In an interview with Hues of A Soul, Yashodhara Lal, who is a celebrated author of two best selling books Sorting Out Sid and Just Married Please Excuse talked about the little things of publishing industry. In this short interview, the author honestly shared her honest thoughts and given thought provoking insights to young authors, who dream of becoming new age celebrated author like Ravi Subramaniyam, Amish Tripathi, and Chetan Bhagat. Though, Yashodhara also joins the league of IIM graduate authors but keeps a low profile and connects directly with her audience. The excerpts of the interview are given below:
You have written your previous book from a girl’s perspective. What inspired you to write Sorting out Sid from a male’s perspective?
This book was originally written as the story of a Single Mom, Neha and the Divorced man, Sid. However, when I sent it to my sister in its raw state, she said that the male character was somehow just more relatable. It surprised me that being a woman, she related more to the man herself! So it got me thinking that this could make a very interesting story centered on just the man – there also aren’t many books in this genre – humorous takes on relationships- written from the male perspective. In fact, I can’t recall any right now. It was therefore a fresh idea and a challenge, so I reworked it – and my editor loved it! So that was that.
Sid is a boy next door with average looks and confident personality. How did you develop this character, which is humorous, witty, confident but still hold flaws, which make him real and relatable?
Sid is actually fairly good looking, alternating between vanity and insecurity about his looks; but his confidence is a put-on, as are so many things about him. This character is an amalgamation of so many personality traits that I’ve observed in men ( and some women, including myself). He sort of developed himself as a character once I got into writing about him!
Do you think there was a way-out for Sid and Mandira to avoid the separation because the things can also go sour with his new love interest after few years of relationship as they existed because of series of mutual misunderstandings? See it as a real life situation!
Sid and Mandira had it coming for too many years; there was just too much dust swept under the carpet. Sometimes, the only solution is to let go. And yes, even subsequent relationships could go sour. But this one was done and dusted…too much bitterness, I think, especially on her side. I hope we’re not giving away too much of the story, ha ha!
At one point, Sid tried to console Mandira by moving forward to hug her while she was weeping. Was that the point from where the things could have sorted out between Sid & Mandira?
No. It was much too late for one moment of tenderness to wipe out years of bitterness.
Was Little Kippy somewhere connected to peanut or papad? Please share the experience of creating kippy because I really liked this beautiful character
Kippy as a character is certainly not central or over-described, but represents just an average toddler learning to assert her own independence as she grows under the supervision of a determined single mom. I suppose my experience of having 3 kids has resulted in a certain familiarity with that particular age – but fictional Kippy has inherited some characteristics from her fictional mother Neha, in terms of a tendency to be stubborn, and her cheerfulness. More than Kippy as a personality herself, I think it is the reactions she inspires in the adults of the story that make her important.
Please tell us something about the publication process of your first and second book, which has been published by Harper Collins India.
I sourced some email IDs and sent out a covering letter and first few chapters of my first book to many publishers. Most of them were kind enough to respond – some in weeks, some taking months! Incidentally, HarperCollins was one of the few who took months, but I love their editorial team and the second book flowed naturally with them.
Did the close friend and associates change the perspective towards you on becoming the author of two successful books?
First of all, there’s a lot of respect you get for being an author – even in today’s day and age where it’s easier to get published than before. That’s one of the nice things. The not-so-nice part is that some people start to assume you think you’re a big shot now. Which is totally not true because even as a so-called ‘successful’ author, you’re still one amongst so many! My closest friends and family members have been supportive through a lot of chaotic times, though. Some relationships, I’ve had to let go, and that’s fine.
How do you explain the success of a fiction author? Can it be marked with the selling figures of the book?
I think sales, apart from reviews and positive feedback of course, have to be the most telling indicator of success. You can be on page 3 as much as you want, but the question is – are people actually reading your work, are they valuing it enough to buy and then recommend to their friends? It does matter.
Did your professional experience in marketing and exposure to such lifestyle help you in creating close to real events in this book?
Definitely – Sid is a Marketing Head who goes through a bunch of ridiculous things at work. A lot is based on my experience in the corporate world!
What do you suggest to emerging and budding authors when they reach on the stage of publication?
Keep yourself grounded. The world isn’t going to change overnight for you. Just keep at it, write better and better books and don’t get carried away by your own expectations about what the world owes you. It owes you nothing. Each single reader is valuable, so please retain your humility. And above all – keep reading, do not be;come one of those authors who proudly proclaim they don’t read at all, but still write books! All the best