Dear readers, we have Vishal Bhatia with us today. He has recently come out with a book called jangshersingh.com. It is a sports-fiction and presents a cleverly woven tale with an interesting plot, fun-characters and a heart-warming message. The writing style is good and is laced with emotions and in-depth layering. The narrative is such that it will instantaneously arrest the minds of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of it and found it really hard to put it down. You can read my detailed review of the book here. So, let’s start this conversation with him.
What was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
It took 5 years to get to the point where I was ready to unload the story from under the braincase to paper. It was in about 2013 when I summoned my fragile, slippery like eel-will to fall in line.
Could you describe the process of writing? Do you follow a regular routine?
My writing process is chaotic. In fact, I am thinking of writing a book on “how not to write a book”. There is no routine. I have written a 37 page chapter in 1 day and I have also sat with a pen and paper for 3 days without penning a word.
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing?
Words like crepuscular (animals that are active during twilight) drop on paper. These are strange never seen before words. It’s scary sometimes to think where these come from.
Was there anything surprising that you learned while writing your book?
Not sure if it was surprising, but I certainly learned that writing a coherent story is very difficult. And, author may have a succinct view of a scene in an intriguing plot but making the reader see it is a different ball game and a very tough one.
What, according to you, is a good story?
Where men die or dedicate their lives to glory while never compromising on dignity.
Are there any occupational hazards of being a writer?
Yes… side stand of motorbikes screech against asphalt within two hundred meters of being driven because you forget to take them off. During winters running hot water turns cold…plumbers refuse to fix a higher capacity geyser. You get glared at for not giving way to honkers on road.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I run a Men’s Lifestyle Products Company called ‘Helium’. Nowadays time is short but I try to read whenever I have time on my hand.
Tell us some “Good-to-know” fun-facts about you. What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you?
My bosses, there have been few (most of them were very tough) shorten the timelines of my deliverables because I am known to be a procrastinator. It’s surprising; I don’t think I delay things. See, I have been just finishing this interview since two Sundays ago. What I do very well is that I put layers between things. Like, I wanted to write a memoir. So instead of going ahead and writing it I first read books about writing, then I thought about writing a few essays to learn how to write and then I worked on the idea of Jangsher Singh. It’s amusing that I have been trying to write a memoir since 2008.
Now, let us turn our attention to your book. How did the idea of this book come from?
As I told you earlier, I was toying with an idea of writing a memoir, and then I felt like writing a fiction based on Formula 1. But when my cousin and I visited Melbourne to check out Australian Open, it triggered this story. As in the book, our fuel also almost ran out on the Hume highway. It was just that we were not riding Flame and we did not meet Thuperman but there were events that inspired this story.
An editor has worked on this novel. Any remaining work (formatting, print setting, IBSN number, and arranging a print run, etc) was managed by yours truly. One does not need to pay too much to get a book on the shelves. You can even start with 100 copies of the book. People are always worried about finding people who would do these for them.
Did you do any kind of research for writing this book?
I read about 15 books on tennis and saw a lot of videos. I read “On Writing” by Stephen King
What makes your book a unique book?
The setting – Tennis and temporary Indian workers in Australia. Also, I have been told that my writing is different.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
I wrote the first draft in May 2013. Then I read the first volume of “A song of ice and fire.” I realized that I had written junk. So, I re-wrote the entire book. Then I read the remaining volumes and I again re-wrote the entire book.
You have created so many characters in this book. Is there one particular character who speaks the loudest to you? Does any of these clamour to be heard over others?
While Aman is my favourite character, loudest of them is Yug. He loves to be cool, but can’t remain so when things turn unwholesome.
What question do you wish that someone would ask you about your works, but nobody has so far?
Can’t think of any!
What, according to you, is the hardest part of writing?
Being unable to leave the part of the story (short and clear) when I am personally enjoying writing it. It stretches too far and my editor has been ruthless in cutting things.
And, which part of writing do you enjoy most?
Forming a character by dialogues.
What are your future plans?
I was going to write a memoir. But then I have delayed that and I am working on another sport fiction. It’s based on cricket of 2080.
Will definitely look forward to read that one. Bring it fast! Ok, do you have anything else to say to your readers?
If there are any…reading this…Thank you!
And, finally, do you have any suggestion to help others become better writers?
Be different. There are infinite possibilities. Explore. Pass knowledge. And especially for Indian writers – stop looking at west. Dig into our culture and give something to the next generation so that they stop claiming unabashedly that “I don’t like reading books”.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favourite Colour: The new instagram colors.
Favourite Cuisine: Paleo diet.
Favourite Book: Fooled by randomness.
Favourite Author: Nasim Nicholas Taleb
Favourite Quote: Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.
Dog or Cats: Neither
Light or Dark: Light
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
E-reader or Print book: Print book
Ball point or Fountain pen: Ball point