I'm working on two novels- one is set in India, the UK and the USA and the other in Lahore in Pakistan and a couple of other countries (including the USA). My fourth work comprises half a dozen short stories. And I have my background research done and I am ready for the fifth book- a mystery.
Who are your favorite authors?
This list is going to be very long. However, let me try a few names- Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Harper Lee, Ernest Hemingway, Doris Lessing, Albert Camus, Toni Morrison, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Fiction captures those deep truths which the eyes of humanity miss and I find the greatest joy in putting them to words.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing, I spend my time reading, car-racing, mountain-trekking, angling and practicing Taekwondo (and of course, traveling).
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The characters in my stories. They make so much noise while I am still in my bed that I am forced to get up.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. It was a short story about burglary of a bank. The outline of the story was given in the question paper of the English language exam in school board and I wrote an impressive story. I scored the highest marks. By the way, I'd scored zero marks in English language exam when I was in Grade V (10.5 years old) and then slowly improved my grip over the language with the help of my parents and at one point, I fell in love with it just like a man madly falls in love with a stunning woman.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. It had a tremendous emotional impact on my mind and I was all of fourteen years old.
How do you approach cover design?
It was the easiest thing for me to do. I used Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 and it did the magic for me. I had been quite nervous about it until I tried it. Now I can design a book cover and complete the whole task in less than an hour.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read across genres, barring fantasy and science fiction and a couple of more. I was quite fond of Sci-fi during my childhood years.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My laptop and the smartphone.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in an overly conflict zone- Northeast India where insurgency, gun battles, bomb explosions and frequent bloodbaths shattered our lives. Human misery and people-discrimination have been the greatest influencing factors behind the writer in me. There has been one more inspiring force and a much greater one, it is Mother Teresa and her life.
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