29 January, 2015

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Sanjay Kumar, #Author of Wings of Courage

*** Special Feature - January 2015 ***

An interview with the Author

What inspires you to write?
An interesting story or a unique perspective (for non-fiction) – one that carries an important meaning that readers may find useful.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea of this story took shape over a period of almost fifteen years. Among Indians in USA, a common topic of discussion is why India is so far behind developed countries like USA and what it would take to change things back home. While most NRI’s don’t want to come back to India, they do want things to change here. Incidentally, that is the reason Aam Aadmi Party gets a significant amount of donation from overseas.
‘Wings of Courage’ is the result of my research and thinking over the years on how India could close the gap with other developed countries – not just on the economic front but also on important social parameters like poverty, illiteracy, sanitation, law and order, etc.

Tell us about your writing process.
Being an engineer, I am inclined towards a structured approach to writing where I need to know my rough plot from beginning to end. Then I would come down to scene list, followed by writing scenes one by one. Though the plot may change over time (it often does), I always have an end-to-end plot. It helps me in many ways, but most importantly I seldom face writer’s block. If I can’t or don’t feel like working on a scene for some reason, I simply move onto another one that suits my mood.
In some ways it is like making a movie where you may shoot different scenes out of order and later arrange them in perfect sequence.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favourite scene is the discussion between Saksham and Sneha when they are coming back from their trip to the mountains. While the tone of discussion stays casual and light-hearted, there is a perceptible undercurrent of strong emotions under the surface. It highlights the fact that human relationships are so fragile sometimes – they can break so easily, all it takes is inability of one person to reciprocate another person’s feelings in an appropriate manner.

What is your usual writing routine?
Though I would love to, I don’t follow a strict writing routine, primarily because I share childcare responsibilities with my wife. On most days, I will get two-three hours of writing time in the morning after my kids have gone to school. The second - and usually longer - writing slot I get is in the evening that may continue to late night hours.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
For someone new, I feel the primary focus should be to grow as a writer. I believe in three keys that will take one there – read regularly, write regularly, and seek honest feedback – from friends and professionals. The last part is sometimes the most challenging as it requires you to overcome the fear of feeling exposed in front of others.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
It is interesting that you ask this because I have always had a cast for my lead characters. When I started formulating the plot five years ago, Hrithik Roshan was my undisputed choice for Saksham. But, by the time I came down writing my first chapter, three years had passed and Hrithik Roshan seemed too old to play a college student. So, I switched to Ranvir Singh and have stuck with him since. On the other hand, Shraddha Kapoor has been the only Sneha during the writing of the book.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Since you said ‘famous’, I will assume it is a safe and scenic island. Three things I will carry are my iPAD with at least a hundred eBooks on it, a good SLR camera and of course a writing pad. If you allow me a fourth, I will take a trunk full of wheat beer. And then, I won’t light a fire because I don’t want to be found.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
With two young sons, free time is a luxury. Whatever little I can manage goes to my active list of pending books – both fiction and non-fiction.
Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I will share two - backpacking in northeast and writing a book on happiness – happiness is such an easy formula and yet so many people (including otherwise successful professionals) seem to completely miss it.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
“My Husband is Mine” – it is the story of a housewife’s struggle to claim her husband back from the grip of another woman. In today’s world, this could be the story of any Indian urban woman who sacrifices her career to take care of her kids, becomes complacent with life and ends up playing a subordinate role to her husband.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Just a short reminder… there is only one life, and a life without passion and courage is a compromised one. So, every once in a while, please allow yourself to break open the cage of insecurity and fly into the sky, and fly so high that you can touch your dreams.

About the Book

You must act! Your dreams may look unachievable, but giving up without trying is cowardice. It is against evolution, for evolution is not the result of endless worries, thoughts or discussions. Evolution is in action.” 
In those words, Saksham finds courage to step beyond his self-imposed ineptitude and begin a new life. 
This is the story of Saksham, a bright young man, and his quest for a more humane world. On his journey, he meets a wise philosopher who helps him unravel the complexities of today’s civilized human world, and a young beautiful woman who rekindles his passion for life. Their belief in him empowers Saksham to launch an attack against organized evil. 
As Saksham marches forward, he must choose between the comfort of his love and courage to follow his dreams. If he chooses the latter, he will need to adopt brutal ways to counter raw powers of evil. And… there will be no going back. 
‘Wings of Courage’ is a moving tale of passion and courage, for without them, our dreams may never come true.

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