I first discovered Neha Gopal through her book 10. The book moved me in so many ways and I fell in love with it. See my review here. When I looked more into the author, I learned that Ms. Neha Gopal wrote the story as a high school student. Her work was so deep and meaningful that I never would have thought the writer had been so young. Between her work with NAMI and time spent studying in school, Ms. Neha Gopal took the time to sit down and do an interview on Tea, But With Coffee.
Tell me about yourself
Howdy! My name is Neha Gopal and I am the author of the coming-of-age epistolary novel, 10. I am a twenty-year-old journalism student at Texas A&M University (whoop!). During my senior year of high school, I published this book when I was 18 years old. Aside from my passion for journalism, I’m also interested in neuroscience as well as psychology, and I am pursuing a minor in each. I am an avid soccer player and tennis player as well.
What inspired you to write?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and have written my entire life. The penmanship of most writers is influenced by strong memories. I wrote the book when I was a high school student. As a senior, I published the book I started as a freshman. As it is with countless others, high school was a difficult time for me. My teenage years were filled with highs and lows, from depression to friendship issues to gaining weight because of my obsession with cheetos. My writing gave me the chance to express feelings I may not have otherwise been able to voice (both positive and negative).
What is your favorite genre to read?
I enjoy reading contemporary fiction the most, especially the kinds of books that are as finely written as they are revolutionary. The books I enjoy most have an authentic voice and a message that resonates with me.
I love writing young adult stories, especially coming-of-age stories. The reason I enjoy writing these types of books so much is that they allow me to explore the issues and explore the messages that resonate most with young readers as well as myself.
What is your favorite piece of work you’ve written?
My favorite piece of work was actually something I wrote in fourth grade. This piece of work was by no means a masterpiece; in fact, it was a very melodramatic story that barely respected grammar rules. What made this piece my favorite was the reaction I got from it, a reaction I did not expect. It was a great experience to present my story to the school and to see my English teacher react with such positive emotion. I was told by my teacher that I have a lot of talent and skill after I stepped off the podium. Even though teachers tell all their students that they are one in a million (what are the chances of that?), I held on to that praise. Although I would not want to see my story reach the day of light ever again, I loved the feeling I got when that story reached the light, and that made that sappy story my favorite.
How do you handle good and bad reviews of your work?
I definitely developed a tough skin through reading book reviews. I try to see bad reviews as constructive criticism, rather than bad reviews per se. It is still early in my career as a writer so I have much to learn. But I must admit, getting good reviews feels good. It gives me the motivation and passion to continue writing.
What is your favorite part about writing?
My favorite part about writing is creating a storyline that is simple to follow as well as different. It is a joy to bounce off ideas with my friends as well as my father to make the story more resonating and interesting.
The beginning of the writing process is my least favorite part. For me, starting to write is the most challenging part, because at the moment, watching YouTube videos or watching Netflix feels more rewarding than doing the work itself. I also hate getting stuck in a writer’s block, which is almost every writer’s biggest challenge. I find it difficult to overcome, but after I get out of my writer’s funk, it is much easier to write.
What social media site has been the most beneficial for your writing?
YouTube is the social media site I use most when I write. YouTube is a fantastic source of inspiration for me. From music, videos, and the background noise, I am able to get inspired while I am writing. Many people have trouble focusing when they hear music, but for me it is the opposite. I tune everything out and concentrate only on the writing when YouTube videos or music is playing in the background.
What does the future hold for you?
My hopes are high for the future. I’m young and I’m eager to improve as a writer. One day, as a journalism major, I hope to work for a large, influential newspaper company, such as the Boston Globe. In addition, I hope to remain involved in the book publishing industry and to publish another book that will be better than my last.
Any advice you would like to give other authors?
Look at the big picture, but don’t let it intimidate you. It was helpful for me to look at each page by itself. Also, if you really want to write a book, you need to adequately budget your resources. I’m not going to tell you you need to only take cold showers, get up at 4:30am each day, and work a 12 A number of aspiring authors tell me they are working towards publishing a book, or intend to. In 9 out of 10 cases, the idea is abandoned or the paper is never completed. Publishing a book is a time-consuming and difficult process. Nonetheless, keep going until you’ve created a product that you’re proud of. It will be worth it in the end.
Anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank you for inviting me on your blog. It is wonderful you are giving indie and self-published authors a medium to shine!
Social media, website, etc. links