Life is a mystery and one can’t fathom how one thing connects with the other and yet we have the most wonderful mis-match of Chess and Writing. Introducing, Niranjan Navalgund a Chess Champion who strategically placed his words too and created an engaging novella ‘The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance’ by Readomania. Kaffeinated Konversations is currently hosting a contest ‘Book Talks’ in association with Readomania and the book authored by Niranjan is the prize gift. In fact, it was this contest that brought us and Niranjan together and we have been talking ever since 🙂
Let’s start off by having #KaffeinatedKonversations with Niranjan…
KK: Where are you from?
Niranjan: I’m from Belagavi, North Karnataka. If you want to know more about my city, consider checking: https://niriwrites.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/namma-belagavi-our-belagavi/
(KK is itching to read, well, on with the konversations right now!)
KK: When and why did you begin writing?
Niranjan: I remember writing my first essay at the age of six. The exchange of letters with my great grandfather helped me in turning it into a habit. My parents are writers too! They have written several short stories and poems. Writing took a backseat after Chess became a priority. In 2014, I participated in a short story writing contest and Readomania selected my story and published it in their first anthology ‘Chronicles of Urban Nomads’.
Why did I begin writing? I began writing for the sake of it. I just liked doing it. In the recent years, I have found that writing is a great exercise for the soul too!
KK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Niranjan: I never really gave it a thought. Writing was just another activity I used to do. But, things changed after 2014.
KK: What inspired you to write the book “The Lively Library”?
Niranjan: Books have always been my best friends, I owe it to them. My first story ‘Hide & Seek’ and a short-film (B-Tweets) I co-wrote –both have bookish elements. Somewhere along the line, I conceived the concept and thought of executing it.
KK: How did you come up with the title?
Niranjan: I can write a novella on this topic! (Laughs) My working title was ‘Untitled’ and I got too attached to it. I was reluctant on changing it, but the team at Readomania helped me realize that there could be a better title. We had a lot of lovely options, but this title topped it all. We wanted ‘The Lively Library’ in the title and my good friend Shloka Shankar helped us by suggesting ‘The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance’.
KK: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Niranjan: I will leave it to the readers to seek. The book is subject to implications at different levels
KK: What books have most influenced your life most?
Niranjan: A lot of books! I never expected to write a fantasy fiction, though. Books by Richard Bach, Agatha Christie, Paulo Coelho & J.K Rowling will always top the list.
KK: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Niranjan: Richard Bach and his Guru – Ray Bradbury
KK: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Niranjan: Readomania! I am glad The Lively Library found its home and all credit to Readomania
KK: What book are you reading now?
Niranjan: I am reading Em and the big Hoom by Jerry Pinto and liking it so far
KK: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Niranjan: I am working on chess articles at the moment. Apart from that, I try to write something every week. I try, but I am not always successful! I am sharing one experiment with you.
Here is the prompt given to me by Shloka:
Write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Now, the story doesn’t have to be complicated (it’s probably better if it isn’t)!
Life of a Tea cup
This is a dream that came false;
As all the parts of me echo in tandem
threatening to bleed into your skin
I am forced to say ‘Don’t step on me, please’
The irony in play and the role I didn’t deserve
for dreaming a little dream
lured by facets of reality
Why can’t I abandon my present and grow back to past?
The lovely cup I was
A few minutes before she whirled me to him
Do they know of my kindness?
My deliberate missing him and falling heavy on to the ground, breaking into tiny shards?
How wonderful was my time at the store!
the dream of being a great cup
the longing to contain aroma of the tea leaves and coffee beans
the wish to comfort lips and souls
I was better at the shop
Virgin and free of vengeance.
(KK thinks this is an awesome experiment, making the poet really think!)
KK: Do you see writing as a career?
Niranjan: No, not now. Chess is my priority at the moment.
KK: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Niranjan: Going by the code of synchronicity, I wouldn’t change anything.
KK: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Niranjan: Writer’s Block! There are days when I cannot write and that is a tough time.
KK: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Niranjan: Richard Bach again! We have a lot of traits in common and his writings have always helped me in difficult moments.
KK: Who designed the covers?
Niranjan: Can you see the lovely book popping out of the bookshelf on the cover? Yes, that was done by my friend- Omkar Math. He has done the illustrations for the book. The cover was designed by Indrajit Nandy.
KK: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Niranjan: The hardest part of writing the book was the transition or the changes in the drafts. The book went through no less than 25 drafts. Editor of the book – Lopamudra Banerjee, helped in fixing some gaps and that was a relief!
KK: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Niranjan: I would like to quote Ray Bradbury here: ‘Don’t think, Just write!’
KK: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Niranjan: Yes! The Lively Library is open. You can write to The Lively Library after reading the book: firstname.lastname@example.org
The characters in the book are waiting to read your emails
(I would love to know your thoughts about the book. If you like the book, consider spreading the word. Let your friends know that there is a library, where books come to life)
KK: Being proficient in Chess – What do you find most challenging – Playing Chess or Writing the Book?
Niranjan: I am not proficient yet! I am working on the game to get better. Chess and writing, both have their own challenges and I find it difficult to compare. Writing is a creative pursuit, while chess is both – a sport and a ground for creativity!
KK: Kaffeinated Konversations thanks you for your time and lovely answers to our questions. We wish you Bookmarked Luck always!
Niranjan: I loved answering your questions, Kavita! Thank you very much!
Connect to The Lively Library:
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Niranjan Navalgund is a young chess professional who derives great pleasure in learning about life through the game of chess. He is a former National U-17 Chess Champion and a Commonwealth Silver medalist in the U-18 Category He is a lover of words and occasionally tries his hand at writing stories and poems. His latest book ‘The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance’ is published by Readomania. He believes that writing is a wonderful exercise for the soul. Being a bibliophile, he harbors a special interest in the New Age Philosophy. Unusual stories excite him. He hopes to visit the Panda Zoo, someday. Niranjan lives with his family in Belagavi.