Even though Nikita Singh, 23, has published seven books, she says she is too young to decide whether she wants to be a full-time writer
Budding writers hoping for a better tomorrow had many questions to ask the 23-year-old Nikita Singh, who was in Chennai to introduce her seventh book, Right Here Right Now, at the Starmark bookstore in Express Avenue Mall. The impressive attendance suggested that the author, who has written six books apparently selling tens of thousands of copies, could well be the next star of popular fiction in India.
Nikita Singh arrived a little late which gave one just enough time to speak to some of her fans. “She writes so well about relationships. Her English is accessible and not cerebral,” says a muscular young man. At the event, when she was grilled by Sandhya Sridhar, founder and director of Pageturn Publishers, about her books and views on relationships, she came across as a regular aspirational young woman, who gawks at good-looking men and has a take on life and relationships. In a rapid fire round, she mentioned not once but twice, that she loves the Bollywood actor, Ranvir Singh.
Most of her books are about young people living in smaller North Indian cities and the issues they face — the sort of a writer that the intellectual elite would love to rubbish. Browsing through her immensely-popular Facebook page, one gets a sense of the hate-messages that she gets for her work. How does she feel when her work is rubbished? “There are a bunch of people who would rubbish a piece of work even without reading it in the first place. I could care less about them. If there is a genuine opinion or a criticism, I am open to it,” she says.
For example, when she included sex scenes in Accidentally in Love, which was about the life of a model, she was criticised. “There were some who embraced it, but there were also some who said, ‘How can a 19-year-old girl write about all this? But I have never let these affect my writing.”
Her newest book, Right Here Right Now, is a ‘bit experimental’, she says. “It is about a girl who wakes up in a hospital and doesn’t remember anything. She starts her life afresh. I am also writing about characters that are in their teens as opposed to those characters that are older than me and more mature,” she says.
Throughout the evening, the audience’s admiration for her striking looks was shining through. Does it bother her that people also comment on her looks rather than just stick to her books? “I don’t feel bad. I realise that it is an advantage. But I am not an actor and I cannot use my looks to sell my books. After all, we don’t buy books after checking out how the author looks, do we? If the content is powerful, that is more than enough,” she says.
Having been a part of the publishing industry, she says that any work of art must connect to the reader. And to connect to her readers, she uses social media extensively to interact with people. “My fan-base is on Twitter and Facebook. To me, a book should either connect to the reader in some way or make them imagine a different world altogether.”
She might already be a well-known author, but Nikita says that she still isn’t sure if she wants to be a full-time writer. Why? “I am too young to decide what I want to do,” she says.