Monday, 5 September 2016

Spoiler-Free Q&A on Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1)

Below is the cover, blurb and a spoiler-free Q&A on debut novel Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1).

Would you recognise true love if you saw it?

Singer and songwriter Jamie York is suffering from writer's block. When he meets Mukti, suddenly his creativity knows no bounds and he feels torn. He has to keep seeing her, but what will she make of his tortured soul?

Little does he know that Mukti has her own secrets and is just as troubled as he is. Her name translates as 'freedom' in her native tongue Bengali, but she is anything but free.

Recent graduate Mukti Khan has started a new job in the City and is determined to work hard and keep others at bay. All that changes after a chance encounter with the mysterious Jamie. He fascinates her like no one ever has and she just has to get to know him better.

But is truly capable of letting him in?

As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, will Jamie and Mukti be able to help each other come to terms with their pasts and move forward together, or do some ghosts haunt us forever?

Set in contemporary London, Chasing Pavements is a unique love story between two unique characters that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.


Q: What was the main inspiration behind Chasing Pavements?

A: Usually, it takes a combination of different factors and experiences to inspire a whole novel.  I take inspiration from good books, films, music, and of course anything interesting I know.  I also draw on my knowledge of Psychology.

You do need one or two triggers to start writing though.  For Chasing Pavements, it was this bizarre vision I woke up with on the morning of August 1, 2010.  I opened my eyes with Jamie in my head.  I could see him so clearly - his hair, his eyes, his demeanour.  As though he was a very good friend, I just knew him - his pain, his apathy, his past, his present.  What I didn’t know was his future.

But I wanted to find out.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about him, his life, his family, and music.

Music had a critical part to play in it too.  That summer, I had been obsessed with Muse’s single Neutron Star Collision and I knew that song represented Jamie (and Mukti) when he first came into my life.  A fading star, losing his way.

The other song that had grabbed me was Marcus Foster’s I Was Broken (the lyrics speak of no longer being broken).  That was the song I wanted to represent Jamie (and Mukti) at the end of the book.  All year, I had been fascinated by the idea of two fading stars, coming together and then emerging brighter as one, and somehow this concept inspired the storyline.

Q: How did you start your novel?

A: The first scene I envisioned was Jamie spending Christmas 2009 with his little family. It played in my head like a film - I didn’t dictate much of the action, it just rolled like a movie in my mind.  Astonishingly, I didn’t write that scene until the very end!

What I started with was the first encounter between Jamie and Mukti.  I had become very interested in the needle sculpture near London Bridge after seeing it for the first time that year and I wanted them to meet there.  As I wrote that scene, ideas for their next meeting came to me and I wrote that.  And then the next meeting, then the next…

Once I filled in the gaps between those scenes, I went back and wrote the beginning.

Q: Do you have a writing routine?

A: When I was writing this book, I had a full-time job and g0t home at 7pm. I had very little time to write and had to fit it around my other responsibilities.  I was still living with my family and things at home were pretty hectic.  Hardly any peace or quiet or privacy or time.  But I just couldn’t not write these awkward scenes between two intriguing characters.

I didn’t have my own desk or a comfortable chair.  I put my laptop on my bed, knelt on the floor and typed.  Not great for the knees!  But that’s something Jamie had to do too - put his keyboard on his bed, get down on his knees and play.  It was a bonding experience for us!

When I write, I lose track of time and space and don’t feel hungry or thirsty.  I don’t feel the need to do anything other than sit with my laptop and write. Now, my writing (and/or editing routine) is a lot more structured. I wake up, make some tea or coffee (depending how much caffeine I need) and sit down with my laptop. Every day. Apart from when my husband has time off from work or I have errands to run, or if we're having family over, of if we've been invited to a gathering. All in all, I make sure I work on my books when I have the time. No day, no week, is ever the same as the other. Okay, so not that structured but it's better than before.

Q: What was your favourite thing about writing this novel?

A: Reading fiction for me (and the majority of people) is a form of escapism. It’s the same with writing, only you get to escape to a world you’ve created, spend time with characters you’ve brought to life, experience all the pain and pleasure and excitement that you envision.  That was great.

The best part though was getting to know Jamie and Mukti.  They have become a very big part of my life and I don’t think they will cease to feel like good friends to me for the rest of my life.

Q: Are the songs in the book original?

A: Yes.  All original.  All written by me.

A couple of the songs were written before Jamie/the book even existed (e.g. the first song in the novel, Square 1, was written almost exactly a year earlier); a few came after the first draft was complete.  I wrote a number of them while writing the sections the songs appeared in (such as One Half, which came to me at the same time as it came to Jamie), a few were composed especially for scenes I had already written, and the rest came during the time I was writing the story.

Q: If your book was made into a film, who would you cast in the main roles?

A: I keep going back to reading but when I read books, they play like films in my head. When I write, I’m actually writing about the movie rolling in my mind (they even have their own soundtracks). Its often celebrities/actors that play the roles of my characters.

It’s like directing these actors in my own film and apart from Mukti, the female lead of the book, the appearance of all the main characters are actually based on actors I like or those that look like how I want my characters to look

But that doesn’t mean I actually dare to dream that my book would be made into a film, or that it would have my ideal cast if it was adapted for the big screen.  That would be so crazy!


Chasing Pavements is available to download from: 

Amazon US|   Amazon UK|   iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Read an excerpt at the Amazon Kindle Store here, or download the first 25% of Chasing Pavements for free from Smashwords here.

~ What Others Have Said About Chasing Pavements ~


"A truly fantastic read. The two main characters are cleverly crafted, impeccable. Their depth makes them feel real as they become a woven part of the reader. It is a story of heartbreak, broken pieces and that gratifying light at the end of the long dark tunnel as a new and pure love heals old  wounds and glues the pieces back together. It is a feel-good read which I highly recommend to all who love contemporary romance." *****

~~~


"Very well written, I felt like I knew the characters myself!" *****

~~~

"Neha Yazmin's novel grips you from start to finish.  There are so many things I love about this novel.  Jamie's creativity.  Mukti's determination.  Twists and turns with every chapter.  But most of all, I love that you see the characters grow and develop.  When you reach the last page, it feels like you've been on a long journey with them - yet it's a journey that you want to do all over again!" *****

~~~

"This is not your typical chic lit book.  There is no sloppy romance and no mushy words.  This is truly a one of a kind book.  Little by little the story was told to me and it was told perfectly.  I cannot believe this is Neha’s first book.  It is perfect.  This is definitely a must read." *****

~~~

"Chasing Pavements is like one of a kind.  I loved the book.  It touched me in such a way that I felt lost for a while without having Jamie and Mukti in my life.   I can't believe that this is the author's first book; the way it's written is ecellent.  I was captured from the beginning of the story.  A must read." *****

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"Unputdownable!  I loved the London setting. The story is well told.  Neha has a way with descriptions that make the scenes really vivid.  The songs were a great mechanism to add to the story telling.  I look forward to reading Neha's other work but I hope I don't have to wait too long!" *****

~~~

"I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a different kind of love story.  The author has a way of pulling you into the story and keeping you there until the end.  I found myself caring for the characters, especially Mukti, who goes through a lot.  I enjoyed this book a lot and couldn't forget about it after I finished reading it.  Touching, moving, unique love story." *****

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