Bhargavi Balachandran has spent many years doing things as diverse as selling office equipment, Air conditioners, corporate loans or even analyzing balance sheets after her MBA. After she quit her full time job, she discovered that she was the happiest when thinking insane plots and concocting stories. She has written articles, travelogues and short stories for magazines. She loves travelling, reading books and painting. She has two publications to her credit: ‘Seven Across’ published in 2012 by Pageturn Publisher Private Ltd. And ‘The Crossover year’, published in 2013 by Alchemy Publishers. Thank you, Bhargavi, for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering the questions.
From an MBA to a writer, how did this transformation happen, please tell us about it?
Ha ha. Sometimes, even I wonder how this happened! I was a fairly competitive pack-rat who was a total misfit at work. I quit my full-time job at a bank and thought that I would get back into the rat race in a few months, but that never really happened. I started a blog the day I put my papers in and didn’t realize then that it would lead me to my real love, writing. A few months later, I had started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Simultaneously, I had started work on my first book. Its been five plus years and I am so grateful for the epiphany that led me to put in my papers J
Your first book is a romantic novella and your second one is a full fledged novel. Which was more difficult to write?
Actually, both The Crossover Year and Seven Across weren’t that hard to write as I didn’t have to do much research for both. They are both set in a milieu that I am familiar with and the characters are a masala-mix of people I know. Thankfully, it is mixed in such a way that I don’t think anyone can come up and say, “Hey, you stole my character for your book!” J The book I just finished writing has been the most challenging till date, as I had to do quite a bit of research and get into the skin of a man.
In your second book, was the lead character inspired by someone?
Not really, but I do know someone a few people who are an amalgamation of the lead character, Anu. Anu is fun and quirky and totally over the top. I wanted a heroine like that for The Crossover Year.
I know it is difficult for an author to choose between her books, but which of the two, is closer to your heart?
The Crossover Year is definitely closer to me. It was the first book I wrote and an extremely personal one at that because I let a lot of auto-biographical stuff get into it. I was a raw writer who knew nothing about the craft of writing when I decided one fine day that I could write a book too .The book was written without even a synopsis, so I think what drove me to write the book was the need to tell a story humorously. With Seven Across, I was more clinical. I started with a chapter outline and wanted to write a more realistic book. So, though Seven Across got published first, The Crossover Year will is still my first baby!
Being a full time mom is a job in itself. How do you manage to take out time to write?
I don’t manage, despite the help I get from my parents, in-laws and my husband ! Which is why I haven’t published anything after The Crossover Year yet. I write when I get some spare time (in the mornings and in the afternoons when my daughter dozes). I also write on Saturdays, when the hubby minds the child for the entire day.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Routinely! I am in the middle of a bad case of writer’s block currently and haven’t written a word in the last 4-5 days( not counting answers to this interview and email J). I am just hoping I’ll get my groove back soon.
What kinds of books do you read? Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite genre? Has any author influenced your writing?
I read anything that I can lay my hands on and give importance to a story than to the genre it fits into. That said I must admit that I am partial towards chick-lits, thrillers and humorous books. Lately I have started reading non-fiction too. I find a lot of writers inspirational, but really have no clue if my writing style reflects the inspiration I have derived from great authors. I love Chitra Banerjee Divakurani , Joanne Harris , Margaret Atwood , Sophie Kinsella , Anuja Chauhan , RK Narayan , PG Wodehouse and Enid Blyton.
Which book are you currently reading?
I am reading Aarti V Raman’s Kingdom Come and am enjoying it thoroughly. She is a young writer to watch out for!
What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?
The next one is a Police procedural and a murder mystery. Hopefully, it should be out in a year. Fingers crossed. I have literally toiled on this one as I started writing this book almost three years back. The book got shelved the day I went into labour and got revisited only early this year. I had to do a lot of research as I was writing out of my comfort zone. I have also written from the POV of a man for the first time, so am extremely jittery about how the book has turned out.
Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?
I am just two books old, so I don’t think I am in a position to spew wisdomJ . However, I believe that with practice one can get infinitely better than what one currently is. I would recommend aspiring authors to read as much as they can and keep writing. Other than that keep observing yourself and people around you. I think that is an extremely important skill that any writer must possess.
Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.
Thank you so much for having me over, Arti. Readers like you are a boon for new writers like myself.
Social Media links of Bhargavi Balachnadran for readers to find/follow/like:
Here are the links in case you want to purchase Bhargavi’s books:
On Amazon here http://bit.ly/1gr302r ( both Kindle and paperback versions are avbl)
Flipkart : http://bit.ly/1byZRsK
Next in Author Interview Series: Interview 6: Neelam Saxena Chandra on 11th July 2014