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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Author Interview Part II: Raghu Srinivasan, author of 'The Avatari'

This is the second part of the Raghu Srinivasan Interview. Here, he explains to us how he got the whole story together. He also talks of his favourite authors and the book he is reading right now...
You can read the first part here and can read the Review right here, and You can also Buy the Book, right here. So read on, Folks…

How did you manage to blend it with the whole thing in the book?

I think most authors do that, when writing a story – drape their fictional story over a framework of fact – unless you are writing about a boy wizard.
For me, I had the basic story in my head and then had to research to find time and places, where the events I needed to describe would sound plausible.

What is the most fulfilling part of writing a book?

From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a story teller. I started off early by the age of eight; telling my younger brother intricate, fantastic fairy tales, which would never end, a la ‘The Arabian Nights’.

In high school, I was the editor of the school rag, and as is wont in such cases, wrote almost all of the articles – some under a pseudonym. This ‘occasional’ writing continued in the form of short, humorous articles contributed to Army magazines and journals.

I first tried my hand at writing a short story in 1992 when I was twenty seven; I remember it being very dark and cryptic. The few people who read it were kind enough to say that ‘it had had promise’ while in the same breath wondering aloud what it was all about.

That was also a time when I read everything that ‘Papa’ Hemingway had written; and I later realized that your first attempt at writing should not imitate the minimalist ‘Men Without Women’.

I was posted to the Indian Military Advisory Team for two years. I was then thirty nine and since it was a teaching assignment, I had time to indulge myself in reading everything their library had to offer and dabble in writing again.

I wrote three short stories, which received much acclaim from my wife and mother. My aim was to write at least fifteen, so that I could publish a book of my short stories. I began ‘The Avatari’ as my fourth short story in 2005; it was a story which was metamorphose into a rather long novel, evolve from a spiritual journey to an action-adventure theme and occupy my thoughts for the next eight years.  To round off this rambling monologue – publication of the book is fulfilling a dream !

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

It’s too early to say. I am presently working on a book set in China. I am a slow writer – but I hope I can write something faster than ‘The Avatari’, which took seven years!

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

My mother always believed that I would – and egged me on to keep at it.

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

I think getting published by a first time writer in India is a huge achievement – and a combination of competence and luck in equal measure. 

I am not really that well established to be doling out advice !

Who are your favourite authors and why?

There are a lot of them, and all of them are ‘mainstream’ fiction, I should think. The main one’s that come to mind are; Hemingway for his ability to make you ‘feel’ beyond the story, Frederick Forsyth for his taut plots, Jeffrey Archer for sheer narrative skill and James A Michener for his research.

Which book are you currently reading?

I am reading ‘The Great Game’ by Peter Hopkirk, which I hope will help set the background for my next story.

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

Like most officers in the Army, I love physical activity and try to jog at least five kilometers every day.

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