Books

Author Vibha Batra looks forward to her Young Adult fiction series being optioned for screen

Vibha is now working on a graphic novel The Secret Life of Debbie G, illustrated by Kalyani Ganapathy, published by Harper Collins, which is set to be released in May 2020

Whenever author Vibha Batra is asked about her research for her Young Adult fiction series, which was published between 2012 and 2014, she always has one answer: “I still feel like a young adult, so I can easily slip into their shoes.” With a screen deal pending — Penguin India publishers will soon make an announcement — Vibha says young readers loved the books. Sweet Sixteen (Yeah, Right!), Eighteen and Wiser: Not Quite, and Seventeen and Done (You Bet!) revolve around a smart and confident teenager Rinki. Vibha, a Chennai-based advertising consultant, says that Rinki resembles her only to a certain extent. “Rinki moves from Delhi to Chennai. I too moved to Chennai as a teenager from Kolkata. So the idea for the books have always been on my mind. Rinki initially finds it difficult to adjust, then she slowly begins to like her new life, and by the end she is a complete convert.”

Vibha is quite forthcoming about the criticisms she has received. “There are some Punjabi-bashing jokes which some reviewers didn’t like. The books are actually the perspective of a North Indian of the south, there is nothing more to it.” Penguin India got two deals to convert the books for screen, and one of them worked out.

Humour is among Vibha’s fortes, but her characterisation is equally interesting. For example Mahi in her recent book Bhatinda to Bangkok (Bloomsbury, 2019), a sequel to Ludhiana to London (Juggernaut Books), is super confident and doesn’t care that her English isn’t very good. “I have written the book in Hinglish. Mahi is a party planner and is rather good at her job. But then again I received criticism for using Hinglish. I think that the book should be judged on the merit of what it intends to convey rather than what you want it to be. And I think that a good book will find the right reader!”

Vibha is now working on a graphic novel The Secret Life of Debbie G, illustrated by Kalyani Ganapathy, published by Harper Collins, which will be released in May 2020. It is about how a 16-year-old becomes an online sensation overnight. And how that impacts her life and her emotional health. The novel is a departure from Vibha’s earlier books and she admits: “It involves a lot of hard work.”

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:22:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/author-vibha-batra-looks-forward-to-her-fiction-series-being-optioned-for-screen/article31171572.ece

Next Story