Welcome Subhash. Thanks for taking this time to answer a few of my questions. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me over Laurie. It’s a great pleasure to talk to you and an honor to be able to connect to your readers. I am Subhash Kommuru, I migrated from India and now call Twin Cities home. My day job is as an IT Architect but from last few years my identity has changed from being Subhash to sweet heart to now Arya's Dad. Arya is my 4yr old son. It's funny when I go to pick my son up from his school all the kids in his school start to scream Arya's dad is here. They say Hello and Bye in one sentence. It’s very cute.
Trust me that did not happen to me when I was in the sweet heart phase :)
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
There is a poet, Laurie, in Indian movie industry, or Bollywood as we say, in his early days he wrote lots of hits movie where central theme has been violence & revenge. In fact he is credited as someone who brought the concept of angry young man as a lead character to Indian movies. But after he got married his stance changed completely and he started to write romantic songs. Over the years he has written many romantic songs and they are all very touchy. Lyrics are so rich that you can enjoy them without the music.
I want to believe that having a son in Arya, did that to me. It arose a writer in me. I always used to make up and tell stories to Arya, mostly by observing him and then trying to teach him using stories as mode of communication. But as he started to grow older he would remember not just stories but words and every time I narrate a story he would remind me that my story/dialogues have changed. That forced me to actually write it down and then read those stories to him that way consistency was there.
Tell us about your book “Bargad.”
Bargad is a compelling story about love compassion and respect. These are some of the core foundations of Indian culture and Bargad is a means of communicating those values to kids in a very peculiar way. While the subject may sound very formal but the presentation of Bargad is smooth and fun. It keeps the thrill and has quite a few arcs to keep kids interested. In fact quite a few parents have mentioned that they enjoyed the plot as an adult too. By the end of it when kids retain those values they will learn to make better choices and see beyond obvious.
Do you have any plans on writing anymore books?
Yes, of course. Writing can never be a one of thing, in fact it’s a one way street. You have to keep going forward. Biggest challenge is behind you, if you got one book published.
Sujata, my wife and illustrator of Bargad, is the primary reason for me to go professional. After actually formally writing and narrating stories to Arya, she kept a 5 story challenge for me. She said Can you write at least 5 stories in next 2 days? That was before I actually started to polish Bargad for publishing. For now I am really excited in my next project which is taking great shape and if all goes well should hit amazon by mid-year.
What we are also trying to do is that as Arya grows up we are trying to mature our content too, since he is my inspiration and my stories are very much directed towards what I think he needs, it will be hard for me to, say 2 years down the line write a story which would be fit for 2 year old kids.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a children’s author?
That is a unique way of asking that question Laurie, I was often asked the question of How can one become children's author. I will speak to the difference in a minute here ;
Broadly speaking, there are really 2 categories one is the professional ones and others are like me who are parents. For parents like me, I would say that you need to focus and spend time with your kid. What really matters is 'Why' you want do this once you know that 'How' will just come to you. And for people who use greed as their 'why' and cling to use slang or bad words to be funny in their books/movies wrapped around racing or such, just know that Parents like me are coming to stores near you!
I would say that if you are parent then there is a author in you. All you have to do is focus. If you are multi-tasking with your family then you will not do justice to anyone. If you stay in the moment with your kids you will know what s/he needs and how to communicate to him/her.
Any message for our readers?
That's a loaded question right there, Laurie. And thank you for giving that opportunity - I would like to share some thoughts from bottom of my heart and from my own vision of life:
Everyone deserves happiness in life;
Everyone deserves to be loved, and be in love;
Everyone deserves to be a parent and
Every kid deserves to be read to.
I hope Bargad thrills you as much as it has thrilled Arya; and our objective of kids having fun with parents while learning something new is achieved.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
A very simple advice, Don't worry everything will be alright, many people in course of my life has given me that advice but it really hit home when my 3yr old Arya said that to me when I was driving. We were going to Arya's friend’s birthday party, he was looking forward to that day for whole week it was in his favorite play area which was booked for just 2hrs. I got stuck in traffic and couldn't move at all. I was getting very nervous that I will not reach in time but those liberating words coming out of his mouth were so nice and touching that it did register in my mind.
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you want to go? Why?
I would go past. It’s not like I am big fan of history or something in fact I am a big fan of innovation and always excited to see what’s in future. But that's where rationale of not going in future lies meaning, I want my future to be a surprise nothing should ruin that it’s my key to optimism :) And past is comfort.
Fact is that Past is sweet,
Present always sucks and
Future is scary.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Subhash Kommuru
Illustrator: Sujata Kommuru
Published: December 4th, 2013
Publisher: Kommuru Books
Word Count: 2,000
Genre: Children’s Book
A tree that has used its branches to keep people safe for many decades now needs help from those same people to save itself. In Hindi, Bargad means Banyan Tree, the national tree of India. Bargad is a compelling story of love, compassion and gratitude that incorporates the Banyan tree as a way to teach children how to care for and respect many things - from family to the environment, in a way that is easy-to-understand. While this wonderful old tree has withstood all the challenges of time, will it now be able to withstand modernization and will any of the people in the small village come to its aid to help save it the way it has helped save them over generations?
About the Author:
Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself. Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea! These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form.
There is an International tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- Ebook copy of Bargad
a Rafflecopter giveaway