourite book is, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramhansa Yogananda. My life took a different dimension after reading the book. This book literally lifted me and threw open vaulted doors. It has the power to surprise you every time you read it. Couple of years later I met Yogananda’s direct disciple Swami Kriyananda, aka, J. Donald Walters, an American yogi, author of more than 100 books, a musician and a great teacher. His books, his life and his friendship deeply influenced me. I gained clarity about yoga philosophy. His writings also taught me how to express complex ideas in simple ways. It was a thrilling moment when I received Kriyananda’s testimony to my manuscript of LC. He wrote, “This book is well written and well thought out, and contains a lot of wisdom. I highly recommend it.” Other favourites are Dr. Brain Weiss, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Doreen Virtue, Louise Hay and many others. I have met some of them and attended their workshops.
Question No. 10) Will you keep writing on self-help like the big authors or what will be your next project?
I don’t know what will be my next writing project. It has to be something very interesting and exciting to share with others. It should also be entertaining and full of insights.
Question No. 11) What is your message to youngsters, who live extremely stressful lives in metro cities, to calm their lives?
Apart from books, which can help deal with specific areas that one needs to tweak, nurture and care in order to make their life meaningful, youngsters can also take help from counselors to help in their specific areas of need.
12) Final question, what you like to suggest to newbie authors, who choose off-beat projects?
On a lighter note, I would quote W. Somerset Mauham, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Well,If you believe in your topic/storyline then go for it. Do your research and write with conviction. “Literature” translates as, “Sahitya” in Sanskrit, which means that which is good for the society. Having this in mind keeps one perspective clear.
I would like to pay my sincere thanks to the author and her agent for this wonderful round of questions and answers.