Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Amrita Mukherjee

Kaffeinated Konversations undertakes a detailed interview of Amrita Mukherjee, getting a feel of journalistic delight in knowing the author and her books.

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Amrita gives her million watt smile

 

KK: This is your second book after getting high praise for Exit Interview. Where did you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?

AM: There were always so many ideas swimming around in my mind. Short stories were the obvious outcome.

Print
Amrita’s First Book

 

KK: Are the stories old or new?

AM: I started writing the stories after the publication of my first book Exit Interview in June 2015. So that way the stories are new.

KK: Did you have any goals for this collection when you wrote it—to get published, or just to finish, etc.?

AM: I had written a post in my blog titledMy boss is always touching me. It was written in a very misleading way but in the end the reader could understand the boss was my then 4-year-old son who lords over his work-from-home mom. The reactions to that post were very positive. That was for the first time I realised I could probably write short stories. Then I wrote around 4–5 and sent to Readomania. Publisher Dipankar Mukherjee immediately asked me to finish the collection. That motivated me to finish the stories.

KK: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

AM: I always wanted to write but my full-time job in journalism never allowed me the time to write a novel. I quit my job in 2011 and started writing my novel Exit Interview.  I am glad I moved from full-form to short form in my second book because I could show my readers that I can write in another format. I want each book of mine to be totally different from the other and hook the reader with its own essence.

KK: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

AM: I read anything that interests me. Apart from the famous ones, I do read a lot of new authors and I find it really sad that so many relatively unknown authors are such fulfilling reads in comparison to some bestselling ones who just churn out trash.

From Jeffrey Archer, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Stieg Larsson to Haruki Murakami, my reading list has been varied. Rabindranath Tagore and Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay have also influenced me immensely.

KK: Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?

AM: I write on my laptop which invariably crashes when the book is going through edits. But since I keep the book in various stages of its making in my email, I haven’t landed in big trouble so far. But on both occasions when my book was published, I had to buy a new laptop.

My writing schedule is very erratic. I usually write at night when everyone in the house is asleep. I try to keep a diary where I jot down my thoughts and a basic structure of what I intend to write.

KK: Do you write every single day?

AM: I can write continuously for a week if there are some ideas in my mind and then for days I might not write at all.

KK: Any writing rituals?

AM: I guess I need my 7-year-old son around me to write. I started writing after he was born and I had quit my job, and now it’s his immense pride in me that makes my creative juices flow.

KK: Ballpoint, uniball or fountain pen?

AM: I am very fond of gel pens. Keep buying them.

KK: Will you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?

AM: It is always a pleasure to meet your readers and take their feedback. I will definitely do that.

KK: What’s the worst job you’ve had? Has it influenced your writing?

AM: As a journalist I have held jobs at various newspapers and magazines. None have been bad jobs, but my experiences at workplaces and my brush with both good and bad people definitely influenced my writing. In Exit Interview most of the characters were based on real-life people I had met in the workplace.

KK: Tell us some more about your book.

AM: Museum of Memories is a book where each story takes off from a memory and delves deeper into social perceptions, often challenging them. All the stories are based on real-life experiences.

KK: Are you planning to adapt any of your stories into drama or to the screen?

AM: Some short-filmmakers and advertising professionals have shown interest. Let’s see what happens. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

KK: What’s more important: characters or plot?

AM: Both. If any one of them is weak the story slips.

KK: How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

AM: Even an Amitav Ghosh or a Jhumpa Lahiri keep regular jobs. I think it’s hard to survive only by writing fiction; one has to do something on the side to earn a living. I work as a freelance journalist.

KK: Are you going to keep writing and doing only part-time work, or do you see yourself eventually going back to a full-time, corporate-type job?

AM: I don’t see myself doing full-time work anymore. I will be expanding on my part-time projects.

KK: Any last thoughts for our readers?

AM: Museum of Memories is not just a book, it’s meant to be an experience.

About the Author:

Amrita Mukherjee has worked in publications like The Times of India, The Hindustan Times and The Asian Age in India and she has been the Features Editor with ITP publishing Group, Dubai’s largest magazine publishing house.

An advocate of alternative journalism, she is currently a freelance journalist writing for international publications and websites and also blogs at http://www.amritaspeaks.com

Amrita’s debut novel Exit Interview earned the tag “unputdownable” from reviewers and readers alike.

 

Praise for Museum of Memories

The prose flows, emotions evolve and narrative quickens with the best form of surprise—the small surprise that is credible, human and moving. Amrita Mukherjee is a fine writer.

            MJ Akbar,

Minister of State for External Affairs/

Rajya Sabha MP/Veteran journalist/Author

—–

Always a pleasure to see an ex member of the Hindustan Times editorial team turn to creative writing and to show such sensitivity in her fiction!

—Vir Sanghvi,

Ex Editorial Director,

Hindustan Times/TV personality/Author

——-

Each short story of Amrita’s is a reader’s delight. Be it the element of surprise which is the soul of a short story, vivid etching of characters, construct of plots of varied themes, inimitable story telling style, language lucidity, food for thought, Amrita has mastered them all. I have no hesitation in saying that Amrita is a reincarnation of O. Henry.

—Biplab Dasgupta,
Actor/Director/Theatre personality

Museum of Memories

Book Blurb

Thirteen soul-stirring stories gathered from the experiences of a senior journalist

A surrogate mother narrating her emotional ordeal; a house-husband telling his side of the story; an innocent girl talking her first brush with the not-so-innocent world; a woman judging her friend for her Facebook posts…and many more that chronicle the journey of discovering life.

Amrita Mukherjee, a journalist, realised over the years that every story had an inside story; interviewees actually opened up when the Dictaphone was switched off. Apart from meeting people for interviews, she collected these stories at the office cafeteria, at drawing room conversations, during interactions with strangers while travelling on the metro-rail or talking to fellow moms while waiting for her son at the school gates.
What emerges is a work of gripping fiction based on real incidents.

Published by Readomania, Musuem of Memories is available for purchase at bookstores and on Amazon http://amzn.in/42K6szM.

 

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Mona Mohanty

Surbhi Sareen from Kaffeinated Konversations takes a super quick interview of  Mona Mohanty without any twisted tale (despite her book being titled ‘Betwixt Twists and Turns’).  😉

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Mona  gives her electrifying  smile

SS: When did writing made a debut in your life?

MM: It began at a very young age, indeed!  I guess it began when thoughts attained coherence in the form of words. I wrote my first story when I was seven years old.

 

SS: Tell us about your book Betwixt Twist  And Turns?

MM: It is a collection of short stories drawing their basis from everyday situations but there’s a twist at the end of every tale.

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SS: Why you chose such twisting title for your book?

MM: That is because life rarely traverses a straight path.

 

SS: Since you are a Government employee, how you manage your jobs as an employee and an author?

MM: It is a jugglery of sort, writing is done before as well as after office hours.

 

SS: Betwixt is a collection of short stories. Is there any story which is autobiographical?

MM: No specific story is autobiographical but it would be a fallacy to state that one’s experiences don’t appear in any one of them. I am sure all writers would agree that whatever we pen down do draw upon instances of events in our lives.

 

SS: What are your views about short story writing?

MM: Personally, I feel it is quite an art telling a short story. It takes a lot of dexterity to weave a cohesive picture combining a tight storyline weaving in characters, locales, situations and events

 

SS: Can you please share your experience with your publishers Patridge Publishers?

MM: It was a reasonably good experience. The team there was very helpful from the time they received the draft of the stories till the run up to the final product.

 

SS: Which is your favourite genre and why?

MM: My favourite genre is horror and mystery because I harbour a fascination for the unknown.

 

SS: Is there any genre which you haven’t tried but want to try your hands in it?

MM: Poetry.

 

SS: Besides writing, what interests you the most?

MM: I love travelling; in fact, it can be said that it’s a catalyst which propels my writings.

 

SS: Do you have any plans on trying Novellas or Novel writing?

MM:  I am working on a novel now.

 

SS: When can we expect your next works?

MM: Sometime early next year, I guess.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Mona Mohanty is an Indian Revenue Service officer. Writing is her passion. Her spare time is utilised for penning down whatever thoughts crop up during the day. She is based in Delhi.

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Neil D’Silva

Kaffeinated Konversations interviews The Master of Horror, Neil D’Silva about his first book Maya’s New Husband and Pishacha as well as two ebooks and other short stories. As Neil unravels himself and muses about his experiences with his first book in this detailed interview… we are not responsible for the sudden chills that you feel  😉

Our deepest fear is not the darkness. It is the unknown within our mind that shakes us up.

THE BOOK (Maya’s New Husband)

KK: How long have you been writing?

ND: I began writing novels in 2014, or to be more specific, the NaNoWriMo 2014. So, it is close to three years now that I am writing novels. Before that, I did freelance writing from 2004-12, and translated movies from Hindi to English (professionally) when I was just 12 years old.

KK: What kind(s) of writing do you do?

ND: As a freelance writer, I have written a lot of stuff. I have written website content, brochures, marketing journals, theses and reports, quizzes, articles for marketing purposes, and so on. But now, I write only for myself. I have two full-length novels out now, Maya’s New Husband and Pishacha, and two short story collections, The Evil Eye and the Charm and Bound in Love. In addition to these, I write short stories for my website and blogs, which you can find here.

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 KK: How did you become involved with the “subject or theme” of your book?

ND: Call me weird, but I have always loved to explore dark subjects revolving around human characters, like you and me. The idea of Maya’s New Husband came to me out of my observation of newly-married couples. I wondered, “How much do these people really know about each other? What if one of them is hiding a deep, dark secret that can endanger the other person?” That was where it all began.

KK: Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

ND: Horror has always fascinated me, even as a child when I picked Dracula and Frankenstein in preference to Enid Blytons. I then read Agatha Christies from cover to cover and marvelled at the way the stories were created. Naturally, when I took the pen to write myself, these influences poured out.

 KK: What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

ND: Our entire culture is sustained by a thread, and that thread is literature. Everything you see around you — mythology, religion, science, philosophy — everything is gleaned from the relevant literature in that field. In the days that we did not know the art of writing, we passed on stories orally. The value that writing, reading, and storytelling have on a culture is that they build the culture! It does not get any bigger than that.

 KK: How does your book relate to your spiritual practice/beliefs?

ND: I am not much of a spiritual person and I am still discovering my beliefs. It will definitely be a lifelong process for me. As such, I do not wish to claim that my books relate to any spiritual practice or beliefs. They are pure works of fiction.

 KK: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

ND: I had only one goal — to get as many people to read it as possible. That is always my ultimate goal with any book. So far, I am quite happy with the kind of readership I am getting. They are intelligent readers who are looking for something interesting to read.

 KK: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

ND: I can share one anecdote here. Well after Maya’s New Husband was released online as an eBook, I met a person. She is an avid traveler, the backpacker kind. As we chatted, she told me about how she has seen various facets of aghori life. That piqued my interest further and the conversation flowed. One of the incidents she mentioned impressed me so much that I included it in the book and released a second edition! It does not affect the story but it is a wonderful backdrop element that sets the tone of the scene.

 KK: What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

ND: Among the secondhand references, I checked on a lot of documentaries and reading resources in libraries and online about the aghori way of life. My lifelong interest in these ascetics also helped me. It is difficult for me to conduct firsthand research because my books are about little-known subjects like occult practices. Most of my writing is a figment of my imagination based on known references.

 

THE WRITING

KK: What do you think most characterizes your writing?

ND: There is a wide variety of topics I intend to write on. Even within the horror genre, there are several subgenres that I have to explore. However, one thing that probably sets me apart is that I like to explore human relationships. In my tales, the horror element is a peripheral catalyst. What’s more important to me is how it impacts my characters, and that’s what I intend to explore in all my works.

 KK: What was the hardest part of writing this book?

ND: Writing in itself is a difficult process. However, what I will always remember is the writing of certain scenes in Maya’s New Husband that still cause me to shudder. I wrote this book at nights, after my family slept. Some of the capture and killing scenes in the psychopath’s sanctuary spooked me to bits. At times, I had to give up writing, turn off the computer, and surrender myself to the comfy confines of my blanket.

 KK: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

ND: I have to confess, the gory bits! Writing that was a challenge and I was myself grossed out at times by the things I wrote. It was enjoyable because it was a challenge, not because of the content. Every writer worth their salt loves challenges.

 KK: Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.

ND: Maya’s New Husband is in English but it has a few Hindi words. But I have provided a glossary at the end of the book for those not familiar with Hindi. The rest of the language is quite simple for an average Indian reader to understand.

 KK: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

ND: I would like to point out the aghoris who form the crux of the story of Maya’s New Husband. Aghoris are quite a misrepresented lot. Their leanings towards divinity are difficult to understand. My protagonist, Bhaskar Sadachari, thinks that he has understood the aghori culture, but he really has not. In fact, that is the main reason for his psychopathic behaviour.

 KK: Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.

ND: One of the misconceptions I faced early on is that people tend to think all Indian horror books are supernatural horror. The general understanding is that all Indian horror has bhoots and chudails. Blame the Ramsays for that! They were surprised to know it is psychological horror, especially because it is from an Indian author.

KK: What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

ND: I partly answered this above. The average Indian horror reader thinks horror is only supernatural. It is most definitely not. There are dozens of other horror genres which are not explored in Indian literature. Even terror is a kind of horror, and it is the undercurrent of terror throughout Maya’s New Husband that makes it what it is.

 KK: What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

ND: They don’t know that horror is used in several other popular works of literature without actually labelling it as horror. You will find a lot of horror in our myths and mythology too. Horror is not always subversive; most times it is quite a thrilling read because it stimulates all our senses.

 

THE WRITER

KK: What inspires you?

ND: Books from other authors inspire me. The shows I watch inspire me. Movies inspire me. Tales I hear from people around me inspire me. Well, the label on a medicine bottle inspires me. A good author seeks inspiration from anything and everything.

 KK: Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

ND: I have to credit my father for that, without a doubt. My father was the greatest bibliophile I ever knew. The one thing he’d always bring home, even if he was short of money, was books. We had a whole room filled from the top to the bottom with his books. During lonely afternoons, I would browse through his books — which included all kinds of content — and just immerse myself into those worlds. Slowly, somewhere, I graduated from travelling in those worlds to creating new worlds of my own.

KK: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

ND: Everything that has happened in my life so far — good and bad — has shaped me to what I am. For my serious writing career though, I need to credit my wife Anita. If she had not insisted that I write and then persisted as I wrote, I would never have written my novel. Even when I gave up a lucrative coaching class to pursue my writing career, she was my pillar of support and still is.

KK: Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

ND: My earliest influences were gothic horror writers such as Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. Edgar Allan Poe continues to be a big influence. Somewhere when I was a teenager, I discovered Stephen King’s haunting worlds and still continue to discover them. I also enjoy the works of Clive Barker and Thomas Harris.

 KK: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

ND: The most useful thing is that you have to just write. At first. Do not worry about how it turns out. As the cliché goes, the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you never wrote. The least useful thing is a lot of “advice” that keeps coming my way. I don’t regard such advice much and that’s the reason I don’t even remember it right now to write it here!

 KK: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

ND: I am the soul of a writer who is born in a man’s body. I hope that answers your question.

 KK: What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

ND: I was a teacher for two decades. I had a coaching institute in Mumbai where I taught English and other subjects to high-school students. This gave me very good insight on human tendencies and how everyone is so different from each other.

Currently, I have an editing services company named Pen Paper Coffee and have recently registered a film production company named Zovie Media Ventures LLP.

 KK: How do you find or make time to write?

ND: Despite my other obligations, I do ensure that I write for at least 4-6 hours a day. My best times are early in the morning before the rest of the family wakes up and after dinner till bedtime. On days that I am lucky, I am able to write more in the afternoons and evenings as well.

 KK: What is your role in the writing community?

ND: As the founder of For Writers By Authors (FWBA), one of India’s largest Facebook communities for writers, I often find myself mentoring and guiding new authors who are looking to hone their craft and find a toehold in the writing world. At the same time, my community is also a place where I learn new things from people who are more knowledgeable than I am.  With Litventure, an annual litfest that I founded in 2015, I hope to create better readers.

 KK: What do you like to read in your free time?

ND: I am a voracious reader. In any given months, I endeavor to read 4 books – an award-winning book, a book from my genre (horror), a light read, and a book by an author friend. This month of January 2017, I am reading The God of Small Things, Cujo, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Birds of Prey.

 KK: What projects are you working on at the present?

ND: I am writing the sequel to Maya’s New Husband, which is titled Maya’s New Husband 2: The Birth of the Death. I am creating short stories for HACK, a collection that I hope to release soon. I am also in the process of writing Littleglass, a full-length novel.

Apart from my writing, I am quite engrossed with the filming activities of my company Zovie Media Ventures. Our plan is to acquire stories from authors and translate them into film.

 KK: What do your plans for future projects include?

ND: I will be sending out Maya’s New Husband 2: The Birth of the Death to my previous publishers, BruteGorilla (for paperback) and Readify (for digital publishing). I will probably self-publish HACK as I need to keep the rights of these stories to myself for my future plans. I will send out Littleglass to traditional publishers sometime in October.

KK: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?

ND: That’s difficult! People have asked me hundreds of questions about Maya’s New Husband that I think we have exhausted that pool already.

 

THE PROCESS

KK: For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

ND: At the Prologue, of course! However, to get the feel of the book, they could read the sample on Amazon or on my website.

 KK: How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

ND: Print books will always be my first love because I was born in a world where we had only print books. I have a huge collection of them which I am quite possessive about. However, I am not averse to reading on digital platforms either. I read a lot on my Kindle and am trying to read on my phone as well. Currently, I read equally on both platforms.

 KK: What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

ND: These are two things that are not going anywhere. The day they go, the world as we know it will perish.

 KK: What process did you go through to get your book published?

ND: I have been highly fortunate in this regard. I self-published the first three of my books — Maya’s New Husband, The Evil Eye and the Charm, and Bound in Love — and traditional publishers came my way. The only thing I did was create a good social media visibility for them. My fourth book — Pishacha — was optioned with a traditional publisher even before I started writing it.

 KK: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

ND: I have been told that Maya’s New Husband is quite a unique story, the like of which has never been attempted by an Indian author. It has psychological horror and gore, but I think the one thing that makes it different is the relationship between Maya and Bhaskar that I have explored through the tale.

 KK: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

ND: I like to write intuitively. I build my characters and then allow them to take the story forward. My characters are real. For me, they live and breathe. I just give them existence. In real life, sometimes people behave in illogical and irrational ways. My stories showcase such illogical behavior as well.

 KK: What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

ND: My primary place of promotion is social media and my website. I have an active author page on Facebook which I use to engage with my readers. I am also fortunate enough to be invited to several physical events where I get an opportunity to talk about my books. It does detract from my writing time, but I am not complaining. Few things are better for an author than a chance to discuss his creations with readers.

 KK: Something about MNH2 that you want to share with your fans and ignite their curiosity.

ND: MNH2 takes the story of Maya forward. Keeping up with the title Maya’s New Husband, Maya will meet another husband candidate in this one. There will be horror again but in a very different way from the first book. Maya is more sensible now to commit the same mistakes again, but danger can come in shocking ways.

KK: Something about Pishacha that makes the readers pick up the book (ebook currently)?

ND: Pishacha is one of my favorite works so far. The story starts slow but soon things happen and the story gains momentum, even reaching epic proportions. At the core, it is a story of rebirth between a human and a non-human entity. If I were to categorize it, I would put it in ‘paranormal-romance’, but the story also has several shades of being a mythological or historical fantasy.

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*Kaffeinated Konversations did a  Review of Pishacha and it can be read here.

KK: Horror and Love are opposing aspects, how easy or difficult was it for you to blend it in the book, Pishacha?

ND: I wouldn’t say horror and love are opposite aspects. I’d rather say they have probably not been put together in many books so far. That was my initial challenge with Pishacha, actually, but I need such challenges to motivate me. If you think about it, all love is scary. There is the fear of the unknown that pervades through every relationship. I just gave it a supernatural face. That’s how it worked.

KK: Since this is a blended book. How many well known authors you know have tried this?

ND: In India, I am not aware of any. But paranormal romance is a big thing in the US.

KK: Thanks a lot for giving us your valuable time for this lengthy interview. We are glad to know about the author who has so many facets rather than just “Master of Horror”. All the best to you for your future endeavors!

ND: Thanks for the wonderful questions. 🙂

Connect to Neil D’Silva on:

Website: http://neildsilva.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neildsilvaofficial/

Buy his books from Amazon

AUTHOR BIO:

Neil D’Silva is a Mumbai-based author of Indian fiction. He has released three solo books so far, two of them traditionally-published and one self-published, and is looking forward to release his fourth book traditionally in 2017. His name also appears in two
anthologies and is the winner of several literary competitions.

He is a known name in India’s literary world. The online writers’ community he founded on Facebook, named For Writers, By Authors, now has over 17000 members, included several celebrated authors from India’s literary world. This community also spearheads the annual literary event Litventure, which is a brainchild of Neil D’Silva. He is also the co-founder of Pen Paper Coffee, an editing services company. Currently, he is on the verge of launching a film production company that aims to adapt Indian literature into film.

He was the principal and a teacher at an educational institute in Mumbai named Disha Educentre from 1998 to 2016.

 

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with M.V. Kasi

When it came to a chase, she chose to be a predator.

– Soulless

Shelly Bajwa from Kaffeinated Konversations takes a super quick interview of M.V. Kasi with great intensity.

  1. The inspiration behind the book.

I don’t really remember the inspiration behind Soulless. I just sat down to start a new book after I had completed That Same Old Love. Initially, it was to be a spin off for the A Match Made In Hell series. But once I had sketched Sia’s character for the same, I had to stop. I kept thinking about her for a very long time. I knew I couldn’t continue in the same vein as my first book. I couldn’t write Sia’s story as a Romantic-Comedy. It took me nearly 6 months to get inside her head and understand her. And once I did, I knew I had to give her a killer story along with an equally awesome complex hero who would complement her. It pushed me out of my comfort zone because I hadn’t actually met someone like Sia in my real life. Everything I learnt about her was through research. There was point when I became a little too obsessed with her character. 🙂

So ultimately, I can say that my inspiration to complete the book was my lead character, Sia.

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  1. What comes first; characters, plot or the ending?

For me, it’s always the characters. Or rather a particular lead character. For example in my first story I knew I was going to choose a female lead who was a bully. And for my second book, I chose an addict as my female lead. And for my third book, my female lead was a workaholic.  When I have a clear picture of them as a person, and what their characteristics are, I begin to spin their story. I add the details of their background, their trials, how they became what they are, and ultimately how did they redeem themselves (if at all) at the end of the story.  And because I am a sucker for a happily-ever-after, the endings are always the same for all my stories. 🙂

 

  1. Advice to new authors or budding writers?

To all my fellow new authors—write what you want to write. And when you finish writing it, question everything you just wrote.

There are times when we tend to fall for what is currently trending or what we think people want to read. But when you write what you actually want to, and about the topics you are personally interested in, it shows in your writing. It might not appeal to the masses, but expect to get a few fan mails, that would let you know how the book was able to connect with those readers and how the story and characters felt real to them. They would thank you genuinely. And all those hours spent on writing, editing and sacrificing personal time would be well worth it. 🙂

 

  1. Is this the forte genre of the author or can we expect stories from different categories in the future?

For now, I’m sticking to contemporary romances set in India. I have a few more compelling characters that are waiting for me to write their story. 🙂 But yes, definitely expect me to write stories of different categories in the future. My personal favorite is Paranormal Romance.

When I began playing with the idea of writing a book (almost seven years ago), I had a paranormal story with heavy doses of Indian mythology in mind. I wrote a part of it and made several notes, but was never able to complete them. After I finish writing my other stories, hopefully I will have enough creativity and imagination to bring that world and the characters to life as well.

 

  1. Your inspiration and favourite writers!

My inspiration for my books is varied. I get inspired by real people and situations around me, or sometimes, I also get inspired by fictional characters or an interesting topic that had caught my attention for a long time. I only hope that I never run out of inspiration. 🙂

Out of the thousands of books I have read and enjoyed over the years, it wouldn’t be fair on my part to pick a favorite author. But one thing I can say is that lately, I have veered more towards Indie authors. I love how they don’t shy away from writing anything that is a taboo and they don’t have to follow any set guidelines to write a story.

Connect to MV Kasi on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mvkasi

Buy “Soulless”: Amazon

AUTHOR BIO:

MV Kasi works for a software company. Though the grilling job takes her time all day, at night she plunges into her curiosity to explore human complexities through psychological exploration through writing. Her fascination lies in observing successful people who are considered “weird”. Her extensive reading has led to her writing books with depth in characterization. She doesn’t wince in writing about sexuality or violence – subtly overlaying it with humourous tones. Currently she resides in Hyderabad, India with her husband and son. 

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Jatin Kuberkar

When life comes to a screeching halt each time we encounter a bumpy experience, we tend to come close to each other or maybe move apart. This is what Jatin encountered with his colleagues to work everyday – so hilariously chronicled in his third novel that puts the reader in stitches at every page. Cabbing All the Way is not only fun read but also gets you directed to the human psyche in a group setting.

Kaffeinated Konversations requests you to put on your seatbelts while we speed off to the superhighway of Jatin Kuberkar‘s writing nostalgia with a few questions.

 

KK: Where are you from?

JK: I am from Telangana, India. born and brought up in Nizamabad town, but I am now based in Hyderabad.

KK: When and why did you begin writing?

JK: Writing comes naturally to me. Observation is my habit and all that I write/tell are based on real observations. As a Kid, I used to create a lot of imaginary stories about animals, plants and how they would transform into creatures etc.

It happened once in my school, I used to take part in essay writing contests all the time but, given my bad handwriting, no one read it…but that time, one of my teachers actually read it. He did not understand what I’ve written and so he called me up to read it for him. After he knew my thoughts, he complemented me: ‘you have the gift of writing’. That is all I remember and then I did not write for a long time.

Then, once at a birthday party, I was made in charge to look after a group of kids. I did not know how to control them and so, I started with a story.

It started with a magical house and ended inside an earthen pot! I was baffled at my own imagination! if that was for starters, another one happened in my college…boring lecture on civics made me peep through a window and there is found a gardener working in the blazing sun. he inspired me and I wrote a story about him. I read it to my friends, they liked it and may be that is how I ‘rediscovered’ writing.

 

KK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

JK: That was in 2011. I saw a submission call for Chicken Soup series – ‘Indian Soul at work’

I submitted a story to them and the editor replied that they would love to have 2 more stories from me, and all my submissions were published. That was a strong push and I started taking writing seriously.

It’s not that I did not write before that; I used to document my observations under a private blog ‘From the streets of hyderabad’, which was later published by leadstart corp as ‘While I Was Waiting’ – in 2014, my first book.

 

KK: Your latest book ‘Cabbing All the Way’ is autobiographical to what extent?

JK: I will not be wrong if I say that every page in the book is ‘inspired’ by a real event. Yes, for the sake of presentably, I had to add a little fiction, but otherwise, It is completely ‘as happened’.

 

JK: I found ‘Cabbing All the Way’ an engrossing read. How difficult was it to keep up the tempo of the story?

JK: The story itself is fast paced. when I started writing it, I knew that I may have to add some local hyderabadi slang, some rubbish language for ‘Mohan’ etc.

What I like about reality fiction: you don’t have to worry so much about maintain the tempo, because you have seen it happening! all you need to do is, give it proper structure in form of words and paras.

Having said that, I wish to thank the editor of this book, Indrani Ganguly. She helped me to polish it and perfect it to the ‘T’.

(Read the review by Kaffeinated Konversations here)

KK: How did you come up with the title?

JK: It was spontaneous. It was there since the first draft…

 

KK: Who designed the covers?

JK: My dear friend and cartoonist Yogish Shettigar designed the cover cartoon. he is an ex-employee at our office and he knew all the people who came along with me in the cab. When I gave him the idea, he drew the cartoon with REAL faces on it…later I had it changed and only my face still remains…

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KK: Is there any expectation from the readers when they pick up your book?

JK: When reading ‘Cabbing All The Way’ I want them to relate to one of the characters in it and follow him throughout. That would make the book even more interesting. This way, they can be one of the members in the cab!

 

KK: What books have most influenced your life most?

JK: The list is long and ever growing.

As a kid, Chacha Chowdhary and diamond comics ruled my life. I used to read them like crazy. (I think that was a best time for kids when we did not have these touch/smart devices to swallow our free time.)

I like to read short stories over full length novels. And prefer reading more of Indian writings.

Short Stories by R.K Narayan and Ruskin bond are my all-time fav!

Sudha murthy’s ‘Wise and Otherwise’ – I like to gift this to people.

stories by Khushwant singh and ‘Train to Pakistan’ is one of my favs too…

Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy,

I liked the premise and the point of view in ‘Asura, the tale of the vanquished’ by Anand Nneelakantan. This is what authors should try to do…show a different perspective, teach the world something different and new.

Paulo Coelho – ‘like a flowing river’ and ‘the alchemist’

J.K Rowlling- I particularly like her imagination about Hogwarts…some creatures connect to my childhood memories!

 

KK: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

JK: R.K Narayan; I read him like I am reading the Gita! I find so much nativity in his style and I like everything that is Indian.

 

KK: What book are you reading now?

JK: Right now, I am reading Midnight’s children, by Salman Rushdie.

 

KK: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?

JK: I am working on 2 books. I like to experiment with different genre, though my focus would be reality-fiction. That means, my work, could be called a fiction but it is reflection of something real!

I am almost done with the draft of a socio-fantasy novel.

The other one is still a 4 page concept and I consider it to be my life’s work!!

Apart from this, I keep writing short stories and stack them under various titles.

 

KK: Do you see writing as a career?

JK: I may take up writing full-time in a few years from now. that is for sure!

Money making through writing is certainly not my goal. My goal is to tell wonderful and relatable stories to people…

 

KK: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

JK: I think, for a writer, a book is never complete. each time I read it, I feel that I can write more here, or edit something there….you see, the greatest boon (and bane) for a writer, in my opinion, is his ever evolving POV.

KK: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?

JK: Finding the time and the mood, and finding both of them in a moment of realization!

Juggling between my job and writing is a bit of a challenge too, but I brush it aside and call it ‘Mundane issue’!!! 🙂

 

KK: What’s your favorite part of the writing process and why?

JK: Nothing in particular. I like everything about writing because I am passionate about it!

 

KK: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

JK: I cannot think of any…it was smooth and thrilling.

But, finding a publisher was very tough. I thank Readomania for accepting it and publishing it.

 

KK: Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

JK: I don’t really pick a book by name of the Author… I read the blurb, a sample chapter and if I like it, I pick it up. I like Prem Chand and Harivansh Rai Bacchan in Hindi.

 

KK: Do you have any advice for other writers?

JK: Don’t be in a hurry to get published, don’t follow a trend, be different and write to express yourself.

 

KK: Being a Software Engineer, which skill did you find most relevant to the writer in you?

JK: Both are different. Jatin, the writer and Jatin as the Engineer are totally different persons with different skills. The writer may know the engineer, but this is not true with the engineer in me! 🙂

Connect to Jatin on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jatin.kuberker

Details about the Book “Cabbing All the Way”: https://www.facebook.com/Cabbing-All-The-Way-958150164255839/

AUTHOR BIO:

Jatin Kuberkar is a software engineer by day and a passionate writer by night. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin likes to express his inspirations in the form of poetry, short stories, novels and essays.

He lives in Hyderabad, and adorns polymorphic forms in his personal life as a son, a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, an observer, a toymaker, a critic and the list goes on… He is an ardent lover of Hyderabadi biryani and is a worshipper of ‘Chaai’. If granted a boon, Jatin would love to learn magic from ‘Hogwards’ and fly around on a broom stick.

Jatin is the author of three books. Rainbow Dreams (poetry), While I Was Waiting and Cabbing All the Way.

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Radhika Tabrez

Light. Darkness. Two extremes and relationships engulfed in this knotted way have to be unraveled one day. How does it happen?

That forms the core of the debut novel “In the Light of Darkness” by Radhika Maira Tarbez, published by Readomania.

Kaffeinated Konversations gets all brewed up with questions for Radhika about her book, her writing and how it all began. Well, its time to get to know her more through #kaffeinatedkonversations…

  1. Congratulations Radhika! Your book is just out and there’s great anticipation about the response to it. How do you feel?

Thanks so much Kavita. Yes, God and the readers have been kind. The book has been receiving a tremendously encouraging response. Almost every day I wake up to at least half a dozen messages from friends and readers who love the book. It’s sheer delight.

  1. What made you take up writing and choose it as a conduit for your creative expression?

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the written word. My father is an avid reader, and I undoubtedly get it from him. But my first conscious foray into writing can be ascribed to an incident when I must have been on the cusp of teenage. I remember reading in the newspaper about a thief, who once apprehended, confessed that inability to buy his pregnant wife some expensive medicines is what pushed him to commit that crime. The law, of course, couldn’t care less for such extenuating circumstances; and the man was punished, nevertheless. The news article ended with the information that his heavily pregnant wife is now making the rounds of the police station, begging the authorities to relent. That news item triggered something inside of me. I remember feeling angry, very angry. And also, for the first time, at a loss to express that anger. I decided to pen down my thoughts and share that with my father when he came back from work. And somehow, those few lines, with my father’s help, turned into a whole fictional account of a conversation with a thief and found its way to that year’s Annual School Magazine. A few months later, that whole incident and the ethical dilemma it presents to the society as I had chalked out in my piece, became a theme for the Debate Club’s next session. I remember feeling oddly redeemed that day. The idea that words written on a piece of paper can start conversations on a wider scale and a bigger platform was quite comforting. I think I was hooked.

I had wanted to be a journalist. My father did not approve of that profession much, and he told me I could only do it if I made it into IIMC. I of course, didn’t. So after that heartbreak, I think I consciously moved away from writing for a while, engaging in only occasional scribbling, that too for my eyes only. But old love always finds a way to pull you back towards it, and so did my writing.

  1. Writers have variously described writing as self indulgence, self inflicted pain or delusional work…… what does it mean to you?

While I wouldn’t describe my work with those words, I do see why someone else would. Artists in general have a stronger receptive strength for the realities of the world around them. The facts and feelings that they collect thereby, voluntarily or involuntarily, become the fodder for their work.

The realities of this world are painful and harsh, so no wonder when projected in one’s art, that pain magnifies manifold. It can and it does, get pretty heavy sometimes. But why shy away from acknowledging the ugliness of the world? Let’s acknowledge it, own it up, and put it forward juxtaposed with the beauty this world has to offer, because there is a lot of that too. Deduce answers, to unsolvable questions. Provide possibilities, where none exist. Offer hope, where is it desperately needed. Isn’t that kind of work cathartic? That is exactly what it is to me.

  1. How did you approach the writing of your novel?

My novel actually started out as a short story; a letter from a distraught mother to her estranged son. And then it started taking up dimensions and tangents that I was tempted to explore. So to be honest, there wasn’t a pre-meditated well designed approach. I went where my heart and hands took me; and realized only a few months later that if I could sort this jigsaw of a story out, I might be on to something. I fitted what I already had on a broader plotline and started filling the gaps. That is as close I came to a structured approach. Also, I am a hardcore pantser. So this is just about as much planning as I can handle, anyway, without letting it cramp my style.

  1. Is the young adult readership more open to new concepts and ideas compared to adult readership?

I wouldn’t say that as a blanket statement. I believe it is an individual trait. But yes, I believe youngsters may be more open to experimenting with different things, in general, with everything in life. And as one gets older, the tastes get more stabilized, more refined. So this applies to their reading choices as well.

  1. Is popular and accessible writing far removed from deeper nuanced writing? Do you make conscious efforts to be entertaining?

 Sadly yes. See, the thing is, popular and accessible writing is like junk food. When you crave a pizza, a plate of sophisticatedly plated dish of foie gras won’t do, no matter what level of culinary expertise it demonstrates. But that doesn’t mean making a pizza cannot not be a job entailing culinary excellence.

That is the problem, the gap between popular/accessible and nuanced writing is fast growing, and being recognized these days as a chasm that cannot be filled. I see writers talking about ‘dumbing down’ their writing in order to reach more audiences; and I have come to hate that term. What does that even mean?

To make one’s writing meaningful and yet entertaining is hard work. It’s quite literally, walking a tightrope. It is tough and it is tiring. And that’s what most of us shy away from in the name of dumbing down. And thereby also do a disservice to the field of literature in the process.

I think good, sincere and straight from the heart stories are and will always be entertaining.

  1. We loved the choice of elements portrayed in the book cover. What inspired those touches?

This book cover came to me like a blessing. I can take no credit for it, honestly. I had given a very different brief for a cover which although beautiful, just wasn’t working out graphically. But then, the graphic artists and my publisher Dipankar Mukherjee, started on a fresh page with just the blurb and the main sentiments behind the book – hope, resilience and a reconciliation of a past and a future. And that’s how this cover was born.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

This whole book, in a way, sprouted from a poem by Mary Oliver that I read a while ago. It is called The Uses of Sorrow and it goes thus.

Someone I loved once,

gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand,

that this, too, was a gift.

 

The idea that darkness can be a gift just clung to me as a vine, taking roots with time, feeding on my thoughts and imagination. The title, In The Light Of Darkness, was born of the same premise.

  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. The three key messages from the book co-relate to the three main characters. Susan’s life and her tribulations are a testament of a fact that no matter how hard a parent tries to do what is in the best interest of their child, sometimes they fail. Not because their intentions aren’t pure, but because they just don’t know any better.

Matthew’s story gives the message that no matter how big a mistake one has committed, genuine remorse and intention to atone can undo it all and bring the redemption one seeks.

Meera’s life reminds us that sometimes we can confuse self-destruction with self-preservation. And when that happens, we must rely on the judgment of those who love us, to bring us the clarity we need.

  1. Which ‘current’ and not-so-current authors do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy a lot of ‘not-so-current’ authors, and the list is practically endless. But the ones who have a permanent spot on my nightstand are Ayn Rand, Virgina Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and from closer home Khushwant Singh and Saadat Hasan Manto.

  1. What books have influenced you?

Too many to mention. In a way every single book taught me something. Whether it was what to do, or what not to.

 

  1. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Ayn Rand and Virginia Woolf. Undoubtedly.

  1. Is there anything particularly challenging when you took up writing?

Time Management, especially as a mother of a four year old. Add to that the impingement of social media on our time, and I am practically left with no time to write. Result is long, caffeine-fuelled nights, to catch up on work.
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  1. What’s the most enjoyable part of the writing process and why?

Most certainly the latitude we allow ourselves while working on the first draft. Nothing is off limits. All characters and their back stories are important. All scenes and conversations have limitless potential. This is exceptionally fun if you learn to ignore the word count ticker on the bottom left of your screen.

  1. With so many literary festivals, launches, book readings and other hoopla becoming mandatory for writers, how did you cope with it?

Thankfully, my staying away in a faraway town, in the middle of nowhere, has helped. I always knew, given the distances and my kid’s young age, travelling too much would be a problem for me. So I never counted on it much, while drawing up my promotional plans. This is where social media comes in with its infinite potential to connect you with your readers, regardless of where you are. Look at this, next week I am speaking to readers and writers in Indore, from the cozy confines of my home in Unchahar.

 

  1. Does your own writing sometimes surprise you? Share a piece of the text from the novel that you’re happy about.

Yes. Most definitely. Some parts of our writing come so effortlessly, so fluidly – they just waltzes right in. The letter from Susan to Matthew, came that way to me. I think I had been thinking about it for so long that when I actually sat down to write it, words just poured out. But it is too long and too crucial an element, for me to share here.

  1. Would you like to share any reader feedback that strongly affected you?

I recently read the review by Tikuli. In fact, she had been sending me texts ever since she started reading the book, about how it was connecting with her. And accomplished poetess, writer and a blogger herself; it was so encouraging to hear those compliments from her. I think more than anything else that is what we writers crave the most – to connect with a reader on that profound and emotional a level.  I was quite affected by her kind words. Still am, to be honest. You may read the whole review here (https://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/in-the-light-of-darkness-radhika-maira-tabrez/) and you’d know what I mean.

  1. Do you have any advice for other writers?

I am not accomplished enough to offer any, I feel. But will just share my learning in the entire journey of writing this book. Nothing works better than honest writing. The moment you start factoring in anything else – readership, popularity, what sells, what doesn’t – it adulterates your expression. So write from your heart first; then of course at a later stage, edit with a sharp mind.

  1. Do you have anything specific to share with your readers?

Read. As expansively as deeply as you can. Read what others are reading. Definitely read what others are not yet reading. And then spread the word about any good stuff that you come across. Help it reach more readers.

  1. Just saying it aloud… did you have any imaginary friends in your childhood? 

Ha ha ha. No. But now I am very curious to know if that is a question you pose to everyone or was there some vibes I gave off that made you ask me that?

KK: Hahahaha…. that was just a “do-spill-your-secret-if-you-have-any” kind of fun question, Radhika. It was amazing interacting with you! Thanks a lot!

Thank You. It has been a pleasure answering your questions.

——–

To read Kaffeinated Konversation’s Review of Radhika’s book: https://kaffeinatedkonversations.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/in-the-light-of-darkness-book-review/

Connect to her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/radhikamtabrez/

AUTHOR BIO:

Radhika Maira Tabrez is a hustling mother by day and a writer by night. When she isn’t dancing to the tunes of her three-year-old son, or experimenting in the kitchen for her husband; she loves to read, watch movies, and engage in DIY home décor projects.
Her formative years were spent trying to muzzle the writer inside her, and fairly successfully too, considering she acquired along the way a full-time MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune and built a twelve-year career in Learning and Development.
During her time at SIBM, she became the first and till-date the only, female to be elected as President of Students’ Council in over 35 years of the Institute’s history.
The corporate life that ensued wasn’t a bad life to lead; except that often during the meetings at work, just as it had been at the lectures in college; her truant mind would escape to the world of stories she longed to tell. While professors and superiors admired her diligence in taking down every word they said, Radhika was actually documenting a conversation with her characters or sometimes, even with herself.
It soon got to the point where she realized that the only things she really cared about, were her infant son and… well, those voices in her head! Both, fought heroic battles to wean her away from the corporate life, until one day, as 2012 drew to a close, the battle was won. Love and Art triumphed over Reason and Industry, and she finally quit her job.
Initially, Radhika wrote non-fiction articles about things she saw and felt. As a new mother, with her hormones in the driver’s seat, it was both cathartic and easy to do. Encouragement from her husband and friends finally got this closet writer to start putting those thoughts out in the open. People found her writings a charming pot-pourri of hard-hitting and light-hearted ideas.
Her writings regularly feature on Readomania.com and her Facebook Page : ‘Just a thought – By Radhika Maira Tabrez’. Her stories have been published and recieved with rave reviews, in ‘UnBound – and eMagazine’; Sankarak and two of Readomania’s anthologies – ‘Defiant Dreams’ and ‘When They Spoke’.
Her debut novel would be out, later this summer.

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Ayan Pal

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:

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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.

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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.

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(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!

Connect to Confessions On An Island:  https://www.facebook.com/AyanPalDebutNovel/

AUTHOR BIO:

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.

 

Posted in KK with Authors

Kaffeinated Konversations with Niranjan Navalgund

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’.

libraryposter-01

 

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.

libraryfinal curve
The Lively Library Book Cover

 

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: thelivelylibrary@gmail.com
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:

www.facebook.com/thelivelylibrary
www.instagram.com/thelivelylibrary
www.twitter.com/lively_library

Buy Book on Amazon

AUTHOR BIO:

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.