About the Book:
‘Milky Tea & Vodka’ by Rhea Sharma, under our publishing imprint, TTT Books, and we’d love to do something with you so more people know about it.
‘Milky Tea & Vodka’ revolves around seventeen-year-old Vanya, who loses her father in a drunk-driving accident and tries to shut the world out. But when Mrs. Deewaker, an elegant wheelchair-bound woman moves back to the neighbourhood – with an unlikely favour to ask of Vanya – secrets begin to unfold from decades ago. A story about family, letters and terrible truths, this is one read we promise will have you glued to your seat till the very end.
1: Tell us about the idea behind the book?
The main idea behind the book is our vulnerabilities, as human beings. The inner parts of our lives that we don’t necessarily like talking about, or bring out in the open. This is what I’ve tried to reflect in the characters, especially that of Vanya (the protagonist) and Chitra Deewaker (the older lady in the story). I also wanted to play around with the idea of family secrets being revealed to complete strangers, and the game of trust and secrets that follows.
2: Why this genre? If you have to write in some other genre what that would be?
This genre, (i.e. drama with a hint of suspense), draws me in because it intertwines intrinsic aspects of regular life with possibly darker shades. Given the right plot, it can make for a very interesting read, and there are so many places to take the story.
I’m still in this strange and beautiful process of trying to find my niche in terms of writing fiction, but if I were to pick a different genre now, I think I’d like to try romance, and have some fun with it!
3: Your favorite part from the book?
I think Chitra Deewaker’s letters, (that she narrates to Vanya to type for her), are my favourite part of the book. I loved creating the summarized version of the character’s life. Felt like a wonderful little time-capsule of sorts.
- How much time it took in the process of writing?
While it took a few months to piece the final edit together, the writing process for the first draft took a couple of weeks, an endless supply of mochas from my college cafeteria, and a little bit of courage.
- What did the process of writing this book taught you?
The most important thing I learnt while writing this book was to try and be kinder to myself. Another thing I realized is that sometimes, letting go a little bit is a good idea. You can’t exercise complete control over everything, and that’s okay. It’s a lesson I’m still in the process of learning.
- What inspired you to write this book?
The characters in the book came to life before the actual plotline and many aspects of these characters are haphazard bits and pieces of intriguing people I have known. It was these characters that not only inspired me but kept me invested in the story, and pushed me to write it down.
- 5 books one must read in lifetime
In no particular order, I’d say:
- The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
- A book that had an impact on you, which helped you in writing this one?
A book that I was inspired by in terms of the writing style is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I adore how the author creates an atmosphere and manages to unravel such a big, elaborate plot in such a short space.
- Tell us about your publishing journey in 5 words.
I’d say – Unnerving, efficient, warm, ecstatic and rewarding.
- A quote, para from the book that inspires you?
“I watch her, Mrs. Deewaker with her tremor medication and twitching body – but no. She is really only Chitra. Just another woman, more mortal than I have come to believe, lately. Only sagging skin and rotting insides, and bones tired of carrying the weight of things she has never before shared. I can taste her pain. Her burden, her regret. We have our own reasons, but in this, we are the same.”
I like this paragraph because it’s a reminder to always see people as who they are, and be as truthful as possible in our judgement.
- Tell us about your future plans? Planning a new book?
I’m going to be done with my final semester of college soon, which is very exciting! I’m definitely going to be engaging in more writing afterwards – let’s see what comes up. Who knows, maybe there’s a story waiting to be told, somewhere.
- What is literary success for you?
In the novel The Catcher In The Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield at some point talks about how great books are those that make you wish you were friends with the author, and once you’re done reading them, you want to call them up and have a conversation about the book.
I feel like once you write something so riveting that somebody somewhere wishes that they could call you up and have a conversation about it – you can call it a literary success.
- A message for all the readers.
I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this precious little book. It comes from a place of a lot of love. I hope you can see that, and find a place for it on your shelves and in your thoughts.