Her first book was about a couple who wanted to get divorced. Her second is about a break-up coach with commiment issues. Both books are liberally laced with humour even though the first pokes fun at a noted Indian author, while the second is completely her baby. And when you ask author Judy Balan, whose Sophie Says – Memoirs of a Breakup Coach hit the bookstores a couple of weeks ago, about the distinct anti-romantic trend in her writing, she throws up her hands and reiterates that she can only write about what she knows. “Eveyone’s been asking me about that! Everyone! I’ve been writing a lot about my ‘breakup theories’ on my blog and I continued that in Two Fates. But then, I still had so much left over that I felt it could be material for my second book,” says the pretty author cheerfully.
Sophie Says is about commitment-phobic, breakup-advice-doling Sophie Tilgum who resists all attempts by her gaggle of aunties to get her married. But does she? There is Ryan, who is the impossible-to-resist fake boyfriend and Yatan, who’s Sophie’s If-Someday guy. What follows is a romantic-comedy of epic proportions. “Sophie is nothing like me,” says Balan. “She is inspired by some of the guys that I have been with – guys with severe emotional shortcomings, commitment phobics. Going through all that was not fun. Being in relationships with them was not fun. I’ve attempted to get their side of things out. So Sophie is actually from that point of view,” she says.
Like Sophie, does her creator get peppered with requests for break-up advice as well? “Not breakup advice, relationship advice!” says Balan with a laugh. “I don’t understand why anyone would want to ask a divorced woman for advice on relationship. And even if I could, you’d think I’d have gotten my Prince Charming by now,” she says with a grin.
But she turns serious as she adds, “I believe that some people are wired to be single. I’ve now come to respect commitment phobes who say that they are not ready for a commitment, because they might ruin other people’s lives.”
Commitment-phobe or not, Balan certainly seems tired of breaking people up in her books. For her next book, Balan is all excited about a fantasy plot in her head, “Which is still brewing,” she interrupts. “But again, as with the first two, it will have lots of humour. I want to explore other genres, even if it is just to find out that I can’t write it. And hopefully, this fantasy plot will turn into book three.” Well, we hope so too.
(The book will be formally launched on May 11 at Crosswords, Alwarpet)