Joanie Pariera (Pen Name), has apparently been thinking about writing fiction since the time she learned to say the word ‘pencil’. Let’s know a bit more about her and the book ‘Graffiti.’
It came to be, that that was the first word her parents taught her to say. According to them she then made up her own word for it just to watch them squirm.
What made you write this book?
As a writer who’d mostly only been writing fiction in her head until that time, I started by just resolving to put pen to paper, or in this case fingers to the keyboard, with a different kind of intention. At that time, I hadn’t yet been introduced to Writer’s Block. I had no idea what that meant. It flowed, my writing. I knew what the book was going to be about. I had a few characters etched in my memory. I knew they’d be the main characters and the rest was up to me and the environment I was in at that time. Writers are so influenced by their surroundings.
About the book
Going back to the book and the theme, I’d initially planned to write a nine-to-five satire with the IT MNC as the setting. The global Indian had already been discovered and I wanted to make their lives known to the world; their real lives – distorting the fixed idea of a glamorous globe-trotting middle-class genius. Somehow it turned into a feminist agenda with the same setting and background. I have more women than men in the IT world, and they are more successful than their male peers and that is where it got a bit unrealistic honestly.
With that, the focus shifted to relationships and relationship woes, and as such ‘Graffiti’ explores every kind of relationship in the global Indian’s world, even homosexual ones. It spills out of the IT world but every other person is an ‘outsider’ looking in, not just at the people who work there but at the office space itself.
I divided the working woman of today into two broad categories. The serious-minded workaholic type, who thinks she is a thorough professional, and a brilliant know-it all that does it without giving it much thought and focuses more on her personal life. The opportunities presented to them both are the same (and they are two different kinds of Indian beauties), but what shapes their destinies is what they bring to the table and how life treats them.
What I think is truly unique about this book is that the male protagonist’s story is told in first person while the rest of the book is in third person. The stories are set in two different continents originally, and then they merge when they are all in the same location geographically. At that point the structure changes to first-person view throughout, although the voices are the same. This was meant to indicate turf ownership as far as the story was concerned. It also allows for the logical ending in the first person voice.
Another unique element is the atypical use of magical realism. The connection between certain characters had to seem absurd for various reasons. Many things that happen in ‘Graffiti’ can be easily explained as probable. The ‘dream’ is just a caution that perhaps things that seem dramatic aren’t always so? That perhaps sometimes we tend to focus on something, obsessing over it, letting it rule our decision making for no apparent well-throughout reason? Conversely, that perhaps it is okay to be metaphysically inclined rather than practical because too much is going on and it all seems beyond comprehension? Going back to the pitting of the characters and the different paths they take – who is to say who is happier in the end?
Why do you think readers will love the book?
“Graffiti’ has so much to say, but it is a thorough entertainer. It isn’t meant to be read as a call to change the world or even an eye-opener. It is meant to be enjoyed as a running commentary of the constantly changing world we live in with real relationships in focus. I know readers of all types will enjoy the relatable and non-relatable, out-of-their world, magical parts. I hope readers will like the idea of life as a jumbled mass of everything that is beautiful, but that is also oh so fleeting – you better watch out for that beauty when it heads your way.
Joanie’s favourite books
I love anything written by Woody Allen, but of course that isn’t what you are looking for. It is really hard to pick just one or two even. An old classic I love (and hate) is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I also love The Importance of Being Earnest. I think an all-time favourite is The Secret life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I’ve read all her books. Among Indian authors I admire and respect Amitav Ghosh. I’ve read all his books too. Currently a book that is stuck in my head is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. For people looking for great non-fiction I’d recommend Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner & Steven Levitt.
Your advice to aspiring authors
Everybody has a book in them. It is when and how you present what you have to say that matters.
Also, luck. That matters too. When asked to comment on a writer’s frustrations, I always refer to this line from Woody Allen, ‘Is it still art if it is used to clean the stove?’
About the author:
Joanie Pariera likes to think she is a master of many things including making up words. To start with she has two masters degrees. She cooks, keeps house, codes and programs, and until recently used to write specifications for Information Systems for a living. Having travelled extensively, she has self-assimilated the cultural nuances of various unsuspecting anthropological groups and stealthily continues to put down her impressions in her writing.
Author: Joanie Perreira
Publisher: Author House
Release: January 2013
Genre: Fiction / Romance
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