Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:08

Award-winning storyteller,food writer & author Monica Saigal on her latest book 'A kiss in Kashmir'

Her latest book, a Kiss in Kashmir, is a heartfelt story where love, loss, and second chances intertwine against the serene backdrop of Kashmir. Join us as we talk about Monica's creative process, the inspiration behind her narratives, and the profound impact of her work on both literary and culinary landscapes. Hi Monica, thank you so much for joining in

#authorinterview #askanauthor #food #romance #bestseller #books #publishing

Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:16

1. Inspiration behind the book

Many congratulations on your book. Monica, could you perhaps tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the story and what drew you to explore themes of love, loss and second chances in the beautiful backdrop of Kashmir?
monica saigal
@Msaigal · 1:06

@Ramya

Thank you so much for having me. So as far as the inspiration behind this book, I think it was a rebellion of some sort in a way because many times I feel like society confines us to the fact that love is only for the youth
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:32

2. The role of food in your latest book?

So, Monica, your previous works, particularly Modern Spice and A Life of Spice, have been celebrated for blending Indian cuisine with narratives of life and identity. How does food play a role in your latest book, and what significance does it hold in the characters lives? I'm kind of curious here, and I would love to have your thoughts on this
monica saigal
@Msaigal · 2:07

@Ramya

And that's the reflections that you see in all my food books. And as I've gotten older and wiser, it's also become very clear to me that food is also such an intimate part of the human experience. I mean, one type of intimacy is the physical intimacy that we have between people. But then food is also so intimate. I mean, think about it. We touch it with our hands, we put it in our mouth, we eat it. It nourishes our body
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:27

3. Bringing Kashmir to life through the pages of your book..

From what I've come across, the early reviews of a kiss in Kashmir have praised its emotive storytelling and the vivid portrayal of Kashmir as a character in itself. How did you approach the task of bringing this very unique setting to life and what research did you undertake to ensure its authenticity?
monica saigal
@Msaigal · 3:12

@Ramya

And then also through all of the movies that I was raised on, the Bollywood movies, there's so much love associated with Kashmir. So when I wanted to write a love story, it felt only right that I should set it in the place of love. As far as the research, oh, my God. I researched so much. I had my memories, which I had written down
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:20

4. Your writing process?

As both a food writer and a storyteller, how do you approach the process of crafting your narratives? Are there any particular rituals or habits you follow when writing or sources of inspiration that you draw upon?
monica saigal
@Msaigal · 2:15

@Ramya

You. So obviously, I do a lot of research for my books. I have various folders and journals in which I keep detailed notes of things that I see, that I really like, that I want to explore, and those just grow over the years. And then when some inspiration strikes, I will look through the journals and start pulling things out together to craft a story
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:57

5. Navigating between different realms of storytelling as a food writer and storyteller?

Your works have been featured in prestigious publications and platforms, and you've spoken at renowned institutions on food, culture, and writing. How do you navigate between these very different realms of storytelling, and what do you find most fulfilling about each
monica saigal
@Msaigal · 2:50

@Ramya

And as far as talking in institutions about my writing, I teach a lot of classes. In fact, I have a class coming up called scribe your soul, where we're talking about how to have a soul dialogue and do some creative writing and get help through different healing modalities, like art and sound healing and yoga and making some jewelry during the session to actually reflect on your work of art and how to have soul conversations