Interview by Vesheshta Thakur
We are in conversation with Stuti Changle , writer of the book ‘On The Open Road- Three Lives. Five Cities. One Startup’. At the age of 23, Stuti quit her cushy corporate job and hit the road to give a new direction to her life. She realised that travel can do magic and it makes one capable of hitherto unimaginable feats. Stuti’s long lost dream of becoming a story-teller became a reality when she started travelling and exploring places and meeting new people. She discovered her true self and wrote this book with an aim of channelizing the energy of the youth to take a stand and do the things their heart desires to do. She first published her book with Kindle Direct Publishing through the Pen To Publish Contest and is now a much admired, best-selling author.
What inspired you to write ‘On the Open Road’?
On The Open Road happened during my stint at a major corporate. I was sipping a Cappuccino and wondering about my next career move. I was making money – a lot of it – but somehow felt empty on the inside. My heart would tell me to pursue my long lost dream of becoming a storyteller whereas my mind would warn me about the risk and its consequences. Finally, I gave in to my heart and set out on an expedition around India and Europe. I met travelers, entrepreneurs, investors, saints, artists who inspired me to the core and gave a direction to my life. I hope to inspire the youth with my story – to break free, to make difficult choices, to follow their dreams, to never give up & to discover their true self!
How long did it take you to write this book and do you relate yourself with the characters?
It took me an year to complete the book. I do relate to Myra the most as Myra’s journey is much like my own. Characters, ordinary or larger than life, relatable or aspirational, are the most important part of the story. Readers experience various emotions through the journey of the characters. Readers evolve through the challenges, the struggles and the achievements of the characters. They feel inspired enough to take certain action if they are thrilled by the journey of their favourite character! A bunch of characters who breathe life into the story are very important in case of a fictional story – books or the reel. All the characters are based on people that I have met and therefore are absolutely relatable.
Have you ever questioned your choice of quitting your job?
Yes. There was time after the completion of the book when I did not really hear back from the publishers. My heart literally shattered into pieces like a glass! But I decided not to give up and figure a way out myself. It was during that time that I realised that a lot of established authors actually self published their first work and later rose to such popularity. It sort of gave me a push and I decided to make a move!
How did your family react when they got to know about your plan?
A mistake that I made very early on was presuming that my family would not support me with my unconventional career choice and therefore never informed them about my decision. As time progressed and I became more confident about my choices, I uncovered the long kept secret. To my surprise, they were very supportive and proud of me. Yes, it is a rare bliss but I am fortunate to have them by my side.
Do you think in India it is difficult for a newbie to get published?
Yes, it is difficult for a newbie to get published. Publishing houses don’t reply to your mails for months. I chose to self publish through Amazon as I did not want to wait for years before my work could reach my readers.
What is the best way to market your books?
There is no ‘one shoe fits all’ strategy. The idea is to identify the audience who would find value in your work. Social Media does help newbies as it is a cost effective solution as compared to any other channel.
Are you coming up with another wonderful work anytime soon?
Apart from the book another ambitious project that I am working on is ‘CONVERSATIONS on the open road’. It is an event where conversations and stories flow around following one’s dream. We have hosted the first event in WeWork, Gurgaon recently and it was a huge success. I am planning subsequent editions in Mumbai & Bengaluru. On The Open Road isn’t just a book for me, it’s an idea that I wish to spread across.
I want to say it out loud that we, the youth, are the future of the nation, and it is time that we boldly pursue our choices. Let’s build the India of the future through entrepreneurship, because each one of us, no matter where we come from, has that one idea that holds the potential to touch a million lives.
Please share an inspiring message with the readers of Indspire Me.
Believe in the beauty of your dreams. Follow your heart with courage. There’s no shortcut to success. The only way to explore one’s full capacity is to keep at one’s inner calling. The journey is much more crucial than the destination. Enjoy the journey!
About the Interviewer
Vesheshta Thakur is a student of B.A.(Hons.) at MCM College, Panjab University, Chandigarh. She is a state level basketball player and plans to join the Army in the future. She is a dog lover and loves to travel.