13 February, 2014

#Interview & #Giveaway :: The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi

 The winner of the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and also the recipient of the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing apart from being the first Indian author to win the coveted ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ title at the international Goodreads choice awards, Faraaz Kazi has been tagged as the 'Nicholas Sparks of India’ by many and is rated amongst the top male romance writers in the country. 

A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India's first exclusive promotional agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as 'The Young Marketer' and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses. 

Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed 'Film Writers Association of India.' Truly Madly Deeply, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to have seven category nominations in the Goodreads annual readers' choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the 'Top 100 YA Global Fiction' list. Kazi is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love. 

An Interview

Tell us a bit about the ‘Faraaz Kazi’ at home :)
Completely opposite of what people think. I’m a pretty down to earth guy who eats chapatis for breakfast, goes grocery shopping for mom and keeps finding ways to write between work. My idea of fun is snuggling up in bed with a good book in hand and some snacks by my side.

Now tell us a bit about ‘Faraaz Kazi’, the Author
As an author, I believe in writing for myself and not for the market. Writing is a revered act for me, more of a passion than anything else. I struggled in my writing career before the TMD days. I had no godfather, no one to advise on the contracts to sign. I erred, I learned. I was a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of a guy, still I am. It made me realize that it was indeed a ‘big bad wolf’ (the publishing industry) out there and in the commercial era, it was going to snack on the little red riding hoods (upcoming writers). Since then I do try and help whoever I can, guiding them in the correct direction backed by my limited resources and knowledge.

When and how did you first decide that it was time to take that chance to publish your work?
I always wanted to be published. It was like that ‘eye of the golden fish’ awaiting Arjuna’s arrow. I wrote my first proper book when I was seven, a thick handwritten story of six children who lose their way in a mythical forest. My first non-fiction came when I was in the ninth grade. I did try a lot to get it published through local publishers but no one takes a kid seriously! 
I was amongst the toppers of my school and the boards were nearing, parents didn’t want me to lose focus. I dropped the idea or I should rather say, gave it the backseat in the vehicle of my dreams. I still remember walking all the way to a printing press in a nearby era and showing him the book, telling him I wanted to get it printed. He heard me out and then asked, ‘Why don’t you Xerox (get it copied) and supply it manually?’ Haha, sometimes I wonder how that guy would react if he remembers telling that to me eleven years ago!

Do you have some unpublished work, written before ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ that’s lying in some old box or unopened drawers?     
Yes, but I am not sure where it is lying around or whether it still publishing-worthy because most of my earlier writings come from a period when I was in my early teens. But a couple of stories written during my creative writing days, post my graduation are definitely there on my hard disk and may be I’d publish them some day when I have had the opportunity to go through them once more.

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?     
Indeed, it’s an arduous journey. Writing and marketing are two different fields. I don’t mix the two. When I’m writing, I’m doing so in my writer avatar and when I’m marketing what I’ve written, I ditch the writer avatar and adopt the marketer’s stand. But if one asks me to pick up a single part that I enjoy the most, it has to be characterization- the art of giving life to your imagination.

When you write, do you get into the character and decide the course of events or do you shape them as the plot requires them to be?     
It’s a mix of both and also depends on what I’m writing to a great extent. If it’s a short story, the chances that I’ve everything chalked up are greater. If it’s a longer work then I just have the character sketch and behavior pattern in hand and I let it determine the way the character’s life will unfold in the story.

Romance and Horror are so different genres… Why did you choose to write two such different books? Was the writing / storytelling experience for the two different for you?
Writing is always a tricky process. Some people say writing horror is tough, writing humor is tougher and all that but I think if you’re a WRITER then the genre doesn’t matter, if you have the knowledge to operate out of certain boundaries then you should give it a shot. 
I seriously don’t think changing genres proves anything. I write for myself and not for the market as I stated and I’m comfortable writing in any genre under various themes of tragedy, comedy, fear, etc. I would rather prefer not being tagged as a genre-specific writer. Sometimes it’s good to be known as the jack-of-all-trades before you prove your mastery in one.
India has such a rich heritage of mythology and folklore yet no one has ever taken the reigns of this genre in their hands and set to achieve something on this scale. You have thousands, perhaps lakhs of Indians who read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and even RL Stine and seem to enjoy the feel of their hair standing at an end. Yet there is not a single Indian name even in India, forget the world, who comes to mind when one talks about horror fiction or particularly horror set in India. With ‘The Other Side’, we are giving you a previously unexplored original territory in the Indian literary segment, a 'blue ocean', something only a handful of writers have been able to deliver.

All writers are readers first! So who are your favourite authors and what are some of your all-time favourite books?   
Indeed. My favourite authors are Khalid Hosseini, JK Rowling and Nicholas Sparks. My favourite works are The Kite Runner, White Tiger and Notebook.

Do you think your favourite authors have influenced your style of writing?
Yes, definitely. Your subconscious does absorb works that it takes a fancy to.

There is always ‘someone’ who doesn’t like your book. How do you handle it?
If the criticism is healthy, accept it and learn from it. It’s very important to accept that no one is perfect, least of it we, writers. If the criticism is just for the sake of saying things, for making the person saying it look like some intellectual on steroids then I let it pass ear to ear. There are a lot of people out there who do hate reviews, ‘planted’ criticism, ‘behind the back’ pulling the rug, etc. but these aren’t that frequent.
Recently I read a review by a blogger who wrote a nasty review for ‘The Other Side’. Tracking his Goodreads progress, he had praised the book midway and when he completed reading it, his statements changed. I thanked him just the way I thank everyone who takes out time from their schedule to read my works. I thanked him even when the review had been pending for over a month, in between the time when his wife had gotten in touch with me pitching their book marketing program. I had politely said a no because I already have my own agency and someone else was doing what she was proposing. It just shows the childish mentality of some people and it amuses me when people resort to such cheap tactics. Best to ignore and do your work!

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie               : Chak De
Your favourite genre of Music  : Sufi
Your favourite Cuisine              :  Mughal
Your first celebrity Crush          : Manisha Koirala
Top thing on your Bucket List   : Finish my dream project by next year

What would you like to say to the people who haven’t read your book yet but are contemplating on whether to pick it up or not?  
There are about a thousand odd books published every year. A passionate reader skims through more than a hundred throughout the year. There’s no chance for everyone to read each book that comes out yet if you believe that my works can be a good PRODUCT for your taste ( I say ‘product’ because I believe my books are more than just a reading experience) then do give me the chance to serve you. The rule is simple - Love me or hate me but don’t ignore me!


From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps and sleepless nights.
'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.
Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!
Check out my review of the Book - The Other Side


A pompous Rahul is head over heels in love with Seema, a shy lady from the same school. After a whirlwind of innocent encounters, their teenage romance blossoms but the two never confess their love for each other. Friends and even a few teachers approve of their relationship which is no secret to anyone thanks to Rahul’s flaunting nature.
Seema, on the other hand, finds it difficult to handle the unnecessary attention she gets due to Rahul’s ostentatiousness. What follows is a series of misunderstandings and ego clashes causing them to drift apart.

Rahul loses his popularity, his numero uno status, his sanity and ultimately his love. By the time he realizes what he has lost, it’s too late. He takes desperate measures to woo her back and win back her love. But will Rahul ever get back Seema? And will Seema ever realize how much Rahul loved her and all the misunderstandings that transpired between them? Is there really any room for misunderstandings in love? In today’s world, can a person’s first love ever be his last?
Check out my review of the Book - Truly, Madly, Deeply

Giveaway
Here's your chance to get your own copy of 'The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi & Vivek Banerjee'
Enter the rafflecopter below for one of the lucky entries will win a copy of The Other Side - Paperback in case of Indian Residents or PDF copy for International bookworms
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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