Praveen Asthana’s debut novel ‘The Woman in the Movie Star Dress’ was published at the end of last year, with the paperback coming out in January. Praveen contacted me as he was interested in being interviewed for my blog. I found the idea for his book so fascinating I just had to know more.
Can you tell me a bit about your book please?
“What if you borrowed someone’s clothes and when you wore them, their personality transferred on to you?” That’s the premise behind this magical realism mystery set in Hollywood.
The Woman in the Movie Star Dress is the story of a young Native American woman who comes to Hollywood to escape her past. She finds work in a vintage store that sells clothes used in the movies. One day she discovers a way to transfer human character through these vintage clothes and uses this ability to search for love, identity and mooring. But the threads of her past intervene like trip wires and complicate her quest, forcing her to look within her soul to understand who she really is.
The idea that wearing someone else’s clothes can lead to their personality
transferring on to you is absolutely fascinating. Do you think this can really happen?
Well anything is possible–we don’t fully understand the physics of how our chi is connected with the universe so we can’t rule it out absolutely. Certainly, you can see how it can be possible from a psychological perspective–i.e. if I put on someone else’s clothes and believe that personality has transferred then I might trick my mind into acting like that other person. I’d also like to add that the belief that personality can transfer from clothing is present in many cultures, even in modern America: Pat Robertson, the famous Christian evangelist, warned publicly a couple of years ago that ‘there might be demons in those Salvation Army clothes’ so be careful what used clothes you wear!
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me about 9 months. I had the idea almost ten years ago, but didn’t get serious about writing it till recently.
Are you pleased with what you have been able to achieve?
Yes! My greatest pleasure is learning that most of the readers who have read the book liked it and found it very entertaining. As a writer you never know if the elements of suspense, emotion, and pacing that you work to put in the book will actually work for the reader. When they do, it’s a great feeling.
Would you like to see your book made into a movie?
I certainly would. The book is about Hollywood noir after all, which is perfect for a movie.
What are you working on now?
I have started working on a novel about a man who fights oil well fires here in Texas. The theme is ‘there are some flames you can never put out,’ which applies not just to the oil fires but to a love affair from his past that has returned to haunt him.
Where do you usually do your writing?
I have a very nice sun room overlooking a forest. It’s perfect for writing. But sometimes, when traveling, I take advantage of long plane flights and airport waiting rooms.
Describe a day in your life.
It is important to write every day. So I get up very early, get dressed and then write. I still have a full time job so at some point I have to put on my work face and go to the office. Evenings, when I get back, are for research or for marketing my current book (which is a lot of work).
About Praveen Asthana
Praveen Asthana has been writing since the age of twelve when he started banging away on his dad’s Olivetti. He grew up in Ethiopia and Zambia where he learned the art of oral storytelling, which he incorporates in his writing. He has lived in many countries across the globe, but calls Austin, Texas his home. He writes both fiction and non-fiction. He has won awards for his fiction and his non-fiction has appeared in many leading publications such as Forbes and Spectrum.
‘The Woman in the Movie Star Dress’ is available to buy on Amazon:-