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Interview with Rishav Sharma

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. Well hi. I am Rishav. A normal person who loves to read a lot and write about things that are visible to us, but least noticed. For earning, I am part of a development team at Qualcomm, and thus my stories are inspired a great deal by science and technology.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Yes. The next novel that I am working on is a Treasure Hunt of Swarn Bhandar Caves of Rajgir. It's a thriller; a bit sci-fi and cyberpunk thriller staged in the lands of Bihar.

Q.3 What made you write this book?
A. When I watched the movie Munich, a movie on the espionage activities of Israel, I went on to research many espionage activities of various spy agencies around the world. Mossad and Raw operations inspired me to create my own world of spies. This debut novel was inspired by such stories of espionage. Apart from that cryptic messages used in World War 2 also enriched my interest in the world of espionage. So these are few inspirations behind Tikri's Fiasco.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Well, being a new writer myself, it would be too early for advice. I am an aspirational writer myself, and thus it's a learning phase. What I would like others to contribute in is a new idea into the stories. Indian people are aspirational and are oblivious about our past at the same time. My effort is to revive those lost pearls of wisdom through stories of courage, valor, philosophies we need to bring back the lost knowledge. Every writer should aspire for that.

Q.5 How do you come up with the name of this book?
A. It's the story about an imaginary world Tikran, whose name comes from the amalgamation of Tehran and Iran. All espionage activities take place in this fictitious world of Tikran through other spying agencies of this fictitious world (Kasht desert). So, Tikran has this tribe known as Tikri. Now the story is about how these Tikri tribes fail in their plan. It's a fiasco for this tribe. Hence Tikri's Fiasco.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. I am too young to remind this. But yes, through the critics I evaluate that I wrote a fast-paced novel, and missed out good philosophies through which a spy has to go. Somewhere the novel could have connected more with the reader if I had added more about feelings of those spies. I learned that the audience, like me, wants to go in-depth. And I would advise my younger version to seek that depth in the story.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. Magazines and websites are of not great help, but reading good books are. Currently, I am reading Cryptonomicon, a Bible of the cyberpunk genre and sci-fi stuff. Apart from that books such as Amish's series of Ram and Shiva are great. Books on economics, ancient temples, and symbols are great. The point is to be flexible with reading.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. It's a tough one. Well, emotions. For example, if I am writing a love story then for the male character it's quite easy to relate with, but the emotions won't be similar to the female. Giving the story a realistic touch is what I yearn for and I have to imagine what the emotions could be. Those are often not spewed on paper at once. Methodically, I have to give time for dialogues of the female character.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. It's very random. But sometimes it's cryptic too. There is no reason here for this novel, but for my subsequent writings, the name has a very great significance to the plot.

Q.10 As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A. There is this character in Cryptonomicon, Bobby Shaftoe. This character is a soldier in the world warfighting from the American's end. He has killed all the soldiers in the war and is a badass. Reading about him gives me immense confidence. I quite relate to him. His wars; my hardships, and his delusions; my imaginations. Whenever I feel low or I feel I am stuck at writing point, I go back to read the character of Bobby Shaftoe

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Yes. They do. They motivate me to write. In fact, this published novel is self-published with a minimum royalty. But still, they gave a green signal. I am blessed to be part of such a family.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block?
A. Yes. I do. As I mentioned previously, I go back and read my favorite characters and gather a few inspirations to get back to writing. I don't read to study plots. I read to get inspiration. I read to see how these characters faced adversities and they came out. Life is a metaphor. And for me, reading that inflates me with motivation to clear writer's block.

Q.13 Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
A. It energizes me. I have written 50 pages in a streak. It started at 12 am and finished at 4 am. Eyes were bulging out so I had to sleep. Life becomes tough if I don't write.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Yes. For me ending the chapter at the cliff is a natural thing. I don't have to work hard for that. And I write the stories in a sinusoidal fashion. Emotions, sorrow, joy, humor, all these work in tandem.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. My best accomplishment is getting 700 people to buy my book, Tikri's Fiasco, and read it. Of course, gratitude goes to my father for taking pain for heavy marketing. I have had comments that people got lost in the world of Kasht in my book, and that is an accomplishment for any author. It means a world to me if a random reader appreciates my world of fiction.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. Well I would say favoritism. Suppression of talent, based on certain prejudices and lack of knowledge about the reader's choice of reading. Had it be not the case, Meluha could have been a phenomenal novel quite earlier. Also, we don't know how many Meluha type novels are drowned in the ocean of prejudices.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. My editor was someone from the publisher. It was all random. Nothing sort of selection.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I would like to meet Neal Stephenson and Amish Tripathi for thanking them for doing phenomenal jobs in the field of writing. Neal's work is always 10-20 years ahead of time. He writes long novels and embeds philosophy in the garb of science. Amish because he is a star in storytelling. The description of a scene is something to learn from Amish.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. Cryptonomicon for it's a cyberpunk, and it evolves three-story running in parallel. Two about world war times and one in the early 21st century. The relatedness of the story is the beauty. Family bloodlines meet and follow their respective plots. In the 21st century, a team is trying to create a cryptocurrency startup, and they have their hardships and in world war times British people are fighting with Germans with American aid. Also, there are Japanese involved. The interrelatedness is something hard to explain given the context. But it's too deep of a story. It gives a wonderful ride.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. Journey has been good and inspiring. But it's a long way ahead. All thanks to reviewers like you and readers who have given me a chance to express myself.

 Share your social account links -
Instagram - @rishav_6094
Twitter - @6094rishav

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