‘The only message I want to give to budding writers is to keep writing. Things do work out if you keep at it.’ Says budding author Pratik Kamat for his fellow writers. Read this candid conversation with our fellow Melonite Geeta Nair on ‘Svaha’ and much more.
Q. Your journey as a writer – the start, the inspiration and the hurdles encountered on the way?
Pratik: I got my start by writing for JAM magazine almost a decade ago. I am really thankful to Rashmi Bansal, who incidentally is now a bestselling author, for publishing my rage-filled articles on rock music. As a teenager, it was really cool to see your name in something that was so popular in college. I then graduated to writing for many more magazines and on a variety of subjects. I then took a break and wrote my first novel, which unfortunately didn’t get published. Also that was the time when a lot of the magazines shut shop so I moved to advertising. After a couple of years there I thought it was time to attempt writing again. I then started writing what became Svaha.
Q. The inspiration behind ‘Svaha.’ How did you choose the title?
Pratik: I knew this girl- definitely one of the most fascinating person I think I’ve ever come across. This whole idea of a mythological thriller was swirling in my head for a while, but I somehow didn’t have the spark of inspiration it needs to take write a book while holding a demanding day job. One day, I was talking to her and suddenly it all fell into place- This was the lead character. This was the person whose story I’d want to tell across three books.
The title came to me when I saw a huge religious ceremony on the street. They were taking everything they could lay their hands on and dunking them into the fire while saying Svaha. I wondered if there is a force that does the same with everything around us.
Q. Do you believe in the supernatural?
Pratik: I do actually. You have to believe in something greater than what is. Life would be boring otherwise.
Q. Your greatest critic?
Pratik: I’m blessed with a good set of friends who mercilessly take apart everything I do. Once that is over, they help me build stuff back up, much stronger than before.
Q. Your favorite character in ‘Svaha’ and why?
Pratik: Answering that would be like choosing between your children. I really like the Jurors for their dispassionate attitude. X and Slash are very cool people IMO but my judgment maybe a bit clouded.
Q. Which authors have influenced your style of writing?
Pratik: JJ Abrams has to be the biggest influence on me as a storyteller. The way he does serialized storytelling is just extraordinary. Chris Nolan is someone I really look up to. Mass Effect, GTA, Max Payne and Hitman series have created universes that I’ve spent hours in. Dan Brown, Gillian Flynn and Salman Rushdie have been extremely influential too.
Q. Do you read your reviews and respond to them, good or bad? How do you react to the negative reviews?
Pratik: I’m a creative professional so taking feedback is a part of my daily life. Good reviews, especially the ones in which the people get what I’m trying to say are always refreshing. Thankfully there are not many bad reviews yet. Constructive criticism would be always welcome though.
Q. And to wind up -“Do you believe in the Law of Svaha?” Any message for budding writers?
Pratik: I truly do. The fact that having an end is what gives our time on earth meaning is an interesting concept. You can really look at death as a very negative thing, but once you realize time is limited, it pushes you to do something new every day. The book can be dark at times, but the ultimate message is very positive.
The only message I want to give to budding writers is to keep writing. Things do work out if you keep at it. Either that or you sleep with the right people!