Techie Wins Novella Contest
By Resmi Jaimon
Geetha Madhuri studied Computer Science and has been working as an IT professional for the last five years. She started her career writing code, but is currently a Business Analyst. Unlike most in the modern tech world who SMS a ‘Thank You’ to thank someone, Geetha actually writes out a note to express her appreciation. Her book ‘Frozen Summer’ has just won a Novella contest.
Techgoss (TG): Tell us about your debut book 'Frozen Summer.'
Geetha Madhuri (GM): Frozen Summer is a Psychological thriller with a suspenseful storyline and inspired from several real life incidents. It is a narrative tale of a young woman who begins her day by rushing to an interview and during her journey to and from the interview, she learns about a murder that happens in the same city that she lives in, which is Hyderabad. As more and more details are given out by the media, she realizes that she is somehow connected to that murder, not clearly understanding how! The only way to figure out what happened is by reaching home. And when she reaches her street, she collapses on the ground, frozen.
Frozen Summer is published alongside Columbina as India's First Double Header book! And is available in Amazon.in and Flipkart.
TG: How did you come up with the storyline and characters in such a short time?
GM: One day, I was driving to work and noticed a new shoe lying on the road at a very busy junction. It was fairly new and wondered who slipped it off their shopping bags. Out of curiosity (I don't generally do this), I pulled over and waited for someone to come and pick it, but no one did. Within minutes, with all the vehicles that kept bashing it over, it turned so bad and that is when the owner rushed to pick it up. Looking at its state, he left it there and also discarded his second shoe. All this made me think for a while. Call me crazy, but this is exactly what went on in my head. We all find ourselves in the shoes of either of those two shoes at some point in our lives. I imagined the delight that the man must have had when he bought those new pair of shoes! All excited and happy. But within minutes, fate changed it all.. And that inspired Frozen Summer. No, it is not a story about two shoes :) But two friends..
Frozen Summer was initially a short story that I wrote in the year 2012. Later, when I heard about the contest that Half Baked Beans publishing held, I submitted the same short story and was selected! And I developed the characters and the plot from that short story and made it a novella. I won in the final round and they published my work.. Yeeey!
TG: Your book is a result of the novella writing contest, Half Baked Beans you took part. What's Half Bakes Beans all about?
GM: Half Baked Beans Publishing is a very innovation-driven publishing house based out of New Delhi. If you take a look at the books that they have published, every single book is so unique in its own way! They believe in the strength of a story and don't really go after only those stories which fall under the traditional commercial success formula. They encourage new authors and this is a brilliant platform for newbies to explore the writer within. Chetan Soni, my publisher has always been a great support, sport, understanding and fun person to talk to.
TG: When did you first start writing?
GM: I thank people a lot! And when I do, I don't just SMS thank you or say "thank you". Since my schooling, I always expressed my gratitude by writing short write-ups summarizing how big a deal it is for me to have received the help/love. That's how it all started. And in my previous workplace, I worked as an environmentalist and led several initiatives there. Since it is a pretty dry topic, it was extremely difficult to pull people in for volunteering activities. That is when I took up the challenge of communications. Instead of traditional approach, I sent out emails with fun and interesting content and bingo.. we started receiving nominations.. That is when my writing was supported, loved and encouraged on a wider platform and that is what influenced me in writing short stories.. After that, you know :)
TG: How challenging was it to write a novel along with your full time IT job?
GM: It was difficult. For sure. I am married. And I am a full time IT professional. Managing everything at home and at work and concentrating on writing was far more challenging than I initially anticipated. But thankfully, I have an understanding husband who encouraged and gave me that required nudge. I made sure to write every single day. I gave up other leisure activities and concentrated on Frozen Summer for 30 days straight. The last 2 weeks' pressure was immense! Once I held the book in my hands, phew, all that hard work and sacrifices seem totally worth it!
TG: Share with us your educational and career background.
GM: I am a Computer Science Engineering Graduate. And since 5 years, I have been working as an IT professional.. I have been a developer, then moved to USA and transitioned myself as a QA Analyst to cater to the opportunities available and also to work on writing simultaneously. Currently I am exploring myself as a Business Analyst. I know! Sounds like one hell of a career ride. That's purely because I love challenges and grab the opportunities as they come my way!
TG: What is the nature of your work at your present organization?
GM: I currently am working in a dual role of Business Analyst and QA Analyst. At this point, my job surely demands a lot of time to be invested. Once I pass this challenging phase, I would begin working on my second book..
TG: How supportive were your colleagues and friends, considering you had to work as well as write a novel in 45 days?
GM: Honestly, I was out of India when I wrote Frozen Summer as a novella. I was blessed to have some great friends at work in USA who always brought the fresh, happy and chirpy side out of me. Without that, I am sure the process would have been far more difficult and emotionally draining. All my friends back in India were surely connected to me emotionally and their support was immense. The best part is my best friends are my greatest critics. And that, helped a lot in improving myself. My parents and husband were highly encouraging and supportive in their own ways. Couldn't have asked for better people around..
TG: Who are your favorite authors?
GM: I am crazy about Lord of the Rings! Love would be an undermining word. I am currently on JRR Tolkein's book reading spree.. Needless to say, I am in awe with everything about this legendary author..
TG: What writing plans do you have for the near future?
GM: My first published work was a short story, based on Beijing Olympics, in a book called Time's Lost Atlas. My second and major work is Frozen Summer, which is a novella. I like the graph and third being a novel would only make more sense. Both my works were suspenseful thrillers. And I would love to write a novel of the same genre. I do have a couple of stories running in my head and I will let you all know when the third one is on the floors..
You can stay in touch with GM at her Facebook page
Techgoss Note: Resmi Jaimon is a Kerala based freelance writer, who is now keen on exploring visual media through talk shows, food and travel shows. More about her at her website