10 Questions with Ayan Pal
The power to influence readers with one’s thoughts, ideas, and visions. To plant a seed of imagination in someone’s mind, to resonate with someone’s heart – that’s what I love about being a writer the most! What I do not like (at least right now) is the inability of pursuing writing as a full time profession unless of course you achieve the kind of success a Chetan Bhagat has achieved for example. I wish I will be able to overcome this in the future someday!
2) Do you prefer a specific genre for reading and writing?
I am very choosy about reading and usually prefer young adult, fantasy, thrillers, and general literary when it comes to what I read. While writing however, I consciously try and strive to write in multiple genres. I guess I can compare it to eating and cooking (the reverse actually). I love eating various kinds of food, but prefer cooking only a few items.
3) In your opinion, is there something that characterizes Indian writing / literature?
It will be difficult to generalize, but Indian writing as far as I can see is clearly divided into the literary and not so literary, and unfortunately not spread evenly across different genres. It’s like having the upper class and lower class… I wish there was more of the middle class. We always need middle of the road writing. Take fantasy or young adult for example – while it is quite a rage internationally. However not too many people have taken it up in India.
4) Any favourite books and authors?
Currently it would be Rick Riordan for his ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series. A recent book which I absolutely loved was ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness, and of course in India the ‘Shiva Trilogy’ by Amish.
5) Use these 5 words to write a "mini-story": passion, compassion, think, money, knowledge
When Arjun shared his decision to pursue a career in writing with his friends, he was served with compassion. ‘Switch on the AC’ said someone. ‘Would you like to drink a glass of lemonade?’ asked another. Maybe it was the work pressure, thought one, or maybe even the scotch, reasoned another.
They were not wrong in their reasoning. After all, his knowledge about the craft he wished to pursue was inadequate. Instead of a master’s degree in Literature, Arjun held a bachelor’s degree in Engineering! Come to think of it, his 10+ years’ worth of experience as an IT Consultant would go for naught in his new profession! Could only passion replace years of experience?
When Arjun returned, a bit more drunk than usual, he was met at the doorstep by his mother. ‘What is more important Ma?’ he asked, his face a canvas full of possibilities, ‘is it money, or dreams?’
She did not immediately reply. Instead she pulled him away to the bedroom and tucked him into the bed. While planting a kiss on her grown up kid’s forehead she softly whispered ‘what is most important is a good night’s sleep. Only then can one follow one’s dreams! If your work cannot give you that, then it’s not worth it.’
For the first time in his life, Arjun finally had the answer to a question he had dreaded asking. As he finally went off to sleep, he had a serene smile upon his lips, and a plan that would see his life forever change the moment he would wake up the next morning.
6) Paperback or eBook?
Paperback. I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to reading. Sorry trees!
7) Is there a question you have always hoped somebody would ask you? (Feel free to answer it, too.)
I guess I have always wanted someone to ask me the kind of questions one gets asked in the final Q&A round of a beauty pageant. But I guess since I don’t look like a Miss Universe, no one would be interested in what I have to say (which by the way is obviously centered on maintaining world peace!)
8) Complete this sentence: A writer’s most important tool is…
A writer’s most important tool is his ability to use anything around him, and especially his imagination as a tool to carve out a story. The ability to see, hear, process, and then deliver. I guess that’s what matters the most to a writer!
9) What is your writing strength / what are you best at writing?
I feel I am strongest at descriptions and handling emotions, be it pain, fear, thrill, or passion. In terms of genres I would like to believe I am better at thrillers and fantasy. I also have a flair for any writing inspired by personal experiences and real events.
10) Please tell us more about your latest stories, book(s) and plans for the future.
‘Crossed and Knotted’, which also happens to be India’s first composite novel, has just released and is thankfully making the right noises. In April ‘Rudraksh’, where I have also written the title story is releasing. Both books are extremely special to me. While in the former I attempted my first thriller through the story chapter ‘The Diary of Joseph Varughese’ the second, I feel, contains my best short story so far in terms of range and literary value.
That apart, I am trying my best to meet the developmental editor’s vision for my debut novel – ‘What If…?’ It’s a novel set in India and England post the 2nd world war. It’s a part literary thriller and part fantasy adventure and has been in the making for over twelve years. I can’t wait for it to be published actually!
How it does will determine my next steps as a writer. Hoping for the best! The rest is of course for the readers to decide. My only aim right now is to find and reach my target audience, and even more importantly, to keep them hooked. And yes… I can’t wait to take up writing full time. Keeping my fingers crossed!
About the Author
He is also an author known for his acclaimed short stories in the #1 Amazon Bestseller ‘Chronicles of Urban Nomads’ and #2 Amazon Bestseller ‘21 Tales to Tell’. He has also contributed to India’s first composite novel – ‘Crossed and Knotted’, ‘Upper Cut’, and ‘Her Story’ respectively.
He is passionate about public speaking and leadership and has been an Area and Division Governor of Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in Santa Anna, California.
Ayan was the recipient of the highest honor from Toastmasters – “Distinguished Toastmaster” becoming the first person from Kolkata in 90 years to do so, and amongst the only two who received it from Eastern India. He has also received multiple service excellence awards from IBM and a Brandan Hall Silver Award, considered as the “Academy Awards” by Learning, Talent and Business Executives.
He loves reading, creative writing, and binge watching his favorite TV Shows. He is currently working on his debut novel – ‘What If…?’ that is expected to release later this year.