19 November, 2019

#Interview with Jatin Kuberkar, #Author of The Treasure Syndicate

Check out his latest book THE TREASURE SYNDICATE

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
It was at a family party. It happened when I was entrusted the duty of looking after some pesky kids while their mothers were busy in arrangements. To engage them, I tried cooking up a story about a ‘magical pot’ which, to my surprise, became a hit with the lot. In fact, I was surprised with my own ability of cooking up a story so fast. After that, I started to write short stories for kids. I really don’t remember when it transformed into a passion and here I am…

What inspires you to write?
There is not direct answer to this question.
Inspirations come in strange little bottles, some with a label and some just too transparent.
Rarely, they come with a lid so that I can test them and use only what is required; but for most of the times, they just need to be cracked open at my own risk.
The last I checked, a moment in waiting, a crazy lot of co-travelers or an uneducated cab driver with a strange story about a treasure hunting gang can inspire someone to write a book!

What kind of research goes into your book?
Having an idea or a concept or rather an abstract inspiration is not enough to write a book. There is a tremendous amount of research that needs to go in and that too ‘relevant’ research.
My story has its roots in a conversation with a cab driver. During our talk, he went through a lot of keywords that needed research.
Some of the keywords he had for me were, ‘Snakes’ and their connection to treasures, particularly the Red Sand Boa!
‘Unyielding treasures’ – he spoke about them and said that a cursed treasure could spell doom. When I research about this topic, I found many stories that connect treasures and curses.  ‘Black magic and Vashikaran’ was another topic that I didn’t know about. One can always disregard them as blind faith but is that the final answer we’ve got? Well, that is where I see an intriguing tangle!
Treasure hunting in itself is a vast topic, but I am proud to say that it has not been explored or experienced with the perspective that I have presented/projected in my book.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a collection of short stories and a non-fiction. Both of these are still in very early stages.
Apart from this, I am also working on a story that seems to be a potential candidate for the next Treasure Syndicate’s mission!

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
Acharya is like the central character in the book. This was a character I didn’t have any reference to. Moreover, I did not want to depict a stereotype astrologer…while I was in search for an inspiration, a scene from one of the Amitabh bacchan’s movie rolled on the TV. That is when I got a reference for describing the character of Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri!

Kumar is an adaption of the Cab driver who narrated me the story. The only thing that changes there is, the original guy cursed his ‘luck’ for being trapped in this treasure tale, whereas, the one in the book is actually an angel of Luck, without whom the Syndicate is not complete.

The character Srikanth is a vague representation of my own self. You see, the catch is, if I am one of the characters, then I can better imagine and plot the story.

Have you read any books that have inspired you to improve or change yourself in any way?  
I was not at all a reader until I read ‘Wise and Otherwise’ by Sudha Murthy. Before that, only comics and Chandama, Chacha Chowdhari etc was on my reading list.
Then, the book that changed my thinking was The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma. This is by far the best self-help book I had come across.

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
1. Knowing your character well. Not confusing it with the plot or the story. Characters are part of the story.
2. Choose between describing a character step by step v/s describing them at once.
3. Always referring to the character outline so that you don’t err during the story. (just so that a bald character does not carry a comb! 😊)

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to get over it?
I experience writer’s block quiet often… but over the period of time, I’ve realized that it is more of an indication that this is not what I should be writing. A percent of books that are incomplete in my list are all due to this. I guess, the god in me wants me to complete what he thinks is best for me… 😊

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
Depends on the book/story that I am writing. For this one, I had not less than 5 climax sequences. None fitted well. Then, one fine day, I got an idea which matched perfectly and it was done!

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best advice was from a friend who said – you should probably express yourself in a more relatable and ‘reaching-out’ manner than writing poetry which is a more higher form of expression and is not easy for a casual reading.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Do not be in a hurry to publish your work. Give you ideas enough time to mature. Let them evolve. Find meaning in them… read, re-read your works critically and then, you will yourself know when it’s time to get it published.

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