Tell us about your latest romance, ‘Seconds Later’? What is it all about?

‘Seconds Later’ was a few years in writing and came about as a result of a nudge I received one afternoon while sitting in my bedroom. I had a feeling like someone was looking at me and it wasn’t a well-meaning gaze, you know. Now, it may have been a figment of my imagination, alright, but I remember feeling funny in my stomach and I knew I was leaking energy from my solar plexus – yeah, let me be that specific. However, it was as I leaned into that feeling (rather than shoving it under the carpet which I would have normally done) that this story came to me.

What if this happened to a young girl, a celebrity at that? How would it disrupt her love life and career if someone approached her – or eyed her – with not the best of intentions? What would she do? How would she protect herself?

The story is of course a romance first, but it has elements of thrill in it.

(Below: Celebrity anchor and India’s most popular MTV VJ, Cyrus Broacha posing with Seconds Later. Watch this episode of ‘Cyrus Says’ on YouTube.)

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How difficult was it to write this book?

It was challenging, but fun all the same. The way this story came to me required a lot of research in to my characters, their professions, their family dynamics etc. etc. It was all uncharted territory for me and I had to get out of my comfort zone. Read a few books. Talk to a lot of people in the TV and film industry. Get a hang of the Parsi language and customs. Understand a bit about football. Upgrade my knowledge of medicine. Spend hours on Google maps. But that was the easy bit.

After all that process was over, it took all of me to tie it all up together in an exciting way for my readers. It was a few years before I could say my story was complete.

(Below: Top cricket commentator of India/ Managing Editor of Sports Tak/ Aaj Tak news channel, Vikrant Gupta, posing with Seconds Later. Watch the full video on Instagram or on YouTube. )

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What’s the takeaway for your readers from this book?

It’s a story that many of my readers in India will be able to relate to, especially women. The drama pans out across different continents which is why I think it would also appeal to an international audience.

As for takeaways, each reader is different and we all come to ‘our books’ with different expectations. Sometimes what we read resonates with us. Sometimes it tickles our fancies. Sometimes the writing is so powerful that it transports us into a different world, the world of the writer. We want to know her more closely. Have her as our dear friend on our social media accounts. We want to sit and chat with her and find out what she thinks about life. It’s so magical, you know, if you can relate to someone like that. And I would so much want for my readers to want to form that magical bond with me after reading this book.

That would be like the ULTIMATE thing!

Who is your favourite character in the book?

The book has four main characters and a couple of other side characters. Out of the four main characters, I love Sameer Seth the most. It was his voice that came to me first and even today, if I close my eyes, I can hear his voice so clearly as if he were sitting next to me. There are many shades to Sameer. He is not as evil as you might think. But he is not a saint as well. He wears his emotions on his sleeves which is frustrating, but endearing all at the same time. Besides him, I think I would any day vote for Cyrus Daruwalla. He is a character I had most fun writing. The guy is uber-cute and I would love for my tribe to fall in love with him.

Was it easy to find a publisher for your novel?

Finding a home for my novel was no mean feat, achieved effortlessly by my super-talented literary agent, Suhail Mathur, and his literary agency, The Book Bakers. Suhail believed in my book and it was his belief that carried it through this process.

A word about my amazing publishers: ‘Seconds Later’ has been published by Pune based, ‘Vishwakarma Publications’. They are one of India’s most well-known publishers and the title sponsors of the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF).

(Below: Bollywood celebrity, Shweta Rohira posing with Seconds Later. Watch this episode of ‘Chitter-Chatter’ on Instagram or YouTube.)


Tell us about your next book?

My next book is for my tribe. You can classify it as a self-help book, if you want to. But it’s more than that – at least for me. In it, I try to explore themes that are dear to us women, but those that we seldom talk about. Because we are shy? Because we are told not to? You know what I mean.

I really wish for the book to be an entertaining read and if there’s something more I am also able to offer alongside all that fun, I’d call it a job well done.

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“Vani takes us through a roller-coaster journey” – Hindustan Times
“Neat characterization and simple language” – The Hindu
“Like a three and a half hour movie” – Anandabazar Patrika
“Interesting and entertaining” – The New Indian Express
“Vani’s simple yet effective style of writing does keep the readers gripped until the very end” – Malayala Manorama
“Entertaining read with well-etched characters” – Business Economics
“A refreshing change from the stories flooding the popular Indian fiction market” – netindian.in
“Smart story” – The Tribune