I had known Tanushree for a long time through her features and stories. It was only years later that I had the opportunity to see her in person during the book reading of her just released Escape from Harem, in Pune. She came across a warm and candid person, not hesitating in the least to share the little secrets that go into the making of her books!
She loves traveling and for someone who calls herself a rainbow chaser, it came as a surprise that her latest book is a detective fiction. Without batting an eyelid I offered to review her book.
Reading A Closetful of Skeletons got me thinking about a few aspects beyond writing. And here she is… happily sharing her response, in an exclusive to her audience at Writersmelon.
The writing journey – From being a features writer to a novelist
After spending a humdrum eight years in the corporate sector, I quit the rat race to wield a pen. The journey began with humour pieces and ‘Middles’, which found place in almost every newspaper printed in the country. Widening the scope, I went on to write short stories, did fun features, penned travel experiences and wrote about everything I could think of writing.
That done, I stepped into the world of books. First, non- fiction and then fiction.
I call myself a maverick writer, wanderer and rainbow chaser. Some of the books written by me are Nurjahan’s Daughter, Escape from Harem, Boots Belts Berets, On the Double, and Solo in Singapore. With my latest book A ClosetFul of Skeletons, I have entered the suspenseful world of detective fiction. It’s been a turbulent and challenging journey so far. Nevertheless, an interesting one.
On weaving characters – Bringing two diverse sets of characters together is not a cakewalk
Characters are the most important element in a book. Like real people, the characters in a book should have realistic traits, behaviour patterns and reactions. One has to breathe life into them. I like to pretend they are real people who have strayed into my story.
In A Closetful of Skeletons, there are two diverse sets of characters. There are the devious and ambitious characters from the Mumbai, as well as the local ones with a laid back attitude. I created the characters from my experiences. Having interacted with filmstars as well as retirees, it wasn’t very difficult to visualise them in my book. The film star, Ramola, is a sassy woman, who is absolutely unapologetic about her actions. For her character, all I had to do was to visualise one of the outspoken actors of Bollywood and put her in Ramola’s shoes and it fitted like a dream.
On marketing strategy – Without which the Book can become limited
Marketing is my Waterloo – a big challenge. I have not done much marketing for my previous books. They did well on their own, so I didn’t feel the need to market them. Times have changed. I am trying to make an effort to promote the latest one. As a writer, I find myself wanting when it comes to marketing a book. Truth be told, the current scenario of aggressive marketing is a bit of an overwhelming experience for me. I feel I have a lot to learn from the young writers, who are quite at ease with marketing.
Visibility factor – Is it beyond the bookstore?
Yes, visibility is important. I am told so. I have been a part of lit fests and done a few readings of my books whenever required. Having said that, I do feel that a good book will sell no matter how little you push, whereas a bad one will find the going tough.
The social media tide – Are you riding the wave?
It is truly a challenge for writers, who are now required to spend quite a lot time on social media to promote their books. I have a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter , but not as much as I desire. Simply put, I am not riding the crest nor am I lost in the trough. There are just 24 hours in a day. Recently, I did a live chat on Twitter, my first. It was an exciting and enjoyable experience. Interacting with readers is always interesting.
Your favourite genre as an Author
I have enjoyed writing stories in diverse genres. The historical genre was a favourite till I walked into the world of detective fiction. Frankly, I have no favourite genre. Who knows? Tomorrow I may barge into yet another genre!
Three hashtags to capture your writing on the world wide web
#adventurous #nonconformist #unpredictable
To get a taste of A Closetful of Skeletons, click here.
Author(s): Tanushree Podder
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: December 2017
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