29 April, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: Interview with #Author Howard Roark

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - April'14 ***

Interview With the Author

Tell us a bit about ‘Howard Roark’ at home :)
He’s a lazy, happy-go-lucky person who takes life easy; a nocturnal being; someone who likes to be of domestic help and gets to do it sometimes too, but is not bothered by his folks with too much of it. Generally a person who thinks the best vacation starts and ends at home, he wakes up late on weekends and loves to delve into the world of Internet. Sundays, in the evening, he enjoys his cricket on the street with friends and banter afterwards.

Now tell us a bit about ‘Howard Roark’, the Author
A person bent on quality, he gives importance to grammar and priority to strength in character more than strength in numbers. An introverted person, who likes to work late into the quiet of the night. A person who enjoys writing for the sheer pleasure of bringing known words together to invent something new. Nothing excites him more than to write pithy sentences that touch the heart or nail the head. Brevity is gold!

Tell us your experience of writing ‘Newton’s Law Reversed’
Newton’s Law Reversed was meant only to be a short story, at first. After writing 15000 words in two weeks, it dawned on me that it had potential to be something bigger, as I started to fall in love with the characters that shaped up. I then worked on an outline, wrote it, re-wrote it and then completely redefined it, to set scenes that I later expanded on. And, it’s not an individual’s effort as it might appear. I collaborated with Ragu, my friend for the cover design and Divya, another friend who did the surreal sketches in the book that added form to the words. I see divine grace in this effort, since in retrospect, I don’t think I could have come up with that writing. Or call it first-timer’s luck!

Do you have some unpublished work that’s lying in some old box or unopened drawers?  
Yes, I have, lying in my laptop under the folder ‘Backup’, a few short stories, which I’m planning to have published in the near future.

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?
The parts I liked most are: Writing and listening to feedback. There’s no joy equal to knowing you have a potential, and to have it corroborated by others is double that much.

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?
I’d prefer to have a character etched (sometimes even defined in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) before I venture into the events that define them. However, there are times when a scene brings in so much novelty that you don’t mind tweaking the character to get more laughs/smiles out of it.

Have any of your characters inherited your personal quirks? If yes, then who and which trait?
Akash is as forgetful as me, Ganga is as ‘in the moment’ as me, and Ganesan is as ‘dwelling in the past’ as me.

All writers are readers first! So who are your favourite authors and what are some of your all-time favourite books?  
I fed on the usual James Hadley Chases, Alastair MacLeans and Jeffrey Archers early on, but it was only much later I got satiated, when I read ‘The Fountainhead’, which deeply affected me, and needless to say, gifted me my nom de plume too. Over the years, the authors who inspired and influenced me are: Ayn Rand (obviously), JD Salinger, Jerome K Jerome, Harper Lee and Upamanyu Chatterjee. My favourite books are: The Fountainhead, To kill a Mockinbird, Bridges of Madison County and English August.

Do you think your favourite authors have influenced your style of writing?
Yes, they have. I feel that soon after reading a book, if I start writing, there’s a high chance that I’d write in the same style, provided I understand what was written, of course (I once picked up a Virginia Woolf book and couldn’t get past the first three pages, for the simple fact that I didn’t understand a thing!). In that manner, some of the styles of my favourite authors have rubbed off on me. However, I can’t qualify what I scrounged from where.

There is always ‘someone’ who doesn’t like your book. How do you handle it?
Yes, I have come across some such reviews as well. I appreciate and welcome such criticisms as long as they make common sense. Spelling/Grammatical errors are the highest form of errors, in my opinion, in written art. If such mistakes are pointed out, I’d be delighted. If there are logical errors in the story, as to the time, place or the occurrence of something, then I’d be glad to receive such feedback. However, any other fault comes under the gamut of ‘art’, where can anything be wrong? If people say my book is boring or that it’s too flat, I’d smile and move on, since that’s their opinion and they are entitled to it.

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Your favourite genre of Music: Classic Rock
Your favourite Cuisine: Indian
Your first celebrity Crush: Asha Parekh
Top thing on your Bucket List: Attain birthlessness

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?
While one could tell a lot from the look and smell of a pudding, the real evaluation is in its tasting. So, if you see the book in a store, pick it up, flip through its pages and read a bit. If you are a book lover, I’m hopeful that this book won’t disappoint you.

3 Paperback copies of the book is up for grabs for the Residents of India, Usa and UK. Enter the Rafflecopter below to try your luck

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