Anurag Chandra – If you keep taking breaks while writing, you will end up not writing at all.
A brief about Anurag Chandra, author of The Ramayana Secret
Delhi based Anurag Chandra is an entrepreneur, educator and author with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from IIT Kanpur. A Gemini at heart, he believes in ‘never having a dull moment’.
After a brief stint as a software consultant in New York, he started his own educational venture, Eduwiser Publishing Group, to publish books for the K-12 segment. He has been featured in India Today for his entrepreneurial work in May 2018.
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How long did it take to get your first novel / book published?
The entire process of writing, looking out for a publisher and then the book being available in the market took a little over 2.5 years. I took about a year to finish my draft and then submitted my proposal to a few publishers. I waited patiently for about three and a half months before finally getting some positive response from two leading publishers for my work. I chose to go ahead with Om Books International because it had a larger presence and sales network. The complete manuscript took another two months for review at the publisher’s end and after the contract was in place, the editing took about four months with a few iterations. Generally the publishers have a pipeline and schedule for their upcoming titles and my book waited for about five months to get into print post the sign off.
What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?
I feel there is no particular right or wrong way in publishing a book but I am certainly looking at improvising on a few things in my upcoming work. I am focused on structuring my writing better than I did as a first time writer. Once I am done with the manuscript, I will try and get a more diverse set of beta readers to go through it before reaching out to my publisher. Other than that, maybe I will look at more out-of-the-box ways to market the book better.
Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
It is not uncommon to work around multiple story ideas while planning a new book but writing them simultaneously is difficult. It makes sense to commit yourself to one idea and finish it off. Having said that, there are times when the urge to explore something new is so strong that you cannot ignore it.
In fact, I was working on a manuscript that was almost 60% complete when another story idea intrigued me. It kept rearing its head so many times in my thoughts that I was forced to put the work on my earlier manuscript on hold and develop the new idea. Coincidentally, this book that I am currently working on has two stories, bound by a common thread, running in parallel.
Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
Every writer follows a method while approaching a new project. I have a thing for stories that have a historical background. So, when something fascinating comes up, I first do my research by reading a few books on the subject. If there are any documentaries available, I watch them too. I then write a two-pager to figure out what the story and its protagonist would want to convey. It is essentially a story and character arc. When I do this, I get clarity on what I want to write about.
Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.
Writer’s block is a fancy way of saying ‘I don’t want to work on it for now’. Since we all tend to get lazy at some point or the other, I can safely say that it exists for real for most of us. I suffer from a creative slowdown due to various reasons. Sometimes, I am swamped with some other work and cannot think through situations arising in my story. Then, I try to detach myself for a few days from the subject that I am writing on to come back with a new perspective. Sometimes I hit a block because I am not convinced about what I am writing at some level. Then, I read stuff on the subject to get re-inspired and find an alternative, like exploring a different viewpoint, a different angle, etc. At other times, I am simply not in a mood to write and get distracted easily. When this happens, and it happens too often, I do not stop writing. Instead, I write more to get back into the groove again. More often than not, the stuff that I write during this phase isn’t all that great but then I have the option of revising the draft once I regain my mojo. I trust myself on that.
I feel that if you start using lack of focus as an excuse for taking breaks while writing, you will end up not writing at all. Make it a habit to write daily and you will certainly minimize the relapse of the ‘writer’s block’.
What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?
There is not one single book that I can point to for influencing my life. Various books had influence on me in some way or the other. ‘A Brief History of Time’ by Stephen Hawking made me interested in pursuing Science earlier on. ‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘Immortal Talks’ by Shunya are some other books that have influenced me or motivated me to write.
How often do you read other novels? Who are your favourite authors?
I go through phases as far as my reading is concerned. Till a year back, it was all mythology – Anand Nilkantan, Amish, Ashok Banker and Devdutt Pattanaik. Now, I love reading stories about contemporary India or biographies. I recently read My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi. For my research on my next, I read Amritsar : Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle by Mark Tully and Panjab : Journeys Through Fault Lines by Amandeep Sandhu.
Book Name: The Ramayana Secret
Publisher: Om Books International
Year of Publication: 2019
Book Synopsis: Ravana has jeopardised the peaceful co-existence of the inner and outer earths. The divine scripts are in his custody and the demon king is invincible. Rama is tasked with the secret mission of securing the scripts and handing them back to their rightful owners. Assuming the identity of Dasharatha’s son, Rama prepares for battle, aided by emissaries from the inner Earth kingdom of Agartha and sages residing in Dandaka.
Will this alliance between the kingdoms of Agartha and Kosala save humanity from an impending disaster? Why is Rama’s real identity kept a secret? Who has decided to reveal the secret about Rama’s origins and why? Was Sita the real reason Rama fought against Ravana? The Ramayana secret is Rama’s story, not as you know it but as it happened.
Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2SEGMly
Flipkart link: https://bit.ly/2youKWU
Om Books International: https://bit.ly/2zZu8al