Write Your Way into the Career of Your Dreams with Alka Joshi

 

Thank you to Alka Joshi, author of the New York Times Bestseller, THE HENNA ARTIST and upcoming book, THE SECRET KEEPER OF JAIPUR for coming to speak with me about her books, her TV show and her writing! Pre-order your copy of her new book TODAY! Enjoy our dialogue below, on Thrive Global and in this video, Passion, Perseverance and Patience with Alka Joshi

Lisa Niver: I’m so excited to be here today. This is Lisa Niver from We Said Go Travel, and I am honored to have as my guest, the award award-winning and incredible author, Alka Joshi. Hi Alka.

Alka Joshi: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Lisa Niver: Oh my gosh. I can’t believe that I’m talking to you. It’s so exciting. I absolutely love, love, love your books. So we first found each other when I wrote about The Henna Artist for Ms. Magazine, and congratulations – what was it like to be a Reese Witherspoon book of the month? 

Alka Joshi: That was an amazing experience. And it came right on the heels of a pandemic start that also put the kibosh on the launch of my book. So every single book event got canceled, every library shut down, every bookstore closed down, right at the start of my release date, which was March the 10th, 2020. And Harper Collins and Mira Books had been setting up all of these great launch events and all these interviews and everything–all the conferences I was supposed to be at, the panel discussions they set me up for and everything–was canceled. So, you know, I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for two days because I had spent ten or twelve years putting this book together. And I just thought, “Oh my God, I’d spent all this time. And I did everything that I was supposed to–or what my literary agent told me to what my editors told me to—now the look is finally out there, it’s waiting to be put up on bookshelves and all the doors are closing, closing, closing. And I just thought, “Oh my God, what karma am I carrying around from a past life that is causing this to happen?” So yeah, so then Reese Witherspoon’s announcement came about three or four weeks after my failed book launch, my book launch that never was, and that was a complete stunner. So what I have done in the meanwhile was I had started to tell all of my social media channels–on my social media channels I said, “Here I am, please contact me. I am on lockdown too. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t do anything. If you have a book group and you want me to be discussing the book with you, I’m here. And by the way, you can get digital copies. If you can’t access physical copies, you can get the ebook, you can get the audio book.” And people started responding. 

Lisa Niver: Not only did people start responding, you were on the New York times bestsellers list. 

Alka Joshi: (laughter) Yeah, and so that was an amazing thing that happened. But I have to give a lot of kudos to Reese Witherspoon because she said to everybody, “I love this book. Please read this book. I think you will enjoy it too.” That’s what she has done for female authors over and over in the last four years. You know, her charter is just to promote female authors because female authors historically don’t get the promotion dollars that male authors do. It’s just a vendor bias that it’s existed forever. But she said, “I could use my influence to give women the kind of exposure that male authors have.” And I think in four short years, she has accomplished so much for us, and I’m just so grateful – that it took a woman to make that change. Right, Lisa? 

Lisa Niver: I’m not surprised because The Henna Artist is a phenomenal book, so I’m not surprised that she loved it and she used her platform to promote it. But we have to talk about the fact that you have been willing to really shepherd this book. Did you speak to more than 400 book clubs? 

Alka Joshi: I have. I think I’m on 416 as of today. (laughter)

Lisa Niver: That’s incredible because, I mean, just to have emailed over 400 book clubs would take a lot of effort, but to actually make the time and show up and calendar across time zones, and I imagine across continents.

Alka Joshi: Right. And also, one of the other things I did was I responded to every direct message I received, every direct message on Facebook, every one that I received on Instagram. And you know, I think that part of that is my discipline running my own agency for twenty-five years. Because when you run your own business, you know, that people really appreciate prompt answers, prompt responses. They want to know that what they asked you for is going to be given to them. Also, I remember being a reader and writing to authors, you know, with that sort of star gaze in my eye, and just thinking, “Oh, I loved your book so much. And here’s what I loved about it. And just hoping for your response back.” You know how it is with the people we admire. We want at least some acknowledgement of the fact that we wrote to them and that we love their book, and I never ever, ever got a response back, but I thought, “I’m going to be different. I’m going to be the kind of author who is going to respond to people and say, ‘Oh, I’m so happy that you liked the book. What did you like about it? Which character did you love?’” I really responded to that kind of a message from readers and I wanted to communicate with them. And I think Lisa, I don’t know if things would have been different if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, because in the pandemic, I, like everybody else, wanted to connect to people. And what better way to connect than to say, “Hey, thanks so much for reading my book, you know? What did you enjoy most about it? And are you trying any of the recipes are in the back of the book?” You know, things like that. I really wanted to connect with people, and I think everybody else was hungry for connection too. So I think it kind of all worked out, maybe because of the climate, because of what was happening in the world, because of Reese Witherspoon. It’s just, all of a sudden, all the forces came together. And you know what the Buddhists say?

Lisa Niver: What?

Alka Joshi: They say, “You are exactly where you’re supposed to be right now at any given moment.” 

Lisa Niver: Well, that is a beautiful thought during this challenging and uncertain time, but the one thing you didn’t mention–all of those things did come together, but you also wrote an incredible, incredible novel. And the thing that I was drawn to when I wrote about it for Ms Magazine is, I really felt like I was back in India. There’s so much sensory information, like the taste of the cooking or the smell of the–you know, the women dressed up at the party, or how did the henna look on the hands? I felt like it was like I could almost touch India again. 

Alka Joshi: (Laughter) Oh, that’s really cool. One of the most, I think, rewarding comments that I have received from the books is that people feel they are back in Jaipur. And I’m not just talking about people who’ve never been to Jaipur, but I’m talking about the Indians who also respond–to South Asians who say, “I have been to Jaipur and I felt like I was back,” or “I live in Jaipur and this takes me back to the 1950s,” or “I have traveled to Jaipur,” or “I still live in India, and now I want to go to Jaipur because of this book.” So one of the most rewarding things is to have people from the country you’re writing about also validate everything you’ve written and say, “I get it. I was there, my mother was there, or my grandfather was there. I get this story because it relates to my family.” Oh my God. That is so rewarding when that happens. 

Lisa Niver: I really so much was thinking about being on the bus in India and, you know, buying things from street vendors. It definitely–one of the highlights for me of being stuck at home in Covid was to read and feel like I was in a place. But I think you’re right – the people that live there, people that have visited there, feel it, but we also feel all the intergenerational connections and the relationships and the loss. I mean, you’re a tremendous writer. 

Alka Joshi: Thank you so much. Lisa, during Covid, during this lockdown–you have traveled all over the world. Did you feel during this lockdown that you were somehow imprisoned here or did you feel like this was a moment to reflect on all of your travels? 

Lisa Niver: Honestly it depended on the day. There were moments–I’ve been home in LA now I think about 426 days–not that I’m counting–and there have been moments when I felt imprisoned, and being able to read a book like The Henna Artist or The Secret Keeper of Jaipur–which you want to let everyone know is coming out next month–and I actually think I might’ve even loved The Secret Keeper of Jaipur a tiny bit more because I already knew all the characters and the backstory. And I felt like, “Oh, my friends are back.” That to me has been such a joy of this–I’ve been calling it The Great Pause–and for me, I was–I actually worked on my own book, not fiction, and a memoir about my travels and about my divorce. So I feel that I’ve used this time well. I don’t think I would have picked it.

Alka Joshi: I think, Lisa, a lot about our purpose in life. I think about why we’re here on this planet. And I do feel that our response to moments like this is what shapes us. And our response to moments like this is a result of all the moments that have come before it and what we have learned from them, and what we learned about how to react to them, you know? So I think that the pandemic was actually a wonderful way for us to test what we’ve learned in our lives, how we move forward when we’re given these limitations, in the very similar way that I think the characters of The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur move forward, given the limitations of their lives, right? 

Lisa Niver: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would recommend to everybody who’s listening to us to read The Henna Artist first, and if you’ve already read it, read it again. And I even saw it at Costco, so congratulations. But even more important, you can already pre-order the next book, which I have to tell you I really, really loved. The one thing I think we have to talk about right now is what’s going on in India today. We’ve talked about Covid, and a friend of mine is working with an organization called Calcutta Rescue, and they’re bringing a lot of supplies to India. It’s a super challenging time in India right now. 

Alka Joshi: Yeah. And you know, I think at the beginning of the pandemic Modi–the prime minister Modi–did everything he could to lock India down. So for two months, India was on lockdown and they were doing better than a lot of other nations really were.

Lisa Niver: They really were.

Alka Joshi: Yeah, and keeping COVID at bay. But like the United States, India is an amalgamation of many different States. And each State gets to determine when they wanted to stop the lockdown. And I totally understand–even here in the United States–a lot of pressure that politicians are receiving from businesses saying, “I’m going under. Unless I have business coming in, unless I have patrons, I am going to go under. I cannot keep this business afloat.” And so the States in India started responding to that pressure and opening up their borders and opening up everybody coming in and going out, and that really exacerbated Covid so that we are in this situation today where we’ve got millions and millions of people infected. Now, I think that what is really wonderful right now is, first of all, we have a president who is responding to this pandemic in a way that we want that president to be responding. So President Biden has really managed Covid here in the United States. Consequently, we have all these vaccines that are sitting around that are not being used. We can send them to India, as he is doing. Other countries are responding in a similar way. I think that once again, this is a sign of how we respond during these moments of crisis, even as a global unit, a global entity. And so nations are rising to help India, to say, “Okay, we’ve got vaccines, here are the vaccines. Please try to use them. See what can be managed.” And I think that, you know, that will go a long ways towards not only global unity, but also helping India through this moment of crisis. And of course, I’m hoping that everything will get managed by the time the TV series is ready to be filmed in India. (laughter)

Lisa Niver: That was such a good segue. I was going to ask you: Can you tell us a little bit more about the television series? I didn’t know it was going to be filmed in India. That’s amazing. 

Alka Joshi: Yeah. So the idea is, of course, that we would film it in all of the settings, and it’s mainly Jaipur and it’s Shimla. I think that right now it would be very difficult to recreate those two settings here in the United States. So the plan has always been to film in India. Of course, that was before, you know, everything worsened in India, so we’re not quite sure how it’s all going to play out. But you know, it will be what it will be and it will happen when it’s supposed to happen. So I think it’s all going to be just lush and gorgeous when it does happen. And right now, what’s happening is all the pre-production work. And as you probably know, there’s a lot of work that happens before you see something on a big screen or a little screen. So there’s all of those developmental work that has to go into it. All of the writing, the rewriting of all the episodes, the casting, figuring out who the director is going to be, who the cinematographer is going to be, you know, the main crew. So there’s a lot of work that’s going to go into this before we see it on the screen, but I’m so excited. Do you know, the scene that I am most looking forward to, you know, seeing how they’re going to do this on the big screen, is the scene where Lakshmi is dancing in her home on that patterned floor.

Lisa Niver: On the mosaic?

Alka Joshi: Yeah. And there are those little candles set up alongside the room, and that’s the only light in the room, so the light is impacting her feet. It’s illuminating that fast movement of her feet that is the rhythm of the Kathak dance. I cannot wait to see how they do this, and I can’t wait to see how they recreate the floor, because so far it’s only just been in my imagination.  (laughter)

Lisa Niver: That’s incredible. I mean, what a great honor to have your–the world you created be created for–this is for television?

Alka Joshi: This is for television, for streaming shows. And I am really lucky in that I have this team of people that I really trust. So Michael Edelstein is the executive producer who first got a copy of The Henna Artist and said, “Oh my gosh, this could be an Indian Downton Abbey.” Because he was in charge of NBC Universal in England when Downton Abbey in the studios, when Downton Abbey was being filmed. And he is really one of the people who made it a global success. So he knows what goes into a TV show like that. And he really thought that we had the same kind of circumstances in The Henna Artist. We have the upstairs class and we have the downstairs class. We have all of these stories of each character woven throughout the narrative, just like in Downton Abbey. Every single character has a story that they’re trying to tell in every episode.  So he saw the whole thing and he thought, “Oh my gosh, this could be so Downton Abbey-ish.” And then he called Frida Pinto and said, “I’m sending you this book. I think you would be an amazing Lakshmi.” Now, the reason that they know each other is because they met each other at an ashram years ago and they have been friends ever since. And sometimes they go to the ashram together.

Lisa Niver: Really? Wow.

Alka Joshi: Yeah. And so Frida was on board as soon as she read the read The Henna Artist, and that is kind of how it snowballed. And then Michael has a first-look deal with Miramax TV, so he called them and said, “Okay you guys, I want to pitch you something.” And they said, “Oh my God, absolutely.” So that’s kind of how it’s all evolved. And I really feel like this is the team that is going to make The Henna Artist as true to its original essence as possible on the screen. 

Lisa Niver: It’s really incredible, all your success, and I think from here–talking about, you know, The Henna Artist was a Reese Witherspoon book. Now you have the TV show. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is coming out next month. You’re in Costco. But I think it’s really, really important to talk about the journey. And I know you said earlier, ten to twelve years–I know you found an agent and you worked with her for some time and you–I think you–when we–when I took the class you gave at Kepler’s, did you say you rewrote the book twelve times? 

Alka Joshi: Actually I think what you’re reading of The Henna Artist is the 30th draft of the book.

Lisa Niver: Three-zero?

Alka Joshi: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so much of that is because, as you’re learning how to write a novel, you are learning how to become an expert in something that is new to you. And, for example, when you become an Olympic skier, you have to put in a lot of hours before you can qualify for the Olympics, right? When you are a master gardener, you have to put in a lot of hours in a lot of people’s gardens in order to become a master gardener. It’s the same thing with writing a novel, you have to learn how to sustain the reader’s interest over 300, 400, 500 pages, however much you’re writing. And you have to learn how to make sure that each character has a story arc so that they are not left the same from the beginning to the end of the book, there is a transformation that has happened. Otherwise we wouldn’t read the book. We want to know how people change. We want to know how they grow, because I think a lot of times we use fiction as a way to pattern our real lives. We use fiction as a model for how we can react to circumstances, how we can grow from circumstances that we’re facing. 

Lisa Niver: That’s really beautiful. And I think you’re right, that we see all of those character arcs. You’ve written them so beautifully. And I know you’ve spoken about patterning Lakshmi on your mom, is that right? 

Alka Joshi: Yes. And I really feel that, you know, when you start with an intention that is a passionate one–so my intention was that I wanted to re-imagine a life for my mother that she did not get to live, a life where she gets to decide what her future is going to look like. So in The Henna Artist, I created Lakshmi as a way to re-imagine my mother and–a person who can leave her marriage, who deserts her marriage before children are born. And then she goes on to forge a life of her own. She starts a career that is just her own. She has success in her life because of her intelligence and her wit and her talent, not because somebody else set it up for her. So I wanted this to be a stand-in for my mother and a life that I think she could have had. Now, of course, I take a lot of liberties in this by, you know, making her a henna artist. My mother said, “Honey, I don’t think I could ever have been a henna artist. You know, I don’t have that kind of talent. And you’ve made Lakshmi do this henna art that is so amazingly intricate, and that’s not the way that henna art was being done in the 1950s. It was actually very crude and it was kind of primitive looking.” And I said, “Mom, that’s okay because I need for this main character to be so good at what she’s doing that she gets to be seated in the–on the same demands as her ladies. She gets to be invited to things like the Shakespeare festival that Parvathi puts on for her or son. She gets to be a confidant of these elite ladies, and that wouldn’t have happened had she been just another henna artist of that period. So I needed for her to be extra special.” My mom said, “Okay, all right, fine.” But I think that when you start with a passion like that, when you start with an intention and that is very much inside you, and you feel like you have to write about it, then I think that you will always be successful. If you’re starting out with an intention that is only meant to imitate what somebody else has done, or that is only meant to sort of imagine a lifestyle that you have never lived or researched or known about, then I think that the falsity of that shows through. So I think it’s really important. Whenever a new writer asks me, you know, “What do I need in order to succeed?” I always say that you need three Ps: First is the Passion, the intention that you start with. Why are you writing this? Why you? Why, at this particular time, do you feel you need to write about this? Secondly, it’s Perseverance, because you have to stick through as many drafts as it takes to get it to the point where somebody wants to buy it and put it out there in the world. And then the last is Patience. You know, I am a very impatient person. I think that I should be immediately good at whatever it is I take up. And so I had to learn to be patient with myself. My husband is very good at reminding me about these kinds of things when I get impatient with myself, like, why aren’t I finished already? Why aren’t I published already? Why in the world is this Covid thing, you know, keeping me back? And he’ll just say, “You know what, honey, it just takes patience, and you need to be patient with yourself because you can’t become good at something overnight.” So he really keeps me grounded. You know, I think we all need someone like that in our lives, whether it’s our parents or a best friend or somebody who always says, “Go easy on yourself. You can’t accomplish everything all at once.”

Alka Joshi and her mother

Lisa Niver: Wait, I just want to ask a question because I believe you, that he keeps you grounded and he’s helping you, but wasn’t he also a tiny bit of the inspiration to go towards writing?

Alka Joshi: Yeah. You know, I think within a year of our marriage–and we’ve been married now almost twenty-six years–but within a year of our marriage, he said to me, he goes, “You know, honey, I think the reason you married me is because you want to be a writer.” Because see, he was a writer, went the Stanford program, and he got an MFA at Stanford in creative writing. And I met him years later, but I was so attracted to him because I think he was a writer. I love writers. I just love the fact that, you know, they create worlds out of their imaginations. I love the fact that they can make me feel things that I didn’t even know I could feel, and that they are reminding me of parts of myself that maybe I hadn’t given a voice to. So I love that about writers. I just think they’re so incredible. Just like I love artists. I think I love anybody who can really create something out of nothing. And so yes, I fell in love with him because of his writing. And then he said, “I think you really also want to be a writer.” And I said, “No, no, no, no, no, no. You know, I just write commercials. That’s all I do. I write commercials. I write marketing brochures. That’s what I do.” And he said, “No, no, no. I think that you could be a phenomenal writer in, you know, for long form fiction. I think you should try it. You should take some evening classes. You should figure out, you know, what to do.” And I said, “You know, I have to work. I had, you know, we have to pay bills. We have to pay the mortgage. All of that.” He said, “I think that there will come a time when you will want to do this.” And it happened, it happened, but it happened like fifteen years into our marriage. But I finally said, okay, you know, I’ve got a couple of years ahead of me here, where there is going to be this mortgage crisis. There’s a recession looming, and I know that my business in my own advertising agency is going to slow down because that’s what happens with every kind of, you know, major economic crisis, you always have this recession that happens. And I thought, okay, maybe for the next two years, I do something else with my life. And that’s when I decided to enter this MFA program in creative writing, 

Lisa Niver: You’re such an inspiration. I mean, that’s incredible that you have–what a great relationship where you really want each other to grow, and what a gift he gave you to believe that you could do it so that you could give us the gift of these two incredible books. I think one time I heard you mention there might be a third book on the horizon, 

Alka Joshi: That’s right. So currently I am writing book number three in the trilogy, and then the trilogy will end. So book number one is about Lakshmi, primarily. Book number two really focuses on Malek as an adult. Book number three focuses on Radha as an adult. So Radha will be the same age that Lakshmi was in The Henna Artist. Radha is thirty now in book number three that I’m writing, and Radha is a perfumer, or she works in a lab–a fragrance lab for a major master perfumer. And by the way, the perfumer is a woman because it’s very important for me to always put women in these leadership positions that I think they’ve always been in but we didn’t–haven’t always recognized that they’d been there. So this is a woman in a leadership position, she’s a master perfumer. Radha works for her and Radha is on the cusp of helping her design a signature scent for a client. Now there’s a knock at the door and on the other side of the door is going to be somebody that Radha has not seen in eighteen years, not since The Henna Artist. Yes. And that is going to throw her completely off balance. She is in love with her husband. She has two little children. Her husband is Parisian, which is how she ended up in Paris. So that is where she works as a perfumer. And, you know, she’s developed this whole life that she always wanted, this kind of exotic, wonderful life. And she has the family she always wanted, but now having this person show up after eighteen years is really going to stun her into a whole new kind of awakening. 

Lisa Niver: So it’s just–I really feel so inspired. I know you’ve shared in many of the conversations I’ve listened to about you, that, you know, you have been patient, and you have been perseverant. You have had passion, and now you have, you know, The Henna Artist is available. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur–where’s the best place that people can pre-order the second book that comes out? Is it next month in June? 

Alka Joshi: Yes. On June 22nd it releases, but people can pre-order it anywhere. They can order it from their favorite independent bookstore, from Barnes and Noble, from Indigo stores up in Canada, from Amazon, from Walmart, from Target. And then also, they can buy the audio version. Now, what was really cool, Lisa, is I got to pick the narrator in the audio version of The Henna Artist, and she was so good that she took us all the way to the New York Times on the audio book list as well. Now I wanted her to also narrate The Secret Keeper, but in The Secret Keeper, we have three different points of view. We have narrators that are changing from Lakshmi to Malek to Nimmi, who is Malek’s love interest. So now I have three different narrators, and the same narrator who narrated for Lakshmi is coming back in the audio version of The Secret Keeper as Lakshmi, but then I needed to hire two other ones–or I needed to actually select. Harper Collins actually, you know, hires them, but I just needed to select who was going to be Malek’s voice and who was going to be Nimmi’s voice. And I listened to a whole bunch of audition tapes in order to determine who was going to play who, so this audio book has turned out just great also. And I’m so excited, so that if people, you know, want to be traveling while they listened to the book, or if they want to be exercising while they listened to the book, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is available also on a Libro FM, and they are featuring it–Libro FM is featuring it as their June selection–or as their May book selection–so it would be wonderful if people also ordered from Libro FM. 

Lisa Niver: Yeah. There’s so many things, and so there’s so much excitement, I’m just really–I’m so inspired by you. And I just want to offer you the most giant congratulations that you really built this whole empire of this trilogy and the TV series during what, for many people, has been the most challenging, difficult, uncertain time. That you’ve used this as a platform to reach out to well over 400 book groups. If people want to invite you to their book group, are you still going out to book groups? I mean, digitally, but are you still available? 

Alka Joshi: Contact me at Alkajoshi.com. What could be easier? Instagram is a big way in which people DM me for book clubs, and that is always really fun. And of course, I’ve been teaching a lot of workshops, you know, on how you transition from just a sort of a homespun writer to becoming a published writer. So that is really exciting for me. And then I think just connecting with people like you, Lisa, has been such a good part of this journey. It’s been so rewarding to meet people like you, and you’re coming out with your own memoir, which I’m very excited about because you’re going to write about your travels. So many people are dying to travel right now, but I think we’re all still a little wary of going forward and putting ourselves in any kind of danger. So I think that reading your memoir is going to help people maybe travel in a way digitally or, you know, through a book that they won’t be able to travel physically to. 

Lisa Niver: Yes. Well, I hopefully from your mouth to the pen of a literary agent who wants to sign me, that would be a great success since I finished the book proposal. (laughter) So it’s–but I do remember writing to you after I read your book and you were so kind, just like you said earlier in this interview,  that you’ve really written to people and you’ve been so generous with your time. And I imagine your family really appreciates all of your Indian food recipes and the gardening, and that you’ve, you know, created this world for us to walk in. But also there’s so many things we can take away about, like you said, how fiction helps us think, how we can live differently. 

Alka Joshi: Yeah. You know, my dad is such a big fan–of me. (laughter) Which is as it should be, right? You know, our parents should be big fans of us. And every couple of days he will write to me and say, “I am so proud of you. You know, I just saw that, you know, on your Instagram—” You know, he follows me on Instagram. He follows me on Facebook. He’s so hilarious. And you know, he’s always telling his friends about me. So he’ll forward messages that he receives from his friends saying, “I just read your daughter’s book and I really get it.” And so he’ll forward those too. I mean, he’s just, he’s adorable. He’s 89. And I’m so glad that one of my parents lived to see what I wrote about India and about these Indian characters, that’s been very meaningful to me as well. But I think, Lisa, you know, you have a generosity of spirit also. I think that one of the best things we can do in a thing like a pandemic or any kind of obstacle that we face in life is to really look at everything. We already have all that gratitude that we need to keep in mind about. Okay. You know what? I have my house, or I have my books, or I have my spirit or have my creativity, or I have legs and I can move around in my neighborhood. I can say hello to people–even if from a distance–or I can say hello to them on Zoom. I can get involved in activities. I can learn a new craft. There’s so many different things that people can do during a time like this. And I think that you and I understand what it is to then acknowledge that, all the great things that we have in our lives. And I really do think that it helps us move forward. 

Lisa Niver: Yes. Well, that was very beautiful. This has been such an honor to spend this time with you. I wish you only the most incredible continued success. I hope that everyone buys The Henna Artist. If they haven’t already read it, definitely read that. And pre-order The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. I mean, it sounds like you should get the book and the audio book, that’s going to be so good. And then I can’t wait till we can have a launch party and watch the TV series. 

Lisa Niver and Alka Joshi for this interview May 2021

Alka Joshi: Okay. You’re on Lisa. 

Lisa Niver:  No, maybe we’ll actually be able to be in the same room.

Alka Joshi: Yeah, someday. (laughter) And then you’ll get to see all the fabulous pajamas down below here.

Lisa Niver: The magic of Zoom. Thank you. Thank you so much for being here with me.

Alka Joshi: Thank you. Bye bye everybody.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel