Hello everyone! Here is an exclusive interview with Author HSD, who has written a book named ‘THE BLUE BELL VILLA’.
A) Interview questions By Dharani
- I’m so glad to meet you. Tell us about yourself.
Glad to meet you too. Firstly, I’d like to thank you for taking out your precious time to read the novel. The book is a long one and needs a lot of commitment to finish it. So, thanks for your time and effort (assuming that you have finished reading it 😊).
I belong to a typical Kannada middle-class family. Born and brought up in Bengaluru, it did not take too long for me to realize that education was key to success- personally, professionally. My command over Kannada and English was good, thanks to various non-fiction magazines and non-academic books.
Despite being a 90s kid, I had a different upbringing from the more common ‘finish your homework, attend tuitions, why so low marks’ parenting that was widely popular. My parents never told us (my elder sister and me) to do this or that but were always supportive of whatever activities we chose to pursue. While my sister was more of a bookworm, I chose cricket. Most of my childhood was spent in playing cricket (professional and gully cricket).
I graduated in Mechanical Engg from the Bengaluru University and went on to work in the corporate sector. The Blue Bell Villa was written in 2015.
- What inspired you to write this edge-of-the-seat thriller ‘THE BLUE BELL VILLA?
I was never a reader of fiction, let alone a writer. I don’t read fiction even now.
My workplace was in remote Tamil Nadu and the town had severe power shut down issues. During summer nights, I had to fight profuse sweating due to humidity. I hardly had a wink of sleep. That’s when I started to write stories. My first work of fiction was Destination: Destiny (random genre). It took me 8 months to finish but the manuscript went unpublished. The work saw rejections at almost all publishers and literary agents (122 rejections if I remember correctly). And there was no further thought of writing another one.
Between 2013 and 2016, I had to travel across India for various projects. Trains became my second home (I have to thank the Indian Railways for The Blue Bell Villa). I had 2-3 days of travel time (one-way) for every project and I had to rely on the ‘exceptional’ pantry food that is served in the trains (Rajdhani including). I felt that it was better to stay hungry and rely on some snacks than force feed on the pantry food. In order to fight hunger, I decided to write my second novel and deviate my mind. That is how The Blue Bell Villa was born.
- I have noticed that your book is about 400 pages long. How many months did it take for you to complete the entire manuscript?
It took me 10 months to write the book. Although I did not write on a daily basis, each sitting was stretched for hours of continuous writing.
- How did it feel when you got your book into your hands for the first time?
It felt surreal. I thanked the Amazon delivery guy and told him that the parcel he gave me was the first copy of my first book. He felt amazed as well. I still remember I ran my fingers on the cover page several times to savour the moment.
- Had you ever thought you will become an author, when you were a child?
Not really. I used to write short stories and poems in Kannada and English at the age of 6. But I switched my focus towards cricket. And by the age of 10-11, I had started to take cricket seriously. I joined professional cricket at the age of 14. Writing was long forgotten.
- What is your advice for Aspiring authors? I do not consider myself qualified enough to advise them. But I can share some lessons learnt in the journey-Persistence is quintessential for an unsolicited author. The publishing field is extremely competitive and perhaps does not devote quality time before rejecting a piece of work. Overthinking and preparing too much is not helpful. An aspiring author once told me that he has a ‘Writer’s corner’ in his house to receive creative ideas for his would-be story. He had also reportedly downloaded a special ‘writing software’. I remember how I tolerated the stench of the train toilets, the noisy co-passengers and the race to the power socket in the train to write a 400-page book.
- What did publishing your first book teach you?
My first written book went unpublished (It was about 300 pages long). My second book is my first published book. I learnt that it is very important to be not attached to the outcome of the work. The attitude can be developed only with conscious efforts at building mental strength.
- The process of writing is many a times tedious and time consuming. What do you think is the toughest of the process?
I feel that the publishing part is the toughest. It entails a lot of factors that are not entirely within the author’s control. A publisher may summarily reject the manuscript without even giving specific reasons.
- Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say about your book?
I do not have presence on social media and I am an anonymous author. So, I do not get to hear directly from them. But some readers do take up the effort of writing a review on e-com sites. Irrespective of their feedback, I feel rewarded with each review.
- Could we expect more books from you?
I have published another book The White Sky (romance).
And I am pursuing publishing of another book (comedy). Getting rejected as of now 🙂
- How was your experience of publishing this book and working with BecomeShakespeare.com?
The publishing front was good. It was smooth. But the promotions part went off track with no support and indefinite postponement.
Thanks for reading!