There are a number of books about weddings and the drama that is many-a-times bound to surround them. But The Wedding Tamasha by Sudha Nair has its own pedestal, thanks to the fact that this story won the Amazon Pen to Publish contest in 2017. And since then, there has been no looking back for the author. A former techie, Sudha now writes stories with fun colours in them.
In this candid interview with Writers Melon, Sudha Nair reveals fun titbits about her writing process and The Wedding Tamasha.
Sudha Nair and Writing – How It All Started:
The inception of their writing is something that most writers tend to look back on with fondness. Sudha Nair is no different. When asked about how the journey started, she reveals the reasons and the struggles with embarking on it:
“I started writing as a need for creative fulfilment. I had given up my coding career a few years ago, and was a stay-at-home mom. It all started when I became a part of a wonderful library where they’d have author meets, and authors would talk about their books and their journey. Something about those meetings inspired me to try my hand at writing all the stories that were in my head.
I started out by writing short stories and sending out to magazines. I took the plunge in writing a full-length novel with The Wedding Tamasha. Right from the mental to the physical aspects of writing, this book took a lot of work, because the novel form was a first for me, and felt like a gargantuan task to undertake. From writing short fiction to a novel like this, with its huge cast of characters, the setup, the wedding descriptions, to the dynamics of the family, was a huge leap for me. But I couldn’t have it any other way, because the story of this Menon family had to be written. The rest is history!”
Planning ‘The Wedding Tamasha’:
Plotting out a story is the most important and strenuous part of the journey. But Sudha Nair is someone who took the ‘important’ and said goodbye to the strain of planning it all out. Here’s why:
“It was a lot of fun planning and writing about the food and rituals of a Malayalam wedding. Since I am a Malayalee, I’m aware of most of the rituals. I also picked up lots of bits and pieces from my brother’s wedding ceremony. As you see more and more these days, there is a mix of North and South wedding culture, so also in this wedding, there are a few rituals like the mehendi, that are borrowed from practices in the North. Since the second main character, Niru, is a chef, I wanted him to be involved in the elaborate wedding lunch preparation, and for that I had to do some online research on the cooking preparation etc. All in all, it was fun to try and bring out as much of the wedding as I could, through words.”
The Wedding Tamasha – Conceiving the Central Characters:
The plot and the characters are the two most important facets of a book, even if the language is not on point. If either one is bad, the whole book goes down. Here’s how Sudha Nair’s central characters – that make for such an intriguing book – were conceived:
“I had the idea for this book during my brother’s wedding. My brother was going to be married in Chennai in December 2015 when heavy floods hit the city. Luckily, conditions improved miraculously just a week before the wedding and things went ahead smoothly. I wondered, what if something had gone wrong, and everything hadn’t turned out as it had.
Once the thought of writing about a wedding in trouble came into my head, I also needed a protagonist who was in worse trouble than the wedding itself, and that’s how Shweta’s character was born. She’s the newly married kid sister who is invited to her brother’s wedding.”
Basing Fiction on Reality:
The best kind of fiction is when the story is relatable in some way or the other. Sudha Nair makes The Wedding Tamasha relatable by basing the family in the book on her own.
“The concept of a family of three siblings is based on my own family. But the similarities end there. I wanted to make the characters as different as possible from each other. Shweta, the main character in The Wedding Tamasha is an impulsive, strong-minded girl. To bring out that character, I had to put her in situations where she could display all her quirks and all sides to her character.
The Wedding Tamasha is based on the youngest daughter, Shweta’s story. The second book in the series, Priyamvada & Co., is based on the eldest daughter, Neha’s story, and has been published on KDP in 2018. The next book in the Menon Women series is to be based on their niece, Ria, and will be out in mid-2019.”
Winning KDP Pen to Publish 2017:
Amazon Pen to Publish is a platform that allows writers to showcase their talents and the chance to win the affections of readers as well as a hefty prize money. Sudha Nair won this contest in 2017 and since then, the future has seemed nothing but bright.
“I had already been working on The Wedding Tamasha for over a year when the contest was announced. For me, the contest just happened to be an event happening around the time of my publishing, and I entered the book into it. KDP is a very simple platform to publish. The setup of the account is fairly simple too. It was, and still is, a great pleasure to see the love my debut novel has received since its publishing, and it’s all thanks to KDP.”
“As it turns out, most of my favourite writers are women. It’s unintentional. Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, Dorothy Parker, William Trevor, Khaled Hosseini, Amitav Ghosh, Chimamanda Adichie, Jojo Moyes, Sophie Kinsella, Arundhati Roy, and many, many more.”
Advice for Aspiring Authors:
“I would advocate patience and perseverance to all writers. There are no shortcuts, and one doesn’t ever stop learning. Lots of varied reading also forms an important requirement for all writers.
Traditional publishing is where you send your manuscripts out to publishers, and wait for them to accept your book. KDP helps you upload your book manuscript and cover on Amazon, and lets you directly be picked up by readers who like that genre. The good news is, is that in KDP there are no gate-keepers to stop you from publishing your story. As long as readers enjoy what is being put up, you have all the validation you need that you have indeed written a good story.
The other type of publishing that exists is called vanity publishing. It is where you pay some publisher to publish your book. In times like these, when KDP offers you the same services for free, it would be beneficial to be a self-publisher versus going through vanity publishing.”
Author(s): Sudha Nair
Publisher: Westland Books
Release: December 2018
Buy this book from Amazon – Please buy this book via affiliate links and show us some love!