THE GUITAR GIRLAbout the Book:
Sixteen year old Rhea Shah never thought that she would find herself falling for her brother’s best friend, Joy Fernandez, when they come home from college. Because she never thought that the dork who used to go to school with them would suddenly reinvent himself in college.
The only people she’s able to talk to about her absurd crush, are her best friends, Sophie and Arjav. Both of whom at first encourage, and then almost blackmail, Rhea to confess her feelings, which leaves the poor girl more muddled than ever!
Plagued with upcoming Board Examinations along with her friends’ suggestions, Rhea finds it difficult to concentrate, because she’s fallen for Joy, hook, line and sinker. In an attempt to vent to her feelings, she begins a blog, where she publishes all her songs and poems, dedicated to Joy, keeping her identity a secret.
But things do not go quite how she planned when a certain blogger named J. Fern begins to read her blog, and wishes to work with her…
Will Rhea ever confess her feelings to Joy? And will Joy find out the real identity of The Guitar Girl?
Meet the Characters of The Guitar Girl
Rhea Shah: 16-year-old Rhea Shah develops a crush on her brother, Robbie's, best friend, Joy Fernandez. She adopts the alias The Guitar Girl in a misguided way to keep a hold on her feelings. Rhea cares about her two best friends, Sophie and Arjav, although the latter knows how to push her buttons. She is pretty awful at hiding her feelings.
Joy Fernandez: 18-year-old Joy is Rhea's brother's best friend, as well as Arjav's cousin. He takes on Rhea as his student, teaching her how to play the guitar, unaware that she harbours feelings for him. He can be pretty dense at times - refusing to see what is really happening right in front of his eyes. He dates a rather crazy girl in college, Rosetta, who later becomes Robbie's girlfriend.
Sophie Ghosh: Rhea's best friend in school, who discovers her secret at the beginning of the novel and keeps encouraging her to confess to Joy about it. Initially united with Rhea on the front by finding Arjav, she begins liking him more than a friend. Both she and Arjav believe in meddling with 'destiny'.
Robbie Shah: Rhea's older brother who has no idea has his sister has fallen for his best friend. He is too preoccupied with his band and his girlfriend, Rosetta, who Joy had dated before him.
Arjav: Rhea's oldest friend, who knows her secret and wants her to tell Joy as well. He and Sophie like each other and likes to meddle with 'Fate'.
About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma has loved writing since the age of six. She was schooled in Dolna Day School, and then pursued BA honors in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, where she went on to complete her MA in the same. Currently, she’s pursuing MPhil in Comparative Literature from the same place. Her hobbies include reading, writing, playing with her favorite pet, Pippo the cat, (and other kittens too), traveling and blogging.She has written innumerable short stories and poems, most of which can be found on her blog and in various magazines and newsletters. Her debut novel was, The Secret Proposal, published by General Press in September 2012. She won the Editor’s Pick for Romance genre in the IndiReads Second Short Story Competition, and her story The Difference, was subsequently published in the anthology, Voices, Old & New. She has interned with www.womanistan.com and www.zapondo.com, as their content writer. She has volunteered at Hope Foundation, Kolkata, teaching the children who attend the Chetla Lock Gate Coaching Center. Aniesha also had a brief stint as a writer for the Kolkata-based travel magazine, Touriosity.
Contact the Author:
Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
1) Rhea Shah, the protagonist, teaches herself to play the guitar in a misguided attempt to get over her feelings for Joy Fernandez.
2) Even though Arjav from Rhea’s point of view is seen as a pretty annoying character, he is a driving force later on for the events in the story...
3) Sophie Ghosh hates being called Sophia.
What is the most difficult part about writing young adult characters?
It has not been that long since I was a teenager, but they certainly are different these days. For one thing – they grow up a lot faster now. When I was young adult I had little or no access to the internet. The young adults I write about have the world at their finger tips.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Rhea Shah is a lot like I used to be at 16, barring her access to 24X7 internet service, a Facebook profile and being constantly in touch with her best friend, Sophie. My best friends and I used to cost our parents a lot of money owing to the wonderful phone bills.
If you could pick any famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
John Green. Because that man just gets the Young Adult genre like no one else I have come across. And the fact he is a famous living author counts.
What genre and age group does your book fall into?
The Guitar Girl falls in the Young Adult genre. And suits the age groups of 13+ and over. Despite being an adult, I love this genre. So anyone who is game for YA would find this book interesting.
Have you read any books that have inspired you to improve or change yourself in any way?
I read a lot of books and each one has helped shape the person I am today. But the one book which particularly influenced recently was Paulo Coelho’s Manuscript Found in Accra. It had a lot of wise words to offer. The chapter on love especially made me view life a lot differently.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Ruskin Bond – he was the first author who introduced me to the concept of Indian writing in English. If I had never come across his works I’d be writing stories which are a lot different today...
2) John Green. A friend of mine introduced his works to me, and since then there has been no looking back.
3) Meg Cabot. She’s the queen when it comes to being able to write for every age group.
How many books have you written?
Written? And completed...close to eight,I think. Written and published, two (and the third is with publishers). Written but not completed or published – I have lost count.
Which book is your favorite and why?
The Room on The Roof by Ruskin Bond. I read it in my formative years and everything in the story simply stuck with me forever.
Do you prefer to write in one genre or explore?
I like exploring new genres. But my strongest forte is romance. Although a lot of my regular readers tell me I can write ‘creepy short stories’.
Name three things that you believe are important to remember when writing for the young adult reader?
1) Treat them like adults. Young adults despise being talked to like they are children.
2) Make the plot twists really smart, challenge them, keep them guessing. I guess the trick to holding the YA audience’s attention is to keeping them on their toes.
3) Keep the language simple. While one shouldn’t insult their intelligence, one should also remember not to through really tall words in their direction. Unless the plot/character demands it. Nothing irritates readers more than having to stop a story mid-way to look up a word.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
If one story doesn’t work, go find another one. There is no such thing as quitting – once you decide to become a writer.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
Finding funny quotes on the internet helps me. My favorite was, ‘Writers block: when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.’
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Traditional publishers are forever looking for stories which would fit their ‘list’ or their ‘publishing schedule’. You cannot take these rejection letters to heart. Your job as a writer is to keep writing. Things will fall into place eventually. Self-publishing exists to tell you that if you believe your story needs to be told, you have the tools to help you tell it.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy typing out the last few chapters of the book, and typing in the words ‘THE END’. It makes me feel euphoric and all kinds of happy. I love it when I successfully write myself into the climax of the novel...to me, it feels like I have arrived at the correct destination.
When you are writing about a character of the opposite sex what helps you with their character development and writing their dialogue?
Interacting with characters of the opposite sex. Sometimes I base them off people in real life, so that tells me how they would react to certain situations.
For age specific books what helps you know where you to draw the line?
Thinking back to the time when I was that particular age usually helps.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
Umm...not really. Nothing to do with Bollywood either.
Which book to movie conversion is your favorite?
A Walk to Remember and Lemonade Mouth
What is your favorite non-fiction book?
The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
If you could change anything about book marketing, what would it be?
Not marketing, but publishing. I wish I could just get at least 10% of the rejected books published...I’m sure somewhere there is someone eagerly waiting to read that rejected story.
Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
Sometimes, for certain stories, yes. For my first novel, The Secret Proposal, I had half a mind to leave the story in a cliffhanger, with their on-again-off-again relationship...even I got tired of writing the twists.
How do you think reading has benefited your writing?
I now know at least ten different ways of writing the same scene...all thanks to reading. Before this, I would be able to come up with at least one or two variations.
Do you study or research anything special to help you with your stories?
I do what most authors do: Google search their questions. Nowadays, they Bing search it too, I hear...
What, who, and when, first inspired you to write?
I keep telling everyone I began to write when I was six after being introduced to Fairy Tales...which is true. But I was fascinated with the way words formed on paper by my hand could mean something – and it was there to stay. Words can outlive human beings. And that’s what inspired me to write. As did discovering the talent of being able write feel good stories so that readers can take a break from the struggles of everyday life.
Drink – Tea
Food – Doi maach
Vacation – Singapore (just because I’ve been there a lot)
TV show – Good Luck, Charlie, Pretty Little Liars, Wizards of Waverly Place, Castle, Arrow
Movie – Mean Girls
Animal – Pippo, my beloved cat
Sport – Swimming
Song – What are you waiting for by Paradise Fears
Comedy – Brooklyn Nine Nine (it’s a sitcom though)
Struggle – trying to find a steady publisher
Where can readers find your book?
How can people connect with you?