Biography

  • Dubbed the ‘Desi Rowling’ by none other than the Times of India, Sonja holds an MBA in Marketing with twenty years’ experience in the advertising industry the world over. She is the creative director at Synergy one of Pune’s top notch ad and design agencies.
  • Her humour columns ‘Humour Bytes’ with DNA and ‘Candied Confessions’ with the Femina magazine ran successfully for over a year.
  • Sonja has been credited for making Young Adult literature popular in India and has been regularly featured in Vogue and Femina.
  • Her two novels in the acclaimed Hilarious Hauntings Adventures series (Penguin India) are Potion of Eternity and Pearls of Wisdom (shortlisted Vodafone Crossword prize 2011).
  • Her latest series is Dead Or Alive (DOA) Detective Files (Penguin India). Trouble at the Taj and Revenge of the Pharaoh are bestsellers and are recommended reading at leading schools.
  • Sonja Chandrachud co-hosted and organized the Pune International Literary Festival PILF – Pune’s first English language festival in Sept 2013 – bringing in over 75 authors from all over the country and overseas to interact and share their books and views.
  • Sonja is currently working on her fifth YA book with Penguin India to be launched in September 2014.
  • She is also working on an adult historical fiction saga which will be ready early next year.
  • Sonja is a lover of poetry, paintings, music, meditation and philosophy. She draws inspiration from everything thought provoking and unpretentious.

For more details contact her on schandrachud@gmail.com

FAQs

Q: Since when have you been writing and when did you get into writing story books?
I have been writing ever since I was young, was editor of both school and college magazines. What inspired me to write were all the wonderful stories that I would read while living in Africa, the Middle East and America. I chucked up a lucrative MNC job after my MBA to become a Copywriter. But advertising wasn’t for me and finally, three years ago took the plunge into pure, creative writing.

Q: What is your genre and why?
Fantasy, Humour and Mystery is what I love. It has always fascinated me. I am a huge fan of Roald Dahl, James Hadley Chase, Asterix Comics and Rowling.

Q: Can you name a few of your books?
The Potion of Eternity & Pearls of Wisdom from the Hilarious Hauntings Adventures series. They will be launched early June this year. I have a new detective series in the making.

Q: What all languages have you written in? Do you target the local audience or mainly the national ones?
I write in English and my target audience is young adults local, national and international.

Q: Why don’t we see many Puneikar authors on the charts?
It’s all a matter of timing. It will happen, sooner or later.

Q: Does Pune have intelligent readers?
Yes, definitely. Pune’s Young Readers are a discerning, extremely well read audience and appreciate good literature.

Q: What kind of taste do Puneikars have where reading is concerned?
I cannot speak for adult fiction. But when it comes to young adults, the reader and the parent are inclined towards fantasy, mystery and humour. Mythological and coming of age stories are also quite popular.

Q: Were you ever scared when you first thought of becoming an author?
Of course! I was terrified how Potion of Eternity would be received and I am happy to say, the response has been fantastic!

Q: What is the one dream about your books that you have eg. revving up the charts at an international level, writing an auto/ biography, getting into some other genre etc.?
My dream was to become a full time writer and that has happened. Now I would love to see my books come alive on screen as they all have the perfect elements to be adapted to films. As for topping the charts, it would be awesome!

This June, the sequel to Potion of Eternity, Pearls of Wisdom will be launched. And I am currently working on brand new detective series. Both the series are published by Penguin India and are expected to do very well.

I wish that Children’s Authors are taken more seriously in India. It is far more difficult to write for young imaginative and highly creative minds than anyone can ever imagine.

Comics, graphic novels, age and genre appropriate books are what must be encouraged instead of reading preachy, moral based books. And most important of all, explore all genres and unheard of authors. Many bestsellers are not good literature.

Q: Your favourite reading spot?
My terrace with my cat Cheetos curled up next to me.

Q: Books you are reading at present?
Half of a Yellow Sun by Adiche.

Q: Your favourite Indian writers?
Aravind Adiga, Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Amitav Ghosh.

Q: Your favourite novelists?
Roald Dahl, Eva Ibbotson, Rowling, Wilbur Smith, PG Wodehouse & James Hadley Chase.

Q: Your favourite children’s books?
Witches by Dahl, Haunting of Hiram by Eva Ibbotson, Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman, Just So Stories By Kipling.

Q: The most over-rated book?
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

Q: The most under-rated book?
In the Country of Deceit by Shashi Deshpande.

Q: Classics you want to read (again)?
Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels, Geetanjali by Tagore.

Q: Your favourite literary character?
The Cheshire Cat.

Q: The book that changed your life?
Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins.

Q: The funniest book you have read?
Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

Q: The most erotic book you have read?
Gone with the Wind.

Q: The book you wanted never to end?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Q: Book you must read?
Roots by Alex Haley

Q: Which school/college text did you enjoy the most?
Shakespeare’s plays especially Julius Caesar.Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.