Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MMBBR #Showcase Ekta R. Garg @EktaRGarg

Ekta R. Garg

Since the start of her publishing career in 2005 Ekta has edited and written about everything from health care to home improvement to Hindi films. She has worked for: The Portland Physician Scribe, Portland, Oregon's premier medical newspaper; show magazines for home tours organized by the Portland Home Builders Association; ABCDlady.com; The Bollywood Ticket; The International Indian; and the annual anthologies published by the Avondale Inkslingers, based in Avondale, Arizona.

In 2011 Ekta stepped off the ledge and became a freelancer. She edits short stories and novels for other writers, contributing to their writing dreams. She is also a part-time editor for aois21, and she reviews books for her own book review blog as well as NetGalley and Bookpleasures.com.

Prairie Sky Publishing, the company she launched to make her work available to readers, serves as the publishing arm of Ekta's professional writing blog, The Write Edge (thewriteedge.wordpress.com). When she's not writing, Ekta is a domestic engineer--known in the vernacular as "a housewife." She's married, has two energetic daughters who keep her running, and she divides her time between keeping house and fulfilling her writing dreams on a regular basis.





Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  In February of 2015 I launched my short story series called Stories in Pairs. It’s built on the foundational idea that our lives connect to the lives of others. Think of a trip to the grocery store when you start chatting with the checkout clerk or when you’re standing in line at Starbucks and you strike up a conversation with the person in front of you. For those few moments your life connects with that person’s. Often those moments remain just that: isolated moments in a person’s day. But once in a while those moments mean something more, and the concept of those connections inspires my writing.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A.  I love the freedom to create characters and situations. Basically I get to play pretend for a profession, and it’s wonderful! I can become someone I would never become in real life, either because of life constraints or because of my own principles and values.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  I often read books or watch movies/TV shows and feel blown away by the quality of work from those sources. One of the toughest parts of being a writer is staying confident that I can produce a story that will move others just as much. Also, when I’m having trouble with a story, sometimes I start to doubt my ability to write myself out of that corner. Will I be able to solve my story problems? It’s tough dealing with the doubt.

Q.  If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?
A.  I would definitely want to stay close to the world of stories, and I think I would be just as content as an editor of fiction. Maybe I could even publish other people!

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  Lessons in Adaptation: How to make the most of life’s uncertainties

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  Wow, this is like asking which of my limbs is my favorite. You can’t exactly pick a favorite and ignore the others, can you? But if you asked what books I would recommend hands down without a second thought, I can come up with a few titles: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Doomsday Book by Connie Willis; The Chronicles of Narnia (yes, all seven books! They’re great as individuals but are at their best when read all together!); Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.  Even though I’m most certainly not a sci-fi/fantasy fan, a close friend introduced me to The Wheel of Time series when I was in high school. I fell in love with the WoT and especially with Egwene, a character who goes on to play a crucial role in the final Good versus Evil battle that happens. I really identified with her in high school and find elements of her in myself even today.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A.  If I had to pick one, it would have to be Pooja from Two for the Heart and its sequel More for the Heart. Pooja’s parents pressure her into an arranged marriage, and she goes through with it just to keep them happy. I’ve had an arranged marriage myself, and because Pooja and I share a similar cultural background it was easy for me to write about the tricky nuances Indian people have to navigate when it comes to their families.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A.  Ooh, this is a fun question! Hmm…A few years ago I got an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of a book called Wish about two close friends and what happens when one of them wishes the other one away in a fit of anger. When the second friend actually does disappear, the first one instantly regrets it and spends the rest of the book trying to figure out what happened. This, of course, leads to other adventures. The book was written by a pair of authors, Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser, and the writing is pretty good, but what took my breath away were the illustrations by Odessa Sawyer. If I could spend a weekend in this place, called Faerieground, and not get captured by crows, I’d want to be there.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  I find that every season has its own beauty and splendor, but I really do enjoy spring. When the flowers are just starting to bud, and the air starts to get warm—it makes me smile.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A.  I strive to be an artist with my words every single day, but in no way am I a visual artist. I let Kathi Dunn of Dunn and Associates handle my book covers, because she’s brilliant at them and we share some sort of weird cosmic connection even though we’ve known one another for less than two years. When I’m close to completing a book, I tell Kathi about it and she goes searching for cover art. We go back and forth on the options she’s found until we both find something that we feel fits the book’s content. Then she waves her magic wand and creates her magic.

Of the book covers she’s done, I really like all of them but the one for my very first book – called Two for the Heart – will always be special to me because it was the first one. Every book cover contains elements that make me smile, but Two for the Heart makes me melt a little.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.  As an indie author I’ve had to pick and choose my marketing efforts because I bear all the costs and have to do all the footwork to complete them. Since I’m only a year into my career as in indie author I haven’t been on a book tour yet. Most of my promotion efforts, too, have been fun experiences, although nothing necessarily humorous. If I came up with something, I’ll most certainly update this interview!

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.  I am! I’m in the first draft stages of the first story of my new book, and it actually relates to my first book. That happened by accident, by the way. I had outlined a completely different story and written about 3500 words of it. But the story, despite the fact that I knew it worked on an intellectual level, wasn’t connecting with me on an emotional level.

I took a break from it one day and let my mind run down some rabbit holes, as it’s wont to do sometimes. I thought of the possibility for a character, and all of a sudden it hit me: I didn’t have to create a new character to fit that role. I already had one. She’d been mentioned in passing by the main characters in Two for the Heart. Right away I started wondering about her and the havoc she’d created (albeit off stage) in that book. What happened? Why? What happened next?

I kept asking questions and answering them, which led to more questions and answers. In a single evening, I’d plotted an entire story in my mind without picking up a pen or my outlining notebook (my usual method of outlining.) As I thought about this first story, I came up with an idea for the second story for the book. The book is tentatively titled Two for Their Loss, and I hope to release it in April.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read my interview! I hope you’ll give my short stories a try. In February 2015 I launched my series called Stories in Pairs. Every book I write contains two short stories, and you can read both in about a day. The stories share a theme, which you find out from the title, and a link, which you find by reading both stories. The series is based on the idea that we connect with people all the time, sometimes without even realizing it, and sometimes those connections make a big difference in our lives.

Currently I have six books on the market – Two to Say Thank You is permanently free; Two for the HeartMore for the HeartTwo for the Road; and More from the Road are all priced at an easy $1.49; and Two for the Holidays is priced at the equally affordable $2.99. All of the books are available for either the Kindle/Kindle app or your iPad/Nook/Kobo/other favorite ereader (with the exception of Two for the Holidays; currently it’s available for the Kindle/Kindle app only.)

I invite you to use the links below to find out more about each of the books as well as to follow my publishing adventures every week on the home page of Prairie Sky Publishing.

Thank you once again, and happy reading!


Amazon links for all books for Kindle or Kindle app:

Two for the Heart, released: February 2015

More for the Heart, released: April 2015

Two for the Road, released: July 2015

More from the Road, released: August 2015

Two for the Holidays, released: December 2015

Two to Say Thank You, released: July 2015


Smashwords links for all books for iPad, Nook, Kobo, all other ereaders:

Two for the Heart, released: February 2015

More for the Heart, released: April 2015

Two for the Road, released: July 2015

More from the Road, released: August 2015

Two to Say Thank You, released: July 2015
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