1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I was born in India but grew up in Canberra, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. After completing my medical degrees from India, I moved to the U.S, where I worked in the biomedical and healthcare communications domain for more than a decade. Since childhood, I have always been a movie and rock music buff, but I didn’t start enjoying reading fiction until 2014. The mystery and suspense genre consistently garnered my interest, and I started reading the works of Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, Shari Lapena, CL Taylor, and Lucy Foley, to name a few. I didn’t start thinking about embarking on an author’s journey of my own until the second year of the pandemic. I thought I’d give creative writing a go since I’ve started to love reading fiction and love most creative things in general, like art, theatre, global cinema, history, museums, heritage architecture, etc. With the advent of new avenues in publishing, I thought I’d harness my writing creativity and storytelling skills and draft work that would engage, enthrall, and entertain. We never know which piece of writing can usher in a positive change or impact someone’s life meaningfully.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Some people work in fields that are either monetarily profitable or offer positions in highly respectable academic echelons. However, what proportion of these people are fulfilling their core passion or purpose in life? Probably not a large proportion. For these people, the mundane pattern of their high-paying and socially super-respectable jobs can potentially fuel boredom and loneliness and cause them to seek solace in friends or even a potential romantic partner. Shifting focus and energy towards a close friendship or relationship is wonderful as long as the connection is balanced and mutually prioritized. However, if the bond becomes unbalanced or dysfunctional, the person may feel their world collapsing. This scenario further accentuates feelings of negativity, isolation, self-doubt, and self-blame. Finding your passion and working towards that can boost zest and enthusiasm for life, and the right people will automatically gravitate to you. It’s important to stay grounded in your efforts, and easier said than done, “never give up.” Some of my graduate and medical school classmates opted for different career trajectories after graduation and are in happier spaces now.
I wanted to write a story that would blend the above message with a medical school setting, friendship, romance, a bit of mystery, and how the protagonist eventually finds her calling.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
It’s beautiful to try to find your core passion − something you love, something you look forward to developing and continually learning about, and something you can contribute to and nurture regularly. We should also focus on building a “core” of three or four people (probably from within our family), whom we can trust implicitly and who will have our back. We should keep an open mind because soul-stirring inspiration can flow in from the most unexpected sources (as the reader will find in this book). After publishing “Unfurling,” I published a mini-manual titled “Don’t Let Your Break-Up Be Your Break-Down.“ This booklet highlights the above message along with seven other simple strategies we can cumulatively inculcate into our daily schedules to make us feel empowered, self-reliant, and resilient in the face of a loss of a close friendship or relationship.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I wanted to tell a simple, light-hearted tale of a young doctor finding her core purpose in life as she navigates the joys and uncertainties of friendships and romance and even finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery. So, my book would belong to a mix of contemporary, romance, and mystery genres. I consider my book less a murder mystery and much more a journey of a young woman finding her true calling in life.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Now that she’s identified her calling and core purpose, I want to sit down with the protagonist Dr. Mandy and ask her about her academic and career trajectory. Is she planning to pursue her super-specialization in India or at an international location? I would also like to ask her about her friend circle, and her current equation with the two male leads in the book.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’ve just started my author journey, and I’m developing my readership on Instagram and Facebook. I also update my Amazon Author Central page.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The advice I would give to aspiring authors would be: If you have a story, experience(s), a memoir, or research findings that you would like to share with the world–fearlessly put it out there! Take constructive criticism, but don’t let anything daunt you or steer you away from your path. An author’s journey is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Be patient and persevere.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m enjoying my author journey as much as getting to the destination.
I plan on writing short stories and novellas, mainly in the genres of contemporary romance, mystery, and suspense.
I have a romance novelette titled “SANCTUARY” coming out end of this year. The plot involves an emotional journey based in New Delhi and New York City.
I have a suspense novella which will be published towards the end of 2022, titled “SINISTER REUNION.” The story takes place in New Zealand.
I look forward to networking with other authors and connecting with more readers.
About the Author
Tia Ray Dhar grew up in Canberra, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, and has over 15 years of experience in content creation for biomedical and healthcare communications across India, the US, and New Zealand. The mystery and suspense genre has always enthralled her. She started her fiction reading journey with novels by renowned authors like Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Shari Lapena, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, and CL Taylor, to name a few. After years of reading, she decided to embark on a fiction writing journey of her own!
She is a Goodreads author and has two published books in two different genres: A murder mystery novel titled “Unfurling: A Tale of Friendship, Love, Mystery & Mayhem” and a short self-help book called “Don’t Let Your Break-Up be Your Break-Down.”
Her upcoming plans include publishing a romance novella, followed by few novellas and short stories in the mystery and suspense genre.
She has just started her writing journey and knows that there’s a long way to go. The creative landscape of writing is a space where we continually aspire to learn, engage, enthrall, entertain, and motivate the reader audience.
Besides being an avid fiction reader, she loves public speaking, photography, rock music (especially from the 80s and 90s), films, theatre, and world history. One of her favorite places anywhere in the world is sitting at a window-side table in a cafe and sipping an Americano, long black, or flat white coffee while reading or writing.
She enjoys connecting with other readers and writers and participating in social and cultural events for all age groups.