Today I am welcoming Author Sudipto Das. Let’s chat with him about his book and writing in general.
- Welcome Sudipto, Tell us, what inspired you to become a writer?
This passage from my book (in Kratu’s words) speak it all:
‘Tits,’ I said looking into her moist eyes, my own moist too. ‘Even you? Even you won’t understand me? Tits, I don’t want to be just another fucking rich guy like a hundred others in the Bay Area. Every day a new start-up appears from some garage in Mountain View or Palo Alto, almost all of them go public in a few years and make the founders rich enough to retire to a life of leisure and impotence. I’m not indispensable for GameIT. Sam will be successful even without me.’ Taking a couple of deep breaths, I continued, ‘I want to do something that only I can do, something for which I’m indispensable, something which will happen only if I do it and won’t if I don’t. Do you understand that Tits?’ My voice rose sharply. ‘Do you understand?’
I wanted to do something, whatever small or insignificant it could be, which would have my signature, which would live beyond I live.
At some point of time I thought I would compose music, but found that would be even harder. Writing seemed to be the only other option left for me.
- Your book is very interesting. Tell us about your writing process.
To start with I wanted to write a book only on Bangladesh partition as I felt that part of Indian history was not well covered either in literature or films. You get a lot of stuff about the Punjab side of the partition. But a similarly horrific episode of our history in the eastern side, the partition of Bengal, has been almost forgotten by the creative people. I grew up hearing stories of partition from various people in our family who went through the ordeal. So when I grew up I always had in mind to write about it. But when I started thinking about a book I realized it’s not easy to write partition sagas. People like Khushwant Singh, Amrita Pritam Singh and others have written such prolific tales about it that it would be really a herculean task to write something in that genre and find a place. That’s when I wanted to have something more that than just partition. That was when the idea of using ancient Indian history came to mind, the inspiration is surely Dan Brown and Indiana Jones. So now I had the ancient Indian history and the partition of India. Then I decided the novel to be set in the 90s, with the partition shown in flashback. So that created the three timelines, the 90s, the 40s partition and the ancient historical times. A little thought to sew these timelines eventually created the novel.
I created a rough outline of the plot but it underwent several changes in the course of writing. I started my research in 2008 and finally the book was out in 2013.
It included 2 years of time to research and come up with the story line, then 1 year in writing and revising it several times before I was ready to approach publishers, 1 year to get one and one year of final editorial work.
- Thanks for sharing that. Which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?
The scene when Kubha sees her children for the last time, minutes before the children would be braving killing waves and rains of the monstrous Meghna River during a raging monsoon. The scene is semi-autobiographical, loosely based on a similar incident from my father’s life. The entire Bangladesh chapters are based on the real stories I heard about my father and uncle and grandmother. That particular scene, when my father – he was just seven then – left his mother and escaped to India with his elder brother who was just fourteen, would bring tears to my eyes whenever I listened to it from an old aunt who stayed with us. She would baby sit me and my young brother after our school as both our parents would be out at work. She would tell me the same stories again and again and I would insist on listening to this particular story. It was etched in my memory as if I was there, when all these were unfolding.
- I am curious, how do you go about developing characters of your book?
Most characters are based on someone I know. It’s not that I wanted to create a character like that, but while characterizing, unconsciously, someone creeps into my mind and at the end I find glimpses of many people I know in my book. I think that’s a way to make the characters look real too.
- Tell us, besides writing, what is your favorite hobby that helps you relax?
Music. I’ve a band named Kohal and we do at least one big gig in a year. This year I ventured into composing music, doing ten songs for a Broadway styled musical named “Schweyk in the Second World War”.
- Awesome, music is a great healer. Do you have any book marketing tip you want to share with your fellow authors?
The biggest marketing is word of mouth.
Please request all your friends and acquaintances to read your book and talk about it. There are several other things I did which I can share with anyone who would be interested. Marketing is everything now a days so it’s very important to have a great marketing strategy.
- Which book are you working on next? Do you want to share a glimpse of it?
My second book, a first draft of which I’ve already completed is called Prembajar.
It’s a modern day adaptation of a Greek mythology. Women – friends, relatives, acquaintances – play a very important role in my life. I’ve very high regards for all the women and girls in my life. Most of my inspiration comes from women and perhaps that’s why all the strong characters in my book are women. Prembajar is all predominantly a women centric book with a number of very strong women characters. It’s a sort of my tribute to womanhood, the women of India. In a country like India, where women still don’t get proper share of the 3 “R”s, Rights, Regards and Rewards, it’s my humble endeavor to talk about certain unsual aspects of women and womanhood.
I’ve also started my research on a sequel of The Ekkos Clan, which would be very likely called “The Aryabhata Clan”.
As the name suggests, it would be a thriller based on Aryabhata.
Great talking to you Sudipto. Good luck with your writing!
Sudipto’s Book Links:
Social Media Links:
Author Website : http://www.sudiptodas.com
Twitter : https://twitter.com/sudipto_das
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TheEkkosClan