We at ManipalBlog are delighted to bring this interview with Mr. Shreyas Bhave, entrepreneur, musician and author of the best selling “The Asoka Trilogy” book series. He also devotes his energies to a start-up that provides quality services to users of transformer and switchgear products in the country. Additionally, he runs an entrepreneurial community at www.ourfirstmillion.org.
We thank Shreyas for answering a few questions we had after reading his latest book – The Prisoner of Yakutsk.
MB: Did you always want to be a writer? When did you decide that you needed to be one?
Shreyas: My Myers Briggs Personality type is INTJ/T, which the theory says is a very good type for an author. So I guess I was hard-wired for it ever since my birth.
MB: Have you written stuff before “Prisoner of Yakutsk”? How did you begin?
Shreyas: I have written a trilogy of three books called ‘The Asoka trilogy’ before ‘Prisoner of Yakutsk’. I have been writing stories since I was a child, however it took concrete form only when I reached college.
MB: What do you do while writing a book? Any quirks / superstitions?
Shreyas: Generally, I take short breaks from my regular work of executing Railway Electrification Contracts when I write. So there is a real pressure to complete a book in a span of 1.5-2 months. Like people have good hair days and bad hair days, we writers have good word count days. I try to write 4000 words in a day, while on my good days I am able to reach up to 8000 words/day. Anything below 2000 words in a day means slogging off. With this rate, I am able to complete a book including later drafts in 2 months or less.
Shreyas: There were several surprising things I learnt during my research. I have built these interesting tid-bits into my own story. Some of them, for example are as follows :-
1) What is the relation of Polaroid cameras with the Netaji Bose Mystery?
2) Why did Sardar Patel’s plane crash in 1949?
3) How were helicopter invented?
4) How to escape tracking from a thermal scanner. etc…
MB: How much of what you’ve written in “Prisoner of Yakutsk” could be true?
Shreyas: There have been many stories written on the topic of the Mysterious death of Subhash Chandra Bose. But most of these books only raise Questions. They do not provide Answers. What is unique about ‘Prisoner of Yakutsk’ is that it provides concrete explanation to the entire events around 18th August 1945. My book is based on historical fact, though there are elements of fiction, I sincerely believe that 100% of it is true. However, such things cannot be proven in a court of law.
MB:How long does it take to come up with a book?
Shreyas: Writers come up with book ideas quite fast. It is converting that idea to a manuscript that is the time consuming process. I call it the idea-reality deficit. A writer will always have more ideas in his life than he/she will be able to put down on paper.
MB:Do you think a writer can be taught? Do writing workshops help?
Shreyas: They help definitely! Writing is a skill that grows with experience. The more you write, the better you get. And writing workshops are a very good way to accelerate that process.
MB: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Shreyas: Yes, keep writing. That’s it!
MB: Have you received fan mail? Do readers write back to you with their suggestions? How do you respond?
Shreyas: Yes I have on multiple occasions. Readers write to ask mostly when is my next book will come out. Until now, not one of my book has ever received a review less than 3 stars out of five. As bestselling authors often tell stories of how they received bad reviews early in their career, I cant help but be afraid that as I never received a bad review, I would never be a bestselling author.
MB:How was your experience with Publishing house (Lead Start)?
Shreyas: I had a wonderful experience Leadstart Publishing throught the publication of my three books. From editing to cover design to marketing, to negotiating the Screen Adaptation Options contract, their team was very professional and always strove to bring best results for their author. I have been so happy with my experience that I have further signed a 5 book contract with then.
MB:Would you like to narrate some interesting things that might have happened during your publishers’ meeting or book promotions?
Shreyas: The cover of Prisoner of Yakutsk was an issue for much debate in my Publisher’s Editorial board. There were two options ,one is the red cover which was finalized and other was a white color which was perhaps a little better but not as catchy as the red one. It was a interesting time in making the selection out of the two.
MB:Finally, what do you think makes a good story?
Shreyas: There are two types of Human minds, one is the Thinking dominant type and one is the Feeling dominant type. These different minds prefer different kinds of stories. The first one would love O’Henry while the second one would love poetry.
Thannk you Shreyas, once again, for taking time to discuss some aspects of writing with us.