Author Highlight: Jithu Biji Thomas Discusses his Bestseller Book ‘Mumblings from the Depth’ and Stories from his Life
We are delighted to welcome a very promising author Jithu Biji Thomas for a brief Q & A session at our website about his Amazon Bestseller book, ‘Mumblings from the Depth’.
In this Q & A session, he will be talking about his writing aspirations, inclination towards offbeat fiction, and much more. Stay on...while we chat with him.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I wasn’t much into writing in my childhood days. Leaving aside the occasional school assembly speeches that I wrote for my sister, I never had the thought of writing. But I used to read whatever I could get my hand upon. I was a big fan of newspaper articles that told about events that took place in some part of the world. I would spent days thinking what they must be going through and even living in the character of those people for a while. It gave me a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
I wasn’t that good at academics as maths and science could not en-thrill me but words could. Speaking of academics, I was the worst student in English class too. Speaking of inspiration I did my schooling till tenth grade in the small Arabian state of Bahrain. So the news of war and discomfort in the surrounding places would always play in my mind.
The collection of 21 short stories was collected over a period of 2-3 years around 2015 and 2018. After my graduation from commerce, I took a year away from studies and started living off the streets for a while. I traveled to the places which I could not even spell places in train, got off at random stations and tried living off by doing job at some random tea shops. I wouldn’t say that it was particularly interesting but it opened my eye to many things I never thought off. It just showed me how majority of people live in our country where they daily battle all their issues. Most of the stories are fiction but inspired by real life events with slight tweaks to complete a story.
How did you feel when your book became an Amazon Bestseller?
Becoming a bestseller came at a time I never expected. It’s been more than 2 years that I published the book and it’s after so many struggles and sleepless night, this point came up. I had published two more short stories in this time too. So in short really happy and grateful to god.
How did you do research for this book?
As I said some of the stories are from the streets, the thoughts and mumblings that I thought they must be feeling, putting myself in their place and line of thought. Then some are real life incidents, in which I placed my fictional character and wrote on the deep emotional pain and thoughts they had to endure. The historical facts, as I said stuck up in me from childhood where I used to read anything that I could lay my hands upon.
Who is your favourite Indian author?
Since I am a big fan of short stories, Ruskin bond is one writer from India who has caught my imagination. From the foreign writers, Franz Kafka is one of my favourite.
Which character and story you liked most from your book?
The first story in my short story collection under the title “Will that same rain fall again?” is my favourite because it was the first story that I could write well and polished after almost a year of writing. It may just have 300 or so words but it took many sleepless nights where I felt myself sitting in the chair amputated. The soldier in that story resembles the many of us who want many things in life but deny it when we lose it
How did you manage a collection with such a diverse backdrop?
As I have already told earlier, it’s a bit of travel, bit of reading and a lot of role playing that help me cover the topics. More than a writer, I enjoy myself being a thinker. I joke around with some of my friends saying that I prefer be known as ‘The greatest thinker of our times’ rather than being an author.
How will you define the core theme of your book?
The core theme is all about the unheard voices. The voices of pain and groaning that people feel even when they are silent. The mumblings that barely come to words due to the pain the heart goes through. It’s also about pain and suffering which we choose to ignore in our daily life. Someone needs to be their voice and I prefer being their voice rather than the glitters and glamour of the world.
What are you working on next?
Currently, I am working on the themes that provoked thoughts in me during the times of pandemic that has gripped our world. Again I may hinge more towards the most vulnerable groups in our society and be their voice. Haven’t fixed any time line or fixed date, so let’s see what happens.
Any advice for the budding authors in India?
Frankly I don’t feel I am in position to advice any budding author because I always feel that I have a lot to improve within myself before I speak out to the world. But just as a word of encouragement, not only to writers but to anyone who does any form of art be it painting, designing, dancing or anything keep doing to your heart’s desire. It hasn’t been acknowledged enough but art is one of the most important things that keep our world going forward. It’s one thing that makes this earth a beautiful place. From the time our ancestors started painting in the caves on starry nights, we all have some sort of art within us and for the authors, keep writing, there will be more people to criticize you than to encourage you, don’t take all to heart just keep expressing yourself. Even if you are able to influence one person sitting somewhere, your job is done folks.
Connect with Jithu Biji Thomas:
Insta: @ jithubijithomas