No Mics On: Michelle and Tara On Recording Their Podcast Amidst A Pandemic

Not many people know that besides being colleagues, Michelle and Tara, the hosts of Books and Beyond with Bound, are also friends. Amidst the pandemic, this duo figured out how to record a podcast virtually and had a blast while at it. They take their combined love for interviewing authors and all things books up a notch in Season 2. Books and Beyond with Bound explores writers’ (like Booker long-listed Avni Doshi, Manu Pillai, Arshia Sattar and many more) creative processes through interviews. It has over 16k downloads and counting.

Read as the hosts spill all on how they recorded the podcast amidst a pandemic, how their friendship grew and what to expect in season 2 .

Michelle: I still can’t believe that we recorded with so many guests within a month. If you had asked me this a few months back, I would never have thought it was possible, as we recorded our first season in a studio. As we live in Mumbai, a major pandemic hotspot, for Season 2, we didn’t have the option to even meet or speak face to face. We took the plunge and decided to record with guests online. I’m very grateful to my family for keeping super silent while we recorded these episodes! 

My fangirl moment of Season 2 was recording with Radhika Vaz as I have been following her work since I was in Bahrain. It was really fun talking to her about her creative process. She’s as down to earth and funny in person as her memoir, Unladylike. It was also refreshing to talk about comedy on our podcast as we didn’t do that in Season 1. She is unapologetically funny and we connected with her as women too.

Tara: The first episode we recorded for Season 2 of our podcast, Books and Beyond with Bound, was a disaster. The internet conked off, one of our computers died and one of us lost our voice due to the sheer amount of practice! Season 2 was going to be very different from Season 1. There was no fancy studio and equipment to aid us. The pandemic had ruined any scope of that. We only had ourselves, our computers and our guests. But we decided that if the content was good, we would figure the tech stuff out along the way. After much trial and error, countless rescheduling and many rounds of edits, here we are! It’s been a joyride interviewing our favourite authors like Ira Mukhoty, Samit Basu and many more.

Michelle: For me, the highlight of Season 2, was buddy reading with Tara. The pandemic has been terribly isolating, so reading the guests’ books and discussing them with Tara kept me going. There were times when both of us ended up pinging each other the exact same text from a book or commenting on parts of the book that resonated with both of us. There were times when we differed in our opinions and heard each other out, learning from each other’s perspectives. These conversations with other writers have helped me grow as a writer too. I often play back the episodes on my bluetooth speaker and absorb the lessons these writers have to share. Some of their tips are priceless and have helped me in my journey. I hope it will help you too.  

Tara: I think it’s been the most fun recording with Michelle. There is something special about creating and collaborating with a like-minded person. And I have found that partnership in Michelle. With every brainstorming session, we come out with greater clarity on what we want done, new ideas, new perspectives and goals. And we have great fun along the way. We have been accused of giggling too much. Haha.

We also wanted to explore more genres and styles than we did in Season 1. I was excited to talk to Sonali Gupta about mental health, coping with anxiety and how she managed to put all her years of experience into writing. Anmol’s episode on chick-lit was great fun and we spoke about how to master the genre and tell people well-written, entertaining and heartwarming stories. 

Tara and Michelle: We have tried to showcase our unique perspectives in this season and tell our listeners more about ourselves, our views on the publishing industry and more. We have approached the writers we interviewed with open and curious minds. We wanted to ask difficult questions – yes, everyone says this – but we wanted to take what is already out there and build on that. We wanted to go deeper and really get their perspectives on things that matter to YOU, our listeners. Their creative process, the themes and agendas they push in their writing, what they try and achieve with their work and more. We feel successful when a writer tells us, ‘I have never been asked that before’ or ‘This question really made me think’.

We have poured all our love into this podcast and we hope you enjoy our labour of love. Thank you for listening in. 

Do listen to Episode 1 of Season 2 of Books and Beyond with Bound, where Michelle and Tara dive into what makes them tick, how their friendship grew deeper and moved beyond work and how they overcame personal challenges and set their personal goals. Let us know what you think. Tune into the episodes here.