Meet The Author
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can't say that I've always wanted to be a writer, mostly because I've had a few teachers mention English isn't my strongest skill. It was quite demoralizing, to be honest. I recall one of my teachers in elementary school, read out loud a grammatical error I made on my assignment. The teacher may have thought they were teaching the other students in the class the importance of proofreading, but I don't think they considered the humiliation that I endured at the moment. I always dreamt of telling stories, but that one moment stopped that dream. It wasn't until much later, in my early twenties; I turned to writing to vent. I posted blurbs out for people to read; I just wanted to know if other people were going through similar obstacles. To my surprise, people were telling me they loved my posts, that I have a knack for writing. It lit a fire inside me. It again inspired me to want to write stories. A few years later here I am the author of two novels.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It honestly varies. The first manuscript I wrote took me about six months to complete. However, it took me another two years to officially publish the novel. Not that it takes two years from the writing stage to the publication stage. I was more so afraid of what the reception would be like. My second novel took about four months to write, and I published it about three months after that. I believe that the process itself doesn't take too long, but the creative stamp to be okay with the final product takes longer.
How do you get books published?
I am what you call a self-published author. So I don't have a publication house representing me. What that means is, I am responsible for the edits, the cover design, interior formatting, digital edition conversion, and marketing of the novel. Pretty much I have to do everything from start to finish. It seems like a daunting task, but it's a very fulfilling one too. Over the years, I've learnt a lot, and I believe each project I work on just gets better and better. I also treat my creative passion like a small business, which is exciting.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I would answer this by starting off with the latter part of the question. Ideas come to me in waves. Most of my ideas come to me when I head to bed. I'm what you call a bit of an insomniac. I can't seem to fall asleep unless I go through a million different thoughts. Film and television are also an inspiration as well. When I watch something I really like, it gets my ideas flowing. I actually started writing "Marappaiyaa" after watching the Netflix series "You". South Indian Cinema, particularly Tamizh films, has been my biggest inspiration. Many of my readers have said they get vibe of reading a Tamizh movie when they read my novels. Getting information and conducting research takes time. The most obvious source for research I use is Google. I mean, who doesn't. However, I also like to read a few novels in genres similar to the manuscript I'm working on at that moment.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I published my first novel in 2015, and I was 23 years old.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have quite a few hobbies. I love basketball, gaming, reading, and I don't just write novels, I also enjoy writing code.
What does your family think of your writing?
Their support means the world to me. They have always been encouraging of my decisions. I quit my job to focus on the publication of my second novel, and my family remained nothing but supportive throughout the process.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
This is some advice I was given, and it has been really helpful. Read! Read a lot. It gives you a different understanding of fiction writing, and what readers seek in a good fiction novel. From my end of advice, I would say just write. Don't worry about your errors and flaws. Sit and write until you come up with the first draft.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I've heard from a few of my readers. There have been a few instances where my readers take the time to shoot me a message to tell me they enjoyed my novel. Seeing messages like that encourages me to continue doing this. I've even gotten a few readers that have given me some advice on how to be better the next time, and I love that! I would love to hear from my readers whenever there is an opportunity.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, what makes a good story is one that is a page turner. I think readers deserve to have the excitement of wondering what's going to happen next. Another huge aspect of storytelling, for me at least, is representation. It will be noted that I prominently use Thamizh characters in my novels, because growing up I've never seen that. If my reach ever goes that far, I would love for kids growing up to read a fictional novel with characters they can relate to.