Parul Sharma is a well-known, witty author of three books - 'Bringing Up Vasu', 'By The Water Cooler' and her latest 'Tuki's Grand Salon Chase'. It is an honour to interview her on Literary Sojourn again after the successful release of her third book. (First interview can be read here.)
'Tuki's Grand Salon Chase' is your third book. How has been the journey as an author so far?
It's been great though obviously there are challenges that one encounters. My voice is evolving, and that fills me with self-doubt, wondering if I am following the right path (not that I have any control on it, to be honest). That is why it is extremely encouraging to hear reviews commenting on my growth as a writer. That is what I am in this for, to be as good a writer as I possibly can be.
How do you decide on the plot of your books and what is the typical timeline that your books follow?
No one can really point out where the seed of a story first falls but I think in my case, it starts with people. People who are interesting and unusual and then their own story ceases to be and I give them the story I want to. Tuki's Grand Salon Chase took a few months to write and then a year and a bit for the edits, proof-reading, design and so on.
Out of the three books that you have penned, which is the one that gave you the maximum satisfaction and why?
I honestly cannot answer that. Tuki involved the maximum effort though.
Who was the inspiration behind the protagonist Tulika in Tuki's Grand Salon Chase?
A girl who cut my hair in an upmarket Bandra salon. A girl with so much naive ambition. All the girls who have ever cut my hair, really.
In your last interview on Literary Sojourn, you expressed your desire to write one funny travel book. Has there been any progress on that front?
None, unfortunately, except in my head where I am on the second draft already.
What is next in pipeline after 'Tuki…'?
I have an idea sort of building up but I haven't yet started working on it.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Greyer, fitter, much better travelled, much better read, kids all grown up, waking up every morning and sitting at a desk to write, many more books with my name on the shelf.
Who are your favourite authors - Indian and foreign? Which genre of books do you enjoy reading the most?
Gaura Pant Shivani and PG Wodehouse. That doesn't change.
What are your suggestions to the budding authors?
That doesn't change either. Focus on becoming the best writer you possibly can be, publishing will follow.
How do you see the literary scene changing in India over the last decade and which areas still need more work?
There are just so many more books. Not all of them are of great quality. Some of them show such disdain for language and even grammar. I am hoping the market will evolve and really good first-time authors will emerge with new stories to tell, whose voices will be strong and engaging and we will all want to listen to the tales these people want to tell.