Interviewing Tulika Singh, the author of the recently published five beautifully illustrated children books ‘The Boy Who Remained 16’, ‘Shabri Ke Ram’, ‘7 Colours of Holi’, ‘Parijat’ and ‘The Princess Who Slept for Fourteen Years’ was a very interactive session. For all those who want to write for children, this is an interview that one should definitely read.
The author herself
Aditi: Introduce yourself to children using five adjectives
Tulika Singh: Tall, Funny, Clumsy, Intelligent, Happy
Aditi: How did you choose the titles?
Tulika Singh: Finding the perfect title is an art by itself. I chose mine keeping in mind the main character or the protagonist of the story. However, I did this without revealing too much. I felt this would keep the curiosity of the young mind alive.
Aditi: Who designed the covers of the books?
Tulika Singh: The Illustrator for all these five books and the covers is Ashutosh Chandra. He is a graphic designer and an extremely talented illustrator too. The best part about him is
that he likes to experiment and thus has given all the books a different look and feel. This breaks the monotony of seeing same thing again and again.
Aditi: After HR, how did you get to writing?
Tulika Singh: HR is still my profession, but writing is my passion. I have been writing
since childhood. But it is only these last few years I started it formally.
Aditi: Why did you choose to write tales for kids?
Tulika Singh: Writing for kids is very challenging and difficult as kids are very
straightforward and they question you back. They are also very detail oriented. In
India and internationally, I found a big vacuum in the area where you have a
choice of books which teaches values of life through fun interesting stories.
I have 2 boys and as a mother what I can give them is not education or food and
shelter which automatically they become a part of, but a strong, moral character
to face the goodness and hardships of life.
Aditi: How did u choose the age group you wanted to target?
Tulika Singh: Honestly I didn’t decide beforehand that I was
going to write stories for a 5 year old or an 8 year old. I started writing with great
love and soon it was woven into a fun book.
Aditi: Are these stories for kids to read or to be read out to?
Tulika Singh: Both
Aditi: Do they come with morals and can be taught in schools as well?
Tulika Singh: Yes why not. In fact, these morals in the stories are put in very subtly. The
idea is to delve into a particular emotion and weave the story around it. For example the
Parijat story flows around the idea of the ‘power of mind’ and Shabri is about patience
and selfless service.
Aditi: Are these stories based on your own imagination or are they takes from old
Tulika Singh: All stories are under SFS series, that is, they are stories from scriptures that are
the backbone of Indian heritage.
Aditi: Why do you think not many attempt stories for kids nowadays?
Tulika Singh: From the publisher’s perspective, may be because they don’t sell that
much. Also as I said earlier children are the hardest and also the easiest to please – we just
have to click with them.
Aditi: What are the USPs of your stories from other stories that are available in the market
Tulika Singh: I am attempting to bring out stories from the Indian heritage that have
stood the test of time. They are evergreen. Within them I have tried to embrace the lessons of
growth. Human nature is to get attracted towards something that gives us instant
pleasure. For example, we would prefer to eat out rather cook, choose to leave than stand
our ground. These scriptures teach us the way of ‘Dharma and the right way to live’ – something, which will not be instant but it, would be solid and long lasting.
Aditi: Have you been writing since you were a child? If yes, then how has your writing
style developed since you were a kid?
Tulika Singh: I started with writing my personal diary and then moved onto poems
and short stories. I would write my travel journals of train rides and summer
vacations. I am not sure it has developed or not, but I still pick up my phone and
start typing in a bus or even in a party.
Aditi: What is the main reason why we should tell stories to kids?
Tulika Singh: A story can put the whole brain to work, transporting kids into a new
world of imagination and creativity. Children perceive things as they are, they are
innocent. They cry and laugh with the characters. A good story can leave a lasting
impact on a child’s mind.
Aditi: What advice would you give to kids who don’s like reading stories?
Tulika Singh: It can be read to them, they can listen to it. There are lot of audio books
around and many videos on good books too. However, I would still tell them to pick up a book and give it a try. Reading can give them a lot of pleasure.
Aditi: What is next in the pipeline for you?
Tulika Singh: My company is Ashwatha Tree Books and I have written fifteen titles till
now, I have released these 5 and rest are in pipeline. My favourite is ‘Heroes,
Sages and Asanas’ where we introduce yoga to kids. All books are available on
Notion India and Amazon worldwide.
Aditi: What advice will you give to emerging writers who are attempting to write this
Tulika Singh: We need more writers to join the team. Children are our future and
nurturing these young minds is one of the noblest work we can do. Technology today extends opportunities and freedom to the new writers to put on our work and see the change it brings. Let’s use this new freedom and build a better society, stronger nation and able citizens.