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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author Interview: Shuchi Singh Kalra, author of 'Done With Men'

Done With Men’ is a fun book to read on an easy day. It does not give you advice - free or otherwise. But it still has a few tips. Especially, the advice to the new writers.

Set a routine, write a few words every day and FINISH that first draft. Don’t waste time on fancy words and expressions when you are writing – just let the story flow. You can edit and pimp it up later’ says the author. You can look for My Review right here and also Buy the Book here.

Read on so you can know a little more about Shuchi Singh Kalra in this Interview…  
How did ‘Done With Men’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

‘Done With Men’ was a stroke of destiny. Naheed Hassan, the founder of Indireads had approached me sometime in late 2011 to work for them as an editor. We got talking and then she suggested that I write a book, a chick lit to be precise, because she believed I had the voice for it.  Before I could make sense of things, the contract was signed and I was on my way to becoming an author.

The interesting part was that I had signed the book contract even before I had a synopsis of the story! I really have to thank Naheed for having so much faith in me. I always wanted to become an author but I never thought my journey would begin this way.

How did the story, especially Kairavi’s come about? Did you have a lot of personal experiences to go with it?

A friend of mine was telling me about her sister who had gone on a vacation after a breakup and had landed up in the hospital injured – that sparked off the idea and I thought it could make for an interesting story. As for the title, I saw a random tweet by someone who wrote “I’m so done with men” and I realized that so many women (me included) have gone though that post-breakup phase when we say “I’m done with men” only to go falling in love all over again.

It is not merely a phrase, but a feeling that most women actually experience at some point in their lives. Since it encapsulated the essence of my story so well, I decided to weave it into the narrative and use it as the title too.

What according to you is different about your book?

I wouldnt say that DWM is “different” in terms of story and theme but it is a book written straight from the heart. I had a lot of fun writing this story and I think that comes through in the book. People who have read the book have absolutely loved the characters.

There have also been some kickass reviews likening my writing to that of Sophie
Kinsella and Helen Fielding (*celebrity eye roll*). On a whole, it’s just a fun book that you’d want to relax with on a vacation or after a hard day. Just leave your brains on the side table and don’t expect any intellectual stimulation!

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives today? Any similarities?

Though the characters are completely fictitious they are 100% relatable. There is a good chance that you have someone like Kanjoos Kapil or Bindass Baani in your friend circle. Ss for Kay, she is so real that she could easily be one of us.

She is the quintessential modern, urban, working girl who anybody could relate to. She loves to travel and is a writer. Like any single girl her age, she is has her own wonky ideas of romance and is clumsy enough to land into trouble at the drop of a hat.  Many of her personality traits are borrowed from people I know. 

What was the most challenging part about writing ‘Done with Men’?

I had tremendous fun writing ‘Done With Men’ and I cant think of any parts that were particulrly challenging. However, the marketing and publicity activities close to the book’s launch really had me flustered.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?

I have had that author itch for as long as I can remember and my first attempt at writing a novel was when I was ten years old. Every time I would go to a bookstore, I would imagine a book with my name on the cover sitting on the shelves. Now that things are on a roll, it all feels very surreal!

When will you next book be out?

I am working on multiple projects at the moment and I’m not sure which one will hit the shelves first. There is a sequel to DWM in the pipeline, another yet-to-be-named rom-com and a story about a small-town housewife who is struggling to find her identity.
Which book are you currently reading?

‘The Mind Readers’ by Lori Brighton.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

There are just too many! I have been a voracious reader since childhood and I never missed a chance to bury myself in a book. From the Bronte Sisters to Enid Blyton, and Shakespeare to Sophie Kinsella, I’ve lapped them all up. I believe that my writing style carries the influence of all the authors I have read till date.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

Being a mom to a toddler takes up most of my time. – I try and finish off my writing work when she is at school. Evenings are mostly family time when we go for long walks or swimming. If I have some time to spare, you would probably find me in the kitchen baking something. I love the way the house smells when there is a batch of cookies or a loaf of bread in the oven.

What advice do you have for the young writers of today?

I am just one book old so I’m not sure if I am the right person to dole out advice, but I would just say that don’t wait for the perfect moment to write that book cooking in your head.

Set a routine, write a few words everyday and FINISH that first draft. Don’t waste time on fancy words and expressions when you are writing – just let the story flow. You can edit and pimp it up later.

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