Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Interviewing Ram Halady- A Chicago Based Indian Author

What’s the title of your book and its genre? Tell us briefly about it.
Reuben’s Adventures in Uncle Ram’s Farm is the title. Vol-2 followed shortly after the launch of
Vol-1 in July 2011. It is a set of 6 short stories each with illustrations, for children of ages 3-9.

Although I had moved away from India to Chicago over 20 years back, I had good
childhood memories of visiting my uncle's farm. In each of us, there is a child who

longs to have adventures in the safety of love of their uncles and protective pets. My
wife Jeanne and I have fantasized about settling in India with a farm and a roaming
elephant, which the villagers would love to feed.

So, I based my stories with real family in my imaginary farm in India, right next to
the forest, where there is no shortage of animals or adventures. I also wanted to
put the children in charge of this world, assisted by animals that can communicate
especially to them. In these stories, Reuben and Andrew visit the farm; get exposed
to different animals in their adventures and learn something along the way.


 Any similar titles from other authors published recently? Which authors would you think you
directly compare to? Old or new.
I am not aware of any writers similar to my work. I think it is unique in terms of multi-cultures
converging in a folk-lore type stories.

 Tell us in about 100 words about your literary influences?
My dad was a professor of English, and there was no shortage of books of all kinds, when
growing up. We read both English and Tamil books very avidly. We would hit all the local
libraries and read all novels and comics. Enid Blyton was my favourite then.

 Is there any one book that changed your life around?
If there is one book I can point to, it is “Quiet American” by Graham Greene. He has a very
classy style of narrating without effort and pretense. He showed that you can start a story from
anywhere and carry on. I also like Hemingway and John Le Carre, as it is easy to lose yourself in
their stories.

 Why do you write in the genre you currently write?
I kind of fell into writing in this category - It started as a hobby for me - writing

entertaining stories for my nephews Reuben and Andrew, for the last 3 years over
their visits or birthdays and special occasions. I think the world would be a better
place if children were in control than adults. I like weaving in my observations of
their personal characters with my experiences in a way that children can have fun,
adventures and learn something.

What have you learnt so far in your journey from finishing manuscript to becoming a published
author? Any lessons for unpublished authors.
It is very important to have the support of your family and friends. For children’s category, it is
good to have a good illustrator, who can enhance the stories and a publisher, who will devote
their time to marketing your products ceaselessly. And don’t yield too much to the editors lest
you lose your originality over correctness.

 Tell us about your next project?
The experience of writing the last 2 books has opened up many possibilities for me. I like playing
and interacting with children. I love reading the stories to them. With favorable reception of
this theme, I am likely to add more stories with new characters in the same series. I am also
considering writing novels as well. Let us see what 2012 will bring.

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1 comment:

Sana Rose said...

Congratz, Ram!
I am glad to see an Indian author who thinks we need more children's literature. I was just telling the same to a friend today. That India needs some unforgettable children's books. I grew up reading Enid Blyton and other stuffs and got the chance because I studied in a school affiliated to CBSE, with English as medium. But that's such a rare population here, in my place. Even now as I am in college, I doubt if anyone other than half a dozen students know EB at all. The common people don't fetch the Western classic kids' books for their kids (which they are definitely missing out on), because they fear they can't relate to it or understand it. But then, to give the youngsters a book to which they can relate, there isn't an author here who we can recommend. May be except for Ruskin Bond. :)
I am thinking of some stuff myself. I hope this turns out to be a success, Ram. :) Wishing you all the best.