Q. Congratulations on your book Moments of Truth. How does it feel to finally be a published author? Can you take us through your journey as an author?
Thanks! Well, I would have loved to say that the feeling is still sinking; however, frankly speaking the excitement has mellowed down because I am more of a do it-move on kinda person. I have tasted that emotion and now aspire for deeper and newer ones.
With respect to the above, my journey has been more or less like many other first timers. I know this only because I read a lot about budding authors and what they have to go through. Once I completed my manuscript, I did a decent research on all publishers in India and made an excel sheet with their contact details and their preferences on how they would like to receive a book proposal. The next step was obvious and I sent them proposals accordingly. After a fretful wait of 2-3 months, I started to receive replies from some. Others are still reviewing my proposal, I guess.
If I remember correctly, I approached about 19 publishers and got 13 rejections. I took the next step with the positive 6 ones and sent them the complete manuscript. Followed by a harsher wait, 3 out of 6 showed interest in taking this project ahead which subsequently was narrowed down to one, considering all necessary and feasible factors.
The element of shock was very mild for me as I was lucky to have a mentor who had painted a very transparent and honest picture of the Indian publishing world in front of me. So, I was aware of time lines, expected responses, responsibility arrangement between author-publisher, reality and an air-thin margin of making it an overnight success, as most budding fiction writers usually dream about.
I just went with the flow, learnt what I had to during the process and did what I had to do. Simple!
Q. Tell us about the moment when you felt you wanted to be a writer. Was it something you cherished since childhood as a dream? Did you grow up in Goa?
First of all, I was just born in Goa as my mom was from there. I grew up in a central suburban town of Mumbai and have spent all my conscious years in Mumbai. So, I am a complete Mumbai-ite.
To answer your first question, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I will be a published author. The only piece of official writing I ever did was for my engineering college magazine. I read a poster where they were inviting articles/short stories on any topic. I wrote one and submitted it only to find it published one day. So, that was my writing background.
In terms of the moment when I felt I wanted to be a writer was also a series of unexpected yet flow of incidents. As much of an extrovert I am, I am also very reserved while sharing my thoughts and innate feelings. So, I started writing incidents, memories and random thoughts just to lighten up myself. One fine day, I thought of linking them up, so I cooked up a plot and then connected the dots. I shared my work with couple of close friends and they didn’t like it much. So, I rewrote the whole plot, and worked harder on characters. My friends loved the revised version which gave me confidence to share with more folks. I think I got it reviewed by about 20 odd friends and then with majority in favour of it, I decided to get it published.
Q. The book is tagged as reality fiction. Talking of it, is this a true story based on your or someone else’s life?
I would kill to claim that it’s based on my life. But let’s get real. Who wants to read my story? For that matter, I would not read a biography of some random young guy.
So, this is NOT my story. However, I would not refrain from saying that some of the vital incidents, characters etc. have been inspired from my own and my friends’ experiences. That makes the story very relevant and characters believable.
Q. A lot of stories from the B school campus have been in the market, what according to you is the reason your book stands apart from all of them? Did you attempt mixing different genres in one book?
There are two reasons for it:
1. Almost all novels with B-school or even engineering backdrops are from elite clan of schools. They involve characters whose thought process patronizes the Ivy League. My book is about a story based in an average B-school. India is full of such average institutions. Every 3rd student you meet today is from an average college and not an IIM or an IIT. This volume of students and their thought process is more prevalent and pertinent.
2. Also, with all due respect to established authors and the trending bestsellers, many of the fiction novels today lack substance. They all focus on friendships, romance, lust and then a happy ending. My story has these elements too, but it also is an attempt to make readers introspect. Whilst the romance and friendships are gaining strength in the story, the protagonist is fighting an unidentifiable and elusive battle with himself to find his true calling. I have genuinely tried to strike a balance for readers who like the regular college masala yet they are hungry for some content that will leave them with a thought.
Q. If there was something you could change about the book now what would it be and why?
I would introduce hotter female characters in the story! On serious notes, maybe just the cover design. I think we could have done a little better there.
Q. “Believing in yourself” seems to be the hidden message in the entire story. What are the things you believe in yourself to succeed?
Energy, sincerity and attitude. Hard work is a given and luck is beyond your circle of influence.
Q. If I talk about the characters – they are confused, they are average not only in their looks but also in their academics, they come from typical middle class Indian families and they are lost as to what do they want from life. Why did you choose this stratum of people? Any particular message that you are trying to send out through them to your readers?
As I said earlier, the masses belong to the average community. The IVY league champs will always be fine as they usually have similar set of people around them, so the thoughts are well channelized. The average students are the ones who are surrounded by another average bunch. The message I am trying to send out to such people is about introspection. A little perspective on this will do the trick.
Q. Future projects you are currently working on. Any plans to become a full-time author?
I will start writing my second book soon. This one will be a leap ahead of the first one. I am at the conceptual level right now and struggling with ideas, so don’t have much to share. I just hope I am able to sustain the passion during the second one.
Being a full time author has
its own pressures and lifestyle and currently, I am happy in my space. A full time job and managing to pen down thoughts on weekends is what I would like to pursue for days ahead.
Q. A few words of advice for budding writers.
I had written a blog on this: http://nimishtanna.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/8-essential-tips-for-the-writer-in-you/
I hope these are good enough tips to start with!