inKonversation: WordMaverick of April 2013 – Adi
A science graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an insatiable interest in the religious history of India, spirituality and mythology and one who claims to have spent his entire life researching for his debut book Tantra – Adi is the WordMaverick of April 2013. We get inKonversation with the shy wordsmith who gives us not only India’s first women vampire hunter but also the country’s first virtual book launch. Tantra is all over the place – blogs, goodreads, eRetail sites – just everywhere. The man who was forced to read initially, leading him to eventually read under the bedcovers under torch lights and now to writing fantasy fiction Adi talks about his journey and the road ahead. Read on:
Tantra is quite a heady mix. Vampire myth, Indian mythology and meditative science. What inspired you to take up a genre nearly not experimented in Indian literature?
I suspect there are a whole range of reasons why. Partly I loved all three and wanted to explore them, party the challenge of getting them together, and partly it was so much fun to write about the three! I love innovating and trying new things, especially when it comes to writing.
Who is Adi, when not the writer?
I have a private pilot’s license, I cannot resist hot chocolate I started my first company when I was thirteen, German bread and cheap American Chinese food are vices, I have traveled to over 45 countries.
How did the connect with books and stories happen in the first place?
My mother demanded I read when I was a child, and thanks to the wonderful stories of Enid Blyton I entered the world of fiction. Started writing reasonable stuff around 13-14, published a book of poetry when I was 16. My first attempt at a novel was Harry Potter fan-fiction, after I got fed-up of waiting for book 5 and thought I could write my own.
Which books and authors have shaped the writer in you?
Wow…too many to list. :).
Different writers, different stories of getting published. How did the journey from seeing it on your laptop to seeing it in the bookstores go?
Hahah…this is long and scary story, one I even considered writing a short piece on. All I will say is that the publishing industry is terribly unkind to new authors, regardless of your background and resources. :(.
Tantra is a series book with sequels lined-up. The series bug looks like latching on to Indian books big time now. What are your thoughts – is it a fad trend or need?
Series have always existed as part of the modern fiction world. Whether it is character repeats (think Hardy Boys) or continuous stories (think Harry Potter). Some stories are best told in single books, others need a longer arc. I would say it is neither a fad trend or a need. Depends on the author, and the story he/ she wants to tell. I always knew Tantra would have to be part of a series, what the market wanted never played into the equation.
Like we discussed earlier Tantra is Vampire myth, Indian mythology and meditative science – all in one. Vastly informative and equally diverse. How much of research went into it?
Ooh a lot! I sometimes claim my entire life was spent researching into it. I loved spirituality and mythology growing up, and I studied a good degree of philosophy and religion in college. When I started writing the book two years ago, it all sort of came back to help. The research on Tantra itself was quite difficult. Very few credible books exist on the subject, and I had to do a lot of finding to get at them. Practitioners here and there rounded off the knowledge.
What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution, especially in this part of the world? Is it going to change the way India reads?
I love the Ebook revolution. I grew up stuck to a computer screen, and I have owned every single kindle version that has come out. As a business person, I love the elegance of the supply chain for inventories and distribution. But – nothing of course can replace the romantic aspects of holding a physical book. In the United States ebooks count for more than 30% of all books sold, in India it is negligible. It will change the way India reads, but a lot needs to change in the business models and supply chain systems for it to succeed.
You have has an online book launch, a book trailer, major online advertising and a huge number of review copies distribution for Tantra. So basically the whole publicity jig. Book selling is undergoing a glamorous transformation. Your thoughts.
Book selling was always a glamorous thing. Big launch parties, famous celebs and a lot of cocktail parties for known reviewers. We in fact unglamoroused it a bit by making it more internet based and more accessible to people. We had reviewers from all walks of life, and the world was invited to the launch party. Book selling is however getting more and more innovative, and I am excited to see all the new marketing techniques being used to get the attention of readers.
When is the next in the series out?
I’m really hoping sometime next year!
Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
1) Write a lot. A lot. The more you write the better you will get at it. Make sure to try different styles.
2) Learn narrative theory – at least the basics.
3) Believe in yourself, and your work.
4) Remember to have fun.
5) 20% is writing. 80% is editing.
6) Read great books.