Prolific author Parinda Joshi who had earlier written widely acclaimed novels like Live from London, Power Play, Made In China is once again back with her fourth novel. Titled ‘A House Full Of Men’. In a candid interview she she talks about her latest book, her love for writing and her future plans.
Q : Why this title A House full of Men. Any reason behind it?
A House full of Men is about a girl who is grossly outnumbered by men at home; it’s her struggle in dealing with the very lopsided male to female ratio in her house, her guilt of being the cause of her mother’s death leading to her failed attempts at stepping into her mother’s shoes to keep it all together. She wants female presence in her life badly, but can she handle it? I did want to create that stark contrast in her world to showcase how people can feel lonely and misunderstood even though they may live with a big family.
Q : How did you decide the characters in the book?
A : I wanted to create a progressive, educated, loving family that’s also dysfunctional. They’re messy and raw in a way that I hope will ring true. It’s not an airbrushed version of an ideal Indian family; far from it. They love each other but they can also be selfish and inconsiderate., Although the book is told from the protagonist, 25-year-old Kittu’s perspective, no character is just one thing; they aren’t just the brother or the father or the grandfather of the protagonist. They’re also navigating complicated personal lives, usually quite badly. There are serious moments and there are goofy moments.
Q : From Made in China to dysfunctional family drama, how difficult or different was it to write?
A : It was a lot of fun because I’m a huge fan of this genre. The book has an entertaining cast of characters. It includes the cantankerous grandfather, High BP, whose wacky sense of humor causes high blood pressure. There are the perpetual nonsense-spouting college-going twin brothers who give her a hard time. Her ravishing single father is badly stuck between these two groups of men. Then there’s the male pup, Bark Twain, who doesn’t deem Kittu worthy of eye contact. He’s the poster child for male privilege. There’s the poster of PG Wodehouse who lives in a frame in her bedroom and gives her quirky advice. Then there are the love interests. So, her world, as the name suggests, is full of men. There are delightful stories of family bonds.
Q : In your storyline as the book suggests there is humor too. Why is it so important?
A : As authors, we have the privilege and the platform to air our thoughts and our opinions in a way that can resonate with readers and provide some food for thought. The book addresses several pertinent issues and I think people connect better to humor; it makes dialogues interesting and memorable; it makes characters likeable, and it can delight readers. It can also aide in conveying back stories in a quick, effective manner.
Q : This is your fourth novel, how has the journey been so far? Tell us about the feedback from the people.
A : It’s been exciting. I’ve taught myself a lot along the way by reading voraciously, interacting with other writers via writer groups and enrolling myself in online courses. I feel lucky that my novels resonate widely. There are also some brickbats with the bouquets and if constructive, one can learn from them.
Q : Did you anticipate that your books when you began writing would not only be acclaimed but even a movie made on it? What was the feeling like?
A : Certainly not. I didn’t grow up watching too many movies so no, it was surreal. I still cannot believe it.
Q : Which genre do you love to write about? Is there any reason behind it?
A : I’ve written across genres, but lighthearted character-driven stories are my favourite.
Q : Tell us the difference between writing for a book and one for the screen, since your last book Made In China was made into a motion picture.
A : Writing a book and writing a screenplay are two entirely different things. Like skiing and snowboarding, both sports require familiarity with navigating the snow but the similarities end there. Essentially, an entirely new art form needs to be studied for a novelist who wants to venture into the screenwriting space. It’s not all just about tools and techniques either. It’s a personality thing; some people are just better suited for a specific type of craft. Screenwriting, for instance, is more dialogue heavy and requires a knack for it.
Q : What next after A House full of Men? Any ideas you have in mind?
A : I’m working on the second book in the House full series and editing my latest screenplay that has just been commissioned.