Rajat Pillai is one of India’s hottest authors at the moment. His first novel was a national bestseller, and his recently released second story looks like it is heading the same way. We did an interview with Rajat to learn more about the man himself, and his books. Rajat was also kind enough to share some invaluable tips for writers of historical fiction and writers who are considering switching genres. Read on to find out more.
You have an interesting background and have experience of working in both technical and creative roles. Can you please tell us some more?
I loved history and literature as a teenager but was advised by everyone to make a more ‘practical’ choice for higher education. So I studied software and during my MBA days, I used to balance between investing time on my career and quenching my creative thirst. I did stage dance shows, to acting in theatre and directing short-films; balancing it all along with my professional career. Finally, I figured out that I have some really long but interesting stories to tell people and what would be a better medium than books. So I started writing and I am glad it worked out.
You are the author of the national bestselling book entitled Chandragupta – Path of a Fallen Demigod. Your book gives a fascinating overview of the life of Chandragupta. Can you please tell us how the idea of this book came about and what compelled you to write it?
It’s the curiosity as to why an extraordinary man who had risen from abject poverty, conquered half of the known world, a person who had all the comforts, wealth and had defeated the most formidable of enemies to protect his motherland; left everything and became a monk in a monastery.
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The research into his turbulent life and events opened up in front of me the complete picture of the reasons which triggered the transformations in this great warrior. Then I wanted to bring this fuller version of the story out for the readers to enjoy. For once I wanted to tell a tale in the Mauryan era that was not dominated by Chanakya or Ashoka but by the man who started it all – Chandragupta Maurya. That is how the book was born.
Can you please share 3 top tips for authors who want to write historical fiction?
Three things that have helped me with my writing are:
a) Make your characters, especially the protagonist very human, real and identifiable. People read historical fiction not only for exploring history but to feel real emotions of historical characters.
b) Research as much as you can about the era but don’t over-flaunt it in the final manuscript.
c) Try to get interesting facts, customs and events associated with the times you are writing about; incorporate them into your story somehow.
Your latest novel is a paranormal thriller entitled The Dead Woman Writing, which has been taking the country by storm, and is getting rave reviews. Can you please tell us a bit about this story and what key messages you wanted to convey through it?
This story is a psychological and paranormal thriller revolving around a troubled woman called Devika Soni. She ventures out to write a book about a Satanic cult’s serial murders in her town but her mind is not stable enough to handle the nature of this subject. What follows are strange events happening all around her and later she starts receiving letters from a cult member who was already dead. The rest of the story is about what those letters lead to, who was sending the letters and how Devika’s life turns into a tailspin while chasing the cult’s story.
The message of the book is that evil will exist as long as good exists. Evil will always look more attractive and propagate itself faster than good. In our world everyone needs to understand that and make a conscious effort to stay on the good path or else the world will collapse.
Can you please give any advice to writers who write in one particular genre, and want to move into another one, but are perhaps a little hesitant to do so?
I think to start with, you should not be writing in another genre because it sells more or because everybody else is doing that as a shortcut to instant fame. You should be deeply passionate about the subject. First and foremost you should have a great story to tell. Then you should read the best books in that genre; at least the top three books to set a standard for yourself. Once you have the initial plot outline ready, it might help to discuss that with friends who’ve read extensively in that genre to see if your plot has potential and novelty. It also helps to get the book edited by an editor who has some prior experience of editing in that genre.
How can people find out more about you?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]