Do we need to tell who is Mainak Dhar? Guess no… But still for those who don’t know him yet- Mainak Dhar is one of those few authors in India whose many books made it to the best seller list. His very recent release is 03:02 and we had a quick chit chat session with him. Just check out what he said….
1) It a pleasure to have you on this platform of Indiacafe24.com. Our readers would surely want to have a sneak peak on your background.
It’s wonderful to be featured here and get a chance to engage with your readers. I describe myself as family man first, cubicle dweller by day and writer by night, and that’s shorthand for all the roles I play and what’s important to me. The most important thing for me is my family; I have been working in the corporate sector for twenty years and that’s my day job; and writing is a passion that has been an important part of me since I was a child and something I try and keep alive.
2) Your very latest release is 03.02. How it is different from your rest works?
03:02 does take forward some aspects of my previous work, such as the role of the individual in taking charge of their destiny, and an adventure set in a dystopian setting. What is different is that unlike the fantasy/horror genre I had used in works like Alice in Deadland, Zombiestan and Chronicler of the Undead, 03:02 is set in current reality, with real people like us facing not a fictional horror but the very real horror of terrorism that we see around us in the world every day.
3) Do you have any connection with the story of 03.02 in your personal life?
Every writer taps into their personal experiences to build into their writing, and I have done the same with 03:02 at many levels. The main character is named Aaditya, which is the name of my son; the story is set in the real neighbourhood where I live; a lot of the character’s back story (family having served in uniform, martial arts training etc) are borrowed from my own experiences. There are perhaps many more, but certainly 03:02 does take off some real aspects of my life and experiences.
4) What did you think about romantic novels and their popularity in the market? Which genre is your favorite and why?
People have always loved love stories, and that is not a new phenomenon- that’s why Romeo & Juliet still resonates, and why love stories have dominated Bollywood. So not a surprise that readers also love reading love stories. For me personally, I love reading historical fiction (Conn Igguldenn, Bernard Cornwell), fantasy (Tolkien) and thrillers (Lee Child).
5) How did you get addicted towards writing world?
It’s hard to remember what triggered it or whether there was one single trigger, but as a child, we moved around a lot, and changing homes and schools every couple of years meant I did not have a lot of stable friends, so I developed a love of reading and writing to entertain myself and express myself.
6) Who is the one who for the first time noticed the spark in you to become an author?
That would have to be my mother. As a child, I had an overactive imagination- having an imaginary friend who sat with me in class, an ‘end of the world’ story that I wrote and dug into our front yard hoping future archaeologists would find it, and in Grade 7, stapling my poems with Maths solutions and selling them to my classmates. My mother not just indulged all this madness, but she actually encouraged me in my dream of one day wanting to be a published writer. She went with me to publishers when I published my first book when I was in college.
7) Which character of your novel 03:02 is your favorite and why?
The lead character, Aaditya, not least because he’s named for my eight-year-old son!
8) The conflict between the publishers and authors is very common. Have you faced such problem while finding publisher for your books?
My first novel, The Funda of Mix-ology, received 54 rejection letters, so I certainly learned through the school of hard knocks. I actually don’t see a conflict between publishers and writers. What new writers struggle through is understanding what is important to publishers. Any writer wants to get their work to readers, and what is the missing link is realizing that publishers are not publishing books as a hobby or public service. It’s a business for them, and understanding them, understanding how the process works helps. So write a great story, the very best you can, but also do your homework on other books in the genre, how yours is different and what elements of your story would really get readers interested. Thinking through those will help pitch your book better to publishers.
9) What are your other passions in life?
First and foremost, my family. I’m married and we have an eight year old son (Aaditya!), and spending time with them and being the best husband and father I can be is the most important thing to me.
10) What are your future plans? What’s next in pipeline and of what genre?
I think I’ll continue along the path I have begun to explore with 03:02 of thrillers building off current realities and concerns. I haven’t started work on a specific idea yet.