Sunday, September 15, 2013

K Harikumar, author of ' When strangers Meet'

I have couple of friends who write well too. K Harikumar is one among them. Surprisingly, unlike others, he started his blog after writing his debut book ' When strangers meet'I will review his book soon in this blog.You can know more about from his blog  Apart from writing the book, Harikumar has also come up with trailers for his book with live characters. Perhaps, such an attempt is first of its kind in the country. He himself acted as one of the characters of his book for the trailer. He was kind enough to answer some of my questions.

What kind of a person is Harikumar?
Simple, at times arrogant, loner on most occasions, always weaving a tale or two in my mind.

Your debut book has just hit the markets. How was your experience while writing them and also about books and its characters?
To be honest, I was bed ridden during the writing process. However, I had created my own world and was living in it, as the One who created it and as each everything created. The World of my story...

How did writing occur to you?
By pure fascination. My mother used to read me stories from Balarama & Muthashi ( children story books in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, a state in India ) back in the 90s when I was a 6 year old Dillivala (from Delhi, the capital of India )(since I could not read Malayalam). Later on, when I started reading (which was quite late as I did not have a solid base in any language due to my dad's transferable job) I was even more fascinated, especially by the stories of Sherlock Holmes & novels of Roald Dahl.

What were your struggles in becoming a writer and also the person you are today?
My greatest struggle was to overcome the writer's block which was the direct result of my laziness. One should have a beginning and an ending, rest can be weaved in between. After years of sitting down and trying to write something, I finally had a short story which had a beginning and an ending, which I first prepared as a short film. The struggle evolves phase by phase, first it was writing, then finding a publisher and then it was marketing the book (which I am still doing). The experience was amazing, since I was the one who did everything right from writing to drawing to filming the trailer to distributing the books in local markets (esp in Kerala) to online marketing to PR to giving talk sessions in schools in the North etc etc etc.

Which is your favourite genre that you would like to write a book on?
Period Thriller

Tell us about your new blog?
It's more like a journal where I put up all my thoughts, and yea, my new craze 'doodles'. Since, many people do not have accounts on facebook, so having a personal blog makes it easier for everyone to join in.

Are you a voracious reader. Do you have a special liking for any particular genre to read?
I am an occasional reader and my favorite genre being Thriller. I simply love reading Dan Brown, Conan Doyle & Roald Dahl. I also love to read Paulo Coelho and Khalid Hosseini.

What are your tips for writing?
I can give one simple suggestion. When I write, I try to put on a situational soundtrack to go with the mood of the chapter/story.

Share some of your beautiful moments associated with writing?
The time I was finishing the climax and the soundtrack from The Da Vinci Code was raising it's tempo in my jukebox. I could actually feel myself in the shoes of Robert Langdon inside the Westminster Abbey (Tom Hanks from the movie) and all I had to do was swap places and people. 

Have your ever thought of any other job other than writing? What are your other passions?
I have made three documentaries, filmmaking completes my passion of storytelling. I have worked as an Assistant Director and Screenwriter in over 25 ad films and directed 8 short films. Just to keep things neatly wound, I am assisting my dad in his farm too and that's his passion- Farming.

Do you write a book with both the readers of east and west in your mind?
While writing I try to place myself as a ordinary reader, nothing above or below that mark. When I like it and can connect with the particular emotions, then every reader (the majority) would like it because I am myself an ordinary reader. 

Your 10 favourite books and 10 favourite movies?
In the decreasing order: 
The Da Vinci Code, Alchemist, Deception Point, Fifth Mountain, Witches, The Study in Scarlet, The Kite Runner, The Lost Symbol, Pet Sematory, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And well of course, a new addition WHEN STRANGERS MEET ;)

GURU, Delhi 6 , Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya , Transformers Trilogy, The Dark Knight series, The Da Vinci Code, Rab ne Banadi Jodi, Raavanan, Jab tak Hai Jaan, Dasavatharam.

How would you like to see you after five years?
Lets take one thing at a time, the present moment.

PS How many books you have in your library?
I guess over 100, have only read a dozen or more.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Amritorupa Kanjilal - an interview with a book reviwer

It's been a long time since I interviewed some one. Hence I started surfing the blogs for  bloggers and blogger writers. And it was by sheer coincidence I chanced upon Amritorupa Kanjilal's blog ' Rivers I have Known'  and I was quite awed by the selection of her books. It encompassed various genres. Her reviews are great. I have decided to  read five particular books after reading her reviews.  For a change I am interviewing a book reviewer for the first time. This is my fifth interview. My other three interviewees were published authors. I love book reviewers for I started my blog to be a wonderful book reviewer who could lure others to read what I liked. That's why Amrita topped the list.

About Amrita ( Short form for Amritorupa Kanjilal )

Amritorupa Kanjilal was a corporate shark before she decided she would be much happier being a goldfish, blowing bubbles in her little bowl. She lives in Kolkata, India, and reads too much for her own good. When she isn't reviewing the hell out of books, she works on ideas for her novel, and makes tiny sculptures from construction putty......

( Taken from her blog )

To read her wonderful reviews

Could you tell a few words about yourself?
I’m a supremely laid back person who loves to read.

When did you realise that you want to be a gold fish and not a shark?
2011, when I had the epiphany that I’ll never be able to care too much about material success, and will be miserable if I spend my life seeking it. I quit my job the next day. I took up another job 6 months later, but took the conscious decision never to try to become a shark again.

Your book reviews are wonderful. What are the criterions select a book for reading and also for book reviewing.

Thank you! I read a lot of reviews and generally try to read anything that sounds interesting. I also go by the recommendations of those friends whose tastes in reading are somewhat similar to mine. I also try to read other books by authors whose other works I’ve enjoyed. Sometime, very rarely though, I pick up a book that has an interesting name or cover. 
I want to review all the books I read, but since I read much faster than I blog, I end up reviewing just those I really liked or really hated.

Are you a full time book reviewer or a blogger?
Nope, I have a day job. I wish were, though. Maybe someday.

How many days usually you take - a) to read a book ?
Depends on the size of the book. I manage to read approximately 40 pages on weekdays and 200 pages on weekends. I spent 2 weeks reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is the longest I’ve spent on a book in recent years.

b)to review a book?
2-3 hours. It would be less, but I have to think up puns and witticisms become somehow those have become expected of me.

Are you in the habit of keeping notes while reviewing a book?
Haha, I wish. I have tried doing that several times, but it never works because I generally forget everything else while reading. Also because I read in public vehicles a lot. Also because once I tried and my dog stole my pen when I wasn’t looking and chewed it till it became transparent.

Your favourite genres and authors and why do you like them?
Humour, horror, fantasy, and graphic novels (not sure if that is a genre). Not sure why I love humour and horror so much. Possibly because they appeal to my fundamental instincts – I love the absurd and the grotesque. Fantasy I love because I always wish I were living a cooler, more awesome life, and fantasy literature helps me achieve that illusion temporarily.
Too many favorite authors to name, here are some though- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hilary Mantel, Joseph Heller,  John Kennedy Toole.Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Sue Townsend, Neil Gaiman, Milan Kundera, John Steinbeck, Helen Fielding, Ogden Nash, Wendy Cope, Bill Watterson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Douglas Adams, Ian McEwan, JRR Tolkien, J K Rowling (Going to stop now before every single author I love guilts me into mentioning them)

Which genre you prefer to read?
Fiction primarily. In fiction I love reading all sorts of books

Apart from reading and writing, what are your other interests?
Playing with my dog. Cooking weird things with my husband. Eating out. Being lazy.

What are your tips for writing?
None. Can’t think of a single one.
Oh, here’s one. Every once in a while pretend you are the reader. That saves your writing from becoming self indulgent.

Do you buy books you need to read or just collect books to read in future?
Unfortunately I am a raging bookshopaholic, so I always buy faster than I can read. Any given time I have at least 10 books on my shelf waiting to be read. I promise myself I wont buy any more books till I finish every single one I already own, but then I have a bad week and accidentally buy 8 more.

Do you encourage ebooks as a reader and writer?
I read ebooks often, but I cannot bring myself to love them. If I really like a book I read in e-format, I usually buy the paper version soon enough. I encourage other people to read ebooks because it is good for the environment and also because I hope popularity of ebooks will help make paper books cheaper for people like me. But I also worry that paper books will go the way of vinyl records and cassettes and just become extinct. What will become of book collectors like me then?

Your 10 favourite books and 10 favourite movies?
Catch 22
Love in the time of cholera
Wolf Hall, Bring up the bodies
A confederacy of dunces
Good Omens
Midnight’s children
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Calvin & Hobbes
The Master and Margharita
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Not a huge movie buff. I like dark stuff like those by Tarantino or Kubrick.

How did you start blogging?
Don’t remember. It was something a lot of my friends were doing back in 2008, probably one of them inspired me.

You have talked in your profile about working out ideas for novel when you are not reviewing. Is there a novel in the pipe line.
Haha, nope. Lots of ideas in the pipeline though.

 How many books you have in your library
578. ten of these I have not read yet.