As a fantasy fiction writer, what’s your take on myths or mythology? Does your writing revolve around it or is it more than that?
Mythology is considered just that. Myth. Fables and stories for children. However, there is truth in every story. As a fantasy-fiction author I have used popular stories (and rarely-heard ones too) as a basic framework for the story, and as is relevant to fantasy-fiction, tried to spin a different world out of it. Of course I draw on the ideas of gods and mythical creatures, because that is one part we are always enamored by, but the real challenge is making it seem realistic.
There is a saying that “The main protagonist of the story is somehow the mouthpiece of the author”. How much do you agree to this autobiographical relevance or association of the author with its characters?
Whatever you do, your character seeps into the characters of your novel. Since the protagonist is the most focused on by the author, he is the character most afflicted. That is something a author can never completely prevent. However a wise man once told me (looking at our correspondence, G. Norman Lippert) that you must let the story flow. All you can contribute is a skeleton, the story shapes itself and as such so do all the characters. How certain parts of James came to be, I don’t know myself. That’s the beauty of prose.
There is this famous maxim “art for art’s sake?” Were you able to be as original as possible to your idea or did you have to sacrifice to meet the demands of the readers?
Great question there. I have done my best to stick to my own choices because that is what originality essentially is. However I did have to change a part because it really went against the norm of conventional novel writing. I would have loved to experiment with that, but being a first-time author, I felt it was too risky at this stage.
If people like my writing, I will definitely incorporate that in any further novels I write and see how the crowd likes it.
What do you do when it gets difficult to write?
Ah. Writer’s block. Even the best of authors can’t deny it happens. However, it is usually a sign of conflict between the story’s flow and your ideas. A story follows whichever path suits it, and if you try to change that drastically you find yourself stuck. In such cases, I pause writing for a few days and read a new novel. Does wonders (I have always found that cycling helps too)!
What form of writing expresses or appeals to you the most?
Haikus, short stories and of course novels. Haikus for the depth they have in so few words. Short stories I like because they are quick bites and a good one has the ability to leave the reader thinking for a long time. Though honestly, I have to admit I am not too good at them. Most short stories I try writing tend to turn into novellas. Novels need no justification, especially fiction.
What was the hardest, most challenging part of writing, ‘The Amaranthine key’?
You can depict things best when you have experienced something yourself and you are more experienced the older you are. So there’s the age factor slightly against me. The hardest part though was sticking to what I had written. It is easy to second-guess yourself when your writing style is constantly improving, and this was an old project which spanned a period throughout which I know I have improved.
I read the novel several, several times and each time there was this plot element I could improve or a piece of text I could elaborate on. Eventually though, you have to “let it go”.
What message do you want to give to aspiring authors? And whom they can look up to?
It will take time! We all want that what is in our mind could just flow onto paper, but your work deserves the best. Most people start writing but just can’t continue. When that happens, I find that a few days away from what you are working on helps. It also gives you breathing room and helps you think of new ideas.
Another thing people will relate to; every time you read your own work, you find something that could be better. If it happens too often, it’s probable you sub-consciously want to make a big change that you can’t find the strength to do. Just go with your gut-feelings though, it always helps.
I would recommend people to look into themselves rather than upto someone. Sometimes, you are your own best guide. Every knows themselves best, and when you feel that you want to give up, just reflect on what made you start. Looking to yourself just improves your confidence.
How do you expect the readers to perceive literature and particularly this book?
Literature is a vast term, but going with fantasy, the genre is actually based on imagination. Every fantasy book leaves some part to the reader’s imagination and as an author if readers can find out the easter eggs I have hidden throughout the novel, I would love it. The hints might be very invisible and some threads of the plot don’t make perfect sense, but that’s intentional to let the reader think for himself. It adds another layer to the reading experience when you live in the book, like cream between sponge cake.
So yes, I would prefer it if whoever was reading this book takes the plot like a game of chess, because I have done my best to make each move unique and with lots of meanings. You can create your own sub-plot using your imagination, if the book warrants your interest. Take for example, “The brilliance faded, leaving a weak man, a dead man, and a rejuvenated one”. Are you sure the line refers to who you think it does.
Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?
Sounds fun. I am definitely trying it if I get the chance. My life is extraordinarily full of disturbances (ahem, Jaivardhan, ahem). I would love to have to do nothing more than sit in a hammock by the sea, undisturbed, but that doesn’t seem to likely in the near future.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When “language” first landed me in a tight spot. Couldn’t sit down for a week (just kidding, for those who like don’t like their jokes too intricate)! That would be when I read my first book ever, The ugly little duckling, when I was in kindergarten. It was something special for me (I still have the copy), my first experience with a world that was my own, made with nothing but words. It was exhilarating.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My childhood diary. I loved keeping it, since it was a great way to let things go at the end of the day. It was pretty much a tiny friend. I still look back and find drawings of goats in it (hey, don’t look at me like that, I draw good goats)!
What theme and subject matter do you have in mind for your next book or venture?
Well, there’s part two to this series. I love fantasy novels set in a historical background since they provide an allure of a more different world, so look out for that. I have also yearned to do a horror piece, so you might have a novella or a novel, if possible, on that soon.