Bookadda.com interviewed Bhargavi Balachandran, the author of ‘The Crossover Year’
Bookadda: Which writers inspire you?
Bhargavi: Too many to even keep count. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni whose words are just sheer magic; Toni Morrison whose writing always reflects strength; Joan Harrison for her masterful novels that abound with magic realism; Murakami for his craft that is so surreal that it seems almost real; Frank Mc Court for meeting poverty head on and being so unapologetic about his childhood in his books; RK Narayan for simple stories with a heart; Stephen King for his tome (On Writing) which is the Holy Grail for all writers.
Bookadda: What genre do your books fall under? What draws you to this genre?
Bhargavi: I think both my books The Crossover Year and Seven Across can be broadly categorised as Women’s fiction, though the former is a border-line chick-lit and the later is romantic fiction. I write what I like to read. I guess I am subconsciously drawn to books with strong female protagonists. We women are complex beings and any number of books written about our deepest darkest secrets will just not simply do justice to the landmine of emotions that the woman’s mind is. I have not matured enough as a writer to write like a man yet. But someday I aspire to write from the POV of a man.
Bookadda: How did you come up with the title of your book “The Crossover Year”?
Bhargavi: This must sound crazy, but I came up with the book’s name even before I started writing the book. I guess giving the manuscript a name makes you own it more – it is no longer an ‘untitled manuscript’ that will get forgotten soon!
Bookadda: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in attracting readers?
Bhargavi: Of course it does. Though they say that we must never judge a book by its cover; I think we
Instinctively gravitate towards books that have attractive covers. Often, people pick up books solely on the basis of book cover. When you have almost 5-6 books releasing every single day, the reader is swamped with choices. The first decision point of whether to read a book or not is definitely the cover- which is why the cover has to be striking and fairly representative of what lies inside!
Bookadda: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Bhargavi: Read as many books as you can possibly manage from different genres. That way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Write at least 300-400 words every day. Like any other skill, writing also gets better with practice. Keep the faith and keep churning out your manuscripts. Good luck with your masterpiece.
Bookadda: What do you see as the future of publishing?
Bhargavi: Books will never go out of fashion as long as the thinking man thrives. Indian publishing is at an exciting stage where new voices are emerging and new genres are being experimented with. In a lot of ways it is so much more easier for writers to get published these days , but the negative part is that there is such a deluge of new Indian books that often the discerning reader up ends staying away from Indian writing because he/she feels that too many me-too books that are hitting the market. I guess there is a story inside everyone waiting to be told and the fact that so many of us want to write them down is just a great thing for the Indian publishing industry. I am excited to see a whole new generation that has embraced reading and is willing to spend money on books. This is a promising sign. The future is definitely in e-books. I will admit this even though I have been resisting all attempts by my husband to get me to read on the Kindle. E-books are definitely more convenient and easier on our planet, but somehow the experience that a physical book gives me (the feel-touch-smell aspects) will never be matched by an e-book. Traditional publishers in India are slowly gearing up for a market that would one day probably read completely on e-readers/ computer. But that day is definitely a long way ahead!
Bookadda: Five books that you’d recommend?
Bhargavi: My favourites keep changing at regular intervals, but a few books have always lingered on and have created a deep impact in me. If you like memoirs do pick up Angela’s Ashes by Frank Mc Court. It is a lovely account of Frank’s struggle against poverty. I love Chitra Divakaruni’s book The Palace of Illusions as it is a lovely narration of the Mahabharata from Draupadi’s point of view. I would recommend Murakami’s The wind up bird’s chronicles to people who want to read something edgy and surrealistic. If you like chick-lit, I’d like to recommend Sophie Kinsella’s Undomestic Goddess. She is undoubtedly the Goddess of chick-lits! Tarquin Hall’s Vish Puri series will make a lovely read for people who are looking for cosy mysteries. I could go on and on.. Happy reading!
You can buy The Crossover Year at a great price here.