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Love is in the air...er, book

Instant connect: Nikita Singh wants to write a fantasy. Photo: Special Arrangement  

In Nikita Singh’s latest book, she explores deeper issues and relationships in a layered manner. With eight novels in a span of four years, 23-year-old Nikita Singh definitely seems to be going places! Ever since her first book “Love @ Facebook” in 2011, the ‘love lass’ has had no turning back. She was in town for the launch of her latest book, ‘After All This Time’, at the Landmark store in Forum Mall, Koramangala.

Most of her previous books have dealt with themes like love and friendship. With her seventh book, ‘Right Here Right Now’, Nikita seemed to be wading into more serious plots. Now, in her latest work, she explores the life of Lavanya, a young girl who discovers that she is HIV positive. From trying to fulfil her bucket list to finding love just when she thought she was at the end of the road, Lavanya’s character goes through quite a few situations which have an impact on her thoughts. Nikita’s portrayal of this layered novel is very much mature for a girl of her age.

“After All This Time is about a girl whose first defence mechanism in any difficult situation is to run away from it. I wanted to explore this thought and the book is about what happens when she is in a situation from which she can’t escape,” says Nikita.

She chose to write about an issue like AIDS specifically because of the stigma surrounding it. “I know it’s a delicate topic and has to be dealt with sensitivity. It’s time people stopped treating it as a taboo, which is why I wanted to write about it.” As part of research for the novel, she read books, medical articles and journals on the subject. Apart from trying to understand the emotional angle of the patients, she also spoke to her doctor friends and took part in online discussion forums. Was it a conscious decision to shift to serious themes? “Not really, it happens as you grow. I think it is part of the process. My aim has always been to make sure my next book is better than the last one.” Nikita believes that her personal growth and development over the years should reflect in her books as well. While she isn’t sure of what her next work will be about, she wants it to revolve around actual, real issues.

Her favourite books include Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell and The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat. She mentions Thomas Bernhard and James Baldwin as two authors who have inspired and influenced her writing style. Since she moved to New York for a MFA in Creative Writing, she has taken up cooking in her spare time, especially to satisfy her craving for Indian food. “I sketch, when I have the time. I also love wandering around and exploring. I often come upon small cafes where I love to spend time writing.”

Rakesh Godhwani from IIM-B, himself an author, officially released the book at the launch function on Friday and engaged in a discussion with the young author, delving into her new book, its characters and responses from her readers. Nikita confessed that she gets mails from readers, seeking advice for their relationship problems. “I get the question ‘Will you marry me?’ on a daily basis!” While on the topic of relationships and dating, it was also mentioned that Nikita was recently chosen to be the brand ambassador for Aisle.co, an online matchmaking platform for urban singles.

“Given that my books have mostly been about romance and the website is very much in line with present times, there was an instant connect,” she explains.

The gathering at the bookstore ranged from first-time readers and ones who love her writing style to aspiring writers.

“Will you be trying out other genres in your future books?” asked one of her fans at the venue. “Definitely. I want to explore other genres, and, for sure, I’ll be writing a fantasy at some point,” says Nikita.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 8:21:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nikita-singhs-latest-book-veers-away-from-her-favourite-topic-romance/article7315245.ece

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