Our second author for today is Mr. Jas Anand. Author of “With a pinch of Salt”, published by Srishti Publishers.
BNI: Please tell us something about your self?
JA: My name is Jas Anand (or Jasjit Singh Anand for long & technical accuracy). I am a Mechanical Engineer & have done PGDBA. I have been wearing a tie in the corporate sector for more than 15 years. I am a happy man who tends to find ‘skies more blue’ and ‘trees more green’ than they are in reality. I like to ‘live, laugh and let go’ – I am a avid traveler, voracious reader, part time writer and a full time propagator of ‘positive thinking’.
I am happily married with 2 little boys. I have recently shifted to Manila. I have spent of lot of my time in Dehradun and Mumbai during schooling and my corporate career respectively.
BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?
JA: I have been a prolific writer since my college days; albeit here I am referring to reams of paper that I use to write during examinations and would end up taking maximum supplements from the supervisor.
On a serious note, my debut book “With a pinch of salt …” is my first major publication. Besides I had written few articles on cricket for online website (s).
BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
JA: I genuinely believe that life does not get tough, we get too serious. I believe our daily lives have so much hidden splendor and humor but we are not able to spot it due our robotic 9 to 6 pattern of living. An observant and a roving eye for fun can see anecdotes bubbling all around. This book is an endeavor to transform the mundane daily life into an opportunity to find some fun and humor. The book is thus about celebrating life by creating humor out of our daily life situations. The inspiration was to present a refreshing take on day to day life and help people find humor around them.
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book.
JA: “Life does not get tough, we get too serious”. So please laugh out loud “with a pinch of salt …”
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
JA: The book is exaggerated to make it funnier; who cares for bland stuff? Hence exaggeration comes “with a pinch of salt …”
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
JA: Every human being who is alive is the target audience for the book. For we all know that only humans are capable of laughing – no animal can. The anecdotes and characters though pertain more about college life and corporate life, so that way 20 to 50 age bracket may admire it the most.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
JA: There is no one main character in the book. The book is based on observation of funny tendencies in people and then creating fictional caricatures and anecdotes around out of them. Hence each chapter is a character in itself and some anecdotes around them. For eg:
There are some people who can never come straight to a point. If you ever asked them a simple question like what is the time? They would probably reply “Time!!! This is the most horrible time of my life. My father is not sending me more money, I can’t understand any damn thing in the lectures, no girl ever seems to be interested in me and the hostel food is pathetic. Time!!! It is the worst time of my life”
This tendency of beating around the mulberry bush has been converted into a fictional character called ‘’Simon Satellite”. And yes, there are many more such characters and anecdotes.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
JA: I think promoting the book has been the hardest thing – and I have realized that books are really tough to promote. And the easiest thing has been to say thank you to the compliments and good reviews received.
BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.
JA: Like most men after a few beers, I too tend to transform into a story teller and with each repetition at a new venue the story usually gets funnier and more exaggerated. A friend once suggested why I don’t write a book around these anecdotes. I thought the idea was brilliant as the creative content was already in place. So the genesis lies in an all-boys beer party.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
JA: Yes. There is so much humor around us; we just need to see with more fun loving eyes. As I said earlier – “Life does not get tough, we get too serious”.
BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book?
JA: No. I am currently based in Manila and the book has only been released in India.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
JA: Few readers have given feedback through Facebook and reviews. The feedback is encouraging and most of it found the book very easy to relate as they see such characters and stories all around them. One reader was very articulate as he called the book as “A very refreshing perspective of boring every day life”.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part time?
JA: I always believed that I had a writing talent and a sense of humor to complement it. It just started as a hobby to do something beyond my corporate career and slowly took shape.
It is a part time work that I do.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
JA: In humor genre; P.G. Wodehouse and Scott Adams inspire me the most. Overall, Kahlil Gibran is my favorite author.
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
JA: The fact that it is light reading and it brings smile to people is what attracts me to this genre.
BNI: According to you, what is the hardest thing about writing?
JA: The hardest part is to find an interesting and unique subject that can stand out in the ocean of books.
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
JA: I want to keep writing books and hopefully get few released internationally. Further, I don’t want to restrict myself to humor and slowly will branch out into different genres. I want to have a varied set of genres executed to best of my ability.
BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest Book?
JA: I think book series is a wonderful idea. It allows the author to expand a successful franchise and make it commercially more viable. Writing is a tough profession commercially, thus I think it adds value to publisher, reader and writer. Yes, I have plans for a sequel. The book is about of everyday humor and hence the ideas keep ticking in for “With a pinch of salt .. 2”. I have also requested readers to participate thus making this book as a vehicle for expression of creativity.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
JA: I think I was lucky in this regard. It was shortlisted quite early by Srishti Publishers. I had to wait for a year for my turn as they had projects in pipeline.
BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
JA: It is a chapter / story called “Love Pentagon”, it is hilarious and please read it to found out why. Love triangles are a passé.
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
JA: I just want the book to reach out to public and it gets a chance to be read and reviewed by people at large.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
JA: It is very important; the cover helps you to break out of the clutter. We spent lot of time designing and approving the cover.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
JA: My book is published by Srishti so I am not direcly aware of the challenges. But I think distribution will be the biggest challenge.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
JA: Printed book works best for me – paperback or hard cover.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
‘’Never drink with your own money’’ syndrome (or alternatively ‘forgotten the wallet’ syndrome)
They have all the money in the world to go to Thailand every year and change their gadgets on the day of new launches. Needless to say, they drive long cars and wear fancy watches. But I still don’t know what happens to them when they go out for drinks with friends and colleagues. Either they rush to the toilet at the time of billing or their hands get frozen on the way to their pockets or they have simply forgotten to carry their wallet that day. This syndrome is widely popular amongst selected section of friends, family and bosses. Although they keep saying ‘I will pay’ but that never happens. When they return from the toilet they invariably ask you ‘why did you pay’?
‘’Robotic Salesman’’ syndrome
This syndrome largely pertains to entry level / junior most salesmen which are now often referred to as ‘feet on street’ in corporate lingo (Thankfully managers are not referred as ‘shoes on carpet’). Some of them robotically swallow the sales tips and do not digest the intent / spirit of the same. Hence they often turn into script speaking parrots with negligible scope of customizations. I remember one such ‘feet on street’ came to my house for a demonstration of some product. As a quick background I had just shifted into this house and it was in a state of total mess. What a normal person considers as messy, I usually classify that as clean. So you can imagine the extent of disaster if I classify something as messy. And Let me re-iterate the house was totally messy due to shifting / furniture scattered everywhere.
Robotic Salesman: “Good afternoon sir”
Me: Good afternoon. Please come inside
Robotic Salesman: Thank you for letting me in. Sir, I must say that you have such a lovely house
Me: I have just shifted. It is so messy, what did you find so lovely?
Robotic Salesman: (Not groomed to handle deviations and sporadic questions) Sir, we are trained to say all this. We are given a script in which complimenting a house is mandatory.
This syndrome can be extended to other walks of life. My golfer brother in law often tells me that his caddie spontaneously comes up with sounds of ‘shot sir’ irrespective of how good or bad it may be in reality. The moment the ball leaves the club, the words of appreciation leave from his mouth in perfect synchronicity.
So when you start getting stereotyped replies from some people, you would know that the ‘robotic salesman’ syndrome is working. Bosses should be particularly alert about this syndrome when they are doing business reviews.
Thank you very much dear Jas Anand. This has been an enriching experience. Books News India on behalf of its readers wishes you luck for your latest book and forthcoming ventures.