“Con­flict re­veals char­ac­ter”

India Today - - SIMPLY CHENNAI - by Saranya Chakra­pani

Q & AJudy Balan is an ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sional- turned- author who re­cently re­leased her sec­ond book, So­phie Says. She talks to SIM­PLY CHEN­NAI about her life as a sin­gle mother, author and her fas­ci­na­tion for par­o­dies. Q. Your pre­vi­ous book was a par­ody on Chetan Bha­gat’s Two States; why did you choose a par­ody for a first book? A. I was a big fan of El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert’s Eat Pray Love, so when I spot­ted the cheeky par­ody Drink, Play, F#$ k at a book­store one day, I thought, ‘ Wouldn’t it be re­ally cool if I wrote the par­ody of Two States!’ I was par­tic­u­larly ex­cited be­cause I thought it was a fresh idea. Q. How is the ideat­ing and writ­ing process dif­fer­ent with a par­ody? A. Most par­o­dies tend to be the in­verse of the orig­i­nal. So no mat­ter how much hu­mour you bring to it, it’s bound to get pre­dictable and un­funny. I bor­rowed ele­ments from Two States, wrote it like ro­man­tic com­edy and then in­fused ele­ments like Chetan Bha­gat’s melo­dra­matic and cheesy writ­ing and a Bol­ly­wood end­ing. Q. Sin­gle mother, author and suc­cess­ful at both, have th­ese things moulded you as a per­son? A. Yes, absolutely. The aw­ful di­vorce to post- di­vorce break­down; I sin­cerely be­lieve it was those four to five years of fac­ing ad­ver­sity heads- on that made all the dif­fer­ence. I can now con­nect the dots and I can tell you for a fact that it was then that I learnt to tap into my in­ner re­serves of strength and po­ten­tial. That was when I turned to writ­ing for per­sonal joy. So yes, con­flict re­veals char­ac­ter. Any sto­ry­teller could tell you that. Q. Is there a genre of writ­ing you would like to ex­plore? A. Yes, fan­tasy fic­tion. I def­i­nitely need a break from ro­man­tic com­edy. Also, some­day, I want to write a re­ally hi­lar­i­ous sit­com— like, The Mindy Pro­ject.

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