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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Author Interview : Samah Visaria, author of ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’



Samah Visaria

Read up, the Interview with Samah Visaria, author of 'Encounters of a Fat Bride'. In this interview, she tells us, how the entire book came about, what gave her the idea of the ‘fat bride’ element, how she relates the lives of her characters to lives today, the most challenging and fulfilling parts of the story, which character she felt most close to, what she thought was different about her book, her favourite authors and books, and much more, Folks…

How did ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’ was one of many manuscripts I had been working on last year. It is one of the fastest stories I have written, and finding a publisher for it was easier than for any of my other work.

The journey has been fulfilling so far. Being a published author is any average aspiring writer’s dream and I feel blessed to have finally begun my journey as an author on such a high note.

What about the fat bride element? What gave you the idea?

As a writer I have many ideas for stories, and I maintain a list of topics that I update from time to time. This plot had been at the back of my mind for a while before I started writing, though I can’t pinpoint exactly what triggered it.

As a person I am observant of everything around me and for a while this arranged marriage process has had my attention. When I started writing the story I didn’t have a definite way to go about it, and developed the story on the way.

How much of ‘you’ was in it? Was it there at all?

Not much in particular. Maybe an incident or two would be from my life but the characters are not like me, at least not consciously.

What according to you is different about your book?

This is not an easy question to answer because there is a sea of books out there that I haven’t read. I’ll tell you what I like about my book. The book is easy to read. Some of my readers have finished it in one sitting.

So it’s a good option for those who are new to the world of reading. The language is simple. The story is relevant; it’s realistic so readers would connect with it automatically. It has the ability to make you laugh.

The idea behind the book was not to send a message but since it happens to do that, I take it as a plus point. Also, the cover is fantastic, won’t you agree? Haha!

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives of brides or fat brides today? Any similarities?
There are similarities. A woman’s appearance is a major deciding factor in an arranged marriage, as compared to her qualifications. If you think about the characters in the story you may find that you know at least one person in your life who seems similar to one of the characters.

Like there’s always someone in a person’s life who considers matchmaking their forte. We all know someone who is trying to lose weight for a wedding, don’t we? And someone who is trying to find love, someone who is going berserk, planning their wedding.

What were the most challenging and the most fulfilling parts about writing ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’?

Most fulfilling would easily be the fact that it has put me out there in the market as a published author. ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’ will always hold a special place in my heart, it is the beginning of my journey, and my innings with Penguin Books.

Most challenging part while writing the book was finding a comical voice to narrate a serious subject. Such a subject could be a very heavy and depressing read.

I can write the same story and sell it to you in a voice that will make you cry rather than laugh. The latter is tougher to write but easier to read.

However, there is another challenge with this book. Since the story tackles a number of serious subjects that are rampant in our current world people tend to make it a platform for change, and confuse the protagonist’s voice with my own as a person. They applaud me when my central character overcomes her ordeals and judge me when her imperfect side surfaces. It’s a challenge for me to be affected by neither.

Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?  

The protagonist is bound to be closest to me because I’ve spent a lot of time with her. But I love the grandmother. She’s so unpredictable and funny!

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

My mother and my husband have always believed I would make it, but there is a long way to go. I have achieved very little yet.

When will your next book be out?

I can’t comment on this yet. We’re working on it.
 
Agatha Christie
Sidney Sheldon
Which are your favourite books and why?

They keep changing from time to time. I tend to get obsessed with a book for a while until I find another good one.

But Sidney Sheldon’s books are my all-time favourites. I have started enjoying Agatha Christie. I love thrillers that keep me hooked for hours.

Who are your favourite authors and why?
Twinkle Khanna (Wikipedia)

I like that you’ve asked my favourite books and favourite authors separately. It makes sense. I won’t go with the term ‘favourite’. I’ll tell you the authors of the recent times I admire.

Durjoy Dutta (Twitter)
Amish, for changing my take on mythology; Twinkle Khanna for her humorous sass; Savi Sharma for her marketing prowess; Durjoy Datta for showing us what stardom a writer can achieve; Anuja Chauhan for her originality.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

During work hours I write fiction, I write articles, I research on marketing my books, I play solitaire and waste time on social media. Outside of work hours I read, exercise and watch shows on Netflix.

What advice do you have for young writers like yourself?

I have so much to learn that I still need advice! To answer your question, I would suggest aspiring writers to keep more than one manuscript ready before starting the process of finding a publisher.

Don’t approach publishers with a concept; approach them when you have the final product. Have patience and keep writing.


You can  Read the Review, too and Buy the Book, here as well.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review : ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’ by Samah Visaria



Encounters of a Fat Bride’ by Samah Visaria has its failings, but overall it’s not at all a bad read. It deals with issues of marriage like pressure to get married, not only from parents, but also friends and relatives, the apprehension with regard to one’s physique, and dowry, which it seems; we can never be rid of.

With the pressure of today’s worries like social media, it almost feels as if Madhurima Pandey, all of 25 years and 95 kilos can seemingly never marry. But she does find a job, in the midst of all the discussions and she has begun work. 

The topic was raised again and, because she does manage to get engaged. Harsh comes along, who seems alright. He does not have any recognizable faults, and seems decent. 

The faults, which Madhu looks for are impotency and homosexuality, due to the lack of interest and romance, which the guy possess. Meanwhile, her best friend gets married, and drunken calls are also made to Harsh, due to which she seems to get engaged in a hurry.

Hurry from the guy’s side, surprisingly! And also, the topic of dowry also began. A car was bought, with the plan to be given to the boy. Talks, between the parents seemed never to end. And so, the engagement is broken off by Madhu, when she does find out about the dowry.

Time moves on, and when one day, Madhu spots Harsh at the psychiatrist's. Now, surprisingly the doc is paid a visit, by Madhu and the ‘doctor client confidentiality’ does not really rise.

Will she still go ahead and marry Harsh? Do her loneliness and anxiety and all her issues with her own self, also come into focus? Does Madhu find out if there is anything wrong with herself and Harsh? Will the marriage take place?

The book does have a sense of humour. With its usual jokes on marriage and it’s over the top encounters, the book sure can make us laugh. It is also pretty straightforward. If not for the treatment of mental illness, the book could have been so much better.

You can Buy the Book, right here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review : 'Long Island Iced Tea' by Ram Kamal Mukherjee



Long Island Iced Tea’ is not a book of alcoholic drinks, as the name might suggest. This book contains Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s eight stories, written about diverse people in a variety of moods and at different times in their lives.

Some talk of producers, film actors, storytellers, journalists, while others talk of people growing up and how their lives change and more. It should be taken with a sip of a drink or even coffee, perhaps!

On the whole, it’s an odd book, if you are not in the mood for a particular subject or theme. The book has its share of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. I must have liked some two stories, at the most.

But it has its ‘okay’ and ‘bad’ stories and I will leave it to the reader to pick his/her share. I thought that I should, considering the acknowledgment, at the start of this book.

You can Buy the Book, right here.



Thursday, July 06, 2017

Book Review : ‘The Assassin Nuns and the Pirates of Peppercorn Bay’ by Manisha Anand



A wonderful book by Manisha Anand, is 'The Assassin Nuns and the Pirates of Peppercorn Bay’ could take you back to the days of Enid Blyton, but there it stops, because it goes nothing like Blyton did. 

Instead, it takes on a whole new journey. So, take out your mystery specs, and tune in to a whole new era of book writing. In the quiet little town of Pistachio, lived a few odd superheroes led along by the Reverend Mother. Now, this tiny settlement had its own set of problems. It incessantly, saw quite the few attackers and other sets of thieves, who kept on attacking the town. 

Old Joel, who is a stables owner, provides help and advice to the groups of nuns for around fifty years, now. Quite tired of the whole thing, Revered Mother and her group of Assassin Nuns, along with Ann, a little girl are all packed off to Peppercorn Bay for a holiday. So, they all set out to a seaside cottage.

On their holiday, they are busy enjoying themselves, when at night, curious little Ann and Bonjour, the pet hamster, spot a light in the distance. It keeps on flashing from the lighthouse, up the cliff that goes on awhile and stops. Now, the lighthouse has been abandoned for many years now, and Ann was told that it was empty.

So, little Ann wants to find out more, and she takes the help of Sister Sparkplug
Illustration by Sukanto Debnath
to explore it at night. Now, it is holiday time for the Assassin Nuns and Ann does not want to disrupt it, without some proof. Sister Sparkplug, who agrees to go along, says that she would take her electronics detector along.

The rest of the Assassin Nuns decide to go boat riding and Mother Superior takes charge and guides the boat along. The boat stops and they meet Mr Bernie, who is a private detective. He was lounging there along with Tango, a bright orange cat and Mango, his gecko. Mr Bernie was sunning himself, when Ann who attempts to find out a little about what goes on around there, tries to get him talking. He only tells her of Fisherman’s Cave.

Ann and Sister Sparkplug set out at night to the lighthouse and discover a whole new set of folks, quite by mistake. Though, dressed as pirates, the group tell them that they were just recreating and having a little fun. Apparently, the towns people have a little bit of pirating history to all of them, but nobody wants to get caught, so nobody claims it. But these folk just want to have some fun.

Ann, who has now heard of smugglers, pirates and boats near the beach, has by now decided to tell the Assassin Nuns about these strange goings on. So, it is with great excitement, that all of them forward to solving the curious mystery of the Bay. Ann, who wants to find out more, asks Mr Nesbitt, who apparently saw something on the beach too. He tells her of the boats coming in and going out near the lighthouse. Both times they had equally heavy boxes on the boat.

They have the island, the mysterious couple with their kids, along with Mr Codsworth who was arrested, frying pans, torches, Mr Bernie, and Mango and Tango. If the nuns do not catch them, who would? Can they solve this little mystery? Can they go down in the boat? Will they discover the secret tunnel and where it leads to? Will the Assassin Nuns come out on top, and beat the Pirates of Peppercorn Bay? The story would be amiss without the illustrations by Sukanto Debnath, so kudos to him too.

 You can Buy the Book, right here.