The Author, Sriram Ramakrishnan is a software engineer hailing from Chennai. This book is a story about his life right from his school to his job till the point of the spiritual awakening in his life, the way different phases of his life where he talks about his experience of life, what it is used to be in the early 1990s, the movies, the technologies in those days and most importantly, the difference and similarities between India and America!
Neel Preet: First of all, Big Congratulations on your recently published book, “CHENNAI TO CHICAGO – Memoir Of A Software Engineer” Sriram Sir! What kind of responses are you getting from your book? Please share your experience about this book.
Sriram Ramakrishnan: The feedback and response I got have been positive so far. It’s primarily a memoir/travel-memoir genre. Some of the words in the reviews were, “Gave me goosebumps”, “Inspirational”, “Astonishingly good story-telling” etc.
Marketing is indeed a challenge as with many other authors. When I started writing my book, I thought it would become famous. Slowly, when I got deeper into the marketing world, I realized that it might get lost in the pile of millions of books sold on Amazon. I realized how hard it is to actually put something out there to the world! It requires a lot of perseverance, hard work, creativity, and unfortunately, that’s not enough, we need luck! There are over 15 million books sold on amazon (~1500 books published every single day), how many are popular? 50,000? 100,000 maybe? That’s like 0.5%! What about the rest? I am sure most of the remaining 99.5% of the authors are equally persevering and hardworking. I believe, apart from being a good book, it requires a “viral factor” for it to sell widely.
Neel Preet: I’ve read your books and I had genuinely liked the concept of your Travel-Writing Book, so my next question to you is that what inspired you to write this book?
Sriram Ramakrishnan: I used to blog or write to my friends. They kept saying that the writing style is very good and that I should consider writing a book. I thought why not attempt it, I like writing anyway. It didn’t take me much time to write the book, especially since it’s a memoir. In fact, the opposite happened. I wrote too much and had to edit out a lot. I might have removed 30-40% of what I wrote. Maybe, because the events were from my life I might have thought that it’s important to narrate them. But for someone reading them, it should make sense as a story. Without a good story to tell, memoirs might get boring.
Neel Preet: Your readers would definitely like to know about your work ethics, so can you describe the impetus behind your work?
Sriram Ramakrishnan: We learn from other’s life journeys. Memoirs should either inspire or inform. People read fiction for pleasure, but they read a memoir to see what someone has gone through, what they learned from their life’s events, and how they evolved. The fact that a memoir has real events and every page has been lived by someone, it makes the stories interesting.
Neel Preet: Reading the narrative, subject matter, and theme used in the plot of your book, Chennai to Chicago, I’m greatly impressed and I want you to explain to us, in your version that how this book will appeal to the readers.
Sriram Ramakrishnan: I have a lot of travel experience, heartbreaks, and spiritual seeking in my life. I believe this would appeal to an audience who are travelers, spiritual seekers, software engineers, and also the 18 to 28-year olds who tend to take things too seriously who need someone to say, “It’s alright. I have been there, it’s not a big deal, you will get over it”.
Neel Preet: Sriram Sir your writing seemed to be really impeccable and you truly are amazing with your writings in your book. So next, I want you to tell us about some of those writers, who had inspired you and whom you follow!
Sriram Ramakrishnan: I used to read John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Ken Follet, Dan Brown, and many other fiction authors in my early twenties. Slowly I lost interest in fiction and started reading non-fiction and memoirs, especially the travel and spiritual memoirs. I became more interested in learning from people’s lives and real experiences. I don’t particularly favor any author, but some non-fictions I loved reading are – “Into Thin Air” by John Krakauer, “The Journey Home” by Radhanath Swami, “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer, “Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master” by Sri M, “Chants of a Lifetime” by Krishna Das.
Neel Preet: Are there any other books being worked by you? Please let us know about your future projects.
Sriram Ramakrishnan: Yes, there are some projects in the works. I’m expecting it to be completed sometime early next year.
Neel Preet: Thank you so much for answering all my questions. All the very best to you for the future and your book too!
Sriram Ramakrishnan: Thank you!