Pooja Sriram is a working mom who feeds her passion for writing, through
stories for little readers. A brand marketer by profession, she has 12+ years of
corporate experience. As an author and a mom, she likes to find things
beyond a story in a book. Hidden in her stories are simple concepts kids can
embrace without being overwhelmed. She has previously written a book
called ‘Amma’s Work From Home Buddy’ that teaches little ones about the
balancing act working moms perform.
Let’s dive into the interview with the author to know the journey behind Hairdresser in a Hairless Town.
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
The book ‘Hairdresser in a Hairless Town’ is a fictional story about a young man who is faced with a challenge but does not give up even though many of his solutions fail. He tries again and again to make a career of being a hairdresser in a hairless town. The book is written to develop curiosity amongst young readers and also teach them not to give up easily in touch situations. As the story unfolds, kids can understand the different emotions the character goes through and connect with the beautifully illustrated facial expressions.
- Is there a specific event that inspired this story or was this an out-of-the-blue idea?
As a mom of a 4-year-old and aunt of a 7-year-old, I have the opportunity to listen in (sometimes even drop) on very interesting conversations between the boys. The little one unabashedly asks questions and the older one has the perfect answers ready. Such conversations inspired me to write a story that can weave more conversations and get kids like them to come up with their own ideas to solve a problem.
- What got you writing in the first place?
I have always loved writing since childhood. I used to write short stories, poetry, comic strips, and more even as a kid. With time my career in Marketing also got me to polish my writing skills in both long form and short-form content. After writing enough for the digital media & my personal blog, I decided that if I want my words to directly reach kids, books are the best medium. I’m so glad I am able to do this now.
- What was your impression of your first draft when you read it?
I wrote my story, imagining it to be printed in a book. I knew which side of the page would say what, so it was only about putting the words in the right place and stitching all the thoughts together. The first draft captured the essence but it definitely needed work to make it more concise & crisp. The title changed many times through the different versions to get to where it is now.
- Which part of your story connects the most with you? Why?
The struggles the hairdresser goes through and the different ideas he comes up with is what I connect most with because through life you are always figuring it out and many attempts can be futile, only after a few failed attempts do you reach a goal, but those attempts make the end result so much more precious. I love reminiscing on the journey and not the destination.
- What makes your book the one to read?
As a reader, I always look for things beyond a story in a book. It could be the character, his/her personality, some experiences that shape the situation, and more. Even in kids’ books, I have read many with my son that help us build a conversation beyond the story and we both learn something new and interesting in the book. Similarly, my book, the Hairdresser in a Hairless Town also has some subtle subplots that parents and kids can together unpack between the pages. It talks about passion, emotion, facial expression, attitude, and struggle. But with the story being so simple it would never overwhelm a kid/first-time reader to unpack all of this at once.
- What was the best advice you got while writing?
Not to underestimate my readers. Especially when you write for kids you try to dumb down everything, assume they may not know something or not notice something. But that’s not right and it is good to always be in sync with what readers actually do.
- Who’s your all-time favorite author? Which book of his/hers made you fall in love with
Julia Donaldson, the author of Gruffalo is my all-time favorite. Her books have lovely stories + something interesting to learn on every page and even make a conversation about. She wrote Gruffalo in 1999 and it is relevant even for kids today.
- What is your evergreen tip to the writers out there?
Be authentic. You can learn, you can be inspired. But find your own style and story when you put your writing out there for the world to see. If it’s a piece of you, it needs to be as authentic.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
Writing a scene is not the tough part. Bringing it alive and conveying the right message is the tough part. Sometimes it’s the choice of words and for Kid’s books, it is usually the illustration that brings the scene alive. You can write things in 3 lines, but to showcase it across 4 pages is the tough part. Showing the struggle, disappointment, and transitioning to the determined looks was challenging but extremely well executed by the illustrator, Aanchal Kejriwal.
- Do you have another plot brewing?
I do intend to write a couple of more books in the same series that talk bout ‘not giving up in situations. A draft of my next is already ready and in the works 🙂
AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.in/dp/9395079703