I started writing the Crossover year a few months after my twenty eight birthday. In at way it was supposed to be my advance thirtieth birthday gift to myself. Though it is not my story, the premise of the book is very autobiographical: I had just quit my new job of three months as I had hated it thoroughly. It had never occurred to me before that there was life beyond a nine-to-nine job, working for someone else. We are conditioned to live our lives in a certain way – go to school, then college, get a job, get married , procreate and grow old. In our quest to remain in the rat race, we rarely pause for a minute to figure what we really want. I was exactly in this rut.
I can’t remember how the germ of the thought that I wanted to write a novel got planted into my head. Writing was not this fashionable back when I started writing. The Chetan Bhagat revolution had just begun, so I don’t think I wanted to jump on the bandwagon mainly because of the novelty of the idea. India has been blessed with a rich crop of talented writers, but writing had been restricted to the literature graduate. With Chetan Bhagat’s popular writing, many first time readers grabbed a book other than their study guides and text books. Chetan had somehow connected with a generation that was bred on video games and demanded instant gratification. My reasons were extremely selfish: I wrote the book because I felt compelled to. It seemed to me that unless I breathed life into the story that was masticating in my mind, I wouldn’t be left alone.
I started writing with no idea of how to write a novel. My plan was to just put one word next to another, and discover that one lakh words later, miraculously the book would be done. Or so I thought. The real work only starts after one finishes writing the book. Stephen King , in his tome for writers, On Writing says,“Kill your darlings , kill your darlings, even if it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s hearts. Kill your darlings.”I discovered the truth in these words only when I started on ‘Project re-writing The Crossover Year’. Most of the plot was re-vamped; I chopped off almost fifty thousand words from the novel and spent sleepless nights thinking about the characters in the book. It seemed like I was alternating between intense highs and equally intense lows during the period I was re-writing the book. This is what writing a book, autobiographical or otherwise is for me. It consumes my every waking moment that I feel antsy till I am done.
It is almost five years since I whimsically typed “The Crossover Year” on a word document without even having thought of the plot .The book is now in print. I am in the process of finishing up my third book that is giving me sleepless nights again, but I can still vividly remember the first time I fell in love with writing, nor can I never forget the bitter fights and cold wars I have had with the manuscript. The Crossover Year will always be my first baby. And every time I see the book sitting on my book shelf, my heart soars and everything in the world seems just fine.
About the Author
I am a part-time writer,a part-time entrepreneur and a full time mom.
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1 Copy of The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran. Open to Indian Residents only