Interview with Sejal Badani, Author of The Storyteller's Secret: A Novel

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? Looking back can you remember any instances growing up that hinted you would put pen to paper?

I knew around the age of six that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote screenplays, short stories, monologues for plays and novels. I became a ABC/Disney Fellowship finalist and a few years later, “Trail of Broken Wings” was published. Reading was my escape and a source of salvation. I would read three to four full length novels a week as a child and from there I would start creating stories in my head.

How and when did you make the decision to walk away from your career as a lawyer to pursue writing full time? Was this a difficult decision? What were those initial days like?

I decided to leave the law after I had my first child. I had always loved writing so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pursue my dream. Since we had thousands of dollars in law school loans it was a very difficult decision. Success was a very long journey - often one step forward two steps back - so there were many sleepless nights of worry and anxiety. Writing when my children were young was very hard. As many new parents know, there are limited hours between feedings, diaper changes and sleep. I fit writing in whenever I could but it definitely got much easier once they grew up

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ? What type of research (if any) do you do?

I wait for an idea or use an event in my life and then meditate on the full story. It usually comes to me over a period of weeks. During that time I'll start to outline what I envision and then the pieces start to fall to in place. It took me a long time to learn all the benefits of outlining but now I never start a project without one. When my children were younger, I wrote in between drop off and pick up from school. Now, I pretty much write from morning until night. If I have a deadline I will pull all nighters that I pay for later. :) Research is done mostly via books and trusted Internet sites though this summer I am planning to travel for my current project.
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Your latest book - The Storyteller's Secret - has a very personal voice. Where did the inspiration for this story come from and are there any elements taken from your own and your family's journey?

My maternal grandmother was the main source of inspiration for Amisha's character. She died of a mosquito bite at a very young age. My grandfather remarried a woman who was not kind to my mother. From that, I created a fictional story which became “The Storyteller’s Secret.”

What role does editing play for you in finalizing your manuscript? It is a joyful process or a difficult one? Any advice for first time authors on how to approach this sometimes difficult process?

Editing is critical and sometimes my favorite part of writing. After finishing the first draft, I put the story away and work on another project until that first draft is finished. I then return to the original project and edit with fresh eyes. I do this process a few times until both projects are complete then hand it over to my husband and sister who add their thoughts. So, editing is done multiple times and it is a long process but critical to get the book where it needs to be for publishing.

After hours of being immersed in the writing process, what do you do to help you walk away from the process, to give your mind a rest, and to relax in general - reading, TV, working out, walks in nature?

I exercise daily while watching TV shows and I watch a lot of movies. I meditate to relax as well. Time with my teenagers definitely gets me out of my own world and fully immersed in theirs. :)

Previous book by this author
What would you most like your readers to know about you? 

I love traveling and spending time with my family. We are currently looking at colleges for my oldest so that's a full time job. :) I am a huge animal lover. We have two dogs but my family is pushing to add another so I'm on a search now for the right one. Wish me luck. :)

Do you have any new books in the planning or writing stage?

I currently have a young adult book out under the pseudonym Sage Sask titled “The Circle Taken” that I wrote with my teenagers. Working with them has been some of the most fun I have had as a writer. We are currently working on Book 2 of that series. My next women's literary novel will be out spring of 2021 tentatively titled “The Last Dream”.

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