Today we have with us Bhargavi Balachandran, she is the author of The Crossover Year. She is here with us today telling us a little bit about her book. There's also a giveaway at the end. Let's get to it :)
Meet Sri Anuprabha, aka Anu, a twenty-nine year-old banker who is terrified of entering her thirties. She dreams of quitting her job at the bank, sporting yoga pants and traipsing around the world. Her world turns upside down when things go awry and she is faced with the prospect of spending her days watching Tamil serials. She comes up with a five-point plan for reclaiming her life back before she hits the big 30. But things are never as simple as drawing up a flowchart in real life, are they? Especially with a ghastly recession rearing its ugly head…. Anu bumbles through the corridors of domesticity and travels on a funfilled roller coaster ride in a bid to discover her passion in life.Along the way, she meets new people, experiences crazy new things and learns some hard lessons in marriage, friendship, parenting and life. The Crossover Year is a funny, yet heartwarming story of a woman in search of her identity, and a chronicle of her hilarious quest for discovering her inner mojo. Bring out a platter of cookies and a steaming mug of chai, and join Anu on the ride of her lifetime.
Bhargavi has also recorded a few clips of excerpts from The Crossover Year. So you can hear them if you want right here.
Buy the book:
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was a corporate pack rat and have sold office equipment, air conditioners and corporate loans after my MBA. One fine day I decided I needed to do something more with my life than live in a cocoon of balance-sheets, sad bosses and such-like. I have written articles for magazines and newspapers and have published a romance novella called Seven Across. I live in Chennai and spend time running behind a toddler who is handful , running an e-comm company , Paisleybay.com and writing ( when bouts of inspiration strikes ;0). I also love reading , travelling and art.
2.Tell us about your book, The Crossover Year.
It is the story of 29-year old Anu , who is a banker and is intensely unhappy with her job. She quits work and goes on a journey of self discovery. The book broaches several serious topics like sexual harassment at work , parenting, work-life balance , passion in life , marriage and friendship, but does so in a light-hearted and funny (hopefully!)way.
3.What inspired you to write The Crossover Year?
The broad premise of the book is fairly autobiographical, as the book was written when I quit work and wanted to figure out my ‘calling’ in life. However, Anu’s experiences and the way she reacts to situations is completely fictionalized. She is too over the top and also way more endearing and fun than I could ever be .I started blogging a month after my 28th birthday and realized that I loved writing. Anu’s story almost wrote itself as I was going through a similar phase myself and it took me a few months to complete the first draft.
4.Is Anu or any other character from your books based on anyone in your real life?
I believe writers are cannibals when it comes to borrowing little things from their own life. Anu is a masala mix of a few people I know , but there are many facets of her that are totally fictional. So I would say , yes I do take inspiration from people I meet , draw from experiences that my friends , acquaintances might have. A reader recently told me that she had to be careful what she told me , lest it find its way into my next book.
5.Who are some of your favorite authors?
Some of my all-time favourite authors are : PG Wodehouse , Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni , Jonne Harris , Jerry Pinto , Margaret Atwood , Frank Mc Court , RK Narayan ,Haruki Murakami , Tarquin Hall and many many more.
6.If you had to read only one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Ah, a difficult question. I have re-read very few books , as I always have a stack of books waiting to be read/reviewed.
7.What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read as many books as you can possibly manage from different genres. That way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Write at least 300-400 words every day. Like any other
skill , writing also gets better with practice. Keep the faith and keep churning out your manuscripts. Good luck with your masterpiece.
8.What’s the best part about being an author?
Every author will tell you this that seeing their book in print is almost like giving birth to a baby. It is intense, has a lot of pain and toil attached to it ( the edits most definitely are!). But all that doesn’t really matter when you hold the book in your hands. It’s your baby; it’s a part of you. You have breathed life into something that didn’t exist before and you have a book to show for all the long hours you spent cloistered in your room toiling away. That’s the good part.
9.What’s the worst part about being an author?
When you write a book (even if it’s a work of fiction) , your thoughts and prejudices creep into it. It’s almost like you are carving a part of yourself and putting it the open for the whole world to gawk at. It can be a little unsettling if one is not very sure of oneself. But that’s how life is: where bouquets fall, brick-bats will also exist. Also , unless you are a best-selling author , there is no money in this pursuit. You do it because you want your stories to be told , not because you want to become a millionaire. So if you don’t have a backup job , things can be very frustrating.
10.Why should readers buy The Crossover Year?
It’s a fun book that delves into some serious issues, but it is mostly an entertaining read. If you are looking for a cozy read to spend time with on a Sunday afternoon, I would recommend it to you. Here’s what some reviewers and book bloggers have said about the book :
“A smile here and laughter there the writing keeps you engaged.” Says Smita Beohar, popular blogger who writes at http://books-life-n-more.blogspot.in/
“It does seem like a matured venture for a comparatively new writer on the block. Honest, funny and with copious amounts of drama thrown in (no it doesn't get too over-the-top!), it remains a good light-read which surely would rustle up the souls of women who seem to have let dust gather on their minds knowingly or unknowingly, thanks to a hectic lifestyle and an indescribable dullness that raises its head at a point in time.” Says Divya Nambiar who blogs at http://critiquedontcriticize.blogspot.in/
“The other characters in the story also seem to be lifted from real-life situations- neither black or white but having several shades in between. The strong point of the book is that the events in Anu's life, the way she connects with the sub-characters, and her thought process is very rooted to real-life. You can definitely exclaim at many points through the book, 'hey, that's me!' or 'that's my life!’” says Uma Chellappa, Avid blogger and Mum-extraordinaire
“After Indian writing in English came of age a few years back, South Indian writing in English is coming to the fore with the works of authors like Bhargavi. It is certainly interesting to read works with familiar locales, regional sentiments and local slang. A very insightful book in which the protagonist expresses herself very honestly. I could relate very well with Anu and her experiences. ” Says Menaka Sankaralingam , Founder of RAPO.in
“When you start reading Bhargavi Balachandran’s Crossover Year, the first thing that strikes you is how effortlessly written it is. Right from the very proper language to the very charming and relatable narrative, Bhargavi has you hooked by sheer talent and skill.” Says Kirti Jayakumar , Author of Stories of Hope
Thank you so much Bhargavi!
Bhargavi has offered to giveaway ONE signed copy of The Crossover Year to one lucky Indian reader.
May the odds be ever in your favor! :)
Happy reading :)