Author Interview | Khushnuma Daruwala

In March of this year, as part of the Femme March Fest Challenge, I read a total of 8 books that included A Charm of Finches and Mudbound. But also read another book that made me laugh a LOT and made me fall in love with it. This book is called 50 Cups of Coffee: The Woes and Throes of Finding Mr. Right.

Imagine my absolute delight when the author, Khushnuma Daruwala, saw my post and left a comment on it! And then she agreed to do an interview! Life couldn’t get bigger for a bookworm like me! Over this period, I found that this lady is one of the sweetest in the industry. And boy, am I glad that I got to do this interview!

(MB: Melodramatic Bookworm; KD: Khushnuma Daruwala)

MB: You told of how the story 50 Cups of Coffee came into being. But when did you know that writing was something you love to do?

KD: I’ve always enjoyed writing, be it in school or case studies at the workplace. To be honest I never gave it too much thought. I enjoyed it in the moment but never harboured any aspirations beyond that.

MB: What was the first thing you ever wrote? Which of your work – even if you’ve written it for yourself – are you most proud of?

KD: The answer to both questions would be 50 Cups of Coffee.

MB: How long did it take to get published? Was it easy considering this is your first novel?

KD: It took about 6 years from the time I first sent out the sample chapters to the book launch. Until 2016 it was nothing but a long list of rejections. I did meet a few kind editors who advised along the way and it was their interest in the story that kept me going.

MB: Was it easy translating your friend’s experiences into the humor that reflects in the book? What were your thoughts while you wrote this?

KD: It wasn’t tough as I chose to tell only those stories that were a bit far out. When a story evokes spontaneous eye rolls or a sense of shock, it’s a short distance from Funny-Land. Crazier the date-story, the happier I was.

MB: What was the easiest part of writing 50 Cups of Coffee? What was the most difficult part?

KD: The title was the easiest part. I stumbled upon it very quickly thanks to the back story of the fifty coffee dates. There wasn’t any ‘very difficult’ part per se. The only one thing I, my friends who were reading the manuscript and my editor tried to ensure was that the story didn’t come across a rant against men.

MB: How much of the story and narrative in the novel is your opinion? If there is not a considerable percentage, then what is your take on the modern dating scene?

KD: The stories were all borrowed. Opinions were mine to a large extent. Modern dating, I think, is increasingly fluid as the norms and relationships milestones seem to be in flux.  On one hand there’s greater ease due to connectivity and access and yet that seems to come with its own quirks and complexities.

MB: Your thoughts on matrimonial sites?

KD: Be it a matrimonial websites or dating apps, they definitely facilitate access to a large number people, which isn’t possible otherwise. And I do know of many couples who have found their spouses online. As long as one exercises necessary caution and discretion, it makes sense.

MB: How can one turn a non-reader into a reader? What steps can a writer take to invade the minds of even those who do not read?

KD: Audio books perhaps? You could introduce them to genres, authors or topics which match their interests and sensibilities.

MB: Who are your favorite authors? And your favorite books?

KD: Anything and everything written by James Herriot, Gerald Durrell and Paulo Coelho. People have comfort food, I have comfort-books.

MB: Have you started your next story? If yes, what is it about? And when can we hope to read it?

KD: No, I haven’t. I’m still toying with a few ideas. I hope to get down to writing real soon.

MB: Your advice for aspiring authors?

It all boils down to one thing – Persistence. Keep reading, keep writing and keep pursuing your dream. I had been rejected twice by Penguin but that (strangely) didn’t stop me from pursuing a lead when it manifest. The earlier rejections didn’t even cross my mind; I just went for it. And as luck would have it this editor liked what she read and things just moved on from there. Guess it’s true – third time’s the charm.

Khushnuma Daruwala debuted with 50 Cups of Coffee.

Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life. 🙂

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