Conversation with Sapan Saxena

Hello Lovelies,

Today we have Sapan Saxena, author of UNNS- The Captivation. He is an amazing person to interact with. This book is his second novel, first one being Finders, Keepers. Apart from this, he is a great cook and a die hard fan of Shahrukh Khan.

Sur:Tell us something more beside your bio mentioned on social sites.

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Sapan: That I am a great singer when I am in my bathroom? OK, jokes apart, I am a good dancer as well and have won many prizes in my college. In fact, I did a little jig on SRK’s Jabra Fan and SRK himself shared it on Twitter from his official account. Also I like cooking a lot, and Hyderabadi Biryani is my specialty. My wife has no complaints except that the kitchen is a mess afterwards.
Sur: When did you realise that you have thoughts of being a writer, even though you are a software engineer?

Sapan: So, that’s a great question, in fact. My father accidently gave me the idea of my first book. I thought the idea was interesting enough to be converted into a book. But still, the social stigma was very much there. My wife was very helpful in pulling me out of the social stigma. Every time I would doubt, she would just say, you can write such complex algorithms, why cant you write a book.

Sur: What inspired you to write this book?

Sapan: To be honest, UNNS was supposed to be my last book. Well, if not last, at least after 4-5 books as I believed I was not ready to handle romance. I could write another mystery, a thriller like my first book. But then, I moved to Nashua during winters and it was snow all around. Somehow I had imagined the last part of my book in hut blocked by snow. This pumped me up and I wrote UNNS.

Sur: I really loved the names, Atharva and Meher Qasim. Are these characters fictional or you have met someone whom you wanted to write about?
Sapan: I usually like to keep the names of my characters inspire by people I know, or my friends. But Atharva and Meher Qasim just clicked. There are other characters like Shruti, Shobhit, Dev, Sasha and I know people with these names.
Sur: This book has a potential of being converted into a movie under crime or detective thriller. So, do you have any plans for that?

Sapan: Yeah, only if SRK agrees to play the lead. Anyways, just kidding. I am trying to take one step at a time. So, right now, too focused on marketing of the book, but anything which comes would be a decent surprise.

Sur:How was your experience with the publishing industry?

Sapan:I have been fortunate to meet some really nice and hardworking people here. The experience overall has been a positive. To break into a new industry leaving behind my comfort zone was tough, but the people here are creative and very enthusiastic. But like any other industry, this has some black sheep as well. Just be aware of them and you are fine.

Sur:Which genre makes you more comfortable?

Sapan:Well if you ask me, I am most comfortable in thriller/mystery/suspense genre. If I add a pinch of mythology to that, I am back into my comfort zone. That said, I have tried to shape up UNNS like a thriller/mystery in spite of it being a romance based on Sufi-styles seven stages of love.

Sur:Is there any genre which you master your skills in it?

Sapan:Mythology and Indian history is something I can easily claim I master my skills in them. I am not generally a fan of mythological or historical fiction, but I like touching those topics in any forum or my literary work. In fact, even in UNNS, you will quite notice how history tidbits keep popping their heads time and again.

Sur:What are your thoughts about the detective stories. Is there any author that inspired you?

Sapan:Well, a friend of mine, Dev Ashish once quoted, “Simplify. Then amplify.” For a good detective story, as per me, there should be a very simple and basic emotion, be it love, revenge, anger, greed, and then it needs to have layers of complexities, which should be revealed to the reader one by one. The shock value is always recommended and the pace should match up with mystery quotient of the book. I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. How he would use the simplest of idea and knowledge to analyze hints which would be too normal or obvious to an otherwise semi-attentive eye.

Sur:What matters for a book to be a bestseller? Good Marketing or a Good writing?

Sapan:So my viewpoint may not necessarily echo with others, but having a stable job has its own perks. I can afford to take risks and not bow down to the whims of the market. For that reason, writing is always important. I mean you can invest in a good marketing anyways. Good writing always guarantees that your book has the potential to reach there.

Sur:Why you chose an Indian publisher beside of being living in a foreign land?

Sapan:Well firstly the context and the theme of the book was something I found more relatable to India. And then, I already had worked with some people from the industry, so was on a familiar territory. Fortunately, Inspire India came along and decided to publish it. So, it all fell into the right slots thankfully.

Sur:Your choice and profession are totally opposite. How you manage both the things side by side?

Sapan:Well a lot of people ask that question.
See, my theory is “lack of time is just a state of mind”. I mean you can complain, but if you really want to do something, you will find out time.
I get a lot of support from my wife. She manages a lot on her own while I am busy writing.
Software is a very demanding industry, but if there is work, that takes priority over everything else. If the load is lesser, time to write!

Sur:How far your relations helped you in your growth?

Sapan:The recent trailer of Injustce 2 has a line. “Nobody wins it all by themselves. Not even Batman.” So, that’s true. Friends and family are your basic support system. They have always helped, supported in anyway they can in my journey as an author till now. For that reason, I have a big big list of acknowledgements in my books.

Sur:Please tell us in brief about UNNS-The Captivation.

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Sapan:So, UNNS is a romantic espionage thriller. UNNS is largely inspired by the Sufi themed 7 stages of love. UNNS, in fact of the 2nd stage of love. It’s the story of Atharva Rathod and Meher Qasim who fall in love when they are in school, and separate and then meet again. But this time, Atharva is carrying a secret. Will their secret consume their love, or destiny has planned a surprise for them? Contrary to what a lot of people believed and have asked me, its not a Hindu-Muslim love story, per se.

Sur:Your message for the budding writers.

Sapan:Invest your time in writing great stories. Blog, and build an audience early in the day. Network and try to make a positive use of social media. Writing a book is a tough job, if you are thinking about it, just do it. If you have done it, pat yourself and work on a marketing plan. Always remember, everyone remembers a good story, so write it for them.

You can also read the review of the book here.

 

 

Candid Session with Sandeep Sharma

Hello lovelies..

It’s been a while since I updated any interview. Today we have Sandeep Sharma, an author, publisher and a dear friend of mine. He is the co-founder of Author Paradise and the author of two books Hey Dad Meet My Mom and Let the Game Begin. When I was interviewing people, I realised that I forgot to interview him and I quickly pinged him up; luckily he took out time from his busy schedule and shared his valuable thoughts. He is not just an author but a person who can change the lives of many people. He is a true inspiration and if you ever get a chance to listen to his lives sessions, you shall surely salute him for his wisdom and the suggestions he offer. A kind person at heart and a jolly personality who can make you smile with his motivational talks. Lets start then:

When did you realize you are meant for writing?

I started writing because there’s a long story attached to it that I have discussed many a times in different interviews. Actually my father loved to write but he never let anyone read what he has written in his diary and one fine day, he just put the diary on flames. I don’t know the reason of this but this very incident drives me to write and I have just one motto of writing and that is to be read.

What are your thoughts about co- authoring? Please tell us in context to your book Hey Dad Meet My Mom.

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Co-authoring is tough and one should only go for co-authoring when there’s actually a need of it. For example, those who have read HDM3 (Hey Dad Meet my Mom) knows that there are two different timelines and to provide justice to my book, I thought to bring Co-author in and Leepi did fabulous job. Her writing style is so different from mine that the motive got fulfilled.

Which genres have you tried till now? Is there any genre which you wish to try?

I have tried Romance and Thriller but I really want to write Erotic fiction. I found this genre really difficult. It’s a challenge to write an erotica.

Let the Game Begin is a tricky book. What was your inspiration behind this?

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My favourite past time is surfing internet for unusual things. I search about aliens, ghosts, accidents, diseases and many more such things. One fine day, this article, about the origin of Chess, landed on my laptop screen. I took a print out of it and started developing the plot. It took me around 6 months to draw the outline of what I should write. The most difficult part about writing this book is setting everything in two different timelines. My whole room was full of A2 sheets where I used to write everything regarding the plot. Those days were nightmares for me.

Tell us about your publishers whom you have worked with? 

Every publisher teaches you a lot. With Gargi Publishing (Pulkit Gupta), I learnt bit about marketing. Why marketing is essential and how effectively this can be carried forward. With Inspire India (Richard Matta), I learned how to increase your reader base. He is a gem of a person, who holds your hand till the end.

How many rejections you faced till now and what you learnt from them?

I got rejected 15 times for HDM3 and 9 (so far) for Let the game begin.

Which genre you can say is your forte?

Thriller, of course. I love writing it.

How much time you take to finish your novel?

This question pops out very often. Actually it took me 2 years to write LTGB, around 9 months to write HDM3 and 2 months to write my next ‘Just a few lies’. Basically, writing can’t be divided in years. There come one day when you don’t feel writing anything and on the very next day, you just want to finish the novel completely. So those days count and no one knows when they will come.

Please throw light on your journey from being an author to a publisher?

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I started publishing because I learnt that self-publishing is becoming costly. (Before that let me clear out that I am in favour of Self-Publishing.) I have seen people getting published by throwing 50k for printing and then another lakhs on marketing. So I came up with an idea where the author will pay for his/her marketing, and I’ll print the books for him/her by investing on it.
Coming to the question, there’s no bridge between me being an author and publisher. I am handling both the tasks, so there’s no journey at all.

Which is more difficult? Being an author or being a publisher?

Being a publisher. There are so many things, about being a publisher that annoys me a lot. You have to deal with so many of people that if you lose track, everything’s gone. Being a publisher is surely a headache but I love it because once the book comes in your hand, it feels great.

When can we expect your new works?

Few great stories. I can assure every single reader of mine that all the coming stories are unexpected and will make you walk the roads that are less travelled.

What is more important? Best Seller tag or A Best writer?

For me, Best Seller Tag is important because if no one is reading out there than who will judge that you are a best writer? And conversely, if people are reading you and are content with it, then it means that they consider you as a good writer.

 

ABout the Author

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Sandeep Sharma (23), made his debut in the writing industry with ‘Hey Dad! Meet my mom’, the book which is still a hot topic of discussion amongst readers. He is currently working on his start-up venture named ‘Author Paradise’ that works for the benefit of Authors to provide them well-organized online & offline publicity. By education, he is a civil engineer who graduated from JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida.

He is very passionate about writing and has been writing short stories for his personal blog since 6 years and they were published various times. He has also co-founded ‘The Author’s Blog’, a platform that tries to bridge the gap between authors and readers. He is an avid reader and loves to review books on his blog. He is a well-known reviewer in the literary world.

He can be contacted through:
E-Mail: sandeeplochansharma@yahoo.in
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandeeplochansharma

P.S. Also read my book review on his first novel Hey Dad, Meet My Mom –http://reviewswithsur.blogspot.in/2016/03/book-review-hey-dad-meet-my-mom-by.html

Book Review of LTGB: https://captivatingmode.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/let-the-game-begin-a-book-review/

and the guest post –https://captivatingmode.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/guest-post-by-sandeep-sharma/