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Supriya’s Story

January 6, 2010

2009 was a good year. I began polishing my first suspense novel, Breathing in Bombay, and wrote nearly half of its sequel, Chasing Cairo. This year, I plan to finish revisions and find an agent to represent the first book, hopefully sell it to a publisher, complete the sequel, and begin work on the third novel in the Across Black Waters series. Oh, and while I’m at it, figure out how to blog. Am I up to the challenge? We’ll find out, right?

I feel more confident than ever about meeting these goals because I’ve spent several years exclusively honing my craft. Okay, more than a few years. I started my writing journey decades before the concept for these two novels occurred to me. I’d dabbled in fiction writing as a child and on through my teens before settling on journalism as my college major. I figured I had a better shot at paying my rent that way, and I was right, albeit marginally. (Those early paychecks didn’t quite cover the rent, truth be told.)

As a print journalist, I tried my hand at just about everything. I started out as a newspaper reporter in a small Texas town, went on to write features for a magazine supplement of a Houston newspaper, served as a media coordinator for a Washington, D.C. think tank (“on the Hill”), wrote opinion pieces for a number of major newspapers, fact checked financial articles, wrote about business trends for a Georgetown newsletter, oversaw production for a group of trade magazines, and ultimately served as its executive editor. Along the way, I did some ghostwriting and edited a few books. Looking back, I can hardly believe the fantastic opportunities I’ve had in the publishing world over the years.

But the best is yet to come. I’d always wanted to write a book. Any book; it never really mattered what kind. For a long time, I thought it would have to be nonfiction, given all of the above. Then a few years ago, I was struck by an idea for a mystery novel. Forget that I’d only ever read a handful of mystery novels in my life. How hard could it be? After all, I read a lot of other kinds of books. And I’m a parent: What can’t I do?

So, confidence in hand, I went off to write me a book. I read all the mystery novels I could get my hands on (still working on that, by the way) plus loads of how-to books. I took writing classes, joined critique groups and associations, chatted endlessly with my husband and fellow writers about ideas for scenes and characters and plot. And I started writing. And writing and writing … and revising. The more I learned, the more challenging the endeavor became. Yet that first novel kept screaming out: “Don’t give up on me!” And finally, after an excruciating number of revisions, the novel I’d envisioned started to take shape.

Breathing in Bombay is the story of Indian-American Diya Rao, who moves to Mumbai to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Soon after her arrival, the favorite aunt she’d been staying with is murdered, and the killer is on the loose. Devastated but determined to not give up and move back to D.C., Diya uncovers a trail of family secrets, corporate intrigue, and social causes gone wrong. The story is set in the summer of 2005, amid the backdrop of an actual historic monsoon flood that engulfed the city. As the water recedes, Diya’s quest for purpose and adventure in a new city becomes a fight for her life.

This book has been exceptionally fun to write. I get to revisit fond memories of interesting and beautiful places I experienced during my childhood vacations in India. I look forward to sharing my trials and tribulations with you as I seek publication for my first novel and toil to finish the second.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope we’ll see you back again soon. Comments welcome. We don’t bite! Well, all except for C.J., but that’s another story.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2010 7:48 am

    It was great to hear all about your professional experiences! If it’s even possible I’m more in awe now than I was last year. And yes, I’ll listen to your edits now without arguing – I swear 😉

  2. Deneishia permalink
    January 6, 2010 12:06 pm

    Wow Thank you for sharing all of that, Supriya! I am inspired by your tenacity.

  3. Lois permalink
    January 6, 2010 12:21 pm

    How exciting. I’m sending your message to my son, also a former print journalist, who is working on his first novel. Great work!!

  4. January 6, 2010 2:15 pm

    You have been a very busy writer! You bring A LOT to this wicked group and I really look forward to working with ya.

  5. January 6, 2010 5:02 pm

    That does sound like a really amazing novel, Surpriya. Murder, a foreign locale, a natural disaster — I do hope I get to read it soon!

  6. Linda R permalink
    January 6, 2010 8:42 pm

    Wishing you the best, Su, in landing an agent and a publisher! 2010 is going to be a great year for you. I loved your recent Woman’s World stories, too. Your mystery was fun! Great job ~

    • January 7, 2010 8:30 pm

      I just saw this, Linda, apologies for the delay in replying. Thanks SO much for your warm enthusiasm. I’m sorry to say, though, I am not the fun author who wrote the Woman’s World stories but hopefully some day!

  7. Gregory Marshall Smith permalink*
    January 7, 2010 1:09 am

    Wow, what was I doing all these years? I feel humbled by your story. Glad to see another journalist in the fold, too. And your book sounds exciting.

    What made mystery stand out enough to abandon all other genres for it?

  8. January 7, 2010 7:37 am

    Oh, I can answer that one Greg! She hasn’t read many other “genre” books! Mainstream stuff yes – die hard genre no. Until she agreed to be my writing buddy (after much begging on my part) and I forced her to read and edit my error ridden erotic, fantasy, paranormal suspense/mystery that is!

    • January 7, 2010 10:59 am

      That’s actually true. Her manuscript was full of errors. Only kidding!!! (Seriously, read CJ’s book–I dare you to put it down.) But it IS true that I’m not much of a genre reader. I would pick up various kinds of books but never became a true fan of any of genres until I started reading mysteries a few years ago. I liked it so much, I decided I wanted to write one myself.

      Funny, I was humbled by your story as well, Greg! 🙂

  9. January 7, 2010 12:12 pm

    Sounds like a fun book. Can’t wait to read it.

  10. Amita permalink
    January 7, 2010 12:53 pm

    I’m just waiting to get my hands on that mystery novel. I’m sure it will feature in the nominations for the Booker prize. All the best!

  11. January 7, 2010 8:32 pm

    Hm, spoken like someone who just might be related to me. 🙂 Thanks for your support.

  12. Sudeep permalink
    January 10, 2010 3:19 pm

    I had told you a long time ago.. I better be the first in line to get signature on that book at Borders.. :). Even though we always talked about it jokingly, never really realized how passionate you are about this until I read your intro. Looks like a very well executed plan towards achieving your goal !! Good Job !! Right Behind ya !!

  13. Jayanti Shukla permalink
    January 10, 2010 11:36 pm

    Hey there Sup,

    As a hard core Mumbaikar (read Bombayite),and someone who experienced the fury of the Mumbai floods of 2005, I can’t wait to get my ‘teeth’ into what sounds like an absolutely juicy and deliciously spicy book. Amita has said just what I feel will be the next logical development! ( Well, I am related to you and I’m proud of it!!) You are the first author in our family and we are simply delighted!

    • January 12, 2010 9:52 am

      Jayu, you’re the best. Many thanks for your support (and help with research). Love you!

  14. Chitra Nileshwar permalink
    January 12, 2010 6:36 pm

    Hey Supriya,
    Iam so proud of your acheivements.I can’t wait to read your books.It definetely sounds very interesting.Good luck to you and keep writing…..I will be waiting..

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