The four F’s go brilliantly together – fun, food, family and friends!


Shana Susan Ninan: You have combined your love of many things in these books. How did you successfully manage that?

Smita Jee: I have had a very active and happy childhood – playing sports, doing athletics, learning new forms of arts and crafts, etc. (Hopefully my children have had the same – the neediness of a parent just creeps in.) So understanding the needs of a child comes naturally for me growing up in a joint family with guests and children flowing in and out of our home all the time. My love for food is in my genes. Yes, I am a foodie by birth though the love for trying new dishes developed only when I became a housewife. When I come to think of it, combining all these and more seemed as natural as breathing. Now whether it is a success or not is for you to judge coz I don’t think there is any other way for me.

SSN: How has the journey of self publishing been? 

SJ: That has been a tough ride and definitely not as easy as breathing! Knowing nothing about the industry or its working, I seemed to have got my foot caught in the doorway finding no means of escape but to step in. Luckily I had family and friends who themselves knew nothing about the ways and means of a publishing house but were ready to chip in and pitch in. In fact, it has been such a pleasant journey that I don’t think I would have it any other way. We have learnt so much in the process and our confidence has soared to such an extent that we are ready to help anyone wanting to hold their dream in their hand to self publish.

SSN: Tell us about the cover page choices for the three books.

SJ: Oh! They have been a breeze especially in the conceptualisation part. I knew exactly what I wanted on it and Mrs Neha Gupta and Mrs Mamta Agarwal (the illustrators and cover designers) brought out their best and put it in visual form with precision. The colour combinations and attractiveness of the covers were all their doing, making it catch the eye of children and parents alike.

SSN: How is this different from writing from a blog?

SJ: A blog for me is like a diary. You write what you feel at that particular moment. But while writing a book you need to stick to the plot. Although I had not really thought of the climax at the end of each book, I had a basic idea of what the circumstances would be. In fact, for The three on a Spree I had to change four or five chapters entirely towards the end as the plot seemed to have wavered according to Mrs Kusum Dhanania, my editor. I am glad I changed it because it did sound a lot better the way it has been published. I am not sure if we really need to do anything of this kind in a blog.

SSN: Food is a great choice to bind friendship, which you have used that beautifully in your books. Please share some anecdotes from your real life.

SJ: Being a sporty choice, I had an enormous appetite especially amongst by friends and colleagues. So have literally been laughed at for being a hog! Well I have had my share of fiascos in the kitchen to say the least and not with a very edible outcome especially when I cooked as a child with recipe books and all! Hahahhaha! But after the wedding and then after having children, I started enjoying the contentment on the faces of my family after eating an ordinary home cooked meal. (They didn’t have a choice really!) This encouraged me to experiment and make dishes trying to suit their individual palates. And then my children would help me in the kitchen giving me memories to keep with me forever. Today my kids are exceptional cooks especially for their age. In fact, for any age. And their is nothing ordinary left in our everyday meals! Every meal is special! The four Fs go brilliantly together fun-food-family and friends!

SSN: How did you come to choose the age group for your readers?

SJ: You know when I started writing Shreya’s Eighth, my children had already crossed that age. But somehow I didn’t really plan on the age bracket. I just wanted to write something that everyone could read and feel good about. That’s all! To be honest, when the initial draft was read by a few family and friends and I asked them to give me an age bracket – each had a different bracket! One thought it could be introduced to the children as soon as they began reading, the other thought the pre-teens and early teens would like it. There was even a suggestion that it was for new mothers who could just read into their child’s mind and live their childhood days with their children! One even went down her own nostalgic childhood journey and thought every grandparent should be reading the book. So be it a child, teenager, young adult, new parent, parent in general or even a grandparent, it’ll be relatable.

SSN: What books do you have in the pipeline?

SJ: The first book The Braces Club of my new series The Double Digit Club is scheduled to be released this year. The book, as the name suggests is about children needing braces. However, again, everyone will enjoy the books not only due to the feel good factor and family values imbibed in each of the writings but also because at some point of time in each individual’s life some experience mentioned in the books is most likely to have occurred to them. There are recipes blending into the storyline, especially for children with braces – mostly sweets and desserts. The second book in the series would be The Cycling Club and the third The Trekking Club. Keep tabs at www.smitajee.com or write to me at jeesmita@gmail.com.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 6.3/10 (16 votes cast)
The four F's go brilliantly together - fun, food, family and friends!, 6.3 out of 10 based on 16 ratings

enjoyed this post? share with others:

twitter stumble upon digg

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 11:59 am and is filed under Authors, Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

leave a comment