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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Author Interview: Aroon Raman, author of 'The Treasure of Kafur'

The Treasure of Kafur’ has a plot that took close to seven years to build. Aroon Raman, despite his hectic work schedule managed to fit it in. And it is an excellent job of being made to perfection. It had all the workings of a well-tailored fit. You could catch the review here.

‘I think it lies deeply buried in the creative subconscious!’ was an answer he gave me to my question on how he developed the core idea and that is exactly how he answered the questions too. I would know because he took all the time for giving me my interview, and what an interview it is. Kudos, again to Aroon Raman…

How did ‘The Treasure of Kafur’ happen?

This book was over seven years in the making. The idea literally came out of the blue – I think one evening when I first started feeling the urge to write. I started tentatively around 2006, but really it gathered steam only after 2007 and even then the writing came in fits and starts. 

In between, I even wrote ‘The Shadow Throne’, which got published first! But I am passionate about well-written adventure novels and I thought TOK would break new ground in Indian adventure writing.

What kind of research went into writing of the book?

A lot. The events are fictitious of course, but set against a backdrop that is still broadly authentic. The character of Akbar is well researched and I suspect he was actually like the TOK Akbar in real life.

The physical geography of India, Rana Pratap and his tense yet complex relationship with Akbar, and the descriptions of Agra etc… are all based on facts though subject to some loose interpretation as demanded by the story.

How did you come up with the core idea and develop it?

I love history – especially that of the Mughal period. I love adventure.

So, the backdrop came almost by default. As to the plot – it is very difficult to describe a special trigger. I think it lies deeply buried in the creative subconscious!

How would you relate the book and its characters to the lives today?

Human beings do not change, only the flow of events. Hence the famous saying: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In that sense, reading the characters in the book is to enliven our understanding of not just history but of ourselves.

In Datta’s relationships with his friends are age-old values that we cherish even today; in Akbar’s part in the adventure we see the values of bravery, the handling of power and the qualities of leadership that are every bit as relevant as they ever were.  

What is the most fulfilling part of writing a book?

Knowing it reaches a wide audience… who in turn enjoy it and write in to say so. Nothing is more fulfilling!

What book is coming from you, next? When do you see it released?

I am looking at a sequel to ‘The Shadow Throne’ first to be possibly ready for release next year. Then we shall see! 

Do you have another part coming up for this subject?

I think so – but this is a demanding story and I need to get it right. So it will take a little time.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?

My inner self – and the fact that I grew up reading and telling stories to others. Over time, I just knew I could both create stories and then write them down. No one else had to tell me this.

Any advice to writers that would like to be published today? How tough is it to be published in India?

It is tough to get the early break as the number of would-be authors is very large and the publishers limited. 

So, they get deluged by manuscripts. But I would strongly advice persistence. If your work is good enough, one day it will see the light.

What else do you like to do on a daily basis?

Trekking, bird watching, supporting NGOs and my corporate work – running an R&D company.

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