31 Jul 2012
'A Story About Everyday Women'
Blogger turned author Jhoomur Bose says she wanted to explore reasons that make a woman stay in an abusive relationship
Why this book? And why should a reader pick up this book? Emotionally, it took me to some uncomfortable places. I remembered situations my friends have been through. I remember stuff that's happened to me. On the up side, I really missed being in a media office and feeling that buzz when you write a good (news) story and see your byline with it.
This book because I had a story to tell about everyday women — like the ones who read my blog, those who have told me their stories anonymously or in person and those who are like my friends, like me. Apparently liberated, intelligent, educated and financially independent women and yet women who, when it comes to the men in their lives, behave in ways that are completely against self-preservation. I wanted to write a story about the choices we women make, whether it's the tough decision to walk out and more often than not, the even tougher decision to stay in a relationship that's hurting us. I wanted to explore some of the reasons that make a woman stay in an abusive relationship as well as the reasons that finally break her ...or make her stronger. It's a good story and it's a story I feel should be read.
What does the book mean to you?
It's my first book and it almost didn't happen because there was a time when I just couldn't manage a new baby and a deadline. It's an affirmation for me that there is more to life after you (that's me) quit everything for a man and have a baby. I think I needed to be reminded of that. The book is also my means of reaching out to women and telling them they are not alone. That bad stuff happens to many of us. I understand what I have written is fiction but if after reading it, even one girl or a woman realises there are steps she can take to make her life better... I would be very happy.
How was the transition — from blogger to an author? When did the idea of writing this novel come to you?
Tough and exhilarating and much, much more work than I had anticipated! The idea for the novel has been around since 2002; it started out as the story of a journalist who covers parties. Between then to finally plotting it — much happened in terms of personal experiences to me and to women I know. It slowly morphed into what you are going to read.
How did you find a publisher? Or was it the other way round? From manuscript to a bound novel — tell us about your journey?
The publisher found me, or my blog. One fine day, totally unexpected, I had a Facebook message that said (I paraphrase) 'I've read your blog, like the way you write, do you have a story to tell?' The timing for that message was propitious because I was already writing the 'novel' with the view to submitting it as my Masters project that I was pursuing in Creative Writing (specialising in novels). The journey included having my first baby, delaying the book by a year - my mind shifted gears from deadline to diapers! And finally pushing myself to finish it, baby, diapers, teething and everything.
How difficult was it to put the book together; story idea, content, figuring out the length of the novel, etc.?
As far as the length of the novel is concerned, my editor was clear it had to be a snappy read. My job was to tell my story in the stipulated word count.
When and where do you write?
There are no specifics really. I prefer writing at our study/computer table in the house but sometimes it's not possible because my toddler seems to be allergic to me sitting at the table or with laptop! A lot of this book was written in longhand when my daughter was awake, on the laptop whenever my daughter was asleep and on weekends when her father could take her off my hands. As for the where, it's been written in our little garden, while cooking, sometimes while on the local train and a lot of it was written in this baby-friendly cafe-salon I frequented. The cafe staff was very sweet and often kept an eye on my daughter while I sat with a cup of coffee and wrote.
Where all did this book take you?
Physically it's been written around Melbourne — sitting outside the Victorian State Library while my daughter chased pigeons and sitting at a cafe while people bustled around. I was trying to recreate the atmosphere in a media office! Having done majority of my writing in an office, I am not very good at working in silence. I am used to writing with people talking, moving and laughing around me. When I got the luxury of choosing — when I didn't have baby with me — I chose places where there was maximum activity, plugged in my ear phones, blasted Prodigy and wrote.
Confessionally Yours: When Telling The Truth Can Hide The Biggest Lie
By Jhoomur Bose
Metro Reads (Penguin India)
Price: Rs 150
Can you suggest another title to this book?
Another title would be 'Vindaloo & Vibrators'.
What's your energy drink?
Cups of frothy cappuccino with generously dusted drinking chocolate.
What makes a book a really good read or a bestseller?
What makes a bestseller when a lot of people buy the book; something you cannot really predict. As for what makes a good read — something that engages, a book where either you identify with the characters or want to know about them more and a book that leaves you satisfied.
What's the hardest thing about being a writer?
Personally I found it the toughest when I knew what I wanted to say but I was not happy with how I was saying it. Some chapters really needed a lot of reworking because I just wasn't happy with what I was writing.
What are you reading now? Tell us about the kind of books you grew up reading.
The three books that I remember owning as a kid are Thumbelina, Snow White and Rose Red and a beautiful book of Russian fairy tales. I have grown up reading a whole lot of Enid Blyton (from the Naughtiest Girl in School series to Famous Five), the usual Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and a whole lot of Reader's Digest, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. My parents had this huge wooden trunk that was the 'book trunk'. Every time Papa was posted to a new station, that was the trunk all the books were packed in. Ever since I can remember, it had been my life's ambition to lock myself in a room with that trunk. Papa had a great collection of books, a 1972 edition of War and Peace (it took a long while for Papa to allow me anywhere near that book), hardbacks of various Thomas Hardy and Shakespeare book. The trunk also had Ma's collection of Denise Robins and Mills & Boon. Fantasy or 'fairy tales' as they were called have been a big part of my reading. My late Thamma (paternal grandmother) has a lot to do with it. She would read out the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and various Panchatantra comics to us. She also got me hooked on to Jim Corbett's books (Temple Tiger, Man Eaters Of Kumaon,etc).
Currently I am reading three books at the same time, depending on time and mood. The books are: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings, Aurora Teagarden (Omnibus) by Charlaine Harris on my iPhone and The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, Book 6) by Isobelle Carmody.
So, what's next?
Well, the immediate future holds a new, healthy baby! I will definitely continue blogging and maybe if I get another opportunity, another book. And more...
Compiled by Sanjitha Rao Chaini
Why this book? And why should a reader pick up this book?
Emotionally, it took me to some uncomfortable places. I remembered situations my friends have been through. I remember stuff that's happened to me. On the up side, I really missed being in a media office and feeling that buzz when you write a good (news) story and see your byline with it.