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Author Highlight: Rajiv Mittal Discusses his New Book ‘The Panchatheertha Part 1’ and Stories from his Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Rajiv Mittal – the author of ‘The Panchatheertha Part 1’. In this interview, Rajiv Mittal talks about his writing aspirations, the route to getting his book published. Stay on...while we chat with him.

What motivates you to write?

All the goodly stuff that is in my mind that I believe is more interesting than whatever is on the internet.

How did you handle the response of this book? 

Pehle, I read the reviews.  Woh acche lage.  Fir socha, ab dekhte hain isko padne wala koi hai bhi ki nahin.   Aur uska jawaab?  Woh kya gaana hai - ‘Intehaan ho gayi, intezaar ki …’

Why did you choose to write a novel inspired by The Panchatantra?

The Panchatantra offered me tremendous scope to be funny and philosophical without worrying about anyone taking offence.  Animals can’t be bothered with those sort of issues.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

Favorite novels:  The type Scott Rogowsky reads on the subway.

Favorite authors:  The chap who wrote Calvin and Hobbes, the scriptwriters of the initial seasons of Two and a Half Men & The Big Bang Theory.  Also classic BBC comedies.

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

It is nobody else’s business but I would hazard a guess that any male writer’s performance in the bedroom is not bestseller material other than in a comedy.

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

Go to the beach to write? Saudi Arabia mein shayad ho sakta hai, koi distractions nahin hongi.  Kevin, waise have you ever tried removing sand or seawater from a computer keyboard?  Try karke dekh lo ek baar.

The hills? Is there anyone you know who has ever done that? I think even Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing descended from Mount Everest before they thought of writing something.

I write mostly at home, sitting on a sofa.

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

Pehle socha tha koi mythological figure ke baare mein likhoon – lekin sochte sochte dere kar di yaar – koi baaki hi nahin raha!  It seems they are all taken.  Then it struck me – folktales are unexplored territory and always relevant.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

How to use Microsoft Word.

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

I told myself that all decision makers in the traditional publishing industry are fakes.

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

I hesitate to offer advice.  But since you asked, this is what I would tell any new writer:
  • If you are looking for writing advice then that could be the reason why you are struggling.
  • If you become successful as a novelist, you can immediately become an inspirational speaker and start saying profound things.  Particularly in India.  Lekin abhi don’t try to do that in your novel.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Anyone who buys and/or reads my books makes me very, very happy. 

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

I plan to write Panchatheertha Part 2.  And till then, it would be great if there are readers for Panchatheertha Part 1 and/or my debut novel Brahmahatya.  By the way, I have written a third which I am silent about in the hope that people will now go searching for it also.

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