05 December, 2016

#Interview with Farhad Sorabjee, #Author of God on Every Wind

About the Author:

Farhad Sorabjee lives in Mumbai, India. He is the author of several playscripts and two film scripts. Productions of his work have been staged in theaters in India. Farhad's plays have been developed as part of the Royal Court International Programme and at Soho Theatre, London. God on Every Wind is his first novel. 

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I don’t believe there was any single ‘Eureka’ moment. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing since university, and just mushroomed into larger (and increasingly ambitious!) work.

What inspires you to write?
I think writing is in large part an exercise in self-discovery. If you have no interest in questioning or reviewing yourself and what you are, your world, you won’t feel the need to write. More specifically, I suppose you could say I’m inspired by all  aspects of the human condition.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
To say I came up with a story and then wrote it would perhaps be a bit simplistic. I initially just put the skeletal ideas together, and it then organically took the life it did. It started with a couple of things that interest me: strong, iconoclastic women and the destructive force of individual pre-occupations upon relationships. And then the natural setting had to be (as it often is for first books) the place I spent most of my life in, the Bandra area of Mumbai. How I landed up in some insurgent African country, god only knows!

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Plenty! Long newspaper articles on current affairs (and football!), film scripts, plays…all shelved for one reason or the other.

Tell us about your writing process.
I spend ages just sitting around thinking about the bare bones of a piece. But then the writing process is usually fairly quick. I also dictate large parts: I find it often works (particularly the conversation bits) better and more naturally if I hear it as I write it. Then I transcribe it to letter, so that gives me two bites at it before it’s on paper. And then it’s re-write and hone and re-write and hone....  You have to enjoy re-writes if you want to turn out anything decent. Hundreds of them!

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Well, it would be a bit naughty for me to play favourites! To each his own. One of my own favourite narratives is the one about Hamidbhai’s ‘Freedom Biryani’, which tries to turn the spotlight on the human, rather than the political or historical, effects of the trauma of Partition. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
One of my mentors once told me when I showed her a particularly brutal piece with utterly pitiless characters that characters will come across to the reader as hollow and tiring if the writer doesn’t like anything about them himself. So I guess there is some little bit of me in all the characters I create that helps me to convey them to the reader.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Not as much as I used to and would like to. Favourites? Too many to list. But certainly Marquez, Ben Okri, Rushdie…. A particular favourite has always been Dylan Thomas. One can always aspire to write like x or y, but never Thomas: his writing seemed to be some gift of spontaneous genius from a different planet.   

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
“Start writing the next one.”!!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Don’t wait for ‘inspiration’ or special moments or all that romantic stuff you’ve heard about. It’s far more mundane. Sit down and do it for a working day and see if you like it. That’s what it’s about. It’s work, like any other job. Things you’ll find out by that evening - Can you spin a story? Can you translate it to paper half-decently? Did you really enjoy the work day?

About the Book:

When Philomena, a born rebel—disillusioned with her middle-class comfort and the expectations of her parents—and Nestor, an impoverished African exile with the heart of a poet, meet by chance on the streets of 1960s Bombay, their attraction will change their lives forever. Spanning two continents and following a story of love, loss, and politics—set against a backdrop of turbulent societies, times, and allegiances—this powerful debut novel explores the possibilities and limitations of individual and political revolution. Humorous and at once tragic, this story will appeal to those interested in contemporary world literature.

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