You had been active with blog posts and social media for writing expression. Why sudden shift of turning as an author ?
Many reasons, firstly I had a story to tell which I could not get myself to direct as I saw it as either a graphics novel or a darkish animated film. Both of which I have no talent to spot instead of writing a script and a screenplay, I decided to venture on writing a fantasy novel. however, this was not just a story to tell it was a personal journey and more than telling the world about it, I wanted to share this story with my little daughter to have if she ever one day was at crossroads with her spiritual journey.
Thanks to my wife, and my side of my family, my daughter is raised to believe in a divine being, and I have refrained from sharing my opposite take on it with her. Secondly I always wanted to write a book for myself and also as a tribute to my late father who was a journalist / author.
Oh Yes, absolutely. I wrote the book because I had a story to tell. Before I even began writing the book, I shared the concept and style of storytelling with 3 dear friends, They got excited even though they are all deeply rooted in their respective religions. MY sister is an avid reader and a woman of strong faith, she read the first complete draft and liked it. I personally was skeptical about the ending. I didn’t want it to be negative but at the same time wanted to be honest to my quest for a God, the Emperor. I was very sure that ,y story was not about people and their chosen paths of beliefs, as I gad givne that up a while ago. No, this was about the Emperor himself. My quest, my experience along my Journey. I am not claiming to be right, but nobody can take away the fact that this is a sincere experience.
Buy Copy Of The Emperor Cried
The final book that we see listed on platforms like amazon. Was that exactly that what was planned ?
Yes, it was as close as it could get to the vision, in terms of front cover design and the way it was presented. I left the technicalities of the publishing side to my publishers and they very kindly kept me in the loop all along.
The only thing that I would liked that was not part of the final deliverable is some images sketched inside the book, like what would some of the characters look like, the Emperor’s personal small room where he goes to be along, The gazebo where the emperor is having tea with is special gust. However this would put up the cost of getting the book done.
In your book you have turned more focused to story telling with subtle message of philosophy of life and its creator ? Who do you credit for being more powerful , the story teller or the philosopher ?
I think it is both here. The philosophy works because of the storytelling, and the storytelling is interesting because of the philosophy behind it. Of course, the trigger to the whole book was the analysis of the philosophy itself and they way it would be presented became the storytelling style.
At one stage I wanted to see the story in th current world (pre-Covid though) but I think the issue, and if I may say the selling of An Emperor and these man made paths to find him go back to the beginning of a certain time.
My philosophy stems from personal experiences and the absolute pleasure of having met a few people who are so dedicated to live their lives in the way their scriptures say so. IT always blew me away of how sincere, not perfect, but sincere they were in wanting to achieve that. Rather unfortunately, many others pretend to live by their scriptures and yet do things that are opposite of what they chant and are very comfortable in it. I feel sorry for the God they believe in given how they do what they do in his name. one of my closest friends said to me that people become the scripture that others read.
Imagine if a man becomes an alcoholic and a wife beater, what message is that going to say about the beautiful institution of marriage to the next generations around him.
Share your book publishing experience. How good or how not so good it was ?
It is what it is. At the end of the day it is your baby, your dream to the publishers it is another project. Once you get that clear in your mind the journey became a lot easier. They did their best, I hope, just as they would do for their other authors. Rightly so.
What things would you avoid today while planning another book ?
well the core of it is the story and that will always be – what do I want to tell and why is it relevant to the world, to society or even a small section of the society. My next, again which I hope could be a film – my first love, but alas it cant be made into a film as the protagonist are not people, so it is very much into the dark realm of mysterious things, and yes it is again about philosophy at the core.
So I will embark a graphics artist I know in Mumbai to draw me 10-12 images to include in the initial draft and then let my publishers decide on the final product be it a complete graphics novel or as is in the draft. Another thing to do better is to engage my newly discovered PR team much earlier on.
Any plans for next book or in general for your creative need of expression ?
Yeah, I think so. It is called SALIGIA and again it looks very simplistically at why do we need religion to make us better people, respectful of each other, tolerance and just care for the world, mother nature, poverty and well being of all of mother earth. I feel that if inoculated certain values, outside of belief systems, into all our kids regardless of where they come from, what religions they follow, the colour of their skin, we would see a better world 3 to4 generations from now. To so many of us, this is not even relevant as long as our loved ones are well. That needs to change. So yes SALIGIA which closely looks at the 7 deadly sins and the relevance of it in the world. Keep the THUU out of it and it makes a lot of sense. With the THOU (God element) in it, it will never work because it immediately becomes Theirs and not ours, or worse still ours and therefore everybody must abide by them
Any tips you would love to share for aspiring authors ?
Stay honest to yourself and your story. Understand and draw the line between fame, greed and being responsible. I was told by an individual who was going to do my PR that we would post hate stories that religion has brought in the everyday would and then tag my book to it subtly saying we do need to understand God first. I refused as that is not what I want to bring to the world. The people running these shrines are doing a job breaking us apart, why should I be a part of that narrative. I was told it would help the book sales and yet I didn’t think it was right.
At the same time, with an open mind listen to your publisher, they have done this a thousand times, so be open listen and ponder on their suggestions and bring it back to your priorities.
At the end of the day, it is your story, your name and your legacy.
Any final words to reach out to book lovers in context to your book ?
Please do read the book, it is on all Amazons in paperback and softcopy. If not for anything to at least have a discussion about your Personal experiences in your beliefs and not based what you have been told to feel and believe.
Thank You So Much for making a connection with Studio CarryOnHarry
Buy Copy Of The Emperor Cried