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Kathleen Basi 0:01
Welcome to Author Express. Thanks for checking us out. This is the podcast where you give us 15 minutes of your time and we give you a chance to hear the voice behind the pages and get to know some of your favorite writers in a new light. I'm one of your hosts, Kathleen Basi. I'm an award winning musical composer, a feature writer, essayist, and of course storyteller. Let me tell you a little bit about today's guest.
Kathleen Basi 0:31
Geeta Schrayter, is a lifelong Connecticut resident who writes women's fiction and finds inspiration from the magic in the every day. Most of her book ideas take place in New England, except for her current project, which plot twist takes readers to India and she loves sharing snippets of her Yankee life on Instagram. A reformed reporter and an extroverted introvert. When she's not writing or mentally working through plot holes, Geeta likes to spend time with her family, read, run, travel, bake and connect with other bibliophiles. Welcome to Author Express, Geeta.
Geeta Schrayter 1:04
Hi, thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.
Kathleen Basi 1:07
Well, we're excited to have you. So, let's start out by getting to know a little bit about where you're from. Tell us the most interesting thing about that place.
Geeta Schrayter 1:13
Sure. I feel like it's hard to choose because I make it known that I love living in New England and Connecticut our little baby state. But I did try to think of a couple of facts that are sort of related to writing and reading. So, here we go. It was home to both Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe who were neighbors, and it's always fun to visit both of their houses in Hartford. It was also home to Noah Webster of Webster's dictionary. And we're home to the oldest continually running newspaper, The Hartford Courant.
Kathleen Basi 1:41
Oh, that's interesting. And you and I have something in common there because Mark Twain was a boy near where I grew up, because I'm not too far from Hannibal, Missouri.
Geeta Schrayter 1:50
I love that. A little connection. My husband, and I always joke that we can tell who like, the true Mark Twain fans are, because it will drop in conversation like, Oh, I love those books by Samuel Clemens. And we're talking.
Kathleen Basi 2:04
That's right. Yeah, we took our kids up to Hannibal a few years ago and the entire town. It's like, it exists for Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens. But if you ever get a chance to go there, you should. But this is not about Hannibal, this is about you. So, let's move on to that. Tell us what's your earliest memory.
Geeta Schrayter 2:20
My earliest memory. That's a good one, I have actually a lot more come to me, the more I think of it. But two that really stick out are, we lived sort of in a pretty country town. And I have a memory of myself outside in the summer barefoot, picking raspberries from bushes that lines our yard. And then similarly, I can recall sitting on this big stone that we had sticking out of the yard with my sister and her little porcelain tea set that she had. And we used to pick wild mint leaves, seep them in her little porcelain tea cup with warm tea and sit in the backyard and like, just I don't know who we pretended we were but little wild children.
Kathleen Basi 3:03
With raspberries, I would hope.
Geeta Schrayter 3:05
Yeah, on the side. So,
Kathleen Basi 3:06
fresh raspberries are one of life's great beauties.
Geeta Schrayter 3:09
They really are so good.
Kathleen Basi 3:11
Let's move into talking a little bit about your book, which is called, Reaching Riverdale. Tell us where this book is set and what the importance of that setting is.
Geeta Schrayter 3:18
Yeah, absolutely. So, Reaching Riverdale is set in New England. And as I already said, I love it here. It was actually inspired one summer when I was taking a family trip to Vermont and sort of just struggling with how much I loved it there where it's so rural, and then how much I also love city life in a way. So, the main characters dilemma of like, where do I belong was actually born there. So, it's like, a love story to New England. But also just I feel like, a lot of people who grow up in smaller towns do tend to struggle with that at some point in their lives. And sometimes you leave. And sometimes you don't realize this, but I feel like, more often than not, you realize that the town you grew up in, where there's like, all those simple things that are treasured, and those connections you have with people like, to miss it and appreciate it more.
Kathleen Basi 4:04
Yeah, that resonates. I'm from a small town. I don't get back there very much anymore. It does seem like, the movement is away from the small town in the rural and yet in the books, so many books are set in small towns.
Geeta Schrayter 4:16
Yeah, like, is there, there feel like there has to be some lessons to learn there.
Kathleen Basi 4:21
Well, I remember going home with my parents. I grew up in the country. So, but in, we were in town for something and it was evening and I looked up and I could see stars. And that was, a lot of stars, not just like, a couple stars, like, you know, when Jupiter is really bright, but like a lot of stars. And we were standing right in the center of town and it was, that was kind of a, oh, this is lovely. It was so quiet.
Geeta Schrayter 4:45
Yeah, absolutely. I love a good star sky.
Kathleen Basi 4:47
Geeta Schrayter 4:47
there's a scene in my book where they're sitting under, lying under a starry sky.
Kathleen Basi 4:51
A romantic scene?
Geeta Schrayter 4:52
A romantic scene. Yeah, riverside, starry skies. Yeah.
Kathleen Basi 4:56
Sounds wonderful. So, when did you first come up with the idea for this book?
Geeta Schrayter 5:01
I was still in high school, like, toward the end of high school. And then I wrote it throughout college. And it's funny because afterwards, I had a professor reach out to me. And she basically said, I read your book, and I loved it. And now I understand why so many of your papers were late, like, your time was better, because I was so bad with like, procrastinating. But half of that was just like, yeah, I wanted to be working on like, fiction, but also, maybe this is probably a really bad mentality. But I knew that if I wrote my papers, like, a day or two late, I would still get a decent grade because writing has alwaus been my thing. So, I ended procrastinating on that.
Kathleen Basi 5:42
Oh, that is funny. You and I have a lot in common, but that is not one of the things
Geeta Schrayter 5:49
I need to learn from you then.
Kathleen Basi 5:52
Okay, so, let's talk a little bit about the writing process and journey for you. What's one thing that you wish you'd known sooner about getting a novel published other than your time was better spent writing fiction?
Geeta Schrayter 6:03
Okay, maybe not to let your excitement like, jump in, you know, to not leap before you look, right? That's the saying. Yeah, that's a good one, you know, like, pause when you get excited about something that it just be like, yes, to the first yes, kind of a thing. And there's wisdom to be had in that whole, like, take a day or so before you make a big decision, kind of a thing?
Kathleen Basi 6:23
Hmm. Okay, so, now I have to dig into that a little bit more. Because are you talking about decisions that you would make about taking a contract versus not taking contract going self published versus trying for traditional? Or are you thinking more in terms of the story level and what your characters are doing?
Geeta Schrayter 6:39
Yes. I mean, you could say that applies to all of the above. In this particular instance, it has to do with signing a contract and like, going forward, because we all want that. Yes. So much that you get it and you could just be like, that isn't I'm going with it. But maybe you shouldn't, you should think about it.
Kathleen Basi 7:00
Yeah, well, that's an important thing. Because once you sign the contract, you are going forward on that path, and that it's going to direct a lot of what you're doing.
Geeta Schrayter 7:08published a second edition in:
Kathleen Basi 7:49
Oh, yeah. How interesting. Yeah, closure is such a big thing.
Geeta Schrayter 7:53
Kathleen Basi 7:54
For all of us. Yeah. So, you said that you had always known that you were a writer. So, who encouraged you the most when you were younger?
Geeta Schrayter 8:03
Well, I'd have to say my mom because it was due in part to my upbringing. I was homeschooled until fourth grade and what came with that was just this freedom to spend my days reading and just pondering and picking those raspberries and making that tea and just, I mean, so that really allowed my imagination to grow, I think and those trips to the libraries. I don't remember a time when I wasn't walking home with like, arm loads of library books. I don't know why I didn't bring a backpack but I'm just carrying arm loads and dropping them.
Kathleen Basi 8:34
That's totally my kids.
Geeta Schrayter 8:36
Yeah, and just like sitting in my room and just reading for days. I feel like, and emerging to eat and then going back to it and so her creating that environment where that was allowed to happen. I feel like, what definitely inspired me to where I then started wanting to make those stories as well.
Kathleen Basi 8:53
Oh, that's really beautiful. Well, so let's start kind of wrapping things up here. Tell us where's the best place for people to find you online?
Geeta Schrayter 9:02
That would definitely be on Instagram. I do not have the attention or time to try to master all of social media avenues even though sometimes I feel like I should. So, I have TikTok, I have Twitter but I'm definitely most active on Instagram and my handle there is, @Geetawrites.
Kathleen Basi 9:20
@Geetawrites. Fantastic. Okay, so, in closing, we want to end today by asking you what book or story inspires you the most. You have, obviously many, many to choose from over your years of reading. So, tell us which one stands out to you?
Geeta Schrayter 9:33
I don't know why I feel like, this is cliche now because so many people that I know personally say this is their favorite but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.
Kathleen Basi 9:41
What is not to love about Pride and Prejudice?
Geeta Schrayter 9:43
You know, I just can't help myself like, I remember, I actually watched the BBC version before I read the book. Like, I walked in and saw my mom watching it and I remember being transfixed like, what is the story all about? And then I got the book and now I have friends who have given, I have like, four different copies of it. Like, yeah, I just love it. That's my favorite fiction book. Glennon Doyle's, Untamed and Liz Gilbert's, Big Magic, inspired me creatively. You don't have to give a nod to Nora Roberts because I feel like, people don't talk about her as much. But so many of my summers were devouring Nora Roberts books like, as a teenager like, path number two, my mom and my sister and myself. That has to inspire me also.Kathleen Basi:
That's awesome. And I love that you could not pick one and that you just had to tell us that they just kept pouring out of you. That's fantastic.Geeta Schrayter:
I could just keep doing that right for like, 20 minutes. I feel like, that's the hardest question. And like, the most unfair question to ask an avid reader and a writer.Kathleen Basi:
It is.Geeta Schrayter:
Like, if someone tell you without a doubt, this is the book. And that's it, forever. I'm like, I don't know how I do it. Because I mean, do you mean my favorite when I was like, 10 to 15? My favorite now? For me, that is an impossible question.Kathleen Basi:
Right. Well, and, and I hear that a lot from people, from writers. We end with this question with everyone and everybody's like, what? You want me to pick one? So,Geeta Schrayter:
I'm sorry, that's cheating. But, those were my answers, plural.Kathleen Basi:
Yes. Well, you know what, we are writers. We are meant to lift each other up and to be excited about books. So, I will take it.Geeta Schrayter:
Yeah. So will I.Kathleen Basi:
Thank you so much for being with us today, Geeta. It was lovely having you.Geeta Schrayter:
Thank you and I look forward to hearing more about where you're from and our similarities next time.Kathleen Basi:
Yes. Thanks for joining us today. We hope you'll take a second to give us some stars or a review on your favorite podcasting platform. We'll be back next Wednesday. And in the meantime, follow us on Instagram, at Author Express podcast to see who's coming up next. Don't forget, keep it express but keep it interesting.