Interview With Gautam
Interview With Gautam
Author of “Rafflesia”
A B-School graduate, Gautam is a business analyst by profession. Considers the laptop as among his best friends and nurses a secret desire to turn an entrepreneur someday. He blogs at www.gautamc.com and can be reached over email at [email protected]
I was born and brought up in Assam, my time spent mostly visiting different parts of the north-east during holidays. Growing up in a place so scenic, I always imagined, as a child that the entire world would be like that – whichever place I go to will always be surrounded by mountains, rivers and jungles. I was proved wrong though, as I realized it was not so always. Schooling was from KV. Graduation followed soon and then I studied management. My parents were both avid readers and that’s how I picked up the habit of reading. Actually, to tell the truth, during my times there was little else to do apart from reading, studying and playing.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think authors don’t choose stories, stories choose their authors. Writing was never really in my mind. I had been scribbling something for a long time. Some of my friends knew. They encouraged me to write something concrete and try publishing. I was quite reluctant. Writers are vulnerable. When you write, you open yourself up to the judgment of others. It happens all the time maybe, but doing so consciously was a scary thought. And I wanted to write something I loved. You write what readers would love to read or you write what you would love to read. If you can get away with the second, then nothing like that. I wanted to attempt something different for my first, so Rafflesia happened.
What have you written? Give us an insight into your book
‘Rafflesia The Banished Princess’ is all about our lives – the ones we have left behind in today’s fast paced world. Unhurried, simple and gentle. The protagonist of the story is at a point in his life where he is forced to turn back and look at his past. The main idea behind the book comes from the fact that we all have some childhood memories which remain with us forever. Even as adults, these memories or fascinations influence our thoughts in some way or the other. This is the basic premise of the story. Beyond that, I think Rafflesia is really an exploration of relationships which are not essentially romantic. These are ones you form in your day today life, yet they remain uncelebrated.
Your book deals with love and loss, friendship and betrayal. Reason behind choosing such topics?
Genuine friendship is very difficult to find. The color of friendship changes with time. I have seen many people though, who remain with each other through all thick and thin. Not everyone is that lucky. We live in times where electronic devices get more attention than anything else. Values are changing. Everything seems like a deal – you give something, you get something. The book talks about a friendship, the kind that does not change with time. And when I say friendship, I mean to say it can exist between humans and animals too. I think we should take time out of our busy schedules and connect with people we have left behind, the ones who perhaps meant a lot to us once upon a time. Almost all stories – social drama or romances are based on these themes which are universal. The difference lies in how these are portrayed in the story. I wanted to interpret them in my way, hence the book.
How long it take you to write ” Rafflesia”?
Hmm…that’s a good question. It took be seven years to write ‘Rafflesia’ and another five years to get published. It has indeed been a long journey where I rediscovered myself again and again. The best thing about writing (at least when you are new) is that you get to live many lives. It is such a beautiful feeling – going through everything your characters go through. Trained writing may be a little different though. Irrespective of whatever I write in the future, Rafflesia will always remain close to my heart. It is really special and it will always remain so.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I don’t have any ambitions really. All I want is acceptance. It is an inherent human desire. This is my first book and people have appreciated the style of writing. That is more than enough for me. Everything cannot be perfect in the first go. But I don’t to give up, irrespective of Rafflesia’s fate. I have many stories to tell.
What does your family think of your writing?
My bunch of friends are not book enthusiasts, most of them. But they have been largely supportive. My family thinks mine is the best, especially my parents. The book has made them happy.
Which writers inspire you? Why?
The list would get too long but here are a few of my favorites. I did not enjoy each and every book written by them but some of them have really inspired me for different reasons. Sometimes it has been the story telling, sometimes the stories themselves. As a child I immensely enjoyed reading a book called ‘By the Shores of Silver Lake’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My father used to insist that I read classics – so there were Dickens and Dumas whose books I loved reading as everybody else does. Jane Austen remains a favorite – the themes and situations in her books remain relevant even today. ‘The Story of the Trapp Family Singers’ by Maria Augusta von Trapp is a perennial favorite. It is such an optimistic novel. Orhan Pamuk is another favorite. The best thing about these writers are that they have always stayed true to their genres, success may have come to them much later but their writing has this uncompromising quality where they have exactly written what they had probably in mind.
Rafflesia is available at?
The book is also available as a Kindle version
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Rewriting. The first time is all emotional. As you go on revising drafts, you tend to get more and more objective. Also, the first time is always as a writer. When you revise, you tend to me more like a reader. This ‘switch’ is very difficult. You are left constantly fighting with yourself as to who should you let prevail – the author in you or the reader who would read the book.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I am really a novice and don’t qualify to offer any advice to aspiring writers. But since you asked, I think having patience is important. Writing does not give instant gratification. There is no guaranteed recipe for success. Personally, I think everyone who writes should have an objective in mind as to why he or she is writing in the first place. This helps in setting the expectations right and when expectations are reasonable, disappointments are less. No one who loves to write should ever give it up. Success and serendipity are both elusive but not impossible, they might just cross your way, you never know.
Say something about Writing Geeks
Marketing and Book promotions are all Latin and Greek. This is what I used to think. Despite having a background in management, I never quite fancied marketing as a subject. Most realize its importance a little late. I did too. But when you do realize how important it is for your book, you are left struggling, without any clue who to reach out to. When I first came across Writing Geeks (during my search for getting the word out on my book), I was stunned. It is one of the best platforms for authors to get their book noticed and talked about. And I must say they are doing a great job at it.