Author's Interview..Shomprakash Sinha Roy, author,Grapevine publishers by Sufia Khatoon

Author's Interview..Shomprakash Sinha Roy, Grapevine publishers by Sufia Khatoon

A very warm welcome, today in our Author's interview session we bring you, the very talented, versatile and excellent writer, Shomprakash Sinha Roy. Yes you know him, have read his books and some of you even know him in person. We welcome him to Being Bookworms and wish him all the best in the future.
We also Thank him for gifting us the Coverage page design of being Bookworms...we are really honored.
He is a celebrated author of contemporary Fiction and non-fiction, based in Bangalore, India. He is the author of the novel "The Pink Smoke". He has authored many short stories and is a regular contributor to many popular online journals, such as The Youth Express. He has appeared in the Penguin Books- SIP Books Cross Cultural Anthology : "The Traversal of Lines"[1] with his bestselling short story "Three Days in a Week". He has also authored the novel "The Pink Smoke"[2][3] which is currently in print with Grapevine India Publishers. He was also a winner[4] on NaNoWriMo - an international contest for authors, where entire manuscripts are written within a span of 30 calendar days. He is active on Social platforms,[5] to interact with readers and subscribers.
Shomprakash has worked with the Penguin Books-SIP Books collaborative Imprint "Pageturners Books" headquartered in Bangalore, India in their cultural anthology of short stories - The Traversal of Lines. His debut novel "The Pink Smoke" has been published by Grapevine India Publishers which is spearheaded by Durjoy Datta and Sachin Garg.[8][9][10] Apart from these, two of his novellas (short stories) are also available on Amazon.[11] He has also authored the third installment in "The Backbenchers" series- called "3 Days of Summer", writing under the pseudonym "Siddharth Oberoi".
I think Sufia you're doing a great job in bringing authors from different genres together, showcasing their talents. This franchise resembles the idea of a community that runs perpetually, supported by the words of wordsmiths across the nation. You're giving people a reason to speak for themselves, which is brilliant. And your enthusiasm in backing up the project is commendable. Kudos! 
                                                                - Shomprakash Sihna Roy on Being bookworms
 Q1: Tell us something about The Pink Smoke, Is Siddhant Roy, the protagonist of the novel somewhat similar to you?

A: "The Pink Smoke" was an attempt to portray some of the elements that came my way when I was dealing with my first year at Engineering College. To be more precise, I enrolled for a B.E. degree at PESIT Bangalore, and my experiences from that phase of my life have contributed largely towards this project. Siddhant Roy... is a weird character. In some ways, he is similar to me. We share the same last name! But there are things that Siddhant is capable of doing that I don't think I can bring myself to act out upon. But that's where the difference lies. He is a character. I'm a real person. When I think about it, I guess both of us need to evolve a lot, and we're both working on it.
Q2: The novel talks about friendship and relationships...what were you thinking when you were writing it?
A: In a way, this book was a tribute to my dear friend Saahil Khurana, whom we lost in 2011. Saahil & I used to spend a lot of time contemplating ways in which we could change the world, and he used to think of ways in which he could change my life. While writing it, I used to wonder what he would've thought about all of this. I would like to believe that he's happy about it.
Q3: Why Chic-lit novel when you are so inspired by fantasy, like J.K Rowling's novel?
A: I've never been a fan of categorization, So I really don't think it's fair to categorize a story based purely on the type of characters that it entails. As far as books are concerned, I wanted to churn words that truly connect with readers on an interpersonal level. I believe that magical realism can be induced in a country of young readers, without actually moving a wand or uttering a spell. Yes, I'm a big fan of Rowling and I'm eternally indebted to Harry Potter for my taste in reading. But at the same time, for my stories to matter, they need to be realistic. And right now, nothing says "real" more than a story that revolves around young adults. Besides, I'm also a huge follower of the works of John Green, who is a Young Adult Fiction Superstar. I guess, somewhere between the lines of magic and fiction, I found my peace with Siddhant Roy's exploits, hence this genre.
Q4: Do you think that writers or readers focus more on light reads, or what the writer wants to say to them; May be something out of the box, other than romance?

A: What I really think, is that all genres are under-rated, until someone new comes along and shakes things up. Readers today, are evolving. I mean, I don't think I'm the only one who likes the works of Chetan Bhagat and Arundhati Roy in equal measure. But that's totally dependent on who you are as a person. As a reader, I need my strong share of classics, and works that include generous amounts of "vocab-extraordinaire". But I'm also a simple boy, who has simple expectations from what I buy in a book store. So, in a way- I need both my light reads and some heavy stuff. And as far as writing is concerned, I guess there's a genuine requirement to maintain that balance on both ends, without compromising on the quality of stories being told.
Q5: Romance is a genre of which one cannot have enough. But Indian authors tend to make it a kind of filmy affair; Either it has to be college problems, or either one or the other characters in a mess. So how does one choose a good plot?

A:  You said it yourself- you can't get enough of Romance as a genre. But then, there are subplots. A love-story isn't always what it looks like, there are issues that involve popular opinion, commonplace solutions and lots more. Moreover, you really can't choose a plot, as much as you can develop it inside your own thoughts. To an extent, you need to grab hold of your own insights, jot them down and then build on it. I tend to get inspirational tides in my head when I experience profoundness in the simplest of things. Love is an excellent motivation to write. So are other emotions. You need to identify the right emotion and then continue telling your story with that instinct.
Q6: What made you write? Are you a disciplined writer or just write when you feel the need to?

A: I think I started using the written word as a medium to vent, more than anything else. It was a hobby, a pursuit that gave me pleasure far beyond other things in my life. It was my escape from everything that surrounded me. But as I have discovered ever since, writing for kicks is one thing. To be good at what you're doing, requires discipline. I credit NaNoWriMo for giving me the right push in 2012, when I finished writing my first complete novel. At present, my best source of inspiration is my fiancee, who tends to give me new and better reasons to write every time. For example, I wanted to get her a gift on her birthday, and she asked me to finish writing the sequel to my book. I think I'm lucky to have such motivation in my life.
Q7: You won  a Young Achiever's award by Whistling Woods International, how did that happen?

A: Honestly speaking, I didn't really understand how or why I was selected when I got their call and the subsequent email from Subhash Ghai. But later, when we were being briefed about the felicitation event, Apurva Gabhe from the Whistling Woods team informed me, that there is a jury that selects young people based on their achievements, from various fields. Apparently, my name came up when they were scouting for young authors on Google, one of the panelists read the book and they decided to give me a call.
Q8: You published "This Is Friday" in Kindle. Tell us how good is self publishing for writers who want to write well. Does platform like Kindle really effective?

A: The kindle platform was new to me, and it came as a suggestion from people who had worked with me on a Penguin UK anthology. And frankly, I wasn't doing it with any expectations of being paid- the whole thing about getting rich on the internet had transcended into a fad for me at an early age. I did it because it sounded interesting, and they have this cool program called KDP select, where you can choose to distribute your eBook to readers through their lending library, and I signed up for the same. It was wonderful, the book was downloaded across the globe and their response was great. Vanity publishers are a big no-no for me, because I genuinely believe in the idea of only quality work being selected for publication. And the traditional slush-pile still remains my favorite way of writing. I can sleep better, knowing that someone has reviewed my work and considered it worth reading,
Q9: Are e-books the next big thing, or you still think we are passionate about reading a book holding it in our hands?

A: Personally, I'm all for paperback titles and hardbound books. But speaking in a twenty first century context, where we're all environment-conscious, and everyone has a smartphone, I think eBooks have a fair chance of becoming at least equally significant as a reading medium, if not more. Besides, I've met people who claim to read better and faster on the screen, so I think it's great. Additionally, it gives you exposure without boundaries, so- why not?
Q10: Your idea on Being bookworms store and something about me?

A: I think Sufia you're doing a great job in bringing authors from different genres together, showcasing their talents. This franchise resembles the idea of a community that runs perpetually, supported by the words of wordsmiths across the nation. You're giving people a reason to speak for themselves, which is brilliant. And your enthusiasm in backing up the project is commendable. Kudos! 
Q11: Your message for our readers and your fans?

A: Read more. And I don't just mean my books. Sure, my books are out there in Landmark and Starmark and Crossword and Flipkart and everywhere else, but try and look for lost classics too. I used to be, and still am a big fan of streetside vendors selling used books, withered pages attract me. I will advise you to stay away from pirated books, because piracy kills almost every good industry. Read about the world, and understand this: In today's globalized India, nothing works better than an impeccable vocabulary and perfect communication. Hitherto, reading is as essential as any other academic pursuit. Try global literature, experiment with genres and try to find your peace in inspirational stories. 
Q12: Tips to becoming a successful writer, how should one start and how does one get published?

A: Well, you need to refer to the last answer once again... for me, nothing works better than reading world class literature. There are some names that I trust blindly for this - Gabriel Marquez, John Green, Arundhati Roy.. reading good books will let you comprehend the art of storytelling, which is a prerequisite towards writing better. But a lot of other things can help, too! Develop an interest in Sitcoms, watch good movies, hang out with philosophically interesting friends, fall in love! One of my favorite Indian authors, Mr. Karan Bajaj used to say "find the thing that melts your butter." If you're a travel enthusiast, get your tickets to the Bahamas or Hawaii, and let your quintessential creative juices flow.
As far as getting published is concerned, try and stick to the tested methods of doing it. Prepare a good query letter, highlighting your own biography, channel your work across target audiences, identify and list the people that you want to target as readers, explain why your book is feasible in those genres, and include the best of your work in your proposal. Send it to as many publishers as you can, and be patient. I know, the last part of it sucks balls, but it's important. Good publishing houses may take a month, three months or even six months to revert back to you with a definite answer. It's okay to follow-up on your query, but don't get too pushy otherwise publishers will lose interest. Try literary agents. There are some extremely friendly literary agents out there, viz. Jacaranda, Osian's, Writer's Side, etc- who can offer you a neytral review of your work and market it to viable publishers.
Above everything else, believe in yourself and your passion. If you think you were born to do it, don't give up on the idea and don't give up on yourself. That, in the end, will make the real difference. 
Q13: How does it feel to be an author now, when readers say they have loved your work... Had you planned to be a writer from the beginning?
A: "From the beginning" is a very ling time-frame. I think I first started toying around with the idea of writing when I was reading Harry Potter. Then, there's another brilliant author- Mr. Sanjib Chatterjee, who writes Bengali fiction, whose books were a great source of inspiration to me. All of this was pre-2000, before the turn of the millennium. When I grew up, the dreams got a bit more streamlined. there were times when I used to associate the idea of being an author with everything that came along with it. It was only after I started writing seriously, when I realized that the job requires a lot of diligence, and your devotion towards the art of being creative. You can't just take something up and treat it like it's meant to be yours. Writing books is like being in a committed relationship, you need to give your work a lot of space, understand it from the point of view of it's characters... and when it actually happened for me, I learnt some happy facts as well as some  strong, harsh truths.. I'm someone who handles criticism well, but I blush like an idiot when I get compliments. I'm still learning the process of handling good feedback :)
Q14: What are your future plans? How was the experience with "25 Strokes of Kindness" ? 
A: The idea is to continue writing as much as possible, as long as I can think and type, I'll keep writing. My publishers have been kind enough to extend every possible opportunity for me to write. Me next novel will be out on stands early in the new year - ( it's the sequel to The Pink Smoke ) probably by the end of January or early February, and then there's the next one, which is a love story set in Kolkata, the city of joy... and the one after that (wink)...
And apart from fiction, I've been motivated to try my hand at non-fiction too, and I'm currently working on one of those right now. Then there are anthologies, and I have a special place in my heart for anthologies, because I got my first taste of being published in print through one of them. Nikita & Sachin from Grapevine approached me for a contribution to 25 Strokes Of Kindness and I was really excited about it, I got my chance to write about that special someone in my life, and that is always a pleasure. I'll keep writing for anthologies, because writing a good short story is actually a lot more creatively challenging and satisfying than a whole novel. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, to be someday able to edit and compile one, too!
Q15: You are writing a book co-authored with Anjali Kirpalani, tell us something about the book? How does it feel to write with other authors?

 A: It's an enlightening experience, to be collaborating with other writers, because you get to exchange ideas and feedback during the writing process rather than afterwards. I'm hopeful about the success of the co-authored book (that's the non-fiction book we're working on). Plus, I had a chance to interview some really interesting people about their relationships and ideas on modern romance, so that's something!

Hope you liked knowing Shomprakash, do let us know which author you would like us to interview next, Keep reading, Keep sharing
warm regards
Sufia Khatoon,

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