Publishers believe pretty faces sell more books. Which is why the author picture on the back cover is paid more attention to at times than the content of a book. Which is not to say Shruti Sharma’s debut novel Abyss to Abyss is not interesting between the covers. It’s a good-hearted story of a girl stuck in a bad marriage who still believes in the power of dreams. Millennium Post had a quick tête-à-tête with Sharma. Read on…This being your debut book, how much of you is in protagonist Ria? Most writers end up making their first book autobiographical. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’This book is a work of fiction. But I think there is a little bit of Ria in all of us. Her character is very real, she does stupid things, she has fears like any one of us, she cries, she gets excited, she has her gloomy moments. At the same time she also embodies someone who has the courage to go beyond the boundaries, yes she is scared but she challenges herself and dares to explore the unknown which I think is admirable and inspiring. Ria goes through an arranged marriage and moves to US with a stranger. You live abroad. How prevalent is arranged marriage among NRIs today? Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixI think it’s very common for guys here to get married to girls from India. In general, it’s so common for professionals here to just fly to India for 15 days, meet girls and then just marry one of them. I live in Silicon Valley and most Indian girls that I have met here were here because of arranged marriage. Here is the sad part, not many are happily married. And even more sad? No one talks about it. They choose to live through it because they are scared. And I think a lot of this is cultural. It’s embedded subconsciously that once you are married you got to make it work…which is twisted because people should not be together if they are not meant to be together. I am not saying that all the marriages that are arranged are bad, what I am saying is that not very often do the girls (in bad marriages) take a decision of saying ‘You know what I am not going to put up with this crap anymore.’ In this novel, Ria recognises that sticking along in a bad marriage is wrong. And in the end everything turns out just fine and that’s the message I wanted to convey. That people in bad marriages should not think that it’s the end. Pursue your dreams what may be…The universe guides you.Every character in my book is telling a story and it has a deeper meaning. Ria seems to be all good. Do you think you could have painted her a little more grey?I think she does a lot of ‘wrong’. She does her fair share of ‘stupid’ things. She kept thinking her husband Jay would change then she chased Tanishq in desperate hope to find love so she wasn’t all that good. I painted her naive, that’s a color too. What prompted you to write a book?I grew up seeing my mom who has authored many books and I always wanted to write one. The timing was just right, professionally I had met all my goals so I thought of pursuing my long time dream of writing a novel. Why an e-book? There are takers for ebooks in the West, in India it is trend yet to catch upPaperback is also available through Amazon , Author House website and Barnes & Noble. Right now my publisher told me that the distribution channels (US based) will be able to sell the books internationally as well. Link: http://amzn.to/1sRRfZ8 What next for you? Plot of the next book in mind?Next book? I have a story in my mind but it’s very embryonic, again it’s going to be the one that can leave some sort of a message in the hearts of those who read the book. Did you have a specific readership in mind when you started writing?Mostly everyone but I think girls, who have been or are going through a rough relationship/ marriage will be able to relate to it. I hope this story can inspire people.