Conversation with Arthi Anand

Q1. What motivated you to be a children’s author?

I do not think I planned for to become a children’s writer. I enjoy writing and once I became a mother, I began blogging to share the joys of motherhood among family. Soon I started branching off into other topics. Someone noticed some talent in me and referred me to Chandamama- a children’s publication. I wrote a serial story called Mister Muthu for them for over two years. The story was based on a young boy based on a chatty driver I met at Yercaud, while on a family trip.

Meanwhile I began reading aloud Tulika, Karadi, Katha Books to my daughters. Soon I found I was weaving extempore pieces for my children. I shared those stories with some publishers and Tulika published a couple of them. Now I was eligible to be called a children’s author. An ex-editor from Tulika, was kind enough to explore new stories on a new platform – digital- with me and that is how my stories on Fundooda happened.

Q2. Where do you find the inspiration and plot for the stories?

Just by listening and noticing things that form our day to day life, actively- mindfully- to use a very topical word. I do try to see a funnier side to what I observe and weave it into my stories. I avoid moralistic writing.

Q3. Who were your favorite authors when you were young?

I was a voracious reader and enjoyed everything from magazines like Target & Children’s World to classics by Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte to the ever-popular Arthur Conan Doyle, Enid Blyton & Carolyn Keene. My young adult fiction equivalent was Robin Cook & Richard Bach! Our exposure and access to books back then, was not as wide as it is now.

Q4. Who is the author who inspires you the most?

While I enjoy reading the works of many, I am not inspired by anyone in my writing. It is the observation of day to day life that inspires me.

Q5. If one of your readers wants to be an author, what would be your advice to them?

If you have a story to tell, go ahead and write it straight away. The first draft will be far from perfect. Go back to it and start revising sentence by sentence. Next let someone with a good command over the language read it, edit your work and offer you suggestions. In my case, it is my father.
Read aloud to your target audience. My children, in my case. Notice concerns and revise.
It is not necessary that your story-world should have the same cause and effects as the real world you live in. But once you have decided what the rules of your new world will be, be consistent in following them.

Q6. How many hours per day do you write?

I am a lazy writer. I write as and when an idea inspires me. There may be months of gaps in my writing.

Q7. Is it difficult to write books for children or for the adults and why?

I have never written for adults and am not sure if the process will be any different.

Q8. Did you ever face a writer’s block? How did you overcome it?

I am going through one, any tips are welcome.

Q9. If not a writer, then what career would you have pursued?

I work in marketing fragrances ( a profession I enjoy) and my hobby is storytelling and writing. I think I would have made a good radio jockey or a travel journalist.

Q10. Which is your next upcoming book?

None at the moment! And that is not a title.

Q11. In your opinion what will be the future of story-telling and digital learning?

I think, they will both thrive. As long as humans are around there will be storytelling and enough content as well. Digital is one of the many media that can be employed.
Availability of good quality music in digital form has not killed live performances. The spontaneity and improvisation which a good storyteller brings to the process is difficult to be substituted by AI.

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