Publishing a book is the ultimate goal for writers. But to witness their book getting adapted for the silver screen, may appear like something out of a dream. This was how Parinda Joshi felt when her novel, Made in China, was brought to life as a Bollywood film starring ace actors including Rajkummar Rao, Mouni Roy and Boman Irani.
Born and raised in Ahmedabad and later immigrating to Los Angeles, Parinda is the author of four novels. Her books often revolve around characters who aim to make it big either in the world of business or music in a new city. When asked if she got inspired to write such stories based on her own experience of living in different cities, Parinda says that her novels traces her experiences.
She offers an example based on her second book, Powerplay which is about the acquisition of a Gujarat-based IPL team. ‘I was inspired to write it as I worked in the sports industry in LA and was privy to sports teams being bought and sold,’ she says. For Made In China, Parinda informs that she knows people who routinely travel to China to kick off a new business. ‘I married this idea to black-market trade in that country and I had a novel on my hands,’ she says.
As a child, Parinda loved storytelling. ‘I made up stories about people, places and things on the fly. It fascinated me that people would hear me out,’ she recalls. Her love for storytelling paved way for her interest towards words. Later when Parinda stumbled across English August, a novel by Upamanyu Chatterjee, Parinda knew she had to be a writer.
For Made in China which explores black market trading, Parinda had to dig several source for research. She learned that products made from animals hold a special place in ancient Chinese medicine. ‘This has spun many industries, one being aphrodisiacs made from tiger body parts,’ she explains.
As she researched online about illegal tiger trade, Parinda realized that this wasn’t restricted to China. ‘Multiple countries have tiger blood on their hands including India. Poaching the cats is on the rise because the demand is huge and the prices continue to skyrocket,’ Parinda warned. ‘Tigers are part of a massive wildlife trade that’s run by sophisticated international crime syndicates. That led to my awareness of the larger crisis around tigers. I learnt about NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) and the good work they’ve been doing to protect endangered cats.’
Parinda even reached out to animal activists to get a deeper understanding of the subject. The author also got information on the service industry, types of street foods, cultural and general behavioral traits from her friend in China and her husband who travels there frequently. Through her novel, Parinda hopes that it sheds ‘on the plight of one of the most iconic and now endangered animals on earth’.
Parinda narrates how her novel was adapted as a feature film. ‘I was introduced to a director in my hometown a few years back who was looking for some unique stories. I narrated the story of my unpublished novel and he showed interest,’ she says. ‘He and his team of writers then spent a few years adapting my book into a screenplay, adding popular Bollywood context and later, and pitching it to producers.’
The author shares about her writing style. ‘I generally carry a small diary around and I often jot down interesting observations,’ she says. ‘If I stumble upon an idea that I feel could be turned into a full story, I put down a premise on paper. Some chapters start with a single thought and then, I build around it. A lot of it is like building sandcastles; you build, you destroy, then you rebuild and repeat, until you’re happy with it.’
Parinda then gives tips for new authors. ‘Read a lot across genres as it opens up your mind to new styles of writing,’ she says. ‘If you aren’t trained in creative writing, read guides which have good insights into the craft of writing and can help you prevent major writing mistakes.’