Make it Dark but Tell a Joke – Vedashree Khambete-Sharma

Vedashree Khambete-Sharma, author of thriller-comic fiction Swear You Won’t Tell? gives us a quirky interview, filled with anecdotes. Her wit is evident right from the beginning as she describes her personality in words like these: Vedashree Khambete-Sharma is an infamous ad-woman, an unfamous author and talks a lot.

“Quiet. Genial. Charming. Just a few words nobody in their right mind would use to describe me. But talkative, sarcastic, Type A personality? I’ve got those covered. Along with the heady cocktail of an advertising career, motherhood and a visceral, demonic urge to write.”

Vedashree Khambete-Sharma and the Need to Write:

Some authors want to write because of various reasons. And then there are those who need to write, who cannot live long without writing because of the chaos it otherwise causes. Vedashree Khambete-Sharma is one of the latter ilk.

“Some would say it comes with the territory of being a copywriter and having a job where you’re required to convince people to buy fairness cream with a straight face. But my need to write started way before that. I say need not desire, because if I don’t write, if I don’t get the words out, they wrestle in my head and I end up animatedly muttering sentences aloud to check for cadence. This happens without any regard to place, time or if people are watching. Because of this, most people who don’t know me assume I’m insane. (It’s a different story that those who do know me, agree.)”

The Vedashree Writing Journey:

It all starts when a change takes place in our lives. It could be around us, it could be within us – but the change compels the writer to bloom and burst onto the scene.

“Spurred by the rabid hormones that make puberty such a joyride, I wrote emo diary entries, emo poetry and cheeky school essays. Then I started freelancing for newspapers and wrote about everything from types of amnesia to types of boyfriends. At some point, I discovered the internet and started writing entertaining blog entries. Then a few years ago I thought, hey, may as well inflict my words on people for money, and write my first book There May Be An Asterisk Involved (for which Writersmelon wrote a lovely review). It’s a funny novel set in advertising, an industry that really puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional. People told me they loved the humour in the book and I took them seriously so look, here we are.”

‘Swear You Won’t Tell?’ – The Inspiration:

Every story has an inspiration, even if the inspiration is subconsciously derived. Swear You Won’t Tell? is no different. It adheres to what we know about stories and inspiration, as author Vedashree Khambete-Sharma tells us.

“For a book that’s been called a hilarious thriller (mostly by me), the inspiration for Swear You Won’t Tell? is actually a bit grim. A close friend of mine passed away a few years ago, of a chronic illness I didn’t know she had. That got me thinking – what do we actually know about our closest friends? This happened around the time my daughter was born. I was suffering from post-partum depression then and plotting murder really helps with that sort of thing. It took my three years to plot, write and edit the book and this was mostly because I could write for just about an hour a day. That’s what happens when you have a newborn and a full time advertising job to juggle. (Not literally juggle; that would be irresponsible, though my daughter would probably love it.)

“But slow as the process has been, I’m quite kicked with the result. Swear You Won’t Tell? combines the thriller and comic fiction genres to give readers something really special: murder they can laugh at.”

What ‘Swear You Won’t Tell?’ is All About:

“It’s the story of Avantika Pandit – a reporter stuck in limbo between writing brain-dead features and covering news that matters. When Avantika discovers that Laxmi, her best friend from school, has just turned up dead, she takes it upon herself to unearth the truth behind her death. This is easier said than done because Avantika and Laxmi’s friendship ended on a bitter note in school and neither has been in touch with the other since then. But Avantika persists in her scrappy, sassy, eye-roll kind of way and… I could tell you what happens next, but then where’s the suspense in that?

“And believe me, this book is all suspense. And a little dark. But also hilarious. Because as Joss Whedon once said, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough. But then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” So I have.”

The Inspirations behind the Author:

“Apart from Whedon, I have also been inspired by the late Sir Terry Pratchett (so long and thanks for all the footnotes), Neil Gaiman, Ben Aaronovitch, Kiran Nagarkar, Douglas Adams and many others whom I shall not name because word count. I want to thank them all, for teaching me by example, how to write.”

Advice for Aspiring Authors:

“See, when I first started writing fiction, I knew nothing about the hows. So like any nerd, I read some books about it. And if I mix that advice with the stuff I’ve learned, here’s what I’d like to tell anyone who wants to be a writer:

Read a lot. And then, just write.

Don’t worry if it’s good, if it’ll be published, what people will think of it. All that comes later. The most important and most difficult part of writing is the bit where you convince yourself to sit down and write. Do that every day, for an hour, half an hour, ten minutes, whatever. Do that every day and you’ll have done what everyone else tries to and fails. Do that and you’re home. You’re a writer. That’s that.

And once you get a book deal and it’s time to promote your book – abandon all shame. And plug it wherever, whenever you get a chance to.”


Author(s): Vedashree Khambete-Sharma
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Release: March 2018
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
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A former IT professional, Sonali gave up her cozy job to pursue her passion : writing. She is currently a freelance writer and an author. Her first novel 'Of Knights and Lillies' has released last year. She is working on her second work of fiction, a novel that revolves around travel and self discovery. Sonali's dream is to travel the world and write her own travelogues that will inspire travelholics. While she is not fantasizing about travelling the world and being a full time content writer and author, Sonali is also busy being a poet, booklover and reviewer, music lover and a full time grammar nerd!

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