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Author Highlight: Gautam Discusses his New Book ‘Rafflesia: The Banished Princes’ and Stories from his Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Gautam– the author of ‘Rafflesia: The Banished Princes’. In this interview, Gautam 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 love to write. It is a deeply satisfying experience for me personally. Different people are addicted to different things at different points in their lives. Some love to travel. Some love sports, not that you must have one at a time. I like many things too, but as of now, writing seems to be the one that precedes all other interests.

How did you handle the response of this book?

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the book. It was more of an experiment. I knew from the beginning that it was something off beat. However, readers have been very kind to shower praises, despite the length of the book. The reactions have been extreme – from Oh my God to Yuck. I took everything in my stride. It was a learning experience. I remember one reader wanted to talk to me, but instead of that she cried almost throughout our conversation.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

I have no favorites as such. I have grown up reading a lot of books in different languages and my choices have changed over time. When you are a teenager, you read certain kind of books. When you are a young adult, something else interests you. It changes. Also, I am not hooked to any genre.

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

I think the setting should be conducive, wherever you are. You should feel comfortable. That could be in your house or at some library. I like silence when I write. For me it is late nights most of the times though sometimes I write during the day.

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

No specific place. Mostly when I am at home.

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

This is a difficult question. I wanted to start with something off the hook. Writing needs a lot of patience and time. Managing with a job, family and a social life is very difficult. Given a choice, I’d prefer only writing. There is no particular inspiration but when I wrote Rafflesia, I imagined it like a movie. The scenes kept unfolding and I kept writing.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

There are many. Writing is a very emotional thing, but one needs to get detached from it at a certain point of time. And think more like a reader. It is difficult and takes time. With my second, I am surely able to think a little better. Then you need to plan. Finishing a book is one thing and in India, it is not too difficult to find a publisher. But marketing is important. Unfortunately, authors don’t have the time for it. I believe good marketing can also propel a mediocre book to success.

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

Well, I don’t think of myself as a writer. It’s a big word and scares me. Let’s say I am just a novice who tries to write for his own satisfaction. I did struggle. I struggled a lot, faced a lot of rejections and had terribly bad experiences while trying to get publish. But that was all a part of the learning process.

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

Nothing as such. As I said earlier, marketing is important. It is difficult to promote oneself, I find it very difficult. I’d prefer to remain secluded in my own world and remain there while people read my books, but that is not possible in today’s time. Having a social connect is important.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

People ask me if the book is based out of personal experiences. I think most people ask this question to first time authors. I always find myself at a loss of words when asked this question. I chose settings I am familiar with as it helped me to write, but the story is largely fictional.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

Well, I am attempting a pure romance this time. With Rafflesia, many said ‘oh! He is a literary type’, I don’t believe in any types. I admire authors who create an identity for themselves and master a genre. I don’t think I’ll be ever to do that. I need to tell different stories, explore different themes. Some are mainstream, some, not so mainstream.

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