My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is slowly making its way into the world.
It is available in India here.
If you’re a netgalley reviewer, snag a copy here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.
Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome Tanu Sree Singh, who founded Senior Reading Racoons, a book group with nearly 30,000 members. She answers questions in all things books and reading!
1. What inspired you to start a Facebook Book Group like Senior Reading Raccoons?
Honestly, it was a persistent nagging from the raccoons at the Junior book group, The Reading Raccoons-Discovering Children’s Literature, that led to SRR. We were blissfully discussing children’s literature when murmurs turned into direct messages for creating a space for grown-up books and here we are.
2. What is a typical day administering such a large Book Group like?
- Insane doesn’t even begin to describe it. A typical day looks thus:
- Get up and check notifications first thing in the morning.
- Quickly delete the porn video/fabric sale post/ ‘I have written this amazing book’ post, that the harmless looking user the admin added last evening posted. Block him/her/it.
- Delete posts about unbelievable offers, ways to get children to be expert at Maths and English. And of course discounts on mobile accessories.
- Try to answer questions, while keeping an eye on the clock since real-world work beckons.
- Put the phone on silent as notifications keep popping up.
- Quickly repeat process between classes. I am an expert at walking and jabbing at mobile at the same time.
- Answer inboxed questions -sometimes harmless, sweet ones asking about books, and at others accusatory ones about being unfair since their post about reading class got deleted. Or that I was biased towards friends. Never miss a message.
- Post a picture or a short review of a book you bought or the children thrust on you demanding that you read it.
- Check membership requests. Basically go to the user’s timeline and try to figure out if the profile is fake or genuine. Sometimes fail, resulting in step 2.
- Repeat everything before the eyelids deliver a rude slap across the face to be able to sleep.
- Things sometimes take a serious turn when online hatred for the tyrannical admins spills in to real life resulting in bad reviews of our businesses, books and even a fight with the child at school since the other child’s mom had been blocked from group!
3. You manage this group along with a writing career. Please tell us something about what you’re working on now.
The worst question to ask any writer! Thank God I can hide behind the screen while I answer this because we usually mumble and hide behind a slice of cake, glass of wine or a curtain when asked about our upcoming works at social events. Here I have the liberty of giving a well thought out answer.
After thinking for a few minutes, I have still not come up with anything resembling a mature, writerly response.
On a serious note, I am working on a few story ideas, a sequel to the parenting book and am waiting for my picture book to come out!
4. What are the five books you read last year that you would recommend?
Again a tough one since I do not maintain a log, but the ones that left a lasting impact are :
- The year of Weeds – Siddhartha Sarma
- The Hill School Girls Series – A. Coven
- Partitionsof the Heart – Harsh Mander
- The Inquisitor’s tale – Adam Gidwitz
- The Winternight trilogy – Katherine Arden
5. What makes you consider recommending a book to others?
No conscious thought goes in to this. I talk about the books I like and usually put out the reason for liking them. I am not a professional reviewer. In fact I am NOT a reviewer! I just write whatever I feel on reading the book and it often resembles fangirling. I can not critique a book giving merits and demerits since I am no authority. Simply put, if I love a book, I shout from the rooftops.
6. How do you pick books for your To-Be-Read list?
I have a web of sources! I mostly rely on the network of friends in the publishing industry and the wide variety I get exposed to thanks to them is overwhelming. I rarely go by Goodreads reviews or the number of stars on amazon.
7. What tips would you give to fit in more reading into our busy lives?
There can’t be any tips. There can only be reading. I always carry a book wherever I go. Audiobooks and kindle are a great idea for people who travel a lot. And then there is the good old loo – the most peaceful place to finish a chapter or two before the kids tear the door down.
8. How can someone join your book group? What are the do’s and don’ts?
Simple. Put in a request, answer the questions asked honestly, and then wait patiently. We get approximately a hundred requests on any given day. So sometimes it can take up to a week for the membership approval to come through. The dos and don’ts are clearly stated in the group rules. At the end of the day, the basic thumb rule is – STICK TO BOOKS! No dissing, no promotions, no ‘my shelf is better than yours,’ and no hidden agendas. Also one needs to remember, the admins are humans and have a real life!
Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?
Dr. Tanu Shree Singh is a Professor of Psychology, specialising in Positive Psychology. Tanu runs two online reading groups of around 45k people, and has set up two libraries, and assisted 11 others. Her book Keep Calm and Mommy On is much loved and acclaimed. She has written for anthologies for children. I’d Rather rRad published by Red Turtle is a collection of experiences and anecdotes about favourite books and libraries. She has also written for Harper Collin’s collection of Horror stories slated for release this year. Her picture book is expected to be released in 2019. Her latest is a biography of C.V. Raman with DK Books. She also writes for leading online dailies. Her Indian Express Podcast on ‘Difficult Conversations with Children’ is currently the second most popular on the platform. Dr Tanu Shree Singh is also the Regional Advisor for SCBWI – India.
This post was written for IWSG: Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway!
Opional question: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever Googled in researching a story?
I have googled so many strange things, so many of them NSFW, that I lose count. In recent times, I have for a flash fiction googled “how snails have sex” and it has uh…led to some interesting results, shall we say.
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