Unveiling the World of Veena Nagpal: Stories, Passion, and Inspiration

Hi, Mili here. And I am back with a new interview. This interview today is by a profound Indian author Veena Nagpal.

Meet Veena Nagpal, a small but mighty author! She fiercely guards her writing time but puts her family first. Her latest book is “The Indian Café in London,” her fifth novel. She’s also written “Radius 200” and other novels, plus four children’s books that teach about the environment.

Veena has a successful career in advertising and corporate communication. She loves to travel, try new foods, paint, and take care of her little garden in Noida, near New Delhi.

Mili: Our audience may already be familiar with you, but for those who might not know you well, could you please introduce yourself in your own words.

Veena: Eighty-one years old, I am tiny but fierce when it comes to guarding my ‘me’ time specially my writing time. I have this obsessive compulsion – I cannot not write. I have had five novels and four books for children published. I live in Noida with one husband and hundred and one plants.

Mili: What inspired the unique narrative style in your novel “The Indian Café in London”? Without revealing too much, I’m curious about the creative process behind blending these elements in your story.

Veena: Every writer aims at developing a unique style of his or her own. Thank you for terming mine, ‘distinguished’. When you ask how I came up with blending ‘such things’ I assume you are referring to the foodie facts and recipes.

I think that was just a natural outcome of my protagonist’s character.

A wannabe chef as obsessed with food as Akhil is, would definitely keep a food journal. Without it, my character would not have been true to life, and as I said earlier, for me, characters are the most important element of storytelling.

Mili: The narrative seems to shift focus between the three protagonists, Jamila, Akhil, and Puru, with varying degrees of character development. Can you discuss the decision to structure the story this way and how it impacted the overall reading experience?

Veena: For me characters are the most important element of storytelling – every other element is subservient to this.

I read somewhere that when you sit down to create something – a painting, a piece of music or a novel – the whole world sits with you. As you get immersed in your work, one by one every one leaves and you are alone with your work. Then you, too, leave. That is the moment when creativity happens.

With every novel I write, I spend months on research; but after that I like to leave my characters free to roam where their spirit wills. I wait for them to tell me their story. With The Indian Café in London, the three characters were literally telling me their story in their own words. I was just acting as a scribe.

I needed to show case the multiple perspectives that I was being fed, and I think the kind of parallel structuring I used, helped me do that.

Mili: Akhil’s character is praised as one of the best-developed in the novel. How does his journey from a somewhat timid individual to someone willing to challenge his strict father resonate with the themes of identity and self-discovery in the story?

Veena: Yes, The Indian Cafe in London, is a chronicling of self-discovery of all three characters. Akhil, being the protagonist, gets to showcase his journey more vividly than the others.
It’s never easy being the son of a military hero specially a General. For Akhil it is doubly difficult because of his ‘bloody bawarchi’ career choice.

But, sooner or later, a man has to grow beyond his father and find himself. ICIL is all about Akhil’s struggle to do that. Of course, he lucks out in his mentor, Khanu, who plays a major role in his growth. One Amazon reviewer, I remember, wished she had had a Khanu in her life!

Mili: The character of Jamila undergoes a significant change with an abrupt religious decision in the second half of the book. How did this change impact your perception of her character, and do you feel it was in line with her previously established personality?

Veena: A closer analysis, I think, will reveal that what seems an abrupt religious decision is, in fact, just a gradual realisation on Jamila’s part, of her true identity – that of a ‘Fauji’.
A typical ‘fauji’ kid, Jamila grew up in an atmosphere where discipline was paramount and religious lines were blurred.

Although a headstrong, ebullient girl, the circumstances of her growing years – a cuckolding mother and a father who died too early – left her floundering in uncertainties, unsure of what she wanted of life.

Though Yusuf’s entry in her life is as appealing to her as ‘chewing on her toe nails’, she is so physically attracted to him that it makes her vulnerable to his extremist views…
Until an oft read letter from her father, acts as the anchoring left foot of a Sufi dancer, and she regains her balance, realises her true fauji identity. So, no, her decision is not really so abrupt.

Mili: As we near the conclusion of our interview, could you share with us your top five favorite books and the reasons why they hold a special place in your heart?

Veena: I think we are living in very exciting times when literature is seeing so much experimentation and innovative thinking, in every aspect of storytelling. I have very eclectic tastes in reading, veering more towards literary fiction. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint just 5 books, but here goes:

All the Light We Cannot See and Gentleman in Moscow for the sheer pleasure of enjoying beautiful prose.

Flowers for Algernon for its gripping and thought provoking theme

Lincoln in the Bardo for its extraordinarily original rendering of a not so extraordinary theme.

The heart breaking Shuggie Bains.

Solar Bones for its brave experimentation in style; stream of consciousness with almost no punctuation, no paras no chapters – a single sentence running for 200 pages.

I have also thoroughly enjoyed A Man Called Ove, Eleanor Oliphant is absolutely Fine; Book Thief and oh, so many more.

Like I said we readers are living in exciting times!

Mili: Final question: Is there an author or a specific book that had a profound impact on your life?

Veena: I have always been a voracious reader and books have definitely played a major role in shaping me but no, I don’t think there is any one author who changed my life.
If anything did ‘change my life’, perhaps it was my mother admonishing a ten-year-old me to stop reading ’story’ books and concentrate on studies. Maybe that’s when I stubbornly decided that if I was forbidden to read stories, I’d write my own!


As we wrap up our conversation with Veena Nagpal, we’ve delved into the fascinating world of her writing, the inspiration behind her distinctive narrative style, and the authors who’ve shaped her journey. It’s clear that her passion for storytelling knows no bounds, and we look forward to more captivating tales from this talented author in the future. Thank you for sharing your insights, Veena, and for inspiring us with your words!

To read more about the book, click HERE.

Buy the Book Here




51 thoughts on “Unveiling the World of Veena Nagpal: Stories, Passion, and Inspiration”

  1. It must have been exciting to interview such an interesting author! Thank you for the introduction to her and her work.

  2. I will have to pick this book up. It sounds like a wonderful one. I need to also add the books she listed as some of her faves!

  3. Man, she is a little spitfire. I have to check out her books. I’m interested to see her distinguished writing style, as you put it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful interview with this accomplished author. I am feeling inspired to check out some of her books.

  5. What a wonderful interview. I’m always excited to learn more about other authors. I need to check out some of those top favorite books.

  6. This is a very detailed and interesting interview. It sounds like Veena is an extremely accomplished author and has a good range of books for adults and children under her belt. I must look out for her books.

  7. The Indian Cafe in London sounds like a delightful book. It’s interesting how she explained the idea behind the characters and what inspired her. I like her book suggestions too!

  8. I love that she writes children’s books about the environment. Awareness is so important in that area for our children. Interesting too that she may have started writing since you couldn’t keep reading! I think being an author would be such a wonderful profession.

  9. Marie Cris Angeles

    Reading this makes me more interested in MIli’s story. She sounds like so incredible and amazing woman.

  10. Great interview, Mili! I enjoyed Veena’s thoughts on today’s literature. She’s so right that we are living in very exciting times with so much experimentation and innovative thinking.

  11. a fascinating journey through the life and work of an inspiring individual. This blog beautifully captures the essence of her stories, passion, and the inspiration she brings to the world.

  12. With a portfolio of five novels and four children’s books, her literary talent shines brightly. Beyond the realm of writing, her successful ventures in advertising and corporate communication are equally impressive. Veena’s zest for life, from her passion for travel and culinary exploration to her artistic pursuits and gardening in Noida, paints a vivid picture of a dynamic and creative spirit. At eighty-one, she’s proof that the love for storytelling knows no age boundaries, living harmoniously with her husband and a lush collection of plants. Truly an inspiring and vibrant personality!

  13. The interview is just amazing wow…She is awesome with a ton of experience. Thank you so much for the interview, I love it.

  14. Fabulous and in-depth conversation with the author. It’s inspiring to hear from their perspective what goes into creating a novel. The books sounds quite captivating as well. Thank you for sharing this interview with us!

  15. It was a pleasure to have this interview with you, and I greatly appreciate you sharing it with us. I am looking forward to reading her book

  16. What a great interview. I love reading about Veena Nagpal journey, Congrats on her 5th novel what a great accomplishment. I love that no matter what she puts her family first!

    1. Sorry Olga, my children’s books were written and published specifically for school environment projects and never put out in the open market.
      But do read my Radius 200, a Cli-fi novel

  17. Sounds like a wonderful book. I can see how a good author becomes completely absorbed in the writing process. I think this book would be a lovely story to read.

  18. Jennifer L Prince

    I love that she lives such a vibrant life at 81! This is a fabulous interview, and thank you for highlighting her.

  19. First and foremost, I am truly totally inspired by Veena!! and even more determined to pursue writing after reading this interview..
    Second, will be looking for her books (starting with the featured one here)..

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