Sometimes life takes a 360° turn and you’re thrown in the whirlwind of mystery that momentarily makes you catatonic. Crawling with innumerable thoughts, one can’t just fathom the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ until one is forced to reveal stories, just like the Matryoshka Dolls.
Kaffeinated Konversations reveals the writing sensibilities of Ayan Pal, the author of novel “Confessions on an Island” , an engaging novel that throws in lots of suspense in a slow lingering wave pattern with each story bringing the reader close to the answers – just close but doesn’t reveal enough.
Let’s start off by having #KaffeinatedKonversations with Ayan…
KK: Where are you from?
Ayan: I am currently based out of Kolkata.
KK: When and why did you begin writing?
Ayan: I started writing my first novel while still at college, about 13 years back. This was the result of watching the movie ‘Signs’ by M. Night Shyamalan. Something about the movie made me introspect and promise myself to hone my skills as an author.
KK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ayan: Once I was published in my first book, an anthology ’21 Tales to Tell’ in early 2014. What helped was the fact that the book went onto become an Amazon Bestseller and was the result of a nationwide short story contest run in conjunction with Chennai Literary Fest by Notion Press.
KK: Your latest book ‘Confessions on an Island’, could you reveal a bit about it to the readers who haven’t read it?
Ayan: ‘Confessions on an Island’ is a psychological thriller / contemporary fiction narrated by an Island, a bestselling author, and a seemingly heartless abductor. The following is a blurb of the book:
KK: I found ‘Confessions on an Island’ a real page turner. What was your inspiration for creating it?
Ayan: First of all, thanks for reading and loving it! I was inspired by certain things that have happened to me and those close to me. The rest came from a longing to write something that could connect these seemingly unrelated incidents, and of course the desire to come up with something I would myself love to read!
KK: How did you come up with the title?
Ayan: The title was decided by a team that included my publisher, editor, and handpicked beta readers. We tossed around names and conducted a poll to choose the best amongst them. And voila! We had the perfect name.
KK: Who designed the covers?
Ayan: The cover was designed by my friend Abir Sanyal and a team of designers at Readomania.
KK: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Ayan: Yes there are quite a few messages actually! While I can’t reveal most of them without revealing key plot points, I can safely share this – be very careful about your actions, for there are always repercussions…
KK: What books have most influenced your life most?
Ayan: The books that have influenced my life the most are ‘Lord of the Rings’ by JRR Tolkien, ‘Harry Potter’ series by JK Rowling, ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte, ‘Of Human Bondage’ by W. Somerset Maugham, and ‘5 People You Meet In Heaven’ by Mitch Albom.
KK: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ayan: Agatha Christie for her stories and M. Night Shyamalan for his screenplays
KK: What book are you reading now?
Ayan: ‘The Trials of Apollo’ by Rick Riordan.
KK: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Ayan: I’m working on a few projects simultaneously. One is a series of fantasy/thriller/magic realism books for Young Adults. I have written about 60% of the first two books in the series. The other is the second part of the ‘Trapped’ trilogy, of which ‘Confessions on an Island’ is the first part.
KK: Do you see writing as a career?
Ayan: Most definitely, yes!
KK: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Ayan: Nope. This was how it was meant to be! No more changes, and absolutely no regrets.
KK: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Ayan: I find the process of developmental editing and proofreading a bit tiresome. I hope that with time I get more used to these – for they are essential in order to ensure the perfect book.
KK: What’s your favourite part of the writing process and why?
Ayan: I think the process of writing the first draft, including its imperfections. That is something extremely special indeed. I also love the process of research that I need to do, because it’s both enjoyable, as well as essential in order to add authenticity.
(Image Courtesy: Deepti Menon’s Blog)
KK: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Ayan: The hardest part of writing was thinking like two different people (a man and a woman), as well as an island. Also, the fact that while some sections were written in past tense (which is what I am used to more), the majority of the book was written in present tense. Switching between tenses and voices wasn’t the easiest thing at all!
KK: Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Ayan: While it would be very difficult to choose one, I would like to take the name of ‘JK Rowling’ for managing to enthral readers of all ages through some of the most successful books of all times in the form of ‘Harry Potter’, and yet daring to begin all over again with her alter ego – Robert Galbraith, and now through her screenplay for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, not to mention her co-playwright credits for ‘The Cursed Child’.
KK: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Ayan: While I am no one to be doling out advise, I would like to offer some suggestions. To start with, I feel it’s better for aspiring authors to use simple plotlines and ideas. They should try their hand at short stories, and read a lot of books! Because, as per me, the best way to learn writing is by reading. Especially recent books, be it from the genre they wish to pursue or otherwise. They should also try to understand what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to recognize one’s shortcomings, identify areas of improvement, and at all times to believe in one’s dreams. The rest will automatically follow.
KK: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Ayan: To all my past, current, and potential readers, I would like to reassure you that ‘Confessions on an Island’ is a psychological thriller that will take you on a thrilling yet emotional ride. Please give the book a shot. You won’t regret it!
KK: Thanks for your time, Ayan, and lovely answers to our questions. We wish you Bookmarked Luck always!
Ayan Pal is a Kolkata-based IT professional and author who has received several accolades in his career so far. These include the honor of his book being a record holder in the Limca Book of Records, the title of ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ from Toastmasters International for demonstrating outstanding communication and leadership skills, and a ‘Brandon Hall Award’, considered as the ‘Academy Awards’ by Learning, Talent and Business Executives worldwide.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from VTU, Karnataka and has completed a course in Education Technology from SDSU, California.
As an author, he is known for his acclaimed short stories in the Amazon bestsellers Chronicles of Urban Nomads, 21 Tales to Tell, and When They Spoke. He has also contributed to India’s first composite novel, Crossed and Knotted, Upper Cut, Her Story, Rudraksha, Arranged To Love, Tonight’s The Night and Long Story Short. He is a columnist of lifestyle magazine ThnkMkt and blogger at South Asia’s leading literary magazine Open Road Review.
Passionate about public speaking, Ayan also loves reading, creative writing, watching and reviewing films, listening to music, and binge watching his favourite TV shows. Confessions on an Island is his debut novel.