#KetchupTalks: Anmol Malik talks about writing Three Impossible Wishes and more

Mrinil Mathur
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#KetchupTalks: Anmol Malik talks about writing Three Impossible Wishes and more

In a candid conversation, Anmol Malik the author of Three Impossible Wishes, shared how writing has always been close to her through her various careers.

From being a lyricist, singer, composer and director, Anmol Malik has aced everything she's set her mind to. Anmol graduated from the University of Warwick post which she returned to India and joined Disney UTV in Creative Development Department. She also had a stint as an assistant director with Rohan Sippy. She also worked ad junior copywriter with Leo Burnett Worldwide. She has also written, edited & directed short films like Nirbhaya, Aries, T and has also worked on scripts of Mardaani and Dum Laga Ke Haisha with Yash Raj Films. And if all of that wasn't impressive enough, she has now authored her debut novel titled, 'Three Impossible Wishes' published by Harper Collins. Anmol Malik's novel is a perfect combination of a cheeky, cheesy, hilarious and romantic journey of Arya, a college-going student.

We recently spoke to Anmol Malik about her book, her career choices and lots more! Take a look at what she had to say:

How’s your quarantine period going?

"Honestly, it’s pretty much a writer’s life, to be very alone all the time in their own room. But it’s very scary what’s happening out there. I’ll be honest, I do wake up a little afraid to see the news every day. I hope everybody is staying at home and staying safe. I’m just trying to create more than ever."

So, that must give you enough time and space to do your stuff, right?

"Yes, I think. I either get up early in the morning listening and composing songs or stay up late at night for the same. That’s the time when everyone is asleep, the house is the quietest and that’s the time I get my work done."


Do you like writing a song more or singing it?

"That’s a very dangerous question. I enjoy both. I love singing because it’s the easiest way to express myself and I never feel lonely because I have this little world that I can escape into. But I do find myself writing a lot. I find myself creating a lot of stories in my head. There’s always a story that is buzzing at the back of my mind and I am always creating dialogues. Even the songs that I write kind of fit into my storyline and a lot of them that I have written in the past are pulled out from stories of my own. There was a time when I was releasing a lot of break-up songs like “Let me come home” and “Into the night” and ”Isn’t that why?” and these songs are all from stories where the point had come where the characters were fighting or breaking up. So, the songs were picked out of that and released as singles." 

You’ve mentioned that writing is the core of everything and that’s how you’ve aced everything. What is your inspiration behind writing?

"The most common question that I get from others, even from my friends is, "You’re a singer and how did you get into writing suddenly?" I’d say that it was not something sudden. I’ve been working for it very actively and dedicatedly all throughout my life. I also feel that there is a sort of rhythm in writing. So, when you’re writing, it needs to have a kind of bounce and hook. Also, I feel that in music, there is a kind of narrative. So according to me, music and writing seamlessly meld into each other. I never sought a distinction. When I’m creating, I never think if it’s going to be a song or a story, it just turns out to be in a way it needs to."

What was the inspiration behind writing the book? When did you decide about the story and everything?

"I do not know what inspires me until today. I cannot tell if a particular location or song or anything that inspires me. But for this particular book, I wrote it essentially to make myself smile. I didn’t write it for getting myself a book deal or it being my debut novel. The whole publishing space is very new to me and nobody in my family has ever gotten into it. It’s also a little scary to navigate it on my own. I think that every product that is ever created, has a destiny and a life of its own. The destiny of this particular book led it to something absolutely crazy which is Harper Collins, a huge publishing agency to pick it up and publish it. For me, that’s a huge deal because I’m someone who doesn’t really know how this works. I still don’t know actually. I just find myself navigating through it somehow. The initial inspiration was to bring a smile to my face and the entire book is something I’ve written hoping it will make the readers smile too."

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It released on May 1st 2020 under lockdown period, so do you think it will impact your book or is it a benefit?

"My thinking behind the book coming out now was very simple. Books have a weird power to transport you. The minute you open it, you enter into the story and suddenly you’re not sitting on your bed or your chair, you’re in the story completely. So now, I think more than ever, books are being looked at because it’s so powerful and magical. I think now is the right time to release it because it’s such a happy book, all the good things in life are made into one giant milkshake. All your chocolates, hot cookies, jokes and friends are in this book. So the thinking behind it was again to make people happy."

What is the story behind your pen-name “Audrey Piano”?

"Audrey Piano is basically a combination of all the things that I wish I was. So, it is actually my alter-ego. Also, over the years, a good 10-15 years, I used to write a lot of articles under that pen-name and those were the odd articles that brought me money, kept me afloat, and helped me fund myself."

When did you decide Audrey is Anmol and Anmol is Audrey?

"I would still love to write as Audrey. I feel that I’m more Audrey Piano than I’m Anmol Malik."

If you had to characterize Audrey, how would you?

"She is a bit more honest to herself. She is also bold in the sense that what is on her mind, she doesn’t hesitate to spit it out. She’s blunt and she doesn’t possess these little filters that probably Anmol Malik does before speaking."

Your book is about a 19 year old finding herself and her love life. So what made you work on this particular plot?

"Honestly, the story is super simple. It’s just about this Indian girl who’s studying in a foreign university and she is failing. It’s based on a rumour when I was studying abroad which is if you fail the year, you don’t just fail but also deported back to your country. Even though it’s just a rumour and treated very lightly in the book, the truth is if you’re someone who has shifted cities or countries which is not yours that is really difficult. It is really difficult to belong somewhere where you don’t know anybody, you don’t understand their customs and international students do have it a bit hard. You’re dealing with a whole new country, weather, food and also might face money issues. So this girl tries and con a British university to give a degree is the gist of the story but there’s so much going on like she meets a Russian boy who is very upright and there’s a hilarious love story that they’ve got going on. At the same time, it’s also about her friends, the people she meets and is set in a very pivotal year when Bombay was attacked and gang wars was a big thing in UK. All these incidents pepper her journey at the University. The book may seem pretty simple on the surface but it has so many layers."




Do you draw a parallel between Arya and Anmol Malik?

"In a way. But then again, I draw a parallel with every character that I’ve written about. I feel that a lot of me is in every character from Arya to Vladimir to Sahil to her best friends. I also feel that a lot of villains in the book have some of my negative traits in it. I love asking people what are their favourite books or what are their favourite songs because I think it tells me a lot about that person. Especially if someone has created something, you can’t hide who you are because whatever you’re comes out in your creation. You can’t hide your personality."


We also played a round of 3 things with Anmol Malik and here's how it went...

3 things you’re doing under lockdown period?

"Creating a lot, learning all the recipes that I’ve loved from my mum and spending time with family and being there for my friends on calls."

3 things you always keep with you?

"A pencil wrapped up in blank sheets of paper, my phone and my recorder"

3 important people in your life?

"My mom, My dad and my sister"

3 places you want to visit after lockdown is lifted?

"Paris, My University and My dadi’s house."

3 movies you love watching?

"Notting Hill, Bridget jones’s diary and Jab we met."

3 things you regret doing?

"I regret not writing a book earlier and trying coriander because I hate it."

3 things that people don’t know about you?

"I hate Dhaniya, I am so massively into reading and writing and I’m a good tennis player and I am a huge Nadal fan."

3 resolution you made in 2020 and if they are completed before lockdown?

"1st thing is never again buy a 2020 planner, 2nd was to relax a little bit more and 3rd is to drink more water."

3 things you wished on your birthday?

"I didn’t make any wish. Maybe I wished to blow the candles as fast as possible so I could eat the cake. But if I can wish now, I’d wish for everyone to read my book and I wish for this book to be a huge success and my third wish is to be happy. All the wishes are connected to each other."

3 favourite quotes?

“I want more than I want” that’s something Veena says from Salman Rushdie’s book The Ground beneath the feet. It’s the lyrics from Third Eye Blind, “I wonder why the wind keeps blowing you through my mind.” The whole poem by Robert Frost called Fireflies."

3 friends you’ll need after the lockdown?

"None of my friends are here, they are either working or have gotten married all around the globe. I skype them regularly but I would love to hug them once this is over."

3 inspirational people you follow?

"Mr. Ratan Tata, Neil Gaiman and my dad."

The 3 people you follow because you like their work?

 "I am very inspired by everyone that I meet or see. Even my writing has bits of people I have met and the situations I’ve been in."

To keep yourself updated with Anmol Malik's music, writing, and all the other cool things she does, follow her here.

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