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Author Highlight: Chandan Sen Gupta Discusses his New Book ‘Unforeseen’ and Stories from his Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Chandan Sen Gupta – the author of ‘Unforeseen’. In this interview, Chandan talks about his writing aspirations, the route to getting his book published, and his inclination towards humanity and world peace. Stay on...while we chat with him.

What motivates you to write and how long have you been writing mainstream literature?

When I come to think of it, I feel that the motivation to write stems from man’s innate nature of being creative. I feel the urge to recreate the human mind at work, intrigue, conspiracy and benevolence working side by side, and the geographical beauty of a place through words, so that people can read about them and contemplate on the message that I have to convey. I have been writing mainstream literature for over six years now and published two novels, both thrillers.

Though you are an experienced and well-known writer, how do you feel when your book gets published?

It’s an immense satisfaction that I get, when I see the hard work come to fruition. Though most of my stories dwell on human behavior, a lot of research on history, geography and technology, goes into it. I am also gripped by a sense of anticipation over the performance of my book.

Are you a prolific storyteller or traveller?

Both. Though I write fiction, my stories usually revolve around places that I have been to and people with whom I have interacted. My profession as a Civil Engineer has taken me to various parts of India and rest of the world and these have usually served as the backdrop to my stories. “Many people write books but you have lived your book,” was the comment of the Oil Minister of Bahrain, when I mentioned to him how I had visited the heritage sites of the country and used them in my first novel, Land of Two Seas.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

Among fiction, the names that come to my mind are - I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Papillon by Henri Charriere, Godfather by Mario Puzo, The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchann and Day of the Jackal by Fredrick Forsyth. Among non-fiction I have loved reading - After the Prophet by Lesley Hazleton, No God but God by Reza Azlan and Mossad by Michel Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal.

What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell from your travel experience?

The book is inspired by the experiences of a Pakistani colleague of mine, who had to travel to India from the Middle-East for the liver-transplant surgery of his eight-year-old daughter. Every year, hundreds of Pakistanis are faced with this prospect for a variety of life-saving medical treatment. Due to repeated terror attacks, masterminded by an unconcerned Pak Army, their passage to India is mired in long-drawn security checks. Where time is of the essence, senseless acts of terrorism put the lives of the ailing at risk. This drove me to write Unforeseen: A battle for his daughter’s life. Caught between the law and the outlaws, Yousuf- the protagonist of my story- embarks on a desperate bid to prove his innocence. As he runs from the streets of Delhi to the Pir Panjals in the Himalayas and the valley of Kashmir, little is he aware of the terrible fate awaiting him, his wife and his daughter.

What message would you like to convey to the world through this book?

The message that I would like to convey is simple – Similarities between human beings are natural and all differences are man-made. No ideals, not even religious, should come in the way of humanity.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?

How to stay focused on the story and not stray into insignificant details that might distract the reader.

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

I would say that it was my perseverance that helped me achieve my goal of becoming a published writer. At times I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, while at others I would stay awake till late at night, to progress with the manuscript. Often, I was gripped with apprehension over the performance of my future book, but I kept at it until completion. I believe in the saying, “One does not fail until he has given up.”

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

Before embarking on a novel, one had better form the outline of the story in his mind. It is better to do most of the research at this stage. Writing down the salient points also makes sense, so that the risk of forgetting the finer details is eliminated. But once the framework of the story is in place, keep writing without letup until the manuscript is ready. It is also important to go back and read what you have written so that superfluous material can be eliminated.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I am a man of few words, Ha…Ha. While I enjoy chatting with my friends in a group, I am more of an introvert and generally keep my feelings to myself.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

I am working on a historic novel on India, which unfolds in the modern era. It will be a thriller as well.

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