10 March, 2015

#Interview with Praveen Venkiteswara Annu, #Author of Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills

About the Author:
Praveen is a mechanical engineer by qualification, a software architect by profession and a sports-person, photographer and traveler at heart. He loves exploring his home country India and has also traveled to Europe and South East Asia.

He loves all types of sports, enjoys vegetarian food and lives in Thiruvananthapuram, India with his wife and three year old daughter.

His dream is to travel the world with his family someday. And, become a self-published author. 'Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills' is his first book.

Praveen can be reached at praveen.annu@gmail.com

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I never really decided to become a writer. After returning from life changing trip to Ladakh, I jotted down my experience. I thought of publishing it since I had written it anyway!

What inspires you to write?
I am not any good at imagining things. So, I don’t think I will ever be able to write fiction. My book is based on real life incidents and I believe that is how it will stay in the future as well. But, you never know!

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, I had started writing a travel memoir about my trips to Europe, but, never got to completing it. I hope to get working on it and publish it later this year.

Tell us about your writing process.
I prefer to write only when I am in the mood. I cannot force myself to write. So, there is no set schedule. But, when I do write, I like to write as long as I find the flow.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
That would have to be the time spent on the banks of river Indus near the Stakna Monastery. It was around midday and the sun was bright enough and the breeze mild enough to be enjoyed. The only sounds were of chirping birds and the rippling water. The view had everything on offer; snowcapped mountains, lush greenery, turquoise blue water of the Indus, a clear blue sky and the Stakna Monastery perched on a hill. It was a spiritual, so-close-to-heaven experience.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I must admit that I am not a big fan of fiction. All the reading I do is limited to the internet, magazines or newspapers. I do wish I could read more often and more diverse genres.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
This is my first book. I am just starting off. So, I am actually looking forward to feedback and advice from readers and other authors.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Be original and keep it simple.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Actually, while on the trip, my friends and I often imagined ourselves as the ‘3 Idiots’ as a lot of the film had actually been shot in Ladakh.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A knife, a large diary and a pencil! 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Being a father to a 3-year old, it is safe to say that I have very little free time. Whenever I do manage to find some time, I like to visit the beach or a park with my family.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
There are a lot of places on my bucket list. Valley of flowers, North-east India, Madagascar, Galapagos and New Zealand are just a few of them.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am planning to finish the travel memoir about my trips in Europe next. Another book is in the conceptual stages.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I would love to know what others think about the book. My friends and relatives told me that they enjoyed the book, but, I am really looking forward to an unbiased review. So, if any one does decide to give the book a read, please do leave a review or let me know your thoughts at praveen.annu@gmail.com

About the Book:

This is an illustrated travelogue of a trip along one of the most dangerous, but, also one of the most scenic highways in India, from Manali to Leh. 

It recounts the various events that unfold during the 5 day trip from the author’s perspective; the sights, sounds and challenges he encounters as he and his friends embark on an epic road trip in the Himalayas. 

Read on to find out more about the preparation, the itinerary, the route, the food, the terrain, the people, the risks and finally to understand how a 16 day trip was reduced to a 5 day trip for the author.

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