I met Rachna at Bangalore Lit fest and didn't know that she is an author. She had everyone in splits and I thought maybe she was a professional stand-up comedian. I was told by my friends that she's an author. Rachna has this innate ability to make everyone laugh with a deadpan look on her face. It was much later I also found out that she's a cancer survivor. Needless to say I'm in awe of her spirit, her wacky sense of humour; all of which reflects in her books and the column she writes.
She writes about the commonplace, everyday stuff that most of us see, experience but never bat an eyelid about. Rachna writes about the mundane with so much humour that it will make you laugh and giggle aloud. She is, in my opinion, the real Mrs FunnyBones.
Below are the books she has penned and published; the latest being Mum's Gotta Live.
Dating, Diapers and Denial in 2011
Nuptial Knots in 2012
That Autumn in Awadh in 2013
Digs, Dogs and Drama in 2014
Band, Baaja, Boys in 2017
Mum's Gotta Live in 2018
I spoke with her about her writing & her latest book.
1. I was reading an article where you've mentioned you are writing a psychological thriller inspired by Snow White. What happened to that? It sounds very interesting.
Yes, that project is on, just moving slowly. It's not really a psychological thriller, but my take on the seven dwarfs', using personality types from theories by my favourite theorists. I really don't know when I'll get back to the manuscript, though! I am sure my fictional dwarfs are quite pissed. They appear in my dreams with all kinds of threats!
2. You've had a nightmarish experience with your first publisher Alchemy. What would be your advice to authors regarding publishing houses?
I feel all authors should evaluate what benefits a publishing house is getting to them. Is it editing? Well, that's available à la carte in several places!Is it designing of the cover and printing? Again, same! Is it distribution? Well, most bookstores only carry books by only select, well-known authors — don't see that changing much. As regards the marketing or publicity of the books, here also, publishers promote potential blockbusters, mostly from known authors. On the other hand, writers also have to understand that investing in unknown names is also a risk for the publishers. It's a chicken-and-egg conundrum for them. I foresee a phase of consolidation in the next couple of years. Most small to mid-sized publishing houses will shut down, or get bought over. Also, self-publishing, through the likes of Amazon, is picking up in a big way as a result of which bookstores are shrinking. Alchemy shut shop without as much as dropping an email to its authors.
3. Now about your latest book. Why did you choose to self publish it? Traditional publishers?
Book publishing contracts are lopsided. The publishers want to retain all possible rights, and could even ask for a kidney from the author, if that were legal, for a 5-7% royalty payment. That's all I am going to say.
4. When did you write it? I read somewhere that Band Baaja Barat is what you wrote while going through treatment. So when was this one penned? There are loads of articles and ads and media campaign about breast cancer, what are you saying that different in the book?
Well, I wrote both Band, Baaja, Boys and Mum's Gotta Live during my treatment. MGL began as a series of diary entries. I have added some tongue-in-cheek FAQs. MGL is straight from the heart, I have put myself out there: so that other women grappling with breast cancer can find solace in it. My endeavour is to bring a smile to the faces of women dealing with it, and hopefully, give them strength to look the Big C in the eye and tell it they are not scared.
5. You have an amazing sense of humour. Who are the people you like to mimic.
I love doing acts based on the quirks of the people of the place I belong to – Uttar Pradesh. Those funny moments in which strangers offer advice in a train journey, or when a person bargains for a good deal in McDonald's or when the rickshaw-walla calls you 'mata-ji', despite your hip and happening jean ki pant and rani-colour top.
6. I read your column when you post on FB. You see humour in life around you and write about it. tell me more about this, what frequency it appears and what you write about.
I write a fortnightly column for a Pune-based daily called Sakal Times. It's called WITAMIN. Mostly, it's anecdotal humour – my visit to the dentist's, my love-hate relationship with Alexa or my (non-existent) Home Science skills.
I archive the columns here – http://rachnasingh.in/blogs/witamin/
7. What are you working on now? Your next book...what is that about?
Two manuscripts, half done. I am thinking of excuses for the lack of progress on those. I will have those ready the next time we chat. The excuses, not the manuscripts!
Website – www.rachnasingh.in
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachnaSingh/
Twitter - @witrachna
Instagram - authorrachna