author, Keene State professor lands two book publishing contract | Local News

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Last year, Brinda Charry distilled over 100,000 words and over a year of work into a 123-word synopsis for a statewide pitch competition. Now she has a two book contract with a national publishing house.

After winning the competition, Charry felt encouraged to seek out a literary agent, she said in an interview on Monday.

The pitch competition was part of a 603 Writers ‘Conference hosted by The NH Writers’ Project. The nonprofit – a Manchester-based organization that supports the development of writers in the Granite State – was an important resource in the publishing process, said Charry, an English professor at Keene State College.

“Living in New Hampshire feels like you’re far from New York City and other big publishing centers,” she said. “And I think the Writers’ Project does a great job of creating a sense of community.”

Charry’s pitch was for his novel “The East Indian”. The book is a fictional account of a real person – a 14-year-old boy and the first person from the Indian subcontinent to appear in the American colonial archives. The boy, named Tony in the records, arrived in Virginia in 1635 and worked on a tobacco plantation.

Charry first encountered Tony’s mention several years ago in a post from the US Consulate in India.

She hid the idea, initially planning to return to write an academic article, but ultimately decided she wanted to dive back into the world of fiction. With a story set in the 1600s, Charry felt that “The East Indian” fell at the intersection of his passion for the Shakespearean era and a kind of immigrant story that one never sees. not often.

Charry, who emigrated from India to the United States 20 years ago, has previously published fiction novels in India and the United Kingdom, but “The East Indian” was his first experience with the publishing system. American.

The 603 Writers’ Conference pitch competition was held in October last year, and a few months later Charry received a response from Eric Simonoff of talent agency William Morris Endeavors, who asked read the full manuscript.

Simonoff loved the premise and the writing of the book, Charry said, but there was a caveat – he suggested rewriting the second half of the novel.

At first Charry felt hopeless and didn’t know how she could improve what she already had. It took a few days to think about the suggestion, she said, but in the end she saw where Simonoff was coming from.

“I just got back to the drawing board,” Charry said, and withdrew her pitch from the other agents she had submitted it to.

And although the suggestion came at a difficult time – Charry’s mother, who lives in India, was ill and she returned there to help take care of herself – she said she never had considered giving up work.

“It crossed my mind, that it might go for nothing, all that effort,” Charry said. “But I decided I would. If nothing else, I would do it for myself … it was the novel that had been waiting for me for a long time.

In the end, these efforts paid off.

After the revised version was completed, Simonoff offered a performance in the spring, according to Charry. A few editors expressed interest in the novel, and Charry ultimately chose to go with Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster who worked with a litany of renowned writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Stephen King. , according to the company’s website. . The book was also sold to Scribe, a UK publishing house, which will see the book printed in the UK and Australia, according to a press release from the NH Writers’ Project.

Between publishing, advertising and marketing, Charry said, it will likely be at least a year before the book is available in libraries. But in the meantime, she has another project to work on.

The second book included in the deal is still in its early stages, Charry said – “that early point where you also despair of what it’s going to be,” she said with a laugh.

But she has entered the genre of historical fiction and is considering another book focused on an East Indian character, this time set in the 1800s and in the Northeastern United States. During the winter break, she plans to visit the New York Public Library to delve into research.

Historical fiction can be difficult due to the amount of research required and the need to strike a balance between historical accuracy and engaging narrative. But as an academic, Charry said she enjoys research and hopes to give readers another historical perspective.

“I hope people realize the kind of very long and complex history of the East Indies’ presence in America,” she said. “And I hope they also realize the kind of complexity of this particular racial identity.”


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