My Writing Journey:
I’ve always loved books; the marvellous tales they tell; the colourful characters I gets to talk to; the magical places they take me. As a young child, I was as much drawn to reading stories as writing them. As a die-hard book addict, I had this particular affection for words; I loved the way they shaped a sentence, a paragraph, a story.
During my growing up and adult years, although, the writer inside me stayed dormant, the reader never quitted. I read extensively, hungrily, and like a maniac.
After my children started school full time, I knew I had to write a story once again. The idea was brewing in my mind for sometime, but it was my husband who encouraged me to start writing ‘Tied to Deceit’. He had read a few of my book reviews and urged me to write a book.
In the beginning, writing was an adventure. I had stories in my head…memories…things I had heard here and there. The words I started to etch on the paper, I realized were different from what I thought I would write. But that’s how they would come out. I couldn’t put them down any other way. And the beauty I saw in those words would keep me going:
“The young, thought Sharma, have this ability to suffer much in the time of grief, unlike the old who have seen enough sorrow and know it shall not stay forever. The young hardly know grief is like a thunderstorm. It comes whispering softly at first, a distant hum, a halo of vehemence in the sky, and then there is a sudden, violent, and copious outpouring; that drenches everything that comes in its way. It darkens the sky and turns every inch of green terrain dusky grey. But they don’t realize its ferocity will become less with the lapse of time, and the sun will shine bright and warm, and wash the land golden, and no one would be able to tell there had been a storm. They scarcely understand this essential unfolding of grief isn’t meant to last forever, and eventually, it shall come to pass.”
― Tied to Deceit
Once the story started taking shape, I had no choice but to write it down. There were hundred of chores I needed to take care of at the same time; we had moved to a new city, a new house. There were all these household chores and both the kids were still going to elementary school: they were so young. But I couldn’t stop writing. There was so much in my head waiting to be heard, to be put down on a paper. I simply didn’t have the luxury of ignoring the voices in my head, wishing them away. Every time I tried to ignore them, they just banged louder…harder. I must write them down. At a point, I actually cursed myself for ever starting the book. Reading was my first love. I was a person who carried a book wherever she went. But instead, a laptop had replaced those delicious books. I had to carry it everywhere so I could finish my manuscript. It killed me…my inability to read everyday. But as much as I detested this new perusal in my life I realized I just couldn’t stop writing. I learned I could fight it all I want, argue with myself, but in the end I had to write it because it begged to be written. There was no other choice.
Little by little I was getting there…that final step toward finishing the first draft. The excitement was building. There were days when I would write like a maniac, sitting on my computer all day long. And then there would be weeks of absolute zero activity. During those days I craved for books but wouldn’t dare to go to library. The guilt wouldn’t let me read in peace: there was this manuscript sitting on my laptop, waiting to be finished! How I hated those days!
Finally, the first draft was done. I celebrated hard. But once I started editing, I learned completion of the first draft was just a baby step I had taken. The major work was still sitting there waiting to be done. But I was hopeful. After endless revisions, edits, cuts, and going through the hands of three editors, the final version was ready.
For me, writing was an adventure, a tiring adventure I’m tempted to say but an adventure, no doubt. The published version was the destination I always had in mind even before I started writing. But writing, in itself, cannot be a destination. When you write, you’ve to write for yourself and you alone. You can only hope that whatever you write will touch the chords of other people’s hearts. It will stir their souls. But don’t make it your only goal. First read what you’ve written and see if it stirs something in you. If it does, you’re a winner. Below are a couple quotes from my book that told me I was doing good:
“Time heals everything, that’s what everyone says. Wounds heal and leave only scars behind. But some wounds run too deep to heal, and pierce the deepest layers of one’s soul. They stay there unhealed and ready to ooze blood at the first sign of grief.”
―Tied to Deceit
“When she met Rudra, it was as if she had just awakened to the world and discovered its wonder. She knew a lot about dreams and a little about wickedness.”
―Tied to Deceit
Dr. Rajinder Bhardwaj, the owner and the head physician at Lifeline Hospital, Sanover, had showered after his brisk morning walk and joined his wife for an early morning tea. Gayatri Bhardwaj sat with her second cup of ginger tea on her favourite old, worn, woven chair on the verandah which overlooked their front garden: a tapestry of blooming carnations, marigolds, roses, and chrysanthemums. She longed for a clear, bright day and the dazzling blue sky of summer.
It was her favourite spot to sit in the mornings; a place from where she could witness the brilliant dawn streaking half of the sky coral; raindrops soaking everything wet during the monsoon; specks of silvery snow falling from the sky during winter. She could take in everything from the serene mountain peaks and the forest to their house—its roof, windowpanes, and the pebbled driveway that snaked its way criss-cross toward the outside big iron gate. She would sit there until Dr. Bhardwaj joined her after his daily ritual of a brisk morning walk.
They had done this for years despite the changing seasons and the changing equation of their marital relationship. They had spent endless mornings of their initial married years there, when their hearts were still giddy with the feeling of young love, and they would talk about everything and nothing. She’d been a bride at barely twenty, young and naive. He’d been ten years her senior, already on the way to establishing himself as a successful physician, the younger son of a landlord aristocratic family with old wealth. He had swept her off her feet then, and was all charm and charisma but then the magic slowly diminished and finally died due to his secret betrayals over time. Thousands of little resentments had replaced the early warmth. But their hearts, although heavy with bitterness and anger at the failed expectations, had gotten used to the solace of each other’s company that often comes with years of living together, and they never stopped performing this morning ritual of their married life.
On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.
As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singh’s life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.
Faced with the investigation of a crime that appears to have as many suspects as there are motives, Vishwanath Sharma probes the sinister web spun around a tangle of lies and deception.
Praise for Tied to Deceit:
“A remarkable whodunit that’s as sharp as it is concise.
Brar enhances her taut murder mystery with an engaging setting that effectively incorporates the local culture. The smart, believable denouement will have readers looking forward to Brar’s next endeavor.“
“A literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychological and cultural insights than your typical murder mystery’s scenario.“
-D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
Neena H. Brar lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, two children, a highly energetic German Shepherd, and a lifetime collection of her favorite books.
A hermit at heart, she’s a permissive mother, a reluctant housekeeper, a superb cook, and a hard-core reader.
Tied to Deceit is her debut novel.