In conversation with self
A self-interview to discuss my vision about my writing.
Q: Define yourself.
A: A life dedicated to literature
Q: Can you justify it?
A: I am writing since 2007. During these thirteen years, I have written 20 novels and 2 novellas, apart from many short stories. By dedicating myself to the literature and constantly writing, I have developed a method to my writing, which enables me to complete my novels quickly. Hence, I see myself contributing significantly to the literature.
Q: You said you have written 20 novels and 2 novellas. What are they about?
A: A variety of things. They all are different, and present a rich panorama of life. They are definitely of contemporary importance, and some of them deal with critical social and psychological issues. A few of them are about love and relationships. That’s an entirely different arena I want to contribute to, and I would like to be prolific in that.
Q: Can you give me details about your 20 novels and 2 novellas?
A: I can provide you a list, and what they are about, in brief.
Here, we go.
22. 20 Laws of Love (novel) – A contemporary romance novel exploring the deeper aspects of love. Set in the COVID era.
21. World’s Biggest Lockdown (novel) – Four lives’ journey to find hope, strength and love during the critical lockdown period.
20. The Joker Inside (novel) – Inspired from the movie ‘Joker’, but with a positive ending. It’s a romance novel in which two abused and traumatized individuals come together to find love and craft a world for themselves.
19. 7 Miles from Heaven (novel) – A contemporary romance novel, which apart from exploring love between two troubled individuals, investigates into their relationship with God. A tragedy, but with a positive ending. (The novel is distantly similar to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
18. London Girl (novella) – A romantic comedy. A love story between a modern, London-returned girl and her conventional flat-mate.
17. The Celebrity Inside Us (novel) – Explores the dark side of love. A rollercoaster love quadrangle involving a girl and three boys. A tragedy.
16. Tiger Behind the Taj Mahal (novel) – Inspired by Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, but seeks to obtain a different outcome. A love story with a tiger in it. (The book is dedicated to Project Tiger.)
15. Desi Cowboy (novel) – social media, and the silly things it can result into.
14. The Mercedes Man (novella) – a dark comedy. A town boy moves to the city and finds himself in all sorts of unhealthy situations. It’s about greed, ambition, and how life manipulates us.
13. Love & Other Donkeys (novel) – a socially awkward young man’s struggle to find love and dignity.
12. Diesel for My Soul (novel) – Devdas Syndrome in an entirely different setting.
11. One Day of Madness (novel) – tragic story of a young man who believes that the world is in danger, and he is the only one who can save it. A novel of contemporary importance. It’s a critical view of the world we live in.
10. The League of Extraordinary Losers (novel) – a critical view of a society. Three troubled lives find themselves reeling into disaster as the world around fails to understand them, and tortures them to meet its own objectives.
9. My Friend Raman (novel) – turbulent relationship between a bachelor saint and his homosexual friend, who falls in love with him.
8. The Spirit of Travelling (novel) – A young man is haunted by his past where he finds himself eternally struggling with the religious disharmony prevailing in the society. About existence and love in a multi-faith environment.
7. Syndrome (novel) – It’s about quest for belongingness, love and dignity. It’s also about hidden identity issues, unfulfilled longings, and sexuality. It’s four entwined lives’ dramatic and often tragic journey.
6. Le Commune (novel) – Explores historical trauma in Indian context. About a young man who is constantly haunted by India’s turbulent history – hundreds of years of atrocious foreign invasions and rule.
5. Soma (novel) – Set in Chambal valley. A bizarre man’s journey to becoming a bandit.
4. Butterflies (novel) – Four women explore the city life, constantly struggling to find identity, freedom, and a sense of dignity.
3. Father Figure (novel) – Inter-faith. A Hindu man kidnaps two Muslim children. After raising them as Hindus for fifteen years, he sends them back to their Muslim father. The children are now trapped between their two fathers – one their biological, and the other who raised them.
2. 24 Hours (novel) – A psychological thriller. How a man loses his mind on a horrible night of rioting.
1. Sons of a River (novel) – About two brothers in Chambal valley.
Q: None of your novels has been published. May I know why?
A: I have not made any significant attempts to get published. Most of my novels have not been applied for publication anywhere.
There were factors. First, I have always been living at relatively remote places. I lived in a small town of Gujarat, followed by a remote town of Assam, and now I am living in a small city of Andhra Pradesh. I haven’t been fortunate enough to be a part of a literary circle, and there was no one to suggest me anything. The second factor was my job, which kept me so busy at times that I had to take a complete break from writing. Lastly, it was the prolonged illness of my mother, which always put me in stress, and I was just happy to be able to write. Now, my mother is doing well, and my life has got stability.
There were spells when I just kept writing, so much I was enjoying writing. I believe I have done the right thing. By constantly writing, I have developed a method to my writing, as I mentioned earlier, and I can produce much more content in coming time.
Q: Your short stories have been published. Tell me something about them.
A: Two and a half years ago, I decided to test the water and know where I stand. I needed to get some validation for my writing, and I also needed to find how things work in publishing. I wrote nearly thirty short stories and sent them to various online literary magazines. Six of them got published. The experience gave me confidence, and let me know about certain nuances about the publishing industry.
Q: Tell me something about your writing style.
A: It may vary. For a first-person narrative, I have to become the specific person who is narrating. For a third-person narrative, I try to sound confident and sincere.
Style has also varied according to the subject matter. There were works of literary nature, and in them I employed a richer language, and a more imaginative prose. My recent work is more towards the commercial side, and there I have tried to use simpler language and words.
Story and flow are important to me. The story should intrigue people and keep them hooked, and there should be a flow so that the reader’s spell is never broken. I want the reading experience to be a stimulating but smooth journey.
Q: What does the future hold?
A: It’s promising. I have many intriguing ideas with me. A long series of romance novels is one project I would be concentrating on. Another would be creating meaningful literature about contemporary issues and ways of life. I think I will be able to execute both of them, given my experience and my ability to write quickly.
I want to write with a positive purpose. I want to create meaningful and relevant literature, whether it’s about love and relationship, or social and psychological issues.
I also have prolificity in my mind. I would like to write 3-4 novels in a year, as I have been doing for last three years. In last three years, I have written 10 novels and 2 novellas, apart from nearly 30 short stories. I would try to continue with the same prolificity.
Q: Are you really that prolific?
There’s no magic in it. And there’s nothing so unbelievable. I am an intuitive writer, and I keep a good focus on whatever I write. I have benefits like good memory and sound organizational skills, and they help me to be more efficient when I write. My office job once involved remembering a lot of data. This developed a good information-handling capacity in my mind. Another good thing with me is that I have been pretty decent in understanding people. It helps when you have an inherent interest in people and human behavior. I don’t have to develop characters on a notebook. It all comes from my mind, as I write.
I am driven to contribute to the literature. I wish to achieve something significant. And I have an inherent, in-built desire to write. Though ultimately, it’s about the richness of ideas. I am never short of ideas, and I know how to execute them. My job, my being a voracious reader and a cinephile in past, the varied experiences of my life, and my creativity and imagination – all help me to bring interesting and meaningful content, time after time.
I will be never short of ideas. I have nearly fifty book ideas with me. I keep adding new ideas to my list and re-prioritizing the whole thing. What I would write next depends on how important the subject is in the contemporary context, and how it excites me.
Q: How did you start writing?
A: I used to be a voracious reader once, as I mentioned. I started reading when I joined my job – back in 2001. I read some of the finest writers the world has ever produced. I read some classic stuff, like Dickens and Hardy. I also read Russian literature, particularly Dostoyvsky. I read Marquez, and Indian authors like Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry, and Arundhati Roy. I read a lot of contemporary novels, particularly those which gained popularity. One can say I made myself rich in knowledge and thought.
It was in the year 2006 when a writer started developing inside me. Searching my own heart, I found I had a few things to tell the world. ‘People’ was my interest. I loved people and I wanted to understand them. There was this great hunger inside me, and it is present even today. I started writing in 2007, and it had started with my quest to explore certain people.
I grew as a writer, as I kept writing. I wasn’t taking myself seriously during the initial years. I was just happy to write. I finished a novel a year, taking my own time. In the year 2012, I came in contact with an American man, online, and he told me one day: “you have a lot to give to the world”. I think that was the moment I started taking myself more seriously. My prolificity increased, since I realized there was too much to write about, and I could accomplish it if I remain dedicated.
Q: Anything on the personal front?
A: Well, I live with my family in a small South Indian city. That’s where my company has posted me presently. In a year or two, I would be moving away from this place and living somewhere else.
For last many years, my life has been traveling between my office job and my writing. It’s a tough routine I stick to. My office time is entirely dedicated to the office job, and so I have to find extra free time for writing. I write during early morning hours during working days. Saturdays and Sundays are all mine, and so I can devote all my time to writing during those two days.
I live a simple life with my family, which consists of me, my wife, and my eight-year-old daughter. My wife has taken care of domestic affairs all this while. So, many thanks to her.
My parents live in my hometown. They are living a good, happy life, and I feel great for them.