Diversity in Story,  The Power of Story

~Family Ties~

You’d think that with the release of the debut in my Winds of Fire series, I’d want to talk all about my book, right?


The series has been a work-in-progress for the last 19 years. However, the journey despite its roller-coaster track has been nothing short of fantastic!

The journey goes back to 2001/2002 when I first put pen to paper and began writing a story. I had no idea what I was getting into and knew that the fictitious pieces of the puzzle were going to culminate into something larger than short fiction. I knew because I’d been been published as a freelance journalist in lifestyle magazines and publications across Asia for about 10 years in short fiction, feature, perspective pieces and columns.

When I met my editors at Singapore Women’s Weekly, Singapore, and New Woman magazine, Mumbai, India, I noticed other staff writers during my visit. However, as I continued to be published I never met another struggling-professional writer like myself who worked from home while raising 2 kids and held fort while her husband traveled. People in diverse professions had colleagues they could talk to and people to connect with on their playing field.

I was alone.

I had no tribe.

At the time no writing organizations existed in Asia.

In 2001 we moved to New Jersey, U.S.A. and my career as a freelance journalist ended and the chapter of the novel began shortly after. Once again, alone and confused, I didn’t know where to turn to for answers. Perhaps, if I’d known another writer, I would have asked,

“What am I getting into?”

“What should I expect?”

“How long can the novel-writing journey be?”

“What if I don’t succeed?”

With nothing to lose, I took a leap of faith and embarked on a journey. As I ploughed on with the series and held fort, I joined writing organizations, met with REAL writers who worked from home on humongous novel-length projects. I attended writing conferences and attended panels presented by real editors, authors, agents and publishers. Author-friends assured me that the talking characters in my head were real and I wasn’t going insane or schizophrenic. They said the only way to understand the book in my head was to write, re-write, revise and have professionals give professional feedback. They said it was OK to want to give up and vent—we’re all human, right? And once the writer tantrum was over to sit back in the chair and write—right?

Now here we are, 19 years later. Yes, my debut releases today and I’m thrilled!! But what I’m more excited about is the family of writers I belong to in Georgia, USA thanks to author Rona Simmons. Yes! I finally have a FAMILY of REAL WRITERS which Rona crafted!! What better album to commemorate the road taken?

No collage can be more beautiful than this:

GA authors USA, Rona Simmons, Anju Gattani
Collage & Photo Credit, Author Rona Simmons

Twenty-seven beautiful faces and facades of talented writers make up this masterpiece. Each author has a voice and song of his / her own that fills the pages of their books. Each writer has something exquisite to share from his or her journey which shows the power, despite all odds, to complete that book and bring it to fruition.

There are no short-cuts in writing or publishing. We all aspire to reach THE END from THE BEGINNING but each and every one of us has taken a different highway, wrong turns, U-turns and sometimes spun in circles and tail-spins wondering where on earth am I going with this? –I know I have! In the end, we all reached THE END of our books. And here we are… one big happy family!

Over the span of the journey, I have met and continued to meet authors who inspire, motivate me to do better and believe in myself. I have met writers who won awards, hit the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists and finally disclosed the secret magic sauce to an author’s success.

–Sit in that chair and write the best book you can. 

So, 19 years later I’m doing precisely what I’ve learned.

I’m sitting in my chair and writing the next best book I can. You know why?

Just look at the collage Rona crafted with all our book covers:

GA Author Books, Anju Gattani, Rona Simmons
Photo & Collage credit, Author Rona Simmons

I wouldn’t have my family any other way.

Would you?