About Pooja Sriram:
Pooja Sriram is a working-mom who feeds her passion for writing, through books for little readers. A brand marketer by profession, she has 12+ years of corporate experience. As an author and a mom, she likes to find something interesting in the pages of a book. Hidden in her stories are simple concepts kids can embrace without being overwhelmed. She has previously written a book called ‘Amma’s Work From Home Buddy’ that teaches little ones about the balancing act working moms perform.
LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content?
Pooja: The book ‘Hairdresser in a Hairless Town’ is a fictional story about a young man who is faced with a challenge but does not give up even though many of his solutions fail. He tries again and again to make a career of being a hairdresser in a hairless town. The book is written to develop curiosity amongst young readers and also teach them not to give up easily in touch situations. As the story unfolds, kids can understand the different emotions the character goes through and connect with the beautifully illustrated facial expressions.
LiFT: Why you chose this title?
Pooja: The original title of the book was ‘Tale of the Hairless Town’ but after working on the entire book + illustrations, both my illustrator and me felt that the title ‘Hairdresser in a Hairless Town’ works better and generates more curiosity – not only for kids but also their parents/adults who want to also find out what will a hairdresser do in a hairless town!
LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer/poet and what’s your inspiration behind it?
Pooja: I have always loved writing since childhood. I used to write short stories, poetry, comic strips and more even as a kid. With time my career in Marketing also got me to polish my writing skills in both long form and short form content. After writing enough for the digital media & my personal blog, I decided that if I want my words to directly reach kids, book are the best medium. I’m so glad I am able to do this now.
As a mom of a 4 year old and aunt of a 7 year old, I have the opportunity to listen in (sometimes eves drop) on very interesting conversations between the boys. The little one unabashedly asks questions and the older one has the perfect answers ready. Such conversations inspired me to write a story that can weave more conversations and get kids like them to come up with their own ideas to solve a problem.
LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?
Pooja: 10 years seems far off, but I do hope I stay close to books. It took me long enough to jump into writing so I also hope I can continue. My son enjoys books and he has been my inspiration and among the first readers of the two books, I have authored. I feel I will continue to keep writing for him as he grows over the next few years, so one day perhaps I will be writing for young adults.
LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?
Pooja: Quality is important in everything. And with books, quality is not only the cover design, paper thickness and packaging. While all this is good to have, what eventually qualifies as a good quality book is content. For kid’s books especially, there are too many options in the market and some are only good to look at. Even older classics are not relevant for the age we are in and we must improve the ‘quality’ of content our children are exposed to. Marketing also plays an important part, especially for non-celeb authors who have great stories to tell. If the community supports, there will be so much more for all of us to enjoy.
LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?
Pooja: As a reader, I always look for things beyond a story in a book. It could be the character, his/her personality, some experiences that shape the situation and more. Even in kids books, I have read many with my son that help us build a conversation beyond the story and we both learn something new and interesting in the book. Similarly, my book , the Hairdresser in a Hairless Town also has some subtle subplots that parents and kids can together unpack between the pages. It talks about passion, emotion, facial expression, attitude and struggle. But with the story being so simple it would never overwhelm a kid/first time reader to unpack all of this at once.
I think books can convey messages very subtly and I hope to bring that out in my books.
LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?
Pooja: I see writing as a part of my life. In the other parts, I am busy being a full-time mother, a brand marketer with 12+ years of corporate experience, a yoga enthusiast, a pet lover, and just a woman enjoying all the roles she can play!
LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?
Pooja: My stories are short and thankfully I have not faced writer’s block. But there have been times when I write a draft and then revisit it after a couple of days to change it entirely. So I think just a change in perspective, giving it time, and looking at it with fresh eyes can make a difference when faced with a block.
LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.
Pooja: I do intend to write a couple of more books in the same series that talk about ‘not giving up’ in tough situations. A draft of my next is already ready and in the works 🙂
LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?
Pooja: – Read.
– Don’t assume you know your reader. Learn about them
– Be open to learning and welcome criticism & feedback.
– Be authentic always.