All my sensual experiences of Indian villages have come from Kambalapalli, my maternal grandfather’s place. My mother used to take me there for school holidays, so I have very happy memories of swimming in the well, walking by the paddy fields, playing cricket with the locals etc. So the good parts of Rudrakshapelm have been lifted straight from my memories of Kambalapalli. The dark, sinister parts are purely imaginary.
Q. Tell us how has been the experience of writing this mysterious and spooky tale? How long did it take to complete from the conception of the story to getting it published?
I wrote Palem in May 2011. If my memory serves right, from conception to completion it took about four or five months. It got accepted sometime in early 2012, but came out in December 2014 for various reasons.The experience was great. I remember I was living alone in Auckland when I wrote thisbook. Houses in Auckland are made of wood, and do a fine job of creaking at the most unexpected times. So I would write a paragraph, look around myself. Write another one, take a walk down the hall to see if there was anyone there. Write a page, and then sleep with the lights on. It was fun, now that I have gotten out of it alive.
Q. Murder, suspense, thriller, horror- Whats your favorite as a reader as well as a storyteller?
I don’t read genres as much as stories. As long as the story moves and the writing is good enough to be aesthetically pleasing to me, I will read anything. So I have read and liked books in all the genres you mentioned, but equally I’ve also disliked books in all those genres. It’s not about the genre so much as the quality of writing and storytelling.
Q. You are very active on your blog. How important is blogging for an Author?
Blogging – or any other activity – is only important if you enjoy it. I think if you do it just for the sake of marketing or just for the ‘tangible benefits’ it offers, you will give up after a while. In fact, the whole business of being an author is feasible for the most part only if you can look past the tangibles into concepts that you can perhaps not define so well: like contentment, inner peace, the value of sharing ideas, the experience of living someone else’s life through your words, the friendships you build with readers, and so on.So an author should find a platform that he or she enjoys working with. That is the most important thing. As for the importance of being visible, it cannot be overstated. All authors in today’s world need to have a platform, where their readers can contact them and interact with them on a semi-regular basis. This could be Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Email, or anything else. As long as the author and his/her readership are both having fun, and they’re both deriving value from the relationship, the actual tool of communication does not matter.
Q. What kind of fan-mails have you been receiving about the book ‘The Puppeteers of Palem’ ? How do you take negative reviews?
Palem has got better reviews than I expected it to get. Some of the more enthusiastic ones can be seen on the book’s page on platforms such as Goodreads and Flipkart. I take both negative and positive reviews with a pinch of salt. I believe that every book has an intrinsic value before it goes out. It is a combination of my own technical assessment of it – how good is the writing? How good is the plot, atmosphere etc? – and my own emotional investment with it – how much personal meaning does it carry for me? How much do I like it, etc. Depending on both these factors, it already has an intrinsic value in my heart before it goes out. I try not to allow reviews from other people – be they good or bad – change that intrinsic value too much. For instance, no amount of good press will convince me that a book I did not like is better than it is. Similarly, no amount of bad press will convince me that what I think of as a good book (before it goes out) has turned bad.Everyone has a right to have an opinion about my work. Including me.
Q. Lachi was too scary! Who is your favourite character from the book?
I had a soft spot for Seeta. The lisp came from a lady who used to live next door to us when I was little. I had just begun to speak at the time, incomprehensibly. And this lady spoke with a heavy lisp, so no one understood her either. My parents tell me that she and I would speak together for hours, and a third person never understood the sounds that were coming out of our mouths. We didn’t have that problem, obviously. We got along rather well.
Q. Tell me your experience as an Author and how important is writing to you?
My experience as an author has been all good so far. I have no complaints. So far, all the books I have written have found a publisher, and the books seem to be doing well enough too, to keep me in business. I have quite a few books coming out in the next couple of years, so exciting times!
Besides my family, writing is the most important thing in my life.
Q. Any advice for budding writers?
1. Make a daily habit of reading stuff that you wish you had written.
2. Make a daily habit of writing – poems, essays, short stories.
3. Make a habit of finishing whatever you start. The act of finishing is what makes you a writer. Almost everyone knows how to begin a story. Very few have the courage to finish one. Once you finish a piece, begin another one, and finish that. And then begin another one, and finish that too. The more pieces you finish, the better you will become.
M – Also blogs actively at Pendown: Her breathing space for creative expression, and a wonderful collection of book reviews, product reviews and travelogues. A full time author in the making and a proud iMelonite !
The book is available at : Amazon and Flipkart .BUY BOOKS. BUY ORIGINAL BOOKS…