The Bagheera Chronicles: The Tiger King is one new release which is lauded by the reviewers. Published by Aarahan Publishers, it is peppered with fantasy and keeps the readers hooked. After receiving rave reviews for his book Rahul Balaji, spoke to me about his journey as an author.
Detailed interview, as follows:
1. This novel is unique. What really inspired you to write this story?
The Bagheera Chronicles: The Tiger King is a paranormal romance; an escapism from the harsh realities of life. The character of Vanraj and this book came to me when I was at the lowest point of my life. In fact, I actually started believing that I was cursed. What commenced as a mere extension of my curse turned into something more. As I filled Vanraj’s life with hope, love, and magic, it mysteriously began to reflect upon me too. When I reached the end, I knew I wanted to tell this story to the world.
2. Any incident in particular that is been recreated from real life?
Not incident per say, but the college premise described in the novel is recreated from my own college – Loyola College (Chennai)
3. How long did it take to complete this novel? How many edits did it go through?
It took almost an year for this novel to complete. It was followed by 3 rounds of editing and about 3 rounds of proofreading, which took another 3-4 months.
4. Tell us about your research process.
Based on your theme you begin your research. For example my book was based on “curses”, so I begin researching on the various curses found in the mythology. The curse of shape-shifting seemed to be a greater potential to be a story. I further researched into the type animal that would fit an Indian scenario and came across a Sunderban (West Bengal) based folklore about tiger shape-shifter. The term “Bagh” means tiger and that’s how “The Bagheera chronicles” came to be.
5. How do you escape writer’s block?
I indulge myself in things such as reading, playing with the dogs in my street, and taking a walk or a long drive. I generally talk to my best friend about it, tell him story or the plot and the problem. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it gets me out of the block. If nothing works, I put myself in the shoes of the protagonist and thing- what kind of twist would shock me or what problem would break me or what would make things exciting for me? So on and so forth.
6. What hurdles did you face while publishing the book?
I had to endure many unreasonable rejections and false promises. In fact, finding a good publisher was the greatest hurdle ever. A good publisher need not be some big-shot publisher, instead it must be somebody whom you can trust and whom trusts your work. Meeting Aarahan Publishers was the best thing that has happened to me.
7. You have crafted your characters most sincerely. Where did that insight come from?
My friends and family, whom I have observed over the years. They know which character they are in the novel and often and roll their eyes (laughs) at me for such a blunt portrayal. (laughs)
8. Any particular actor or actress you kept in your thoughts while sketching the lead characters?
No, no one in particular. They were based on real people. I kind of of exaggerated their physical features and personality.
9. What are the 5 things we can find on your work table?
Apart from my laptop, you would find a Notebook, a pencil, my cellphone and lots of coffee.
10. Authors who inspire you?
J.K. Rowling, R.L. Stein, Anne Rice and Jane Austen.
11. Tell us about your upcoming ventures.
I am working on the 2nd book in the The Bagheera Chronicles trilogy. I can’t talk about it much, but can say that it is going to bigger and better than the first book. It will answer all the questions that raised in the first book.
12. What do you do in your leisure time?
I am writer by passion and by profession. So yes, I just write. I love doing that and when I am not writing, I read. That’s who I am. I know that sounds boring, but it’s the fact. Although, I am trying to learn some acting chops and making comic strips, it’s just a start.
13. What message will you give to the budding authors like me?
Well, I am still a newbie, but one lesson that I have learned from my editor is that your writing must show more and tell less. If you are able to spark your reader’s imagination, then it means you have done a good job. Also, don’t overdo the descriptions; it’s quite irritating for many readers.
Thank you for your time. You can grab the book on Amazon and Flipkart or from the publisher’s website.