Interview with Author Radhika Acharya

1. Could you tell us about your books?

The Funny side of it is an ebook on Amazon Kindle. It is a collection of anecdotes on varied general topics – all ranging from mildly funny to hilariously witty. The anecdotes were either inspired by a news item, an event,  or something that I saw or heard somewhere.

The Adventures of the JP family is a paperback published by Mark-Fly publishers from Coimbatore. The book is about a middle-class Indian family and the adventures and misadventures faced by its members, as they go about their daily lives. It is a hilariously funny book and has been well received by readers.

2. Could you tell us about your publishing journey.

I self-published ‘The funny side of it’ on Kindle Direct Publishing. It is a very user-friendly platform and once one gets the hang of it, it is fairly simple. Of course, I did have a lot of valuable advice and suggestions from co-authors and much help from my two sons while doing it.

‘The adventures of the JP family’ was picked up by Mark-Fly publishers from Coimbatore. They brought it out as a paperback for me. Once my manuscript was accepted, the only thing I had to do was approve the cover designs and go along with their strategies.

3. What inspires you to write humour?

To be frank, I really don’t know. It’s just who I am. As far back as I remember, right from my school and college days, all my writings tended to border on the humorous side. That doesn’t mean I never write other stuff. I have written a few articles, poems and short stories where there is no scope for humor too. 

Author Radhika Acharya

4. You also write a humorous column on Kamalamma for TOI blogs. How did that come about?

Kamalamma is typically middle-class and she represents the Indian woman of this generation – quite traditional but at the same time would like to show that she can be modern too.

When I pitched TOI and was selected to be a blogger with them, I thought it would be the perfect platform to launch Kamalamma, given the wide reach of TOI and the brand name. And frankly speaking, I never expected that she would be received with so much enthusiasm by the public and become so hugely popular as she has become.

5. Who are some of your favourite authors?

While I grew up on Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Sydney Sheldon, Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murthy to name a few, I also love reading Jojo Moyes, Chetan Bhagat, Amish, Mary Higgins Clarke. It all depends on what I feel like reading at any given time, but for comfort reading I always go back to my all-time favourites – PG Wodehouse and Georgette Heyer.

6. What advice do you have for aspiring humor writers?

To be honest, I am not that experienced or seasoned a writer to give advice, but having said that, I do recommend anyone attempting humor to not make too much of an effort to be funny. Writing, humor or any other genre for that matter, is an extension of yourself after all, so it should flow naturally from within.

7. What do you do to promote your books?

You have asked a question which is actually a sore point with me. While I enjoy writing thoroughly, I lag behind in networking. That’s where I lost out on a lot of potential readers when I first started my blog Radhika’s diaries with WordPress. I had only so many followers who regularly came back to my posts.  I have reached this stage by being consistent and persistent. But I have realized since, that a writer does not live on an island. We cohabitate with other writers and authors. It’s ‘give and take’ and that’s really wonderful.

8. Humour is difficult to write. Do you agree? What are your views on this?

I don’t know what to say since, as I mentioned in Q. 3, humor has been my forte ever since I began writing; It would be difficult for me to speak for anyone else who attempts to write humor because every writer’s journey is different.

9. Are you writing your next book yet? Tell us more.

To be frank, my publisher Mark-Fly has advised me not to rush things and to concentrate on Adventures of the JP family for some time. I am following their advice and quite enjoying the whole process. But of course, I am working on the draft for my next book and at this stage all I can say is that it’s a romcom based on a real story.

10. How do you find material for your column and books? Do you draw from real life?

While all my characters and situations are fictitious, I draw inspiration from real life people and events around me and then let my over-active imagination do the rest. My mind runs ahead with ideas and sometimes I have to rein it in, keeping in mind the word-count and the patience of readers.

More of this and that

Hi! How’s everyone been doing?

I read ‘Twenty Love Poems and a song of despair’ by Pablo Neruda recently. This book had been on my TBR for a long time – I think a couple of years, in fact. But now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I just expected too much from it.

I’ve been attending the BlogchatterWritFest and so far, they’ve had online sessions with Samit Basu, Sidharth Jain, Amanda Deibert, Pallavi Aiyar, Jenny Bhatt, Jayashree Kalathil and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.

In one of these sessions, I learned about the Pomodoro method of time management. You can read more about it here.

I read Kuzhali Manickavel’s ‘Eating sugar, Telling Lies’ recently. It’s a short and slightly disturbing read. I loved her writing style and also her use of monikers in the story.

I read ‘Three is a lonely number; a story in verse form on Kindle Unlimited. The plot was a bit Bollywoodish, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I loved ‘The adventures of the JP family’ by Radhika Acharya! I’ve been reading the author’s Kamalamma series on her blog for a while now. This book, where she has created new characters of the JP family has her trademark sense of humour on every page. The author makes even an ordinary event appear funny through her skilled writing. It’s a must-read!

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

It was my birthday recently and as is the new practice at the Creative Soul Club by Blogchatter, the birthday girl ( me)  was admin for the day. I shared a picture of Starry Night, the world-famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh and asked the members to a) Use one word to describe the emotion it triggers in them b) Write a brief poem ( even 4 lines was good). c) Try to replicate the painting d) Share a song that it reminds them of. e) Write a story.

I got a bunch of interesting answers! Would you like to try it?

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