Author

Atha Kāljnānanprakaranam: The Knowledge of Death Related to Time (Edited by Pandit Shoe Shankar Mishra and C N Burchett)

Atha Kāljnānaprakaranam: The Knowledge of Death Related to Time (Edited by Pandit Shoe Shankar Mishra and C N Burchett)

Review by Shwetha H S

Whatever were the intentions of the editors when they began working on publishing the shlokas compilation and its translation, they have failed in it. Atha Kāljnānanprakaranam is based in the collection of ancient shlokas made by Shri Banwarilal. Maybe the shlokas actually teach us something good, but we never know because they are in Sanskrit and not everybody understands that ancient and mother of all languages. Hey! They have provided translation too in Hindi and English. But the translations are so miserable that they will make you cringe out of frustration because you aren’t learning anything from this book and it doesn’t even justify at least its title. The editors must have given the background of the book, neat translations and explanations about why such shlokas were made in the first place. This book is a complete laughing stock, that too in a pathetic way. Please don’t bother reading this unless you have some money as well as time to waste.

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Owen Mullen

Guest Post: Rejection by Owen Mullen

I always have the same reaction to rejection. I take it personally. And since it seems to be the story of almost every writer I have ever heard of, becoming an author wasn’t perhaps the best decision.

Rejection – and we hear this all the time – is part of the publishing process. Accept it they say. Learn from it. Usually this advice comes from people it isn’t happening to. Don’t they realise just how devastating it can be. In Old Friends and New Enemies, Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron sums it up. Charlie says, ‘Big boys don’t cry. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to.’

Believe me I’ve wanted to plenty of times.

Creating anything requires courage and commitment, even before you get to the bit about talent, and of course it is an invitation for others to criticise; that’s understood. Learning to play the piano really badly can and probably will take years. When you are writing a book you pour yourself into the thing for months, trusting you are producing something worthwhile [‘cause who sets out to write a bad book?] until the day you type the final sentence. Then you send your child out into the world and wait to see who is prepared to give the waif a home. So often the answer is: very few. Some give the kid a good kicking and send him home in tears. Others treat him a lot worse than that.

I thought I was prepared for rejection. I was wrong. The first letter telling me that ‘after due consideration my book didn’t fit their list’ was like a punch in the gut. I got over it just in time for somebody else to kick me and my book into touch.

And so it began.

After a while I got used to it. [that’s a lie, I didn’t] What I won’t ever get used to is just how rude people can be. For example: I sent a manuscript to an agent who passed it on to a colleague without letting me know. Months went by. One day I got an email from the colleague, a woman, apologising for not getting in touch sooner and promising to start reading at once.

‘No problem,’ I replied. ‘You’re on it now. Hope you enjoy it.’

Six months later she wrote back. ‘A thousand times sorry. Started it last night.’

‘Okay,’ I said, ‘Speak soon.’

I waited. And waited. And waited.

And never heard from her again.

That’s one kind of rejection, another is what comes back from people who just didn’t like what you’ve done. Or people who want to write your book for you. Loads of them about. There will be others who love your stuff and pour lavish praise on you, and it’s tempting to want to think that must be the truth. Because it suits us, doesn’t it.

This is where it gets complicated; impossible though it may be to see it in the heat of the moment, sometimes the criticism will be justified. Only when we step back from the emotion of it can we identify the truth. When that happens, it presents an opportunity to improve that a writer should welcome. For me the objective isn’t to be right, it’s to be good.

Never forget, whether they think you are the cat’s meow, just so-so, or have produced the worst book of all time, it is only somebody’s opinion. And they’re entitled.

Perhaps Kipling had writers in mind when he wrote this:

‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same.’

Right on Rudyard!

My advice: get your thick skin on, keep an open mind and don’t stop writing.

Interview with James Faro

We asked James Faro, the author of The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins, if we could interview him. He not only obliged, but also gave clear answers to our mundane questions.

We Read That Too: We know that you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

James Faro: I am a writer of fiction but I don’t specialize in any particular genre. What really motivates me to write is the behaviour of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations, and how they deal with these situations.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

JF: I love to travel and discover other cultures. Whilst at sea I visited the Americas and I’ve since lived in Portugal, Holland and Spain. I’ve been a professional musician for most of my life, performing and composing for the classical guitar. I’m interested in yoga and try to keep a few Asanas going each day. I also enjoy gardening and stamp collecting, and reading of course. I spend time with my family, especially my two year old grandson.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

JF: Any genre really, providing it’s well written. Again, I like a story which focuses on the characters. I also write reviews of other authors’ works and this gets me to consider books which I wouldn’t normally choose to read.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins in just one sentence?

JF: The story, set in the 17th century, centres around a young man, Tobias Hopkins, who is searching for his missing father in an attempt to overcome his troubled past.

WRTT: What prompted you to write this story?

JF: Some years ago I read an article about Mary Webster, a woman in 17th century Massachusetts who was accused of witchcraft. This inspired me to write a fictional story, The Widow of Duxbury, which follows a similar theme (read the story here: http://www.jamesfaro.com/#/widow-excerpt/4588185642). From this short story I became interested in the character of Tobias Hopkins who was assigned to investigate the widow’s accusations. His own story took off in a new direction and became the novel; The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins. The story is set mostly in Jamaica and focuses on the relationship between Toby and his newly discovered step-mother and half brother. Whilst at sea I travelled many times to the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A so I already felt a connection with these locations.

WRTT: What inspired you to write a historical fiction?

JF: I developed an interest in social history whilst studying at music college and later when I read Central and South American history at university, so it was an obvious path to follow.

WRTT: With which other historical fiction would you like to compare The Assiduous Quest?

JF: I recently finished reading Leofric: Sword of the Angles by S.J.Arnott which tells the story of a young nobleman in 5th Century modern day Denmark. I found many similarities between the protagonist, Leofric and Tobias Hopkins. Both suffer from anxieties and self doubt and both set out on a journey; Leofric to clear his name, Toby to find his father. By the end of each story both the characters mature and gain in self confidence.

WRTT: Apart from The Assiduous Quest, name any one historical fiction which you would suggest your readers?

JF: If I have to choose one, it would be Orphan Moon by T. K. Lukas; a fascinating story of a young Texan girl who joins the Pony Express in 1860. There is so much history in this novel; references to the U.S. Civil War, the election of Abraham Lincoln, the ongoing problems with Native Americans and also the issue of slavery. It’s such a well-written story!

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

JF: I’ve had a number of people asking if there’s going to be a sequel the Assiduous Quest. Right now though, I am working on a contemporary psychological thriller (under a different author name) which has been an ongoing project for the last few years. I hope to get this completed by the end of this year so I can start working on the sequel to the Assiduous Quest. This episode will take Toby to the Northern Colonies and right into the conflict between Native Americans and the settlers of New England. I have the plot worked out and much of the material has already been written. However, as so often happens, the characters will probably take the story in a new direction and lead me into situations I hadn’t previously considered. I’ll just have to see what the outcome is.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

JF: I’d like to point out how important readers’ reviews are to independent authors. If you’ve enjoyed reading a book by a new author, please take the time to have your say and submit a review; even if only a few lines it will be greatly appreciated. I am always emotionally moved when I hear that someone has enjoyed reading my work.

WRTT: There you go, ladies and gentlemen! There is more to look forward for Tobias Hopkins. And most of all, more works of James Faro. So, don’t forget to read his works and do tell him what you think of them. As for us, we simply love The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins!

Interview with Ilika Ranjan

Ilika Ranjan, author of Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess, took some time out of her busy schedule for an interview with us. Here’s what she had to say.

WRTT: As we all know, you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

Ilika Ranjan: An author who can makes reading fun and introduce  a life with unlimited possibilities.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

IR: I am an ex-banker, used to handle product development and balance sheets in the bank I worked for. Had written my first book Puppet on the Fast Track in 2011, after being absolutely disillusioned with the banking system.

I feel strongly for employment generation potential of tourism in India. Thus started my company Pundareek in 2009. Our country is beautiful. It just needs dedicated and passionate hands to position it positively. It’s a venture I have dedicated my life for.

I also write travelogues for a magazine called CFO Connect.

Currently I have taken up an additional assignment as Content Guru for a new venture- Aroundhomz.com. I loved the concept of the venture. Download the app and one gets to call any vendor one needs for the house. In today’s world when we have to think both in terms of quality and security, such ventures and entrepreneurial initiatives are the call of the day.

I have also taken up on me to encourage children to read and make reading a fun hobby. Thus I have been visiting schools across India, to encourage children to get creative with writing and reading. This I have been doing purely driven by passion and there is no monetary angle here.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

IR: I have a penchant for fantasy and mystery books, especially the ones for children and young adults. They are full of hope and easy on the mind.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess in just one sentence?

IR: A fun-fantasy book for children which has converted so many non-readers into readers.

WRTT: What inspired you to write a children fantasy novel?

IR: I love reading children fiction and my creative juices reach a very different level when I write even a paragraph for children. I also thought in terms of reading potential for the book. Children are very positive and impressionable. They are also great motivators. I have repeatedly said that other than my family and friends, the segment which has motivated me the most for Secrets of Zynpagua, are the children. They don’t differentiate between Indian and foreign authors, unlike adult counterparts.

 I felt Literary industry in India is publishing books on cliched topics. The publishers, booksellers have completely ignored the potential of children fiction. Thus penned down Secrets of Zynpagua.

WRTT: With which children fantasy novel would you like to compare Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess?

IR: None. It is different. Yes the story of stars has enamored me since childhood, but I think that is it.

WRTT: Apart from Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess, name any one children fantasy novel which you would suggest your readers?

IR: I am assuming Harry Porter is a given read, but yes, I liked reading Children of the Lamp Series by P.B Kerr.

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

IR: I am currently writing part 2 of Secrets of Zynpagua, which is – Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of soulmates.

When you read this book, you will discover a very different meaning of the word SOULMATE.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

IR: Being an author is a very difficult task. Authors meet very hostile and negative people during the journey of publishing a book. The publishers are callous and myopic. The booksellers are clueless and there is so much cynicism in the industry. In this entire journey, even when one reader writes a good review for the book, it gives so much life to the author and his/her creativity. Authors I think are more sensitive  than what people know of them. I want to thank and acknowledge every reader who has liked my book. Had they not been there, Secrets of Zynpagua would not have existed.

WRTT: Thank you, Ilika. I am sure your insights will help our readers get a better understanding on what an author goes through to cater to readers. We can’t wait to read Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of soulmates.

Interview with Aarohi Brar

First author interview on We Read That Too (WRTT) is of Aarohi Brar (AB), who is the author of a romance novel Pluviophile.

WRTT: We know that you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

AB: I like to think of myself as an author who writes fiction. Romantic fiction at that.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

AB: Apart from writing, I love to read, travel, cook and listen to music.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

AB: Anything that falls under the category of fiction, romance, contemporary, young adult, new adult, thrillers, comedy, historical fiction and others of the ilk.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe Pluviophile in just one sentence?

AB: From a refreshing drizzle to excruciating heat; and back.

WRTT: Being a resident of India, what prompted you to write a story which takes place in USA?

AB: The only reason that comes to mind is that nearly all the romance books I have read so far have been based in the US. So, probably when this story came to my mind, I imagined both lead characters to be Americans.

WRTT: What inspired you to write a romance novel?

AB: This might sound cliched, but I am in love with the very idea of love. I find it gratifying. When I first realized that I wanted to be an author, I decided that the first book I ever write would be a love story.

WRTT: With which romance novel would you like to compare Pluviophile?

AB: I like to think of all novels to be unique in their own way. Drawing comparisons only defeats that purpose.

WRTT: Apart from Pluviophile, name any one romance novel which you would suggest your readers?

AB: Bright Side by Kim Holden. Simply because, it is more than just a romance novel.

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

AB: All I’m going to say is, don’t think the characters from Pluviophile have said goodbye for good. They haven’t. Especially not Alex and Haskell.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

AB: Just that other than being a writer, I am also a book reviewer. I love to read and post my honest reviews on my blog, www.bookaholic.in as well on my facebook page; the link to which is http://www.facebook.com/lector.vorax. and twitter username is @AarohiBrar