Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rajeev Nanda - Author in Focus for- Conversations


  1. Rajeev Nanda is an IT professional who nurtured his passion for creative writing over many years to eventually publish a part fiction, part philosophy book Conversations in 2009. We bring you some bits from our recent interview with Rajeev-
What’s the title of your book and its genre? Tell us briefly about it.
The title of the book is Conversations.  The genre is short-story/fiction and the sub-category can be classified as social philosophy.  The book is a collection of stories and poems that reflect on the challenges we face in our lives.  The theme of the book is relationships and reflections on life.  I try to capture the dilemmas and various challenges that life throws at us and how I see people cope with them.  The stories have been based on my observation of people around me or strangers I met and talked to during my travels.  The situations are fictional but the dilemmas captured are real.  You can read samples from the chapters and other tidbits on each story and poem on my web-site

Any similar titles from other authors published recently? Which authors would you think you directly compare to? Old or new.
When I started writing the stories and later decided to publish the collection I did not have any comparison in mind nor did I write with any specific theme.  The theme just evolved as I started developing stories and the poems.  As a genre, I would say that any short story writer, like Jeffery Archer, can be a comparison but that’s all there’s to it.  Some of the stories can be compared to the themes that Paulo Coelho writes about.

People who have read the book tell me that my writing reminds them of some of the famous authors!  These comments have been positive reinforcements and were ego-boosters for me.  However, I do not believe in comparisons as they start confining you to a narrow band of writing, which then usually limits your imagination.  I would rather develop a consistent style of writing and be known for that consistency.  Writing is my hobby and the only way I can be truthful to it is by not falling into a trap of comparisons.  I will let the topic and the situation be my guide for each of my writing.

Tell us in about 100 words about your literary influences? 
There are and have been multiple authors that have influenced me, both philosophically and as role models for me to achieve a certain level of quality in writing.  The earliest ones have been Amrita Pritam and Victor Hugo.  Then came Ayn Rand, Richard Bach, and Robert A. Heinlein.  Philosophy, philosophical fiction and science fiction being my most favourite genres, authors like Frank Herbert, Nietzsche, Arthur C. Clarke and many others are some of my favourites. 

For those who like these genres will agree that each of these authors’ writings is extremely powerful.  The characters draw you in, the writing stirs your emotions and the focus on the central theme and message never misses a page.  I cannot come close to these authors but aspire to write like them one day.

Is there any one book that changed your life around?
In fact there are two books – The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and Mahabharata.  I have read both of them countless times and can read them again and again and again…  Although, I have to say that I’m still not completed satisfied with the various translations of Mahabharata I’ve read so far

Why do you write in the genre you currently write?
I started writing stories just to pen my thoughts and observations.  The genre just evolved because of the stories I collated after few years of writing on and off.  I did not start with any specific genre in mind

 What have you learnt so far in your journey from finishing manuscript to becoming a published author? Any lessons for unpublished authors.
Humility!  That’s the first thing that comes to my mind as the key thing I’ve learnt in fiction writing.  When I used to write articles on technology and management and also wrote my book on e-commerce, those were ego trips.  I was the subject matter expert and what I wrote was never challenged by the editor or the publisher, other than grammatical mistakes.

When I submitted the original manuscript to the publisher in the US – the book was first published in the US in 2009, Leadstart brought it to India with an Indian edition – the feedback from my editor shattered all my illusions about my writing.  There was a time when I was close to giving up but I’m glad that better sense prevailed and I let the editors (from my earlier publisher and Leadstart) guide me into improving the quality of the book.

For writers who plan to write as a hobby, I have only two pieces of advice–
Persevere.  Don’t give up.  Keep going back to the idea that you started with.  Try multiple approaches.  Don’t get disheartened because if you do not believe in your idea/story/novel and do not stick to it, then who will?
Don’t take criticism personally.  If possible, try to get early feedback from your friends and family or even a mentor before you approach any publisher and definitely before you finalize the manuscript.  This will only help you improve the chances of your book being accepted by a publisher and in the market

For folks who want to be professional writers, there’s only one piece of advice –
Develop a strong marketing plan and be prepared to shell out money to hire the best (independent) editors, sponsor events and go all out on advertising.  About 100 books get published (English) in India alone per day!  To be noticed out of these 100 you have to make a lot of noise

Tell us about your next project?
There are multiple things I’m working on at present.  I am experimenting with Hindi poetry which I publish on my web-site  Whenever an idea strikes I work on it and put it on the web-site.  One day, I hope I will have enough of them to publish the collection as a book.

I am co-authoring a book on Cloud computing with a colleague that we hope to complete by early 2012.  It is going to be a technical and business strategy book that’ll cover the technology and business strategy around Cloud.

I am also working on an idea in science fiction genre.  I’ve been mulling over it for some time now and have started to develop the story.  I’m really excited about this idea.  The story is being set in not so distant future where the humans would have evolved as a species.  I want to combine ideas from futurologists like Ray Kurzweil, Indian and western mythology and history with a very Indian theme.  This time I want to attempt a novel of a medium size, like about 300 pages.  I don’t have a timeline set for this project and will work on it as time permits, unless some publisher gets a whiff of it and makes me an offer I can’t refuse J

No comments: