Don't care about people's opinion while writing: Amish Tripathi

  • Simar Bhasin, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2015 16:13 IST

After his bestselling Shiva Trilogy, author Amish Tripathi is back with a new series but this time his focus is on Lord Rama.

Scion of Ishkavu, the first book of his new series, that revolves around Lord Rama's ascension to the throne and his consequent exile, has hit the stands to an overwhelming response. The new book like Amish's previous works successfully makes mythology more relatable to the modern reader.

The author who is an IIM graduate, rose to fame with his first book the Immortals of Meluha which was initially rejected by all major publishing houses, forcing the author to publish the book with the help of a friend. We asked the banker turned author about what inspires him, his views on the growing interest in mythology, his tips for first time authors and more.

Here are the excerpts:

What is your writing process? What inspires you the most to write and create the way that you do?
I normally write in the mornings. I listen to music while writing. It can be any genre. The words don't matter. It's the mood of the music that matters. Also, I eat a lot of cream biscuits while writing. Besides that, I have no "process". I am an instinctive writer. I just go with the flow. What inspires me most? That is an easy answer. My inspiration is Lord Shiva and my immense pride in our ancient culture and what we can learn from it.

I know you must have been asked this quite a few times but why writing? What propelled you towards writing?
Paraphrasing Shakespeare, there are three kinds of writers. Those that are born writers. Those that achieve writing success after a lot of hard work. And lastly, those who have a writing career thrust upon them. I am from the last group. I never wanted to be a writer. I have always been a voracious reader, but hadn't dreamt of trying my hand at writing. This career is something that just happened to me thanks to Lord Shiva's blessings.

Do you believe in the existence of the Gods that you write about?
Of course I do. But I am not trying to force my point of view on you. You believe what you want to believe. But I have this faith in my heart. I believe they existed. This faith gives me peace.

What do you think is the reason for this new found interest in mythology for authors and readers alike? What do you have to say about the idea of faith in today's day and age?
I think mythology has always been popular in India. If you read books in Indian languages, mythology has always been among the most popular genres. It is one of the reasons for our country's innate liberalism. It is only in the English language that books on mythology were not published in big numbers. One can debate the reasons for this. Is it that the native English speakers in India were not interested in mythology or is it that the publishing industry in India simply didn't supply such content?

Tell us more about your new series. Will it also be a trilogy or do you plan on more than three for this one?
The Ram Chandra Series is my respectful interpretation of Lord Ram's tale. The first book in this series is Scion of Ikshvaku. And it will probably be a 5 part series. It could be 6 as well. I'm not sure at this stage.

What advice would you have for aspiring writers, seeing that you faced your share of hardships and rejections from the publishing world?
I would suggest three things. Firstly, write with your heart. Don't care about what others will think about your book when you write. Be detached from success or failure when you are writing. Secondly, there is the practical matter of money. So make sure that you have a job on the side. Most writers around the world write books while still holding down a job. Thirdly, once you have finished writing, put your pragmatic hat on and market the book properly.

Your new book was first launched on the digital platform and you also endorse a popular e-book reader, what are your personal views on the ebook vs physical book debate? Which do you prefer?
Speaking from a market perspective, I see both e-books and physical books co-existing for a long time. One can see that even in more mature markets like the US and the UK.

Finally, who are your favourite authors? And also which books do you consider have helped in shaping your own writing style?
I read at least 4-5 books per month. So to give an all time favourite list would be very difficult. I normally answer such questions by talking about books I have read in the recent past which I have liked. I have loved two books of Dr Ambedkar: Pakistan or the Partition of India and Who were the Shudras? Both books were absolutely fantastic and are ample evidence for those like me who believe that Dr Ambedkar was the finest intellectual among our founding fathers. I will also recommend The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh. A little known fact is that most of the writers (and the Producer) of the TV show The Simpsons were Maths PhDs. They smuggled their love for maths in hidden messages within The Simpsons. This book explores that.

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