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Interview with Sridhar Ramachandran




Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I am a people’s man and like to interact across a spectrum of people irrespective of their social status. Having lived in four countries - Rwanda, Indonesia, South Africa, and Hong Kong apart from India and traveled over 25 countries, I can understand, and respect different cultures. I have encountered, and lived through many crisis situations, and witnessed many success and failure stories over the last 30 years. I would say, I am evolving everyday and learning. I played cricket until I turned 40, and still manage to jog or do the gym in the morning for an hour to maintain my physical and mental fitness.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you shortly? Any new project you’re working on?
A. The response to my first book has been very positive and with so many encouraging me, I will surely be writing, maybe one a year. I am working on a couple of ideas relating to turnaround and crisis management as I find these areas unexplored in India.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. Honestly, every day, when I travel or meet a new person or face a new situation be it professional or personal, ideas flow through.  Even while answering your question I am getting some thoughts.  I get excited. Obviously, all abstract ideas can’t become books but help in a larger thought formation. I strongly believe in “cause and effect relationship”, and hence I observe everything. End of Saamba Dance is born out of the hardcore experience.    

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. I am a novice to give any advice. But I want everyone to become a writer as they have phenomenal stories to tell.  I started very late but it’s still better. Express yourself the way you feel in your heart and don’t try to get into readers’ minds while writing.

Q.5 How do you come up with the name of this book?
A. After I finished writing the book, I was toying with few names. I was not satisfied because I didn’t want to give a typical business or finance titles. While browsing YouTube, I saw the highly charged Samba dance at Rio Carnival. It struck me that my main character, Saambasivam Venkatraman is running the business empire, and it’s a roller coaster dance. Hence, the title. 

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A. 99% of Indians hesitate to tell their stories. Americans are great at it, and I learned it early enough. So, don’t get scared to tell your story as every story has something for someone. As you keep expressing yourself, jot down your thoughts and get passionate about your story. The rest will fall automatically.

Q.7 What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book “End of Saamba Dance”?
A. That I could write in English, and I could write the whole book in 50 days. I mentally made up that I will write one chapter a day as though someone was waiting to read it daily. Basically, my heart and mind were tuned to it.  

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Haha! Maybe my 30 years of married life helped. The real reason is to listen, appreciate, respect, and observe the behavior of the opposite sex which helps to get into their mind partly.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. In fact, a couple of people asked me why I selected a Tamil born entrepreneur as India has not seen such a large empire being built by a Tamil.  My question is, why not? That may be true in the past, but in the future, anyone can build. Once I visualize the role of a character in the plot, I have to bring in names that add credibility so that every reader can associate with that character. Of course, my extensive travel and meeting so many helped me.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. I read every review may be few times to understand what they are trying to communicate. Even some of best friends write a review, and I would have imagined their views differently, but when I read their review it gives a different perspective. Every reader has a right to express their views whether good or not so good. I don’t take it offense and only take the good part of their criticism. I don’t react to bad ones, as in life one can never satisfy everyone.

Q.11 Does your family supports your career as a writer?
A. My wife and two boys understand that I will pursue my passion that is close to my heart. I ensure that I rarely take away family time. They are quite happy that my first book is well received. They have always been supportive of my initiatives be it book writing or drama skits or my involvement in social activities.  

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block?
A. Before I started writing, I watched a few YouTube videos on this topic. It was very helpful, and I managed to avoid. Few mentioned starting a book and never managed to finish even after a few years. It can happen to some, but I felt the best way is to fall in love with the subject and drive it. Maybe my tough organizational drive helped to finish.  

Q.13 Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
A. I get excited the moment I start writing as so many thoughts go through my mind, but I force myself to focus on what I am supposed to write. It is indeed an exhilarating experience.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I write an abstract of each chapter in a few lines, until the end, and identify areas that may require more research. When I get ideas. I put them down on my mobile. I mostly write in the car while commuting to work or on flights and trains. At home, I put my feet up and sit on a couch.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Timing is the most important thing. I wrote the book in 50 days including reviewing the output and sent it to my publisher Notion Press around mid-April. I told them that before the end of June I wanted it to be published, and they did. They asked why I am so particular. I told that before I turned 55 this needs to happen.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I don’t have any experience with this as I went to Notion Press which is a platform. I did hear a few experiences from some authors, but I decided to follow my own way. Today the technology helps, and I believe no one has the right to curtail the creativity of authors.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. Notion Press offered to check on the grammar which was important to me as I am a Tamil student. Otherwise, I did not engage any professional editor as the subject is such that it requires an expert, and I have it.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I have a few on my list, but my priority is to meet our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi. The reason is simple. He is one person who has a great vision for India and is trying to change the behavior of our people for the betterment of humanity. I don’t think many understood the meaning of “Swachh Bharat”.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. Biography of Rajaji - A Life byRajmohan Gandhi.  The grandson candidly brings out that C.R. deserved much more, but faced discrimination.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. I am happy that I could use my 30 years of experience in the form of a book and shared. I always believe sharing knowledge is more important. I thank all my readers for their support.

Share your social account links -
Instagram - @sridharr21
Twitter - @sridharr1964

2 comments:

  1. A fine interview, incisive and exhaustive; brings out a detailed account of the journey of the writer into the world of publishing up to achieving authorship. Congratulations, Ms Akanksha Jain and Mr Sridhar Ramachandran. Blessings.

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