IN THE CITY
“Conflict reveals character”
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.