K. Hari Kumar is renowned for writing contemporary fiction that captures the essence of current issues within society. Also a talented photographer and filmmaker, we interviewed Hari about his fiction work. He told us about his debut 2013 novel entitled When Strangers Meet… and his upcoming second book called That Frequent Visitor to be released this month. Hari also shared insights into what inspires his writing work and shared advice on writing paranormal fiction. Read on to find out what he had to say.
In addition to being a novelist, your background involves photography, for which you’ve won awards and also filmmaking. Can you please tell us a bit about your professional experience and how it has led to your writing of novels?
Photography and writing had no link. Writing was my fascination since childhood, while Photography was born out of appreciation. It was not until late in my college days that I started clicking pictures, honestly I was never exposed to camera prior to that. However, I wanted to be an ‘Author’ since the day my mother started reading stories from ‘Chandamama’. I wonder how many of us still remember feasting on that obsolete treasure of our days.
Your debut novel was published in 2013 and is entitled When Strangers Meet… This is a bestselling story. Can you please tell us about the book and what key messages you wanted to convey through it?
‘When Strangers Meet..’ (WSM) is a story close to my heart owing to its semi-autobiographic nature. The story of the three strangers explores the volatile relationship that exists between fathers and sons across different generations. I wrote it when I was succumbing to bad health and depression, and perhaps that was my driving force as well.
Message that I want to convey through WSM is simple – Obey your parents, Respect your children.
Your eagerly awaited second novel entitled That Frequent Visitor is due to be launched soon. Can you please tell us a bit about the story, and how the idea for it came about it?
That Frequent Visitor (TFV) is the story of an Englishman who arrives in Cochin in the year 1948 and his tryst with destiny. The Paranormal Fiction begins from the Delhi Rape Protest of 2012, goes back to World War II, pushes to the year of Indian independence and finally comes back to 2012. I have followed the same style of narration that I started in WSM while taking my reader across the cities of Calcutta, Delhi, Gurgaon, London and Cochin.
I started writing this novel when I was looking after my mother who had to undergo a major surgery last year. The courage she displayed during those dreaded days was exactly what motivated me to write this story. I have dedicated ‘That Frequent Visitor’ to the Delhi braveheart, Nirbhaya. TFV is an ode to the courage of woman.
What things inspire your writing?
Real Life incidents, emotions and the very reason for human evolution – SURVIVAL.
Can you please share 3 top tips with budding authors who want to write paranormal fiction?
It is important to be fascinated and accept your fascination if you want to write about the supernatural, without falling prey to it. Because if you do, then you might go crazy as well.
Secondly, research is important. Read good materials on psychology, science and history, they will definitely help you think broad and wild. A rational book with a good message is much more comforting and believable than a superficial wonderhive of blood, gore and unwanted gimmickry.
Lastly, get ready for criticism, and ignore ‘almost’ all of it.