Finding Juliet is the second book by Toffee, who writes codes by the day and books by the night. Toffee loves narrating interesting stories with subtle insights. Through his books, he wants to share beautiful stories, reach out to people and touch their hearts. Here we ask him about the mystery behind his name, the challenges and pleasures of writing, and his advice for the upcoming authors.
What is the story behind your pseudonym?
There are quite a few reasons for using a pseudonym. I will share with you one of those. I belong to the old school of writers who want their work to be read and aren’t really interested in fame or money that their books bring to them. And that’s why when the publisher of my first book asked me to send a pic of mine for the cover of the book, I insisted the book be published without my pic. I wanted my book to be read and didn’t really want people to know about the person who wrote the book. And hence I chose a pen name – Toffee which kind of rhymes with my actual name Taufeeq.
But over a period of time, I realized that the world has changed. Readers want to follow authors on social media, publishers want authors to market the book and books do sell when authors promote it. So I had to come out of closet and start promoting myself and my books. But the penname remained and I want to continue writing using the same penname. But deep down inside, I still wish I could have reached to a wider audience and remain anonymous.
How long did it take you to write Finding Juliet ?
The entire process of writing the book took me about 2 and half years, mostly because of procrastination and also because of my obsession with perfection.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Gosh! It’s so difficult, simple because men and women are different, not just biologically, but also emotionally. When you’re writing characters from the opposite sex, you have to keep yourself in their shoes, think like they do, feel like they do and make your characters act like they do. It’s mentally more draining than writing about a character from the same sex.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I wrote my first book without any expectations. It was a simple nonfiction book that provided infotainment to readers. A major part of the book had anecdotes about what had happened in my life and in my friends’ lives. I just weaved all my experiences in the form of a good book. And I forgot about it. It’s only after I started receiving fan mails asking about my next book, I began thinking about writing another book. I chose to write fiction now and I realized that it needed a bit different set of skills.
So I began learning about the elements of a good story, character arcs, human psychology, dialogues, narration and other aspects that one needs to know to write good fiction. Even before I realized, my process of writing books changed a lot.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Buddy, you should work harder, read a lot of books from different genres and write every day. As you grow old, before you realize, you’ll have to fulfil many responsibilities, think about financial security, take care of people dependent on you and you’ll never really find a lot of time. So make the most of the time you have in your hands now and don’t waste it in trivial things.