I would like to welcome my special guest Hemanth Gorur, author of Aymaran Shadow. Please enjoy his insightful interview.
1. Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
For aspiring writers, I’d say, do not write with the market in mind. Of course you need to do your basic research in terms of which genres are crowded and where are the white spaces. But you don’t want to be a me-too. Your work will soon get commoditized. If you want to set yourself up for the long-term, don’t be risk-averse but steel yourself for the hard grind ahead.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love my readers and they’re what keep any author going. It’s no longer a publisher’s world. Readers carry immense power in saying what a good story should be like. They’re far more aware of and have strong preferences for writing styles that resonate with how they think, than used to be the case even five years back. Readers should come out in far more numbers and voice their support for their favorite authors, so that we can keep giving back what they love most – a good lip-smacking story to devour.
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
It’s as much a question of ‘want to’ as it is of ‘have to’. With the unprecedented success of e-books and e-publishing, it is far easier today for self-published authors (most of whom prefer e-publishing) to devote more time and effort towards making readers aware of their work. You have more control over how you want to converse with your readers and what you want to be seen as. Traditionally published authors do not seem to have that kind of imperative bearing down on them. But if I’m really pushed on this question, I’d much rather just write.
4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
Paranormal/horror, psychological thrillers, historical fiction (for now). Trepidation and fearful excitement to my mind are the least explored of all emotions expected in readers when they read a book. I love bringing those to the fore. I love dabbling in human psychology. There’s nothing I dislike about the genre, except perhaps that it might get a little gory or twisted at times and may not be suitable for all ages/inclinations.
5. What are your current/next projects?
I’m excited about my next. It’s probably going to be a historical fiction with paranormal elements and will be the second book in my Eternal Visitation Series. It’ll have a completely different plot-line as compared to Aymaran Shadow, which was the first of the series and was recently published.
6. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
I love critique partners, but I consciously do not have too many. Ditto with beta-readers. I’m choosy about who I work with, and it’s for a reason – I need to trust that individual to identify with my entire vision for the book. End of day, writing is a very private affair – much like making love – you don’t want to be too promiscuous! That said, I love being part of anthologies, and in general shooting the breeze with fellow authors. There’s a lot you can learn by just talking to a fellow writer or genuine critic.
7. How do you find time to write?
I’d ask myself what I’d do if I didn’t write. I’ll have a hard time answering that. So, for me, it’ s never a question of “finding time to write”. I’ll go so far as to say, I write because if I personally did whatever my characters do, I’d be incarcerated on an island in the Pacific! So you don’t want me not writing. Seriously speaking, I do it for a living so it’s not too hard to make time.
8. Did you always want to become an author?
Not in my wildest dreams. But I’m glad I did!
9. Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
Rituals…I think! 🙂 Not something I’m fond of doing if I’m not writing! Seriously speaking, I draw up excel graphs. I like to look at where I am and where I’m headed.
10. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?
Neither. I outline first and then throw my hair down for the individual chapters and scenes. A fellow-author once described me as outliner-meets-discoverer! Sort of an airline navigator doing the rapids!
11. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
12. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
Naturally, short stories. But they don’t give me the creative kick that writing a full-length novel does.
13. While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?
Great question. Characters are always the illegitimate children of your persona as the creator of the character and the personas of those on whom you’ve modeled the character (if you have). There’s always a little bit of ‘you’ in your characters. Something really peculiar happened while writing Aymaran Shadow (and this is the subject of one of my future blog posts on the book’s official blog). At one point in the story, when my protagonist starts realizing who the real antagonist is among the two suspects, I was personally frustrated with her slow pace of realization. I remember almost chiding my protagonist: “you cannot be such a dope”. And that’s because I felt myself to be part of her, and I kept thinking I wouldn’t take such a long time if I were in her place. The other time it happened was in the climax, which is a bit gory, when I actually felt my protagonist’s intense fear and loathing towards the antagonist. So much so that I keep thinking I went overboard in my depiction of how the climax plays out. But thankfully, the reviews don’t say that!
14. How did you come up with the title?
For Aymaran Shadow, this was the third title I “froze” after sifting through at least five more. The title, for me, had to denote the beginnings of the protagonist’s troubles, convey a sense of displaced time, and had to be subtly sinister without being too in-your-face.
15. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
Aymaran Shadow is about a woman who is destined to be violated and brutally murdered in every lifetime (based on the concept of reincarnation or rebirth). As for the inspiration, this is precisely the subject of series of posts on the book’s official blog. Hop over to my blog for that!
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?