I don’t know about you, but I always want to go and talk to the author of a book immediately after I shut the last page.
We are very excited to launch our brand new Books podcast, Books and Beyond. We are going to be interviewing writers across genres about their creative secrets, inspiration and more. So here’s the story of how we got started, challenges we faced and how we overcame them!
I don’t know about you, but I always want to go and talk to the author of a book immediately after I shut the last page. I want to know how they create their magical worlds, the stories, ideas, the crazy characters and the roller-coaster plot lines. How do they imagine worlds far away, and within, and way back in the past? The first time I asked an author about their creative process was when I was a teenager. My aunt had released a book, which I had read and loved. So I asked her how she created the characters – where the stories came from. And when I started Bound, I remembered that moment. We had already grown into a community of dedicated readers and writers, and I knew just how much our community loved interacting with the authors of the books they loved. We had seen it first hand, at our retreats and workshops where we engage Indian authors to teach and mentor aspiring writers.
So when Michelle moved to Bombay and began working at Bound, the first thing we decided to do was work on a podcast. Michelle is an ace interviewer and had been interviewing writers for years. We both had similar enough sensibilities, but different enough interests for the conversation to be insightful and unique. So after many many many practice rounds –getting our podcast voices was not so easy after all, no matter that the best voice is the most genuine — we recorded our first episode with none other than Manu Pillai! And from there, many more. I couldn’t believe that all these writers we admired shared their stories and their creative secrets so willingly with us. And it was a dream come true. Before each interview, we would prepare by reading everything on the author. We would each prepare a list of questions we were were dying to ask, which were often in the hundreds and then cut cut cut to the most interesting- after all we only had an hour with each writer! Michelle and I developed our own language. We had certain hand gestures to signal to each other to ask the next question, make a comment and move the conversation forward while recording. From recording to editing to scripting and more- we learnt a whole lot. And we can’t wait to bring you all of our conversations!
It was a dream come true for me to record a podcast which interviews writers because I’ve been interviewing writers for years. Tara, the founder of Bound, had been following my interviews which provided me consistent validation that every creative looks for. It was so much fun recording with Tara as the co-host.
We are avid readers, writers and editors which made the process so much more fun. Coming to Bombay and working in the field of literature was entirely unexpected for me. I had longed to work in such a field because commerce was really dry. It still feels like a dream that we actually got to speak to so many talented and award-winning writers. There are many avenues for literary interests abroad but there is a lack of infrastructure for the arts and literature in India. And Bound tries to fill that gap. Bound’s retreats and workshops have been so much fun. It is enriching to interact with like-minded people.
This experience has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. When you get to know the creative process behind a stellar piece of literature, there is rarely anything else that brings a bookworm so much joy.
With our podcast, we have spent hours going over the questions we need to ask, our tones, our rapport and much more. We had practice sessions in our office but that didn’t prepare me for the actual recording in the studio (We bumped into Abish Mathew and Vishal & Shekhar at the studio but that’s another story). Our recording with Manu was enlightening. I don’t usually read non-fiction but was so curious about Manu’s work that I found myself equipped with thoughtful questions and felt less intimidated when Manu was sitting with us in the studio!
This experience has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. When you get to know the creative process behind a stellar piece of literature, there is rarely anything else that brings a bookworm so much joy. We wanted this podcast to be fun an educational. Readers and writers will both benefit from this. All of our hard work and even the writers’ who’ve been guests on the show will finally pay off, if you listen and support us!
It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it’s been a fun one. And here we are! Enjoy!
Find us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever you find your podcasts.
Or listen on our website here: https://www.boundindia.com/podcast/
Written by Rheea Mukherjee
Rheea Rodrigues Mukherjee is the author of The Body Myth (Unnamed Press /Penguin India 2019) which was shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live First Book Award. Her work has been published and featured in Scroll.in, Southern Humanities Review, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Vogue India, Out of Print, TBLM, and Bengal Lights, among others. She co-founded Bangalore Writers Workshop in 2012 and currently co-runs Write Leela Write, a Design and Content Laboratory in Bangalore, India. Rheea has an MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts.