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Interview with Varun Sayal

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. I come from an engineering and management background, so I have been a studious person all along. But I was bitten by writing bug fairly early in my life and I actually started writing poems around 10 years back. That is something not many people know about me.

Q.2 How many unpublished and half-finished book do you have?
A. I currently have two half-finished books, where 1st drafts are near completion. They are basically expositions of my stories Time Crawlers and Genie, but this time each of them is a novella. I am also working on a couple of stories but they will have to wait until my books are done.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. Mostly through thinking about applications of science in a way which hasn’t been thought of yet. That’s the challenge I love to take up every-time I open a word document to write.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Establishing connections with other writers and book reviewers is a time taking process, but is worth every second you put into it, so invest in that. In addition to that, marketing and follower building need attention too. In today’s writing world where five hundred thousand books are published every year in the US alone, you need to market your brand very strongly. If you wrote something you are proud of, be ready to invest time in spreading awareness around it. Also, develop a thick skin. I am still developing it. J

Q.5 Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. I try to be original, and with that, find an audience who would want to specifically read what I wrote. As a writer, you can’t satisfy everyone. Some people are bound to hate your work. Some of the much-revered books such as the Harry Potter series and American Gods also have one and two stars. So being original is the best you can do.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. Write more often. Publish more often. Writing more often will help you build your writing muscle, and publishing more often means putting yourself out more often and getting critical feedback necessary to become better.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. Writing Cooperative on Medium has some really good articles.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Understanding what goes through their mind in complicated situations is the most difficult part. Because that is tough to observe from outside.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. Character naming is tricky because it can at times gel well into the story, and at others, it will ruin major chunks of the story. I try to look for symbolic meanings pertaining to their role in the story. For example one of my villains’ was named Dushtminhas. Where “Dusht” in Sanskrit means a malevolent person. But at times I would rather not name a character. For example in my story “Death By Crowd” one of the main characters is only referred to as SS during the whole story.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. I respect all reviews I receive, even the negative ones. Because a person took the time to read my book; time the most precious resource one has, and a reader spent it on something I created. So I appreciate that.
Also, the negative reviews where reviewers clearly point out what they didn’t like, are actually helpful feedback. Even within good reviews, there are at times some specific issues pointed out which are helpful.
But then there are reviews such as, “I am giving this book two stars because I realize that I don’t like sci-fi genre.” Such reviews I feel are not a fair assessment of the art.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. They understand that this is something which I am passionate about and they are very supportive of what I do. Although many times they won’t fully understand it.

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. Fans mean a lot to me. Their words of motivation, what they specifically liked about my stories, I cherish each word of their reviews and feedbacks.

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. Time Crawlers was the first one I wrote. Many more to come.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Nothing in particular.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Many self-published books I see never make it beyond 10 to 15 reviews on GoodReads and Amazon, but for Time Crawlers I was able to get more than two hundred reviews (as yet), with many more in the pipeline. I feel I did a better job at sharing my first book, then I expected. Although with the learnings I have I can do it better with my future books. So woods are lovely, dark and deep, but...

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I have not witnessed anything unethical as such and perhaps my experience in this industry is limited. However, I do see people with very crappy writings being very famous because they had a mammoth amount of marketing bucks backing them. But then that’s the essence of a free market, so can’t complain much.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. I reviewed samples from several editors on Freelancer and Fiverr and selected one gentleman by name David Brooks, an editing expert from the UK on FL. He had amazing ratings, and I believe in a very short span he did a great job in weeding out most of the quirky stuff out of my book.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I would like to meet Albert Einstein and French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy. They are both geniuses, and I can learn a lot from them.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. The Stranger by Albert Camus is my favorite book because the way it jolts a soul with an existential shock is just remarkable. Tough to express it in words.

Q.20 How can readers discover more about you and your work?
A. Below are my Website and Social Media Links:

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