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Interview with Joseph Mani

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I am 74 years old. Born and brought up in a remote village in Kerala where I had all my schooling in Malayalam medium. I did my M. Sc (Physics) from Gujarat University, and MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. I also studied philosophy, religion, and literature. Worked in five different companies in the area of HR and Training. Now I spend my time reading, writing, and counseling.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you shortly? Any new project you’re working on?
A. I write an article on socio-religious topics once every 2-3 months and mail it to friends. I plan to publish these articles in book form sometime in the future.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. From everyday experiences, interactions with others, news items, books.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Write only if you are passionately committed to the idea you are writing about.

Q.5 How do you select the title of your books?
A. The title is based on the subject matter of the book; I also try to make the title appealing.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. In general, read on a wide variety of subjects. Read as much as you can on the subject you plan to write about. Write, re-write and be at it till you are satisfied. Don’t be in a rush to send it for publication. Let the idea churn in your mind for days.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. Books on the subject are an important resource. Google and Wikipedia are good sources.

Q.8 What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
A. Great achievements come from hard work, not only from in-born qualities.


Q.9 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
A. I have written four books so far. If I have to choose my favorite, it would be my third book Beyond Gods and Scriptures - Religion Can Unite Humanity and Not Divide Us.

Q.10 Describe your writing style.
A. I try to write in an informal style using simple language. I also try to spice up even a serious subject with some humor.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Totally.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block?
A. I have not experienced it so far.

Q.13 Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
A. It energizes me very much. I feel exhilarated after writing.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I first put down ideas, expand the ideas and then edit. I prefer to write for long periods. 

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. My third book and the present book.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I am not aware of any unethical practices. I wish, though, that publishers would respond faster, positively or negatively, after they receive a manuscript, and not keep aspiring authors in limbo.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. I edited the book myself.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Richard Feynman. Great as he was, he never seemed to have taken himself too seriously. He also had a great sense of humor.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. I have no favorite book. I read everything - philosophy, physics, fiction, humor, and I learn something from every author.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. I come from a poor family, my parents were illiterate farm laborers. My journey from there to here has been full of opportunities. I had opportunities that many may not have had. I do not consider myself especially gifted. The only thing I did was to seize those opportunities.

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