Thursday, April 30, 2015

Interview with Rajdeep Paulus, Author of Swimming Through Clouds Trilogy

Photo credit: Dan Woulfin
 Today on Shelf Full of Books we have the pleasure of having Rajdeep Paulus join us for an interview . Rajdeep, or Raj as she likes to be called, is the author of a trilogy of books. Their titles are: Swimming Through Clouds, Seeing Through Stones and Soaring Through Stars. All three books have been reviewed on this blog. Click on the titles and they will take you to the reviews.

On to the interview!

Where were you born and where do you call home? 
 Hi!! Thanks so much for having me.  J  I was born in Punjab, India, but currently home is NYC, although in some ways, my heart belongs to Chicago.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I don’t know how unique my talents are, but if you saw me dance (I love music,) that might be considered special or just down right crazy. Let’s see… what else? I like to rhyme when I speak, sort of a Dr. Seuss-style banter with friends. And I can make tiramisu. And I can laugh loud enough that my mom can hear me in Atlanta, but not sure if that’s something to brag about. J

What do you do to relax?
Play basketball, watch movies, and cheer on the Bulls. I also like to go out to eat so I don’t have to cook all the time. And sleep. I do cherish my pillow time. And finally, as a couple or as a family, we love to attend concerts and musical festivals of our favourite bands.

At the beginning of each of your books you write, “I live in the in between. Between holding on and letting go. Hurt clings to me. Hope teases me. Home. I can’t explain it, but sometimes, I just want to go home.” What does this mean to you?
Honestly, when I first wrote this line, I didn’t know exactly how it would play into the entire journey, but as I wrote on, I realized that Talia and Jesse, like most of us, long for family and home and a place where they belong.

What inspired you to write the Swimming Through Clouds Trilogy?
I wanted to write a story of extremes. Extreme pain and extreme home. Extreme madness and the sweetest love story. I wanted to invite readers into a fictional world in between the extreme joys and sorrows of life, because life is full of extreme moments and things can change instantly. And we’re constantly trying to navigate these waters of extreme highs and lows. I wanted to pen a story that might help readers to find hope as they attempt to walk through the madness of this life, one day at a time. Also, I wanted to gift a love story to characters who seem beyond reach because of their pain. Even they deserve a love story.

How did you come up with the titles – Swimming Through Clouds, Seeing Through Stones, Soaring Through Stars?
The first came during the writing process. The two that followed because I wanted to keep the titles consistent. And on a fun note, my seven year old isn’t old enough to read my books, but she had fun brainstorming titles for the last book. Some contenders were Stepping Through Flames, Dancing Through Waves, and Flying Through Water.

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?
Well, my hubby is my real live Lagan, but he never gave me Post-its and he doesn’t have a dimple, but he’s very romantic, and he plans great adventures for us. Besides that, the remainder of the characters are completely fictional although sometimes I might rely on a tiny detail from someone I know. For example, my best friend’s favorite color is green, so I had Talia wear green. And I personally love churros. So there’s that. J

Are your characters’ experiences taken from someone you know, or events in your own life?
There was a lot of research that went into these books, because I wanted to make the characters’ journeys authentic and believable, but in the end, the stories are nearly 100% fictional.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think there are many challenges that you experience during the process, but for me personally, the most difficult part is letting go of certain scenes so that other scenes can shine. Steven King said, “Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings,” and my editor reminds me of that all the time.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve leaned a lot. Where do I begin? For starters, I learned that sometimes you think a story is over or complete, but when you take out scenes and ask yourself does every chapter move the story forward and help the main characters to grow, you make room for better scenes and moments that might not have shown up if you held to tightly to your every word.

What do you hope readers come away with after reading this series?
A few things:

      1. If you know someone like Talia or Jesse in your school, reach out to them.
2. If your life resembles Talia or Jesse or Gita, you’re not alone and there’s help and hope for you.
3. If you enjoyed the series, would you please post a short review and tell your friends. Thank you so much!

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us Raj. We look forward to hearing about your next project. Happy writing!

About the Author:

Rajdeep decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging weekly at InSearchofWaterfalls dot com.

When Paulus is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her four princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She secretly hopes to one day own a laptop that functions under water! Oops. The secret’s out.

Author Links
Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads

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