8th December 2018
Interview with Pearl Khatri
Mike: Good evening Ms Khatri. Thanks very much for giving up your time for an interview.
Pearl Khatri: Good evening to you as well. Honestly, I should be thanking _you_ for taking the time to interview me.
Mike: Before we start talking about your new book, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Pearl Khatri: Of course, yes. Well, I'm from Mumbai, India, and I've been ardent about writing and creating stories from the age of 9. I think books and music are the two main factors which got me through my school and college days. I have to honest, those times weren't the best ones for me.
Mike: Did you have a particular favourite book from school?
Pearl Khatri: Not a single book, per se, but a series, perhaps. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is one of my all time favorites.
Mike : You're well known online for your love of books and for your reviews. What made you decide to write a book yourself?
Pearl Khatri: Ah, now that is something I really take pride in. My favorite, and I literally mean *favorite* author, Sarah J. Maas, came out with the A Court of Thorns and Roses series a few years ago, and that very first book, that beautiful masterpiece – inspired me to finally put the story I had in my mind for years to words. Short story short, it was Sarah J. Maas and her books that inspired me to finally woman-up and put my work out there for people to read.
Mike: What was it especially that inspired you? Was it the characterisation, dialogue, evocation or something else?
Pearl Khatri: The general concept of the book, I would say. The drive, the passion, the adrenaline of Sarah's books – those are admirable beyond bounds.
Mike: Your own book - A Twisted Belief - launched on 12th November. Is that right?
Pearl Khatri: Absolutely, and I was immensely excited and nervous about its release. It's a book which took me three years to write, so I'm really looking forward to hearing what readers think of it.
Mike: I believe that it's an adult fantasy book. Was it your love of Sarah J Maas' work that guided you towards that genre?
Pearl Khatri: It was my love for fantasy which drove me to Sarah J. Maas' books, I would say. Ancient history, mythology – those are the things I've always had a liking to. Fantasy is my favorite genre in general, and writing a duet which is high in that faculty, made complete sense when I decided to work on my book.
Mike: Did you work out the entire history of the world of A Twisted Belief before you started writing or did it change as you went?
Pearl Khatri: I had a total of 5 drafts over the course of three years. What I had originally written was drastically different to what will be released next month. I started finalizing things in August – when I was on vacation, and I'm really content with how I've molded things in the book.
Mike: Without spoiling it, could you tell us about the book?
Pearl Khatri: Yes, definitely. A Twisted Belief is a high fantasy, with a world that is completely self-created, characters which will make you cry, laugh, and curse, and sprinkles of Greek mythology which will only add to the adventure factor of the book.
A Twisted Belief is a story about a girl who not only faces the judgements of the society she lives in, but also has to sacrifice what she holds dear because life demands it of her.
Erabella is a character based off myself, so some of the things were a little difficult to portray than the others.
Mike: Aside from the rich background, what other factors did you need to take into account when writing A Twisted Belief? What do you feel is at the core of good fantasy?
Pearl Khatri: Now that's a difficult, yet interesting question. For me, the #1 thing I see when reading a fantasy book is its blurb/description. There are a lot of authors out there who claim to be "fantasy writers", but when you do give their synopsis a glance, you'll see nothing but cliche lines thrown into the mix.
One of the things I love about Sarah J. Maas' books is that her fantasy world, her characters, and especially her storylines – they're all unique, intriguing, inspiring. After reading her books, I choose my fantasy reads after a lot of research, because she has set a really high bar for me.
To answer your question simply, I'd say that the core of a good fantasy is its concept, because if the base of the story upon which it stands is something you've read a hundred times in a hundred different ways, then it really takes away the element of excitement.
Mike: I count myself as someone who went off fantasy fiction when the Lord of the Rings films came out and a lot of fantasy books became Tolkien remixes. What do you think that A Twisted Belief has for someone like me?
Pearl Khatri: Well, I think the only cliche in my book is the prophecy aspect. I think my story not only shows the importance of self-love and LGBT encouragement, but it also has a strong friendship factor. I think friendship is the strongest suit in my book, because for someone who never really had friends I could trust, I wanted to create a set of characters who believed in each other, cared and respected each other, and were ready to sacrifice themselves for the other if need be.
If you love a good 'squad' factor, some light-hearted humor, and a simple romance maze, then you have a lot in store for you in A Twisted Belief.
Mike: How do you find the writing community on Twitter?
Pearl Khatri: I'm actually not that active on Twitter. The only platform I have an audience on is Instagram. The people there are so supportive and positive, it's sometimes difficult to digest all the love they give.
Mike: That's interesting. Is there a reason you prefer Instagram over Twitter?
Pearl Khatri: Not really, to be honest. I just feel like Instagram is a lot more explorative than Twitter. I can share a lot of stuff out there, and let's not forget the hashtags. Those hashtags really help in connecting with the right people.
Mike: If people want to interact with you online, is Instagram the best place to do that?
Pearl Khatri: Yes! I have two accounts there. The first is my Bookstagram/book blog account under the handle: ipearlunicorn, whereas my second account is my personal/author account, which is under the handle: ipearlkhatri
Mike: Brilliant! Thank you very much again and best of luck with the book!
Pearl Khatri: Thank you! And, thank you a second time for taking the time to interview me. It really means a lot to me.
Pearl Khatri's debut novel - 'A Twisted Belief' is available for purchase through Amazon.