*** SPECIAL FEATURE - December'12 ***
As promised, today I have Mayank Jain with me, who has graciously accepted to answer all my intellectual &foolhardy questions! :)
Hello Mayank! Please, could you introduce yourself to my readers?
Hi I am Mayank, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, batch of 2010. Also an avid sports lover, currently working with an FMCG in the domain of sales.
Now tell us about your debut novel ‘Stop Me if You Can’.
‘Stop Me If You Can’ is the tale of a goofy, over-confident, foolhardy maverick called Rohit Salaria.
He is a fresh graduate from one of the famed IIMs, and has just picked up a job in sales with an MNC called ABC. For his first assignment he is posted in Hyderabad as a territory manager. He discovers the ever dynamic world of sales and the uncertainties related to it. And then of course, there is that single most important corporate entity - boss.
But Salaria is different. Very different. Riding high on IIM credentials, the maverick in Salaria takes over as he devises his own methods to deal with situations around him. Salaria inspires his salesmen and peers. His bosses are in awe of him. His competitors want to kidnap him. Or so he thinks. Ahem.
Again, it is Salarias innovative approach and sheer self-belief that leads him to get a chance to be close to Priya, a girl he could have only dreamed of. He wants her badly. But the bigger questions still linger. Will he survive sales? Does Priya want him badly enough? Join Salaria in this humor packed, blunder prone ride where logic takes a backseat. Laugh with him or laugh at him. Laugh you will.
What was the overall experience of writing this book like?
Well it was a long journey. Initially there was no plan to write a book. I started writing a blog which was well received. And people started liking the character of Salaria. That is when I turned to the idea of coming up with a full-fledged book. It was a long journey but very enjoyable and satisfying in the end. While writing can be tiresome at times, once I fell in love with Salaria’s character, it was always very exciting all along.
What are your pet peeves while writing?
Excessive use of exclamation marks really pisses me off. Seems like a desperate attempt to grab attention.
Everybody loves Rohit Salaria, what would you say is his secret to winning the ladies?
He is young. He is smart. He is talented. He sets very high standards for himself. He is successful. His bosses love him. And he is probably the only one who thinks all these points are true. So, it’s his naiveté along with confidence that pulls the chicks towards him. Or so he thinks. Ahem.
Name some of your favourite books & authors. Do you think that your favourite authors have influenced your writing? If yes, then how?
All works of P.G. Wodehouse and his characters – Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Aunt Agatha et al are right up there for me. Then I think there is something about Catch 22 and Yossarin that keeps you glued to the book.
I have always been a fan of humor in writing. And to that extent Wodehouse’s knack of keeping you laughing almost continuously. That’s something I’ve tried to do with ‘Stop Me If You Can!!’ too.
I bet that writing turned out to be the easy part when it was time to get a publisher and then the marketing. Tell us about those experiences.
True to a large extent. Finding a publisher is no mean task. I sent out my manuscript to hundreds of publishers in hundreds of formats. In the end three of them were willing to sign me up, out of which I chose Alchemy because of their superior distribution network. But it was a very tedious process. And I’m glad the book has come out well.
And then of course the marketing bit has been a journey in itself. Launches in a few campuses, maintaining the Facebook page and giving interviews etc. But it’s been a very delightful experience all along.
I strongly recommend joining the FB community at http://www.facebook.com/StopMeIfYouCan.IIMSalesman
to get a flavour of Rohit Salaria and his antics which make him so special.
There’s a lot of people out there looking to tell their stories but have no idea how to go about it. What’s your advice to them?
Get down to writing. Fast. Then once you’ve written something take feedback from friends and peers. Rework and shoot out the script to agents and publishers. If what you’ve written is worthwhile it will get published sooner or later. There is no other formula.
Now for some fun – If your book was to be made into a movie and you had free reign to choose the cast – who would you cast?
(Laughs) That’s an interesting question. Okay so I’m assuming it will be a Bollywood movie. So I think I would like to see Ajay Devgan as Rohit Salaria. He’s goofy yet confident, and has been a huge success with comic roles in the past. His on screen persona would be nearest to our Rohit Salaria. With a bit of adaptation he would be the best to infuse life into Salaria’s character.
Now that we have lived through the ‘end of the world!’ what is the silliest superstition that you just cannot ignore? I know we all have one…
Well, I have this very, very silly superstition (which I’m trying very hard to shake off) – I try to avoid the number 3 in any sense. Like if I write a sentence it would be two words or more than three. But never three. A para would probably be four lines and more. I would serve myself three times from a dish and so on. I know it sounds psychotic, and that is precisely why I want to just get rid of it.
Roti & Sabzi or Pizza – Roti & Sabzi
Nimbu Paani or Coke – Nimbu Paani
Amir Khan or Tom Cruise – Amir Khan
Byomkesh Bakshi or Hercule Poirot – Hercule Poirot
Mystery or Drama – Drama
Any unpublished manuscripts written before SMIYC lying around in a drawer that we should know about?
Yes, yes there was this story on my campus life and I got an offer on it after I had created ‘Stop Me If You Can!!’ So I have decided to put it on the backburner. Forever. Because I think Salaria is different. And he is more entertaining. And I want to focus on him for the time being.
So, what’s next?
Well, I would like to write a sequel sometime down the line. Also, I have a regular job (which I love very much and give my best to). But for the time being I’m just basking in the warmth of my book’s release and Salaria’s acceptance by the masses.
Anything else that you would like to say to the people who have or are planning to read your book?
All I can say is that I hope Salaria entertains you or has entertained you. One thing is for sure, you’ll fall in love with the guy by the time you end the book. All the best!
Well I sure hope so! You have a chance to grab a copy of the book for yourself, so do not forget to check out the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.
Stalk the Author
Buy the Book
If you enter yourself in the Rafflecopter below, you stand a chance of winning a signed print copy of this book. It is open to Indian Residents ONLY! So what are you waiting for?? Enter yourself now and we'll see you again on next Saturday - 29th December with Character Interviews :)