Interview with Neha Sultania, Author of ‘Was it Love?’

After reading the story of Leila and Vikrant, whom she met through social media, we have a lot of questions for the debut author Neha Sultania. Here are the answers to some of them:

The Bookoholics: What inspired you to write a romance thriller?
Neha: When I started writing this novel I wanted to create a beautiful love story which had passion & sacrifice. I wanted to epitomize lovers. But as the story grew and I observed the true stories around me I realized love in this era is a mirage. Thus I decided to write a thriller so that most people should connect with it.The Bookoholics: They say a writer’s first book is almost autobiographical, how much of that is right for you?
Neha: It’s right in a passive sense for me. The characteristics of Leila is similar to me. She is forgetful, writes poetry. She is not punctual. And she believes in her dream world as if it exists. I am quite like her. Even Maya passively exists in my friend list. Some of the scenes of restaurants and the funny dialogues are also taken from real life. 

The Bookoholics: What did you want the readers to understand or feel after reading the book?
Neha: Importance of self love and self reliance. I want my readers to understand you can keep jumping out from one love to another and feel nothing works for you till you learn to love yourself. Only then can you love others and also understand what true love is.Also I want my readers to enjoy the poetic style of story telling and complex nature of love. I want my readers to submerge in the myriad of human emotions; love, betrayal, euphoria, greed, paranoia, remorse, suffering and also realization and self discovery.


The Bookoholics: What advice would you give for the people who get cheated or lied to in a relationship?
Neha: It can be a life-altering event, cheating is not uncommon, so first thing is to realize that you are not alone. So many people get cheated on every day. None of us are totally immune to it.Although cheating can cause havoc to your self-esteem.  So the second thing to understand and be re assured is to know that it wasn’t your mistake. It’s not about any lacking in you but about the lacking of self control / values of other person.Accept your emotions, your pain and give time some time. You will be healed eventually but focus on moving on. And slowly try to live the best version of you. That’s the best revenge.


The Bookoholics: The current dating scene involves people meeting over dating apps, how reliable do you think that is?
Neha: People are same everywhere. You are dealing human beings everywhere . But since on dating apps. you meet people who are complete strangers & totally out of your family , friends and common circle chances of getting cheated are higher.
If you follow certain precautions they can be safer but nothing I would say is perfectly safe!  Also verifying the claims of the person is difficult in the absence of common links thus the only way is to take things on face value & judge through instinct. Don’t jump to meet face to face. Ask many questions and read in between the lines. Meet only if you are completely satisfied with several rounds of online chatting & telephonic conversations.


The Bookoholics: How does one know that the love they feel for a person is real?
NehaGive it some time. Let your relationship evolve through rough patches. If your relationship grows through dim days then it has some authenticity to it. Having said that there are some pointers which generally hints a real relationship:You will have more patience and you will feel constantly evolving into a better person while being in the relationship.You will feel calmer inside. More settled and stable emotionally.You will not doubt and spy on your person. You will naturally feel the other person has good intentions for you. You will feel secured around that person.You will feel you can be yourself. You will not have to pretend to be someone else to be loved or liked. That person will accept you with all your flaws and qualities without trying to change you into a personality that suites him/ her but will only try to bring out the best version of you so that you live a content life.


The Bookoholics: How would you define a perfect relationship?
Neha: A perfect relationship is a myth. Only God is perfect and universe is perfect in it’s scheme. One can only thrive to achieve balance in relationships , not perfection. A balanced relationship, however, is an equation where both partners accommodate needs of each other and adjust moderately.


The Bookoholics: How hard was it to get your book published?

Neha: It wasn’t hard as such. But like other first time authors, I too have a list of rejection letters in my email and a re-work that I did on my manuscript. My editor rejected my first manuscript and then I changed it completely and submitted it again only to get selected this time after a gap of 2 years. I think I had lot of patience and no expectations.


The Bookoholics: What publishing advice will you give to young authors?
Neha: Choose traditional publishers over self publishing. Their distribution channel helps you navigate through sales hurdles. Also they help you reach important sale points.

Have patience while going through rejections. Also remember to tweak your manuscript and fine tune before floating it to publishers. And send them the best three chapters of your book in continuation.


The Bookoholics: Is there a second book on the way?
Neha: Oh yes there is a second and a third one on the way too..


The Bookoholics: Tell us something about yourself..
Neha: I am a thinker, extremely boring kind of person internally, joyful on the exterior. Professionally have been a banker throughout. Currently enjoying my sabbatical and embracing motherhood. I love to travel and explore different cultures. I also love reading books on different religions. I also have studied and practice vedic astrology. I consider myself a student of life and feel blessed with each experience that life gives me.