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Author Highlight: Sarang Mahajan Discusses his New Book ‘Inkredia (Luwan of Brida)’ and Stories from his Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Sarang – the author of ‘Inkredia (Luwan of Brida)’. In this interview, Sarang talks about his writing aspirations, the route to getting his book published, and his inclination towards fantasy genre. Stay on...while we chat with him.

What motivates you to write?

First of all, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to share my views here. Delighted to be connected with the readers of Kevein Books and Reviews.

The answer to your question is… ideas. Time to time I keep getting ideas that grab my imagination and I find myself compelled to sit and write those down. Most ideas don’t materialize into anything. They fade away as soon as I have dumped those into my phone or computer. But sometimes they do expand into something good. If that happens, I find myself writing down actual chapters or short stories.

How do you handle the response of your new novel, ‘Inkredia (Luwan of Brida)’?

So far the response has been very positive, so handling it has been easy. Whenever I get feedback, I try to understand what’s working for the readers. There are some aspects that I didn’t really focus on but have managed to strike the right chord with the readers. I have been more focused on the characters, the story and the fantasy elements in the book, but the readers have also loved the narration. These are all pleasant surprises.

Why did you choose to write fantasy novels? Isn’t it challenging for you?

It was an obvious choice when I decided to write. Had it not been fantasy, it would have been science fiction, or to be more precise, something in the superhero genre. While growing up, reading or listening to these stories fascinated me more than anything else. Stories like Alladin or some of the Russian folk tales would not leave me for months. Even during college, the books that I loved most were all fantasy. I am in my element while writing a book with a thrilling storyline that has a scope for wild imagination. Sci-fi and fantasy are the only two genres that offer it. It might be challenging to write a romance fiction or a literary drama, but never a fantasy.

What are some of your favourite fantasy novels and authors?

The Lord of the Rings is right on top. The Wheel of Time is the next on the list. I also loved the Harry Potter Series. I’d have to say that I am no different than most fantasy authors of our time when it comes to JRR Tolkien being the most favorite author. He is the father of this genre and so far I haven’t come across a fantasy book that hasn’t been inspired by him in some way.

Do you think writing a book from the comfort of bedroom is possible?

To me, it is not only possible but an absolute necessity. It’s the place that you have maximum control on, so you can make it suitable to whatever keeps you in the zone. I might get an idea anywhere, I might go on research trips, but the actual writing for me happens from my room.

Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or into the hills?

As I said, I write from the comfort of my bedroom, sitting by a large window. Yes, there are hills to my right, which are sometimes shrouded by clouds. There are many trees around, so the birds are chirping all day along. At night, it’s the wind and the rustling of leaves and a starry sky that I can glimpse.

A perfect setting. Thanks to all of this, I don't have to go anywhere else. The only disturbance is caused by birds, or an occasional rabbit or flock of peacocks, which makes me step out into the balcony with my camera that’s always on table.

Did you do proper research before penning down this book?

I didn’t really have to. Inkredia, unlike most other fantasy books, does not borrow from the Greek, European or Indian mythologies. There are no dragons or unicorns or Rakshasas in it. There are no lands that we know of. It’s not based on any characters from the history. The only research that I had to do was to get the elements from the period right, which is somewhere around 10th to 12th century. But even there I had some freedom as we are not talking about the real world. In fact, this utmost freedom was what allowed me to run my imagination in every corner. I came up with everything in the Inkredia Universe, for instance the map, the cities, the currency, the culture, the names. But yes, all of this has a strong logical base and that’s why I think everyone has loved the way this world has been built.

What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell…

This happened back when I had been obsessed with the idea of writing a fantasy book. One morning I woke up having had a vivid dream about a boy in a certain, thrilling situation. I cannot disclose what the situation was because that idea forms the crux of the second book in the series, The Castle of Tashkrum. Though I had lost most of the details a minute after I was fully awake, I managed to hold onto the central idea and wrote it down. Over the next few months I expanded it in what was the blue-print for the second book. But the story had grown out of control and I knew I would not be able to fit it in one book when I actually sit down to write it in the novel format. So, I separated the initial adventure and that’s how the first book was formed. The second book is still going to be a huge one and the size of it sometimes intimidates me.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

That in India it is slow and painful, especially if you are working in the fantasy genre. I didn’t have to go to many publishers. In fact, I don’t remember having struggled at all. The book was picked-up by a prominent publisher soon after I finished writing it. Years later, it was finally published. It was edited and printed to my liking, but it could not be promoted as well as it deserved to be. So I came up with a second, extended edition with Gloryburg and now I am happy the way things are moving.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I handled the social pressure well. It wasn’t easy to convince the family of my career choice in the beginning. There were other challenges as well. Having a talent for something and actually doing that thing successfully are two entirely different things, in between is a painful struggle to achieve excellence. While the journey toward excellence is unending, I think I have managed to get to this point without too much friction.

Any best piece of writing advice from your side that we haven’t discussed?

90% of writing happens inside the head. Only 10% of the effort is actually devoted to penning down your thoughts, so don’t rush to your notebook or your computer. Language is merely a tool. While you need to master it well, it’s not what writing is all about. A writer is always recognized by their thoughts and analytical skill. Writing should actually be called ‘thinking’.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I love music, but it interferes with my thought process, so I don’t listen to it much. I can travel up to 2000 kilometers without a single song playing in the car (and I am blessed to have a driver who doesn’t care of it either). You might think I am the most boring person that way, but not if you could feel the way I feel with what’s happening in my head.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now, especially Inkredia sequel?

The Inkredia Sequel is not going to be less than 650 pages, if I manage to keep it down to that. Other than that, I have four half-baked novels and I would love to get one of those out before the Inkredia sequel. In fact, I am definitely planning a non-Inkredia novel before the sequel.

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