Thursday, September 19, 2013

An interview: By Sujata Rajpal, on behalf of Star of Mysore

  • You said, “The journey of an author is lonely.” Please elaborate
Lonely because any creative thing is a lonely thing. A music composer can't share his or her excitement or frustration or pain with anyone else. The awe of creating a melody, or the frustration of not being able to create one, both can't be shared. Similarly, writing is also a lonely thing. You have to take out time from your daily chores, sit at the corner of a table day after day, sacrificing family-time, compromising your social life, always looked upon as being selfish by your family. Even your spouse may not understand why you're getting aloof from everyone and spending so much time on writing. So you're actually left behind by everyone, your family too...
Then once the writing is completed, the lonely process of getting a publisher and then running around promoting your book, all alone. No one would have the time and passion to go with you, run with you.

  • Are you writing your next book? If yes, what it is about? Will the next one be also based on history and a thriller?
Yes, I've already completed the first draft of my second book, which is not a sequel of The Ekkos Clan. But I do have a plan to make a trilogy with Afsar-Kratu-Tista and linguistic palaeontology, of which The Ekkos Clan is the first book. I even have the rough story line for the 2nd book in this trilogy in my mind, but it will take some time to come. May be, it will be my third book.

My yearning to make Kharagpur, or KGP, as it's better known as, the small place where I studied engineering, a part of my literary creation is so strong that I want to write a KGP trilogy too, a set of three unusual love stories, all originating in KGP. My second book, about which I've just mentioned,  would be the first book of this KGP trilogy. I’ve named it Prembajar.  I even have the plot ideas for the second and third books in the KGP trilogy, KGP to me is like a miniature world, everything compressed and contracted within the confines of the walls that enclose the campus. The engineering aspect is just like a passing thought, nothing that can profile this fabulous place into. My attempt in writing the KGP trilogy is just a humble effort to talk about this world, of which, it was my privilege to be a part.

  • You said , you took four years to finish your book, did you write every day as a practice or wrote whenever the flow of thoughts allowed?
Actually the entire project took more than 5 years to complete, starting from June 2008 till now. I didn't write everyday, but I tried to spend some time everyday for my book. The main part of writing the book was the research work, which took a big part of these 5 years.

  • What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I think every word I write seems to be inhibited by some sort of writer's block. Not a single line or word flowed out fluently, as I tend to believe it might, for a gifted writer.

  • How often do you come to Mysore and what do you like the most about Mysore ?
Mysore is on the way to most places we visit from Bangalore - Coorg, Ooty, Kerala, etc. We go to Mysore almost twice or thrice a year. Every time we're passing by Mysore we try to spend a night in the Brindavan Gardens. Till few years ago they used to allow people walking on the dam. That was one of the most amazing things. 

  • These days, many small vanity publishers are mushrooming and the market is full of books in below average English. Do you think such publishers are spoiling the literary scene? 
I don't think anything can spoil the literary scene. Literature can't be spoiled, can't be glorified too. It has its own life cycle, own evolution process. If the below average English works are selling more, and if those are what people are liking, then that's literature. Fifty Shades of Grey would be called soft porn even few years back. But now it's displayed respectfully in all book stores. People are liking the book. It won't be right to say that it's spoiling the literary scene. I may not like it, you may not like it, but there are others who are liking it. Good and bad should always coexist. Tagore, in his last novel, which incidentally he started writing in Bangalore just few years before his death, says that if there's too much of good, the good becomes mediocre. So you need to have the bad things too, to make the good look better.

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