Author Interview with Suspense-Thriller Novelist, Jass Aujla.
Next Of Twin, the debut novel from Jass Aujla, is a suspense-thriller. In the highly praised novel,two sisters separated at birth reunite in their 30s. Anjali is a successful business owner, married to a lawyer, Riah makes her living as a con artist and is envious of her sister's life. One wants freedom, while the other wants money. Seeing an opportunity, Riah attempts to pull one final lucrative con. Will she succeed?
Jass Aujla is a Canadian South Asian author of suspense-thriller fiction. When she isn’t working on one of her suspense novels, she can be found writing poetry on Twitter & Instagram. Her micro-fiction and poetry have appeared in a multitude of anthology publications. In this exclusive Writer’s Life interview, Jass tells us about her book and her life.
Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Punjab, India, and raised in Canada from age two. I loved reading from a young age—losing myself to books helped me escape the harsh realities of a difficult childhood and being in a constant tug-a-war between two cultures. However, being raised by Punjabi first-generation immigrant parents who struggled to provide my siblings and me with a good life, I learned nothing comes without hard work.
When did you start writing? Is this your first novel?
When I wrote my first action-packed mystery book about a cat, a kidnapping, and two rebellious kids who try to save the day... my soul came alive! What started as an elementary school project at eight became my destiny. My creation landed me a seat at a Young Writer’s Conference that year, and I even went on a classroom-to-classroom book tour promoting my prize-winning book. The only hardcover fifteen-paged (including illustrations) copy may or may not still exist in the Shaughnessy Park Elementary School library.
From there, I studied creative writing throughout high school and as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto. I later earned a Certificate in Creative Writing from the School of Continuing Studies @ UofT. Currently, I’m a member of the Canadian Authors Association, and a Professional Author Member of the Crime Writers of Canada.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, my micro-fiction and poetry pieces have been featured in several anthology publications worldwide. And, I’m thrilled to be releasing my debut novel, Next of Twin.
What was the impetus for writing Next of Twin?
Although my relationship with writing has been a series of convergences and divergences, it is an unwavering thread in my existence. Poetry has served as an outlet to process my emotions; however, my lifelong dream has been to write a novel. Next of Twin began as a ten-page submission for a Writing Retreat that I attended in Italy in late 2018, and those ten pages grew into a full-fledged first draft by June 2019. Ninety percent of the first draft was written during my daily train commute from the suburbs to work in the city of Toronto.
How would you describe the book?
Next of Twin is a suspense thriller about identical twin sisters Anjali Murphy and Riah Arora who are reunited in their thirties after being separated at birth, only to find themselves caught up in a deadly con game that tests the fine line between sisterly loyalty and rivalry.
I would describe my debut novel, Next of Twin, as an engaging escapist read with a fast-paced plot and story twists that will keep you guessing about “who did it”. However, without giving too much of the plot away, I do want to disclose that some scenes are sensitive and may trigger survivors of domestic abuse.
My advance copy readers have shared that they felt my novel was hard-to-put-down, a real page turner, and has the true potential to be a “Netflix” series. (You can read more praises for Next of Twin on my author website — Praise – Jass Aujla).
What surprised you most about the writing process?
What surprised me the most about the writing process was how long the editing phase of my novel took in comparison to how long it took for me to write the first draft. I spent almost two and a half grueling years in the editing phase in contrast to the year or so I spent writing the first draft of Next of Twin. However, I’m grateful for the extra time I spent during the editing process because I have an end product that I am ever so proud of. (Although, I will admit . . . this is why I secretly love writing micro-stories and poetry on Twitter, because you can write, edit, publish a satisfying work of art within minutes—check out my author account @byJassAujla).
What would you like the readers to take away from reading your book?
There’s a duality to this story, with an overarching “good vs. bad” theme—both externally for the twins and within. In a way, they each become their own worst enemy as they get to know each other, similar to ourselves in “real” life.
I want the reader to feel engaged in the book, forget their own reality, and get lost in the story. I want them to be able to relate to Riah and Anjali’s dilemmas and root for each one of them. By the last page, I hope that the reader feels satisfied that this novel was worth the hours they spent reading—in a way like going out for a nice dinner or seeing an enjoyable movie—perhaps a good read that you may recommend to a friend or family!
Do you have any other books in the pipeline?
Much like when I first started writing Next of Twin, I have several ideas steeping in my brain, but I know eventually my mind will organically settle on one concept. Right now, I’m leaning towards another suspense-thriller, however this one will likely have a more ethereal quality to it. To learn more about me, visit: jassaujla.com and/or follow me on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok @byJassAujla.
Connect with the author: https://www.instagram.com/byjassaujla/