‘It had to be you’ is a book on your life, on my life, and on all of our lives. It dwells on what you want and what happens when you don’t get to live life on your terms. With a rating 3.8 on 5 from Goodreads and swooping our hearts away with a realistic romantic story, ‘It had to be you’ is surely a novel you would have come across. The author, Anuj Tiwari, has been popular ever since his wonderful debut hit the shelves. In an exclusive interview with News Karnataka, the acclaimed writer expressed some thoughts on his journey so far.
The first spill of ink
Speaking of beginnings, Anuj Tiwari revealed that it started from something that has elicited a great impact on him. He asserted that his writing was the outcome of the medication he was taking for severe anxiety and depression over nine months. “We all have dark days; we might even give up at times. However, I decided to share my story and from there, I got the inspiration. We all have stories to share and when we can share them, we grow; we become human,” he said. Writing was cathartic for the author.
Anuj Tiwari didn’t always dream to become a writer, or rather wasn’t given the right opportunity. Before becoming an author, he was compelled to do engineering, which is the most common obligation of a child in any Indian family. He confessed that if one’s neighbour is an engineer or a doctor, he or she has to be either of the two. “So my mother decided that I should go for an engineering degree. I completed engineering and took a job as a software engineer. While my peers wanted to settle in the USA, I rejected the opportunity and worked on my books, which I feel is the best decision I have taken in my life,” he said. However, soon his family accepted his dreams and ambitions. The author said that his family is always ready to support him, but they don’t interfere in much of his work. “My father keeps asking and is always curious about my next book. He has been a great inspiration if I have that bone of hardwork,” he added.
Genres and titles
Right from his debut novel till now, one could observe that Anuj has indulged in the genres of romance, young adult fiction and other similar categories.
Why did he choose to indulge in writing such novels? Anuj answered, “I am a reader’s author. Before, ‘Give Your Heart a Break,’ I was only into romance. This came out different, and people loved it.” On the other hand, most of his books’ titles have a simple yet effective millennial essence which automatically makes them appealing, such as, ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay,’ ‘I Tagged Her In My Heart’ and so on. In this premise, the novelist disclosed that he researches the title well because he believes that it is equally important. He spends a reasonable amount of time selecting one for his book.
Best of all and online reading
When asked of his favourite brainchild amongst the many he has created, Anuj affirmed that ‘Give Your Heart a Break’ is the one. He suggested that every girl should read it. “It is personally recommended, and I promise I won’t let you down,” he said. We all have a favourite quote that we like to add on our social media or we truly believe in. For Anuj Tiwari, one of his favourite lines from the books he has written so far is this: We live in a time where we are in a crisis of listeners. We all want to speak more than we want to listen and understand. This becomes extremely important in the context of the changing world with social media. There are many Indian authors who dwell on similar topics or subject areas. But Anuj Tiwari’s works surely stand apart. “I take time, but I promise to bring the best to the table. I think that the trust of readers in me makes my books different. All of my six books are inspired by real-life incidents, which no other author has done,” he maintained.
Online reading has taken over paperback or traditional methods of reading, especially in times such as the pandemic. With the invention of the internet, many websites for online reading have been flourishing ever since. The readers’ community in India is slowly leaning on screens rather than on paper. According to Anuj Tiwari, there is still a market but yes, it has relatively reduced in relevance. He contended that this is the saddest part of this digital revolution. Anuj is the founder of a digital marketing agency as well which has recently crossed the turnover of 10 million in a year; the value of online content is very high. “Like time changes, there will be, and we’ll bring back books like they used to be. Books are still a dose of meditation to mind, which web content can never replace. So I am not worried. Books will always have their royalty,” a hopeful Anuj said.
Ted talks and awards!
You may have seen Anuj Tiwari giving a motivational and autobiographical Ted Talk in its YouTube videos. For the author, it allows him to meet people from different verticals, socialise and build a professional network. It rejuvenates him. “I have spoken at over 120 platforms, and that’s the best part of the writing journey because I get to meet people,” he mentioned.
Anuj Tiwari is also a recipient of the Newspapers Association of India Achiever Awards 2014, which called him as the ‘Best Upcoming Novelist.’ This is indeed a great recognition. In conversation about the same, he said that undoubtedly it feels good when people recognise his work organically. Nonetheless, he is never bothered about awards. He believes that feedback from his readers is more important than an award. Advising aspiring writers to “dream because it is only you who can make it true,” the renowned author signed off.