Q&A

CHRISTINA DANIELS

How did you come up with the idea of blog to book?

When Nirmala spoke about her idea of a book that put together thoughts on the world around us, it seemed like a great idea. So I searched through my blog for pieces that were on similar lines and added them to the book. We arrived at the name of the Mind Blogs for the book because the final form of the book took on a blog format, blogged by three different authors.

Later, besides some of Zahid’s pieces that were also on his blog, we picked our guest blogger Manjari’s piece off her blog. Then some of the “pen & paper” pieces were also blogged.

Do you think blogging is more conducive to a book form? Are you changing the virtual rules here? How do you see the future of blog books?

I think all three are separate – books, blogs and blog books. They each have a spirit of their own and will continue to exist. But in our case, the book just lent itself to the blog format.

What are the diff processes you needed to employ for print compared to blogging in virtual space?

When I look at the pieces I moved from my blog to print, they had to be structured and even edited. Blogs sometimes have the quality of random journal entries. They now needed to be given a more literary quality, while still retaining their spontaneity.

Which is more fun, blogging online or book writing?

For me, blogging… Book writing is a far more disciplined process that you sometimes need to work at when you may not always feel in the mood for it.

How are your individual writings for the book diff from your blogs?

Well the main theme on my blog is cinema. But here, I picked posts that were relevant to the book, and there’s not a single piece from me that touches any cinematic theme.

You have to have an eye on book sales now so would this impact your themes and writings compared to a free flowing blog you could stream online?

If you look at Nirmala’s initial idea on the book, this was never meant to be a commercial venture. It was just meant to speak about and to the world around. And that is what has become… In this sense upholding the spirit of the essence of blogging.

Koshy’s has played a big role – how has it impacted your sensibilities?

Koshy’s has always been a great melting pot of ideas… So it seems right that the idea should have occurred to us and taken shape here. So I would say that it was the place that set our minds free to think and create.

NIRMALA GOVINDARAJAN

How did you come up with the idea of blog to book? What are the pleasures and pains of being 3 authors collaborating on one book?

For me, there was no blog to begin with. I’d ponder, and then put my writings on paper, and email them to friends. Some are middles and first person write ups from my earlier days as a free-lance journalist. I wanted to put these thoughts together, and so, spoke with Christina and Zahid about it. They are avid bloggers and decided to sync in their pieces which were in similar vein as my writings.

On a book like this that’s rife with personal emotions, for me, it’s been a very pleasurable experience. Only sometimes, it was difficult to co-ordinate our timings given that all of us hold full-time jobs otherwise. Collaboration begins with the ability to respect your friends and collaborators for who and what they are — so it worked well for me, because Christina and Zahid are not just amazing human beings with hearts of gold, but great writers too!

Do you think blogging is more conducive to a book form? Are you changing the virtual rules here? How do you see the future of blog books?

Blogging is good. Books are better! And for creativity to flow, I believe one must always overlook the rules. So, newer ideas blossom without any restrictions. Every form of creativity has a future; it’s how one puts it out to the world. The same holds with blog books.

What are the diff processes you needed to employ for print compared to blogging in virtual space?

Whenever I pick a book, apart from the content, the way it feels and speaks to me matters — so, I employed the same thought process into Mind Blogs 1.0 — the content, style and presentation — all matter, as my guru Peter Colaco once told me.

Which is more fun, blogging online or book writing?

For me, it’s the writing offline!

As friends you have collaborated on this book. How did it impact your friendship?

I’ve known Christina and Zahid for years — and they know each other through me. They happen to be two of the most important people in my life and that holds good both when we started working on the book, and now.

How are your individual writings for the book diff from your blogs?

Like I said, I hardly blog. But I strive to say whatever I do from my heart.

Is there a thread to your blog topics? How do you get your themes? What are the reactions of people to the blog and now to the book?

Between the three of us, we had many pieces that could have gone into the book. First, we got print outs of all the writings together, went through each of them, chose what we thought would touch Gen Next and even tested it out on Gen Now. Then, we passed on the pieces, in a certain semblance of order to Prem Koshy and Manohar Prabhu, who both said they enjoyed the pieces very much and a book would certainly be a grand idea. Mickey also told me to spruce it up with cartoons in between. Then I thought since all our pieces have been inspired by goings on in the world around us, why not intersperse the them with news clippings and inspiring writing by the greats. And that’s what we did. We wanted every word in the book to be of value.

You have to have an eye on book sales now so would this impact your themes and writings compared to a free flowing blog you could stream online?

For me, it’s about drawing the world in — and keeping an eye on how best our target audience can be told the tale, without it seeming pedantic or boring. While I believe in creativity, I don’t believe in art for art’s sake — if you want the world to read you, read them first — again a lesson I learnt from Peter Colaco…

Koshy’s has played a big role – how has it impacted your sensibilities?

Koshy’s has been home to me for years — not just this book, but life to me, happens here…

ZAHID H JAVALI

How did you come up with the idea of blog to book? What are the pleasures and pains of being 3 authors collaborating on one book?

Some of the pieces in the book are blog posts, and some are pieces that have been published in various publications. However, the pieces that got published were later blogged, too. So in one sense, all the pieces in the book were indeed blog posts.

Solo starrers are risky, but multi-starrers are a safer bet. So a collaborative work has more chances of success. That is in hindsight. We got together because writing and publishing were common to us, and nothing like using our varying styles in bringing out a book. The reader can sample variety like never before.

Do you think blogging is more conducive to a book form? Are you changing the virtual rules here? How do you see the future of blog books?

Blogging is more conducive, if slang and colloquialism are avoided. Since all the three of us write the way we speak, blog to book was easy, minus all this (slang & colloquialism). We are not changing the virtual rules; we are only making online literature available offline. More so because people can still first blog online to be part of our next edition. If we like their blog posts, they will go into the book. So online is still first preference. Offline is for posterity and reaching out to the offline audience who missed out on the fun.

Is there a thread to your blog topics? How do you get your themes? What are the reactions of people  to the blog and now to the book?

There is no thread to the blog. It’s a slice of life peppered with your own insight. If it’s humorous in some cases, so much the better for readability. So our themes mirror daily life. We react to the people we meet; the news we read, and the stuff we do. People feel it’s a Bangalore book with an international appeal, because the stories related can happen anywhere. It’s more people-centric, than Bangalore-centric. Bangalore is just incidental. People find the book quite entertaining and a fast read. The best part of what they like is the book can be read any which way they want. There is no definite sequence they need to adopt. Since these are a series of essays and anecdotes, you can treat this like a book of short stories. Pick what you like from the contents page, based on the author, title or the length of the chapter.

You have to have an eye on book sales now so would this impact your themes and writings compared to a free flowing blog you could stream online?

No way, because the blogging will happen anyway. Out of the many blog posts, we will cull out what is most suited for the book, and that is based purely on merit: can it hold the reader’s attention and can it mirror society in some way, and does it appeal to our combined sensibilities. It’s subjective, but has nothing to do with the market reactions.

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