We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Nimish Tanna – the author of ‘Divyastra’. In this interview, Nimish talks about his writing aspirations, and the route to getting his book published. Stay on...while we chat with him.
What motivates you to write?
I think the biggest factor of motivation is universal for all storytellers and that is, a story inside you that HAS to be told. It’s like a therapy, a ball of energy bursting inside you and there is no other outlet for it, except telling it. Whether you speak it out, pen it down, sing it, dance it, paint it, act it; the form really doesn’t matter. What really matters is, you live it. Once the story has consumed you completely, you will not feel relieved until you have told it. I guess that is why storytellers are willing to go to any extent in order to express themselves.
How do you handle the response to this book, especially from your friends and colleagues?
When my first book released, just like any new writer, I was fishing for compliments and I feel those kind words are equally important to keep one motivated. However, with this second title, I am a lot more objective about the feedback. In order for a writer to grow, it’s imperative to develop more perspectives and be able to see what others see in the story that the writer may have missed.
What kind of research did you do to pen down this novel?
Well, the book took four years to complete, so I would say quite a bit of a research. In today’s day and age, there is so much information out there that the concept of research needs to be handled differently. Getting information is not really the difficult part anymore, it is the process in which all this information is collected, analyzed and then filtered is now a bigger challenge. For Divyastra, I had to go through books, articles, blogs, videos etc. on mythology, physics, ancient Vedic science as well as current weapon technologies.
Can you name some of your favourite authors and novels?
Sure, my favorite Indian author is Ashwin Sanghi. His stories, narrative style, choice of words is something I relate with. His title, Krishna Key, is still one of my favorite books. Apart from him, I admire Devdutt Pattanaik a lot. His take on Indian mythology as well as people and cultures is just amazing.
Do you think writing a book from the comfort of a bedroom is possible?
Well, the literal penning down part can happen from the most comfortable spaces. In fact, the more comfortable space, the less distracting it is for the brain and body. However, the inspiration, the characters, the world of the story, these things cannot come out of a comfortable space. The writer would need to get out in the real world and go through the daily grind. As cliched as it may sound, a lotus does bloom only in a swamp and a piece of charcoal cannot turn into a diamond without extreme pressure. This grinding and suffering do not necessarily have to be an external one for the world to take notice of, it can purely be an internal one as well. A conflict that only the writer would know.
Do you have a favourite place to write? Such as a beach or the hills?
If all beaches and hills offered seamless internet connection, a comfortable chair and no distractions, sure. For me, personally, I prefer a quiet place with no distractions and that is why my favorite place is usually my house in Auckland or the local library.
What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell?
Well, after my first book, Moments of Truth in 2014, I never thought I would write another one. However, four months later, I was juggling with a few ideas on paper which got me nowhere, so I gave up. Months later, I found myself living in a remote suburb of Melbourne where there was no TV, no social network of people, and the only form of distraction was a great internet connection. So, I began watching reruns of Ramayana, Mahabharata and some cool documentaries that supported our beliefs. Immediately, YouTube’s algorithms got to work and started suggesting content that I may be interested in. They were damn right about that! I took to their suggestions and it wasn’t late before my mind started weaving a story of its own. Once I had a rough structure ready, I had to then read a pile of books to get the facts right. In summary, if it wasn’t for a completely secluded environment, it would have been even more difficult.
What was your biggest learning during the publishing process?
The biggest learning about the publishing process happened during my first novel, Moments of Truth. I realized how competitive this publishing market is and how difficult it is to become a bestseller, almost impossible. If you do that math, approx. 200 new titles get released every week in every genre. So, roughly about 1200-1500 titles every week compete for a reader’s attention. A popular store like Landmark or Crossword would have limited shelf space. Existing bestsellers and classics would reduce this space further. So, now it’s obvious that only 20-30 titles would get displayed out of 1200-1500. This was an eye opener for me back then and I feel all new and aspiring writers should be aware of this situation.
Looking back, what did you do right to break through as a writer?
I think in the last five years of being a writer, one lesson that stands true universally is to keep writing. There will always be a million reasons to not write but the only thing kept me going was one reason to write and that is – get the story out and let the universe decide its fate.
Any advice for budding writers?
The only advice that I can offer would be, ‘Stay true to yourself and tell the story you want to tell.’
Something personal, readers don’t know about you?
Well, I am extremely scared of heights and in spite of skydiving, bungee and cliff jumping (to get rid of those fears) the fear is still there.
Any books in the pipeline?
Currently, working on two other stories but not as a book but as a screenwriting project. Hopefully, someday it will see the light of the day.
Connect with Nimish Tanna:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nimish.tanna.1