Ranchi girl Astha Suneja (25) is a techie who’s written two successful books and is waiting for her third to be at the Calcutta Book Fair in January 2013.
The girl who snagged a computer engineering degree from BIT-Mesra and is now working in Tata Consultancy Services, Hyderabad, is a part of the Chetan Bhagat wave. Yet, one look at Astha and you realise she’s different.
For one, she’s not afraid to explore her character’s minds. Her two novels — Owe you my Fate and Yes, I Flaunt my Diamond — weren’t standard chick lit. No hiding heartbreak behind mascara.
Her third book, Patrick and the Black Syrup, is for kids.
But Astha has always revelled in the offbeat. In school — Sacred Heart Convent (2003) and JVM-Shyamali (2005), where incidentally, Captain Cool Mahi also went — the girl wanted to be a writer despite good grades in science. In college — she completed engineering in 2009 — she was a rare techie who wrote poems. On the corporate treadmill in an MNC, she chose to be a communications trainer.
“Yes, I’ve explored journeys of the heart and the whole social whirl that goes with the territory in my first two books. Now, I’m trying my hand at children’s fiction. Kids are fussy and brainy readers, which makes catering to them a challenge for any writer,” she laughed.
In recent years, thanks to a boy wonder called Harry Potter, global and Indian publishing have started to look at children’s books with more respect.
“That’s something that influenced me to try out children’s fiction. But it’s also my own journey. I love talking to kids and am amazed by their lateral thinking and sense of humour. I’ve interacted with children in schools and outfits, worked for their well-being,” she said.
What’s the book all about?
“There are dollops of fantasy, adventure and mystery in the 50-page book about Patrick, a sailor, with illustrations. The suspense makes it a page-turner. Fingers crossed,” she said.
The girl who hails from a well-known business family in Ranchi — her family stays in the Overbridge area — says she loves her roots as well as the sky.
“I’m very close to my family, yet I like travel and social work. I’ve enjoyed organising stress relief sessions and motivational talks in Hyderabad and Ranchi,” she said. “From corporate honchos to students, everyone has questions on life, career and work-life balance. When I share my thoughts on positive self-awareness with a large group of, say, 150 people, it charges me up,” said the girl who paid her hometown a visit in November.