He was already a published author in Bengali, when his first book in English got published recently. His book, The Storm In My Mind, is a love story and a young boys journey from being a student to being independent and a professional. A chat with Ayaan Basu:
Congratulations on such a huge success of the book! Frankly, I was surprised at how much was enjoying reading it, right from pages 3-4. How did you manage this!?
Firstly thank you and I am glad that you liked reading it as much as I liked writing it. There was no plan in specific of how and what the story will be , the only idea I had was about chapter -1 and rest just went on with the flow with a mix of true and imaginary events.
Did you frame the characters based on your friends and yourself, or built them on a fresh mould?
The characters are all real life but except few true events most of them are work of fiction (I happen to pick up good and bad side of all characters and put it in the story with their permission when the idea of writing this novel came to my mind).
Why romance? A lot of us readers are always skeptical about romance coming from male authors, but you seemed to have nailed it and kept the plot fresh. Was this conscious?
Though it’s a topic of debate, I won’t agree, male & female author’s I believe shares a 50-50 points on writing romance fiction.It was not really a conscious effort as I said; I went with the flow with few happening and not so happening incident in my own life which was a fuel to the thought process in shaping up this story into a novel.
Tell us something about your struggle with getting published. We have a fair idea that it isn’t a cake walk. But how was the real deal for you?
The publishing industry in India is booming at this moment with increase in number of authors and readers hence there is quite a bit of competition involved to get noticed.There are hundreds and thousands of worthy and not so worthy manuscript proposals which a well to do publishing house receives so by being patient and waiting for my chance is what I did with fair amount of confidence in my work . The waiting time was a test of patience but once I got a response, Srishti Publishers editorial team was extremely supportive and professional in executing the manuscript into a Book.
You are not a novice to writing. Did that help in getting published?
I am a published author in Bengali back in Calcutta so had a fair amount of idea of how publishing works but there is a huge difference in approach which I learnt and still learning when your target audiences become national from regional.
Any brickbats which really hurt, yet?
It’s takes a good amount of effort, dedication and time to write a Novel and off course one will feel disappointed with a brickbats but in my views it helps in maintaining a balance - motivation and criticism are necessary to nurture a good author for better work in future.
How and when did you decide to be a published author? Was it always a plan, or did you start thinking on the lines when you thought you had a plot with you.
I was already a published author and lyricist in Bengali but a thought crossed my mind that if I write in English , I can reach out to wider group of audience so yes it was planned and now I believe , I can write in both the languages with equal interest.
What next? New genre; or you would want to stick to romance?
Story of next book starts from where The Storm in my mind ended, it’s a sequel but I thought of trying something different in this book – it’s a romance fiction and travelogue starting from Calcutta to South India. Place where the story is themed is very much unknown if you haven’t stayed in Karnataka so I want to expose reader’s to this absolute beauty of nature ( for me a heaven ) with a landmark historical reference and moreover there is no book written about this place so I took it as a challenge to offer something new and fresh.
Who do you read, who are your favorites?
I am a person who reads at least 10-12 books a month on any genre but non-fiction is alluring to me starting from Tagore, Shakespeare, Saratchandra Chatterjee, Satyajit Ray, Amitav Ghosh, Paul Coleho, Shashi Tharoor, any book on Indian History etc to books on one time light metro reads.
People pass snide remarks saying anyone can be a reader now. True to an extent, because there is a lot of average and below average reading material out there, but one cannot deny that there are some really talented writers. Does this perception affect writers in any way?
It does affect because that increases competition in the literary world and a writer will tend to give more than 100 % towards their work. In my belief there are two things needed from an author – You need to be confident first about your own work that it can stand out in between thousand books and in today’s information age , one have to market their book properly else a good book can also go un-noticed.
Is it as easy to be a writer as it seems, with publishing houses mushrooming and more titles on the racks than eyes to read them?
It’s easy to be a writer I agree but it’s equally challenging and needs a good amount of dedication to be a good writer.
Any to-dos for wannabe authors?
Read a lot, be a good listener and be confident about your work – you can only win confidence of a reader if you are confident about yourself.