You are always looking for something good to read. With my debut book Pal Motors launched recently, your expectations are high from me, but your fears remain the same. Will it be all sound and fury without being anything significant? Every author has the freedom to call it his best or the best available around. I would not like to make such tall claims but want to you read the book and find out yourself.
About the book – Pal Motors
The untimely demise of Sardar Pal Singh leaves three women scarred – Biji, his mother, Nasib Kaur, his wife, and Preet, his college-going daughter. The novel examines their lives in detail for almost a week beginning from the day of death. Bhog ceremony on day four formally ends the period of mourning. Abuzz with activity, these days are never dull. Important and difficult decisions have to be taken, priorities finalized and relationships nourished. Life without him they had never imagined before but his death strengthens their resolve to survive against all odds. Will these women act as a source of trouble or try and help each other to make a smooth transition? Will their paths cross and drift them further apart? Or will they cast away their pride and bitterness to make a fresh beginning? Pal Motors is an unusual title. I selected it after exploring several options. Although different, the title is relevant to the storyline. A lot happens because of Pal Motors and Nasib who plays the female lead in the novel.
Why do you think readers will love the book?
I can say honestly to a reader that this novel will not disappoint you. Ultimately, content matters. You will feel close to the world of these characters and want to know what happens to them. Women and youth will feel empowered. Characters like Preet and Nasib will strike a deep connection. Religion is a source of strength and sustenance for the main characters. It plays a constructive role in their lives – just as it matters for us. The lead characters are all women. The novel is about empowerment of women. It was meant to be universal, for readers of all age groups. The story is set in a small town in Bengal. Metro readers will find a strong connect because most people living in big cities hail from small towns. I would love readers in small towns to receive it well, both from hill towns to coastal towns.
Your favourite character from Pal Motors
Creating Monty Mammaji was an enjoyable experience. Easy-going, fun-loving, full of life. Pal Motors is not autobiographical, but there are some close observations of people and situations. It appears in a processed form in the novel.
The actual process of writing the book started…
… in August 2013 and the first draft was ready in August 2015. Between September 2015 and March 2016, it went through five rounds of revision and editing. The first draft was voluminous. From 1, 50, 000 words it has been reduced to 99,000 words. 300 pages of readable prose. Some ask me if Pal Motors is close to the literary genre. I prefer to call it general fiction. The term literary limits readership. Readers think there is something heavy inside. Pal Motors is a quick read that leaves you thinking about several issues. It is pitched as the literary equivalent of middle cinema – neither too arty nor too commercial.
Do you have a day job? Tell us more about your body of work.
I am a senior copywriter in Kolkata. So, I have the freedom to work from home. This helps in saving commute time and it is profitably utilized for creative writing pursuit. I am a morning person. I begin writing at six a.m. The creative output for the day is over around noon. The second half of the day is utilised for editing work. I prefer writing on paper for whatever I write. Then I type it out on my laptop.
From 1996, since my university days, I have been writing articles and short stories. My pieces have been published in The Statesman, Deccan Herald, The Assam Tribune, The Bombay Review, Femina, EarthenLamp Journal, Openroadreview, The Pioneer, and Readomania, to name a few.
Your experience in pursuit of a publisher for this book
Initially, I was interested in sending the manuscript to publishing houses. In fact, the synopsis and sample chapters went to three reputed publishers based out of Delhi. Three months later, standard rejection notes hit the mailbox. One new publisher asked for the full manuscript after a month of sample despatch. But the editors took four months to communicate the final rejection. After that, I decided to take the agent route. Two literary agents showed interest in my manuscript. I went ahead with Rubric Publishing (founded by Dr Bina Biswas) as they were prompt in responding to the submission and appreciated the work for its storytelling and fluid narrative.
Author(s): Devraj Singh Kalsi
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Release: December 2017
Buy from Amazon – Please use the affiliate link below & share the love!