The sequel to one of India’s best-selling romance novels Something I Never Told You has hit the stands. Titled Something I’m Waiting To Tell You, this novel takes forward the poignant love story of Adira and Ronnie. Author Shravya Bhinder talks about the process of writing a sequel, love for the genre, and the books that need to be on your reading list this month. By Srushti Kulkarni
T+L India: Your book ‘Something I Never Told You’, is one of bestselling romantic novels in the country. Why did you opt for this genre?
Shravya Bhinder: Romance as a genre is the most relatable to me. One can weave millions of stories around the emotion, and these stories are touching, convincing as well as inspiring. Love makes our world go around and so do love stories.
T+L India: At what point in your life did you decide to be a full-time writer?
Shravya Bhinder: I have been a reader ever since I can remember and started scribbling my own stories at a very young age, mostly to entertain my siblings. In 2015, I decided to convert this hobby of mine into a full-fledged passion and dove into the world of words and books as a writer.
T+L India: Your first book was self-published. It became a sensation. The sequel, Something I’m Waiting To Tell You, is being published by Penguin Random House. Did you feel a lot of pressure?
Shravya Bhinder: When I wrote Something I Never Told You, my main aim was to tell a story. That it becoming a success was a surprise for everyone but me. I had worked a lot on the book and knew that success had to be the only outcome. So, when I was writing Something I’m Waiting To Tell You, I had this experience as a self-published writer that kept me calm and pressure free. I was, after all, going to do what I have always loved the most – tell a story!
T+L India: What was more challenging to write, the first book or the sequel?
Shravya Bhinder: Something I Never Told You is a very relatable story, and the reason it is so is because of its characters. While writing Something I’m Waiting To Tell You, I did not have the liberty to let these characters develop. Instead, I was working with characters that were already formed. I had the task to ensure that each character grew and matured in line with the new story. Maintaining the growth of characters was taxing at times, making the sequel a bit more challenging to write.
T+L India: What part of this subsequent novel was the hardest to pen?
Shravya Bhinder: The beginning of Something I’m Waiting To Tell You is actually the continuation of the last chapter of Something I Never Told You and that was the hardest for me to write. I had to revisit my thoughts, the characters’ thoughts, and incidents, ensuring that everything aligned with where we left it in 2019.
T+L India: Have you ever travelled for inspiration?
Shravya Bhinder: Travel has been one of the most inspiring things for me especially whenever I find myself stuck at a point while writing.
When I was writing Something I’m Waiting To Tell You, there were more than a few days when I experienced writer’s block. I always head to the ocean when that happens, and I find clarity. The waves calm me down and the thoughts in my head get less messy.
T+L India: What influence has travel had on your writing?
Shravya Bhinder: All my books have chapters on travel. I like to give my characters a happy place of their own in stories and it is mostly at a seaside location. I have been travelling all over Australia in the last five years and these travels have made their way into all my books. My characters take my readers everywhere I go, right from Byron Bay to the Docklands in Melbourne.
T+L India: If you could spend a day as one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Shravya Bhinder: I would love to be Adira from Something I’m Waiting To Tell You as I relate to her the most. She is smart, funny, and headstrong; her character is human and tends to make mistakes. She emerges as a winner no matter what curveball life throws at her.
T+L India: Your favourite place to travel for inspiration or to write?
Shravya Bhinder: I have written a lot on Candolim Beach, Goa. Since moving to Australia, Torquay is my favourite place to write. Half of Something I’m Waiting To Tell You was written by the shore of this beach as it is very peaceful. Few people like to visit it and that makes it the perfect spot for me to write.
T+L India: What is the one thing you want to tell first-time authors struggling to find a publisher?
Shravya Bhinder: Make your work stand out by putting it out on a platform. When no one believes in your story, you have to believe in it twice as much. I did that and self-published the book which made publishers take notice. So, capturing the attention is the only thing that helps.
T+L India: Destinations on your bucket list?
Shravya Bhinder: I want to visit the UK and probably explore it while living there for a few months.
T+L India: Which authors do you look up to? What are your favourite genres?
Shravya Bhinder: I read a lot and I read all genres, but I really like books that have a hint of romance in them. I admire the works of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Agatha Christie, Margret Atwood, and Alice Walker.
T+L India: Your list of classic romantic novels to read in the valentine month?
Shravya Bhinder: Romance and Jane Austen novels go hand in hand. I plan to re-read as many novels of Austen as I can, in February. The reading list begins with Pride & Prejudice and will move to Emma. Books from other authors that one can read in the month of love are – The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, and Love Story.