BENGALURU: The easiest way to spot Archita Sriram in a crowded room is to look for the girl with a book in her hands. The 17-year-old started her journey by being a voracious reader who could finish a book in two days flat to journaling when she was upset to finally becoming a published author.
She started writing in December 2017, but what started out as a novel eventually turned into a mix of prose and poetry titled Even The Skies Are Blue. “I had written short stories previously and they were easy to do. But novels were in depth and much harder. I gave up for a few weeks but then I thought I could pursue the same story through prose and poetry instead,” says Sriram.
Considering she started penning the book just before her class 10 board examinations, one would think she must have found it hard to find the time to write and study. “No, it was never hard because I made a schedule and stuck to it. The idea for the book also came to me when I was frustrated while studying Biology. So writing always became an escape from Geography or some other subject,” she explains, adding that most of her writing was done in the summer break post the examinations.
Narrowing down a single theme for the book wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Initially, Sriram thought of writing a story around bullying but then switched to something that would be simpler for her to explore. “My book is about a girl who finds the inner strength to get out of a past trauma and how she gets the closure to move on,” she says.
Despite having a clear idea about the book, the author didn’t jump straight into writing it. “Since these were things I hadn’t dealt with personally, I needed time to soak into the characters shoes. I’m a psychology student so that helped me understand my character more. I also spoke to friends who’ve been in such situations so that I could understand their headspace more,” she says.
Once the book was completed, Sriram reached out to three publishers, before Notion Press agreed to turn it into a paperback. Feedback and criticism are part of the writing process and just like any writer out there, Sriram too faced her fair share of reworking the story. “I remember sulking for two weeks after one person’s feedback. He was a theatre artiste and felt the book lacked realism and it was too general to move anyone,” she recalls.
But not everyone was of this opinion, especially not her English teacher at school, who also happened to be the first person to have read her completed draft. “He was encouraging and always told me it was my book and I could decide what call to take. Unlike the other person, he didn’t try to bend the story to what he would have preferred,” she says.
Being a full-time writer is not on the cards yet but Sriram does plan to pursue writing on the side while she studies neuropsychology or pursues an MBA. Ask her about her next book and she candidly reveals that she already has the title planned but wants to hold on to it for a while longer, and promises that it will be something lighter and different from her maiden book.