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Writer dreams

Debutant short story writer Sanil Sachar says his fiction is for every reader, across age brackets.

brunch Updated: Jan 16, 2016 23:17 IST

Staircase to creativity: Sachar says he is working on a film as well as a novel. (Photo by Saumya Khandelwal/ Hindustan Times)
Staircase to creativity: Sachar says he is working on a film as well as a novel. (Photo by Saumya Khandelwal/ Hindustan Times)(Hindustan Times)

It’s NOT easy to get published when you’re just 23 years old. Particularly if your first book is a collection of poetry (Summer Promises and Other Poems, Rupa, 2013). But Sanil Sachar, a sports business management graduate and blogger, persevered and his second book, a collection of short stories and poems The Dark Side of Light, will soon be out. Excerpts from an interview:

How did you decide to write fulltime?

- I think in order to achieve your ambitions in any particular field, it’s necessary to give 100 percent of yourself. We can’t want something and take respite with the hope the goal will come closer.

My decision to pursue writing as a career is primarily based on my love for the art. Thinking about it as a conventionally tough decision or as some claim it to be a risk taking step, were thoughts that didn’t and still haven’t occurred to me. I am fortunate and very glad my passion and desire to offer my work is relentless and I hope to reach each and every person.

But just as a story has several characters and factors that curate it, I have propellers for parents who have continued to be trampolines, pushing me to achieve each of my goals. Their faith and confidence in my decisions even before my own assurance, is an endless rush of adrenaline and I am very grateful for that.

As for those who consider writing or any art field as a huge decision, I’d say, any decision, professional or personal should be deemed important as we should endeavour to make a prominent and effective change in the world with all that we do. As for taking any decision, I believe when you can take any obstacle as a stepping stone, that’s when you are ready to surpass your set goals. It’s always best to follow your passion because you’ll always find yourself enjoying what you do while outdoing all that you can do.

As for only staying as a writer, I’d have to admit, although I will write for as long as my pens have ink (or laptop stay charged), I endeavor in making a positive contribution in other sectors as well. After all being a Gemini, I have ‘two-sides’ and they both have separate cravings I have to feed!

Would you say your stories are targeted towards younger readers?

The Dark Side of Light is like a box of assorted chocolates. With an array of plots and characters in the mix, lovers of murders, mystery, romance crime and comedy, can get their pick within this compilation of fiction which is spurred by reality. It caters to each person’s tastes and flavours.

Plus, I feel it’s unfair to aim books to one particular target audience, so I wouldn’t state it’s just for the younger readers. As any form of art is appreciated differently from each person’s eye, you can’t put an age bar on creativity. Having written mystery, crime, stories oscillating between the fine line dividing love and lust, the content is taken from real life stories but that isn’t the case for all of them.

However, in order to engulf the readers to lose themselves as the character itself, I create my settings, characters and style as lifelike as possible. Themes like love, joy, wrath, cannot be given an age bracket and I aspire to continue writing in order to cater to as vast a target audience.

However, there are several people whom I know and will not name, that are a part of this book but their attributes, experiences and thoughts are all jumbled up like a Rubik’s cube. I’ve mixed it all up to create a unique approach to my work but also to steer clear from these people blatantly finding themselves in it

Are you interested in writing for films?

I love watching movies, and I’m fascinated and in awe of words coming to life. I’ve already written a couple of scripts, of which the shorter versions are present in The Dark Side of Light and I hope to formalize these or construct a new screenplay for films. With Bollywood being a magnet bringing together most of our country, I am keen on entertaining everyone and I think now, I am ready to do so.

Currently, along with continuing to write for myself and my readers, I am a Co-Producer in the upcoming movie, Mantra, written and directed by Nicholas Kharkongor, which is scheduled to release this year. I am very excited and confident about this movie, not only due to the strong duo of a powerful script and a cast that has portrayed the magic on paper in front of the camera but also because with the evolution of Indian cinema, this story will provide the 3 E’s: Entertain, Educate and Enchant.

I’m very excited about assisting and learning from this project and soon provide the audiences with my material and cater them with the 3 E’s!

You write poetry, now you’ve written short stories. What next: a novel?

I’m always writing poetry or writing anything for that matter! Sub-consciously my mind is constantly looking for characteristics in every person I meet in order to curate a new character for a piece of work.

Currently I’m writing a novel, which funnily enough I began writing keeping in mind my first short story and had endeavored to have as my foremost published material when I began writing over 5 years ago. I never had the intention of getting published but in the back of my head, I’d keep reverting and visualizing this story to be bound within a book. I wouldn’t put a timeline on when it’s out because there are days when I write a word and I feel content with myself and then there are days when 24 hours aren’t sufficient but I hope to complete it soon. I wouldn’t reveal the plot just yet but it entails several genres interconnecting with each other because I firmly believe each emotion is coupled to another, as it’s all a ripple effect.

Was it easy to find a publisher?

I wouldn’t class it as easy but I definitely wouldn’t put it under the bracket of being hard. Looking back at 2012 when I first met with Rupa Publications to gain a better understanding on how to improve my writing and being proposed the idea of potentially becoming a published author doesn’t seem too far.

My initiation into writing was through poetry. Along with storing most of my work on my Blackberry’s notes, I had a document under the subject: ‘Publishers’. I researched umpteen publishing houses and stored their contact details. I felt like a spammer emailing them with a request to have my work read and set up a meeting with their editors. I never had the intention of getting published and merely wanted to learn from their expertise on how to improve.

This relentless hope of getting a response ultimately provided me with an opportunity to meet with Rupa Publications, who have been my publishers since my first book. Ironically, they were the one name on the list whose email was at the bottom with their contact details being the hardest to obtain. I had the chance to meet other editors over time too and was constantly questioned about writing poetry or the idea of writing itself at times but I couldn’t be gladder to have continued going forward. At times, one affirmative nod is all you need to eradicate any negatives.

I met Rupa Publications with the intention of improving my work and I was asked to come back after a couple of months with more material collected with a potential of getting published. Prior to meeting them, I would put my stories and poems up on a blog and I would love the responses and feedback I’d get from readers, all over the world. Despite being warned that poetry is an art form that is being forgotten, I was adamant to go ahead with my faith in my work and in this medium, which led to Summer Promises and Other Poems. This belief is reassured predominantly by my readers and that the book is still selling across the world.

I wouldn’t say it’s hard to achieve this goal because the passion towards it makes you stubborn to keep going forward. So, when I was writing my short stories and new set of poems, I didn’t intend on having it published but once that opportunity arose, it was definitely the icing on the cake. The main recipe for this dish, as I’m learning with time is hard work and perseverance.

From HT Brunch, January 17, 2016

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First Published: Jan 16, 2016 23:17 IST

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