Priyanka Agarwal was born in Mumbai to a businessman father and lawyer-turned-homemaker mother. A B.Com graduate, her first tryst with professional writing began in 2007 for JLT (Just Like That), a youth-focused publication by the Times of India group.

Later, she gave up her MBA dream to work for three years each in the editorial departments of Spenta Multimedia and Condé Nast India. Besides being a blogger, Priyanka is now a freelance writer and copyeditor since 2017, with bylines in Condé Nast Traveller India, Architectural Digest India, Film Companion and JetWings, among others. PiKu & ViRu is her first book.

Priyanka can be found on: Facebook: @priyankadotagarwal | Twitter: @Prigwal | Instagram: @priyankalive

Blurb: PiKu & ViRu

A traumatising theft on assignment leaves 28-year-old travel content writer Piyanjali Kumari with a crazy epiphany—that her celebrity crush, Vian Rustom, is her ‘soulmate’. Her numerous attempts to meet the dashing TV star go in vain. That’s when her guardian angel tells her the one thing she needs to do to make things happen. Desperate, she takes the plunge. But sh*t keeps going wrong. And PiKu realises her story with ViRu is destined to end in only one way—heartbreak.

Will PiKu be able to win ViRu’s love? Will she get the relationship of her dreams? Or will it become the darkest nightmare of her life?

PiKu & ViRu is an inspirational, emotional roller coaster that promises to take you places. A must-read for every heartbroken person out there.

We will talk with Priyanka about her book ‘PiKu & ViRu’.

What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?

PiKu & ViRu is the story of 28-year-old PiKu, a travel-content writer, who gets an epiphany that her celebrity crush, ViRu, is her ‘soulmate’. How this realisation transforms her life and turns her into an award-winning storyteller forms the plot. One of the key themes in the book is heartbreak and moving on from it.

PiKu & ViRu is inspired by a period from my life. I was going through a dark phase two years ago when a few friends encouraged me to pen down my story to heal from the incident. At first, I didn’t want to write it and kept procrastinating. But soon, I came around to conceptualising a couple of web series. I emailed them to a friend of mine for feedback, who, unknowingly and coincidentally, suggested I explore a plot similar to PiKu & ViRu. She said she hated romantic fiction but was open to consuming something like that if I wrote it. That’s when I resolved to work on my story. I penned out a synopsis and read it aloud at an open-mike event, where it received a thunderous applause. The judge, a famous stand-up comedian, encouraged me to realise it into a full-length novel. And then there was no looking back.

Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?

The biggest challenge was my back problem. There was a time when it was difficult to sit and work for even five minutes at a stretch without screaming with pain! Thankfully, physiotherapy and yoga saved me.

What is your life mantra?

Enjoy the present moment, though it’s hard to follow all the time. Still, I try my best to adhere to this philosophy.

What is your writing process like?

I don’t have a fixed time or routine for writing. I just pen down whatever comes to my head or anything interesting I encounter.

Anything special about your book that you want to share?

I’ve lost count of the number of drafts it took me to get it right! Especially PiKu’s first visit to ViRu’s set and the climax. I worked on the former scene for forty-eight hours non-stop to nail it!

According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?

  1. Great story
  2. Strong support system from loved ones and other writers
  3. Thick skin

What are your plans for next book?

Currently, there’s nothing on paper—it’s all in my head. A chick-lit novel set in Mumbai’s real-estate industry, perhaps. I’ll begin dumping my thoughts, starting January.

What advice do you have for young writers?

Live your life, travel and meet lots of people. Hidden in these experiences is something that will ignite a story within you that will force itself to come out. Note down anything interesting that goes on around you. Use your smartphone as your writing companion, not killer.

Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.

Not a line or quote, but the canteen scene from the Bollywood film Rockstar, where Khatana Bhai (Kumud Mishra) tells J.J. (Ranbir Kapoor) about how pain has shaped the most successful artists of our time. This message is what I’ve tried to incorporate in PiKu & ViRu as well. I was especially mesmerised by Tamasha, another movie by Imtiaz Ali and my all-time favourite. One line in particular still melts my heart: you can choose your own ending.