IndieView with Nillu Nasser, author of All the Tomorrows

I wanted them to learn. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach? Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. He wasn’t a stalker. Indians can be very traditional, and those parts of the story weren’t a far stretch to write. By this time, they are all over the floor and might be for days. Yes, I do, usually something instrumental: piano music or classical. Jonathan Safran Foer draws me in with his simplicity and how he understands people, and then you have seminal works like Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, the lyricism of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Neil Gaiman’s world-building and deft characterisation. She’s insightful, has an eye for detail and is a tireless cheerleader. I know what might work and what definitely won’t work. This time I just couldn’t shake one image of an older man pressed up against a window watching a family. I have a marketing plan, developed together with my publisher. – Don’t pass up the opportunities to make writer friends. I’m more likely to borrow from myself. I was born in London, UK, but am of Indian origin. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? There was no question in my mind how these characters would act when they were put together, and we see them interact at different times in their lives. That doesn’t always happen. We met on Twitter years ago. We quickly found a rhythm working together. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Some people will love you, and it’s those people who will seek you out. When did you start writing the book? He was sad. I test it first by settling on themes, a setting and main characters. The book grew from that image. We all know how important it is for writers to read. This project was like a jigsaw. What came easily? A writing day itself essentially looks like this: drop the kids off, make a cuppa, and make sure I have enough words down on the page to not feel guilty at the end of the day. Sometimes you have to work harder at creating those bonds on the page, but this time I got lucky. Get your copy of   All the Tomorrows from Amazon US or Amazon UK. Oh, I don’t know where to start. I had a lot of responses complimenting my writing but saying the book wasn’t right for their lists. I did the bulk of the writing over five months but with planning one side, and editing the other side, it took about three years of fairly consistent work. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.  
It is about second chances, the weight of tradition and gender, and the line between happiness and selfishness. I have to tell myself to forge ahead, but really, that only happens in the middle of the book. I wanted to be fair to them. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. When the publisher paired us up, we couldn’t believe our luck. Once I have an image or a scene that I just can’t shake, I know it’s an idea for a story. The relationships, the love, and the loss. That’s when the magic happens. The best thing I can do right now is finish working on my second book, and not get side-tracked. I love how Cormac McCarthy isn’t afraid of being bleak, and how bold and piercing Margaret Atwood’s writing is. Those moments, when everything starts to sing, and you begin to see all the connections, are like a drug. I did, and I think I would have gone that route if it had worked out quickly. Self-publishing isn’t for me, as I think I’d feel too alone. I wrote a blog post a while back about lessons I wish I had known at the start of this journey. I guess I struggled with putting characters I love repeatedly through the wringer. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? Where did you get the idea from? My editor at Evolved Publishing is Jessica West, and she is brilliant. Having said that, there’s usually very little I change before the story goes to beta-readers. In the beginning, in particular, when I am trying to settle on a tone, and the characters are not flesh and blood yet for me, I am constantly tempted to change sentences, to get the flow just right. Nillu Nasser – 11 December 2017
The Back Flap
Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair. In reality, I think my writing process would be quicker if didn’t look back. The idea came to me four or five years ago, but I didn’t commit to it for a while. It is about second chances, the weight of tradition and gender, and the line between happiness and selfishness. End of Interview:
For more from Nillu, visit her website and blog, follow her on Twitter and like her Facebook page. An author friend told me that they were happy at Evolved Publishing – a small hybrid press –and that they were open to submissions, and it seemed a great fit for me. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? If so can you please describe it? Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? It’s usually an image that makes me curious. But Akash wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? How long did it take you to write it? I used a diverse group of beta readers, and both male and female early readers have enjoyed the story, but my target reader is probably a woman in her twenties or older, who likes foreign travel. They end up being all tatty from where the kids and cats have stepped on them. Anything else is too distracting. Eventually, something clicks and the story is starting to piece together in my head. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall. All that came easily. Do you have a target reader? Nothing endures fire. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? – Only take this road if your passion will propel you through the daily grind of being a writer, facing the blank page, the possible rejections and disinterest, if you are persistent and can adapt to change, because the world of books is in a state of flux. Like all my stories, it started with one image I just couldn’t shake. It’s a good thing my fabulous writers group told me to have another look at my projected synopsis. It’s such a thrilling process, developing a cover for your book baby. To me at least, their interactions seem authentic. Sometimes the indie chill out list on Spotify. The novel is about how they come back from that moment. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Writers like Sarah Waters and Khaled Hosseini have such a vivid sense of place. Then I write down as many possible scenes as I can think of on post it notes and put them in some sort of order. They are fictitious. In a moment of disassociation, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match. D. Often it is triggered by what I have read in the news, or from people-watching. I’d been interested in the indie way of doing things since the very beginning, when I started meeting other writers on Twitter. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? All the Tomorrows tells the story of newlyweds Jaya and Akash, who get married in a cloud of colour in Bombay. Yes, but I have to be careful here as I don’t want to give away any spoilers! About the book
What is the book about? It didn’t want to be rushed. Do you listen to music while you write? Their marriage has barely begun when Jaya discovers him having an affair. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Very soon I found out that submitting my work made me miserable, and distracted me from creating. I haven’t borrowed from real world people though. For me 1500 words is a good day, but it can swing either way. It has to be something fairly zen to lull me into a creative space. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) They will boost you, and they might even one day become fans. Did you hire a professional editor? I also have a spreadsheet which is a helpful checklist of things I should and could be doing, but really, it’s so early in the game for me. If you can stomach that, then rock on, because the world needs your words. I’m an awful tinkerer. All the Tomorrows is my first book-length work, and initially I tried to manipulate my characters to somewhere they didn’t really belong. I dial up traits I have, or write in traits I’d like to have, or let my intuition and imagination lead me. I liked the control, the team work, the focus on editorial, and that they committed to me for a few books. First as young men and women, and then as older ones, transformed and worn down by life. It was a good thing when I let the characters lead the way. Jaya cannot contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. There is so much inspiration to draw on. Robert Pease is my cover artist and he did such a wonderful job bringing my vision to life. Their paths are not always easy. I also struggled with how close to stay to the story I had initially plotted. It makes the hours at the desk more fun to be able to check in with peers. I started writing it in earnest during a writer’s workshop and it snowballed from there. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? I feel very lucky to have signed with them. Evolved Publishing has an in-house team. I borrowed from my own experiences, like all writers do. People who will appreciate the mundanity and bliss of writing, who you can swap critiques with, who you can learn from and can give back to. For me, it comes down to three things:
– Find your voice and don’t be afraid to be reveal who you are. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. I start to go crazy about the messiness of the process and that’s when I know I’m ready to transfer the ideas to the computer and get started in earnest.