Vishwesh Desai is a fifteen year old prodigy, a student and a writer. We’re glad to feature him and his journey as an author.
Who is Vishwesh Desai?
I’m a reasonably geeky fifteen year old with a love for the fantasy genre in all its multiple manifestations. I’m an avid reader, a rabid anime and manga fan, and a hardcore follower of FC Barcelona whose first completed novel—which also happens to be the fourth novel I ever started—Shadows of the Northlands, released in May this year.
I’m a student in the tenth grade. I had to pretty much sacrifice my social life for duration of the writing of my book; missing birthday celebrations and group outings for almost fourteen months. In fact, my class even went on a trip to Kutch, and I missed out on it.
Why do you write?
I think at some point, every reader wants to be a writer. So it was the same thing with me, of course. I love to think up possible plots or improbable ideas for the books I read, the movies I watch, and the video games I play. For me, it’s about the enjoyment of creating and moulding a story all by yourself. I started out with taking the story of a book or movie I’d read or watched recently forward in my head, and then it was only a short step to thinking up stories of my own. One thing led to the next, the stories I created became larger and more intricate, and here I am.
What made you write this book?
I’d actually already written and published a short-story before I ever thought of the book, so I was just trying to repeat the feat before one thing led to another, the story got bigger and bigger, and Shadows of the Northlands was born.
About the book
Shadows of the Northlands is a fantasy novel set in a military-oriented medieval world, where the dominant nation on the continent is the Empire, which is at war with a neighbouring kingdom and at less-than-friendly terms with its other surrounding nations.
When the Crown Prince hears about cities and villages attacked and razed to the ground, the land blackened and left infertile, the already shackled military commands the maverick bounty-hunter Merin and the slick courtier mage Rikkard to find the root of the destruction. However, as they tackle this mystery, they discover an ancient hatred spanning centuries, with a dark secret linked to Merin and the painful past behind the satirizing cavalier.
Shadows of the Northlands deals with many themes, chief amongst them the rise and fall of civilization, the role of desperation as an enabler, the unifying and empowering effect of camaraderie, the psychology of rebellion, and finally how loyalty can not only reinforce relations but alter the course of history.
What do you think readers will love about this book?
I think everyone will enjoy Shadow of the Northlands because it’s got the elements that make a spell-binding fantasy novel. Pun intended. The narrative is light and fun when the plot isn’t flying by at break-neck pace. The characters are interesting, varied and make you empathize with them. The gripping plot and the suspense keeps you hungering for more, taking you on a roller-coaster ride of the emotions that the characters go through. There’s always a new twist when you though the story was wrapped up, the tinges of horror anchor it all, and the humour keeps the story buoyant and ensures there’s never a dull moment.
Is there a writing schedule that you follow?
I don’t really have any schedule for writing, but I try to make a thousand or so words on weekdays and about 2000 words on weekends. I usually go read a book, watch some TV, or play FIFA for a bit whenever I’m stuck at a scene or there’s a development in the book I’m not really satisfied with. I find that taking my head off whatever I’m struggling with, relaxing and enjoying myself for a while, and then getting back to writing helps me to take a new approach.
Vishwesh’s favourite books and authors
I think Ashok Banker influenced my use of description—when to give what kind of description, when to wax lyrical and when to be concise, and he encouraged and motivated me to write by sending me a free, signed set of his Krishna Coriolis series.
Of course, Terry Pratchett for the humour, and I think Brandon Sanderson for the exhaustive nature of the worlds he creates. I think Patrick Rothfuss for the world building too, and for lyrical prose. And George RR Martin, for the world building, the politicking, and the utter lack of black and white characters in his books.
Your advice for aspiring authors
First of all, of course, never stop reading, because reading is the only way you can learn to be a great writer.
Writing is all about incorporating your ideas into a form that can be comprehensively comprehended by your readers. The more you write, the better you can incorporate your ideas, but the more you read the more ideas you have to incorporate. But I think the most important thing for a budding writer is to not be discouraged no matter what happens, no matter the naysayers or your latest writer’s block—even JK Rowling had dozens of rejections before The Philospher’s Stone was published and history was made. Persist, and you’ll eventually find things falling into place.
Author: Vishwesh Desai
Publisher: Estrade Publishers
Release: May 2016
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
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