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In the zone of writing

By July 11, 2018No Comments

Source : The Hindu

What does it take to publish 10 novels in seven years? Sudeep Nagarkar gives his fans an idea of how he does it

“The first thing I ever wrote was a note to a girl I liked at school. But I never gave it to her,” smiles Sudeep Nagarkar sheepishly. The author of best-selling romance novels took some time off to chat just before the launch of his latest book She Friendzoned My Love. “I’ve always been interested in writing. I wasn’t looking to get published; it made me happy. I always noted down what I observed and felt. One of my friends read my diary and felt it would make a good book,” explains the engineer-turned-writer.

His first book was published in 2011 and, in the seven years since, he has published nine others. He became a full-time writer after his third book. “One has to be mentally very strong to take this step. Lots of people advised me against quitting my job. My parents and family members were against it but my job wasn’t giving me as much happiness as my writing. Finally I decided to follow my heart.”

If his reception at Odyssey Bookstore is anything to go by, his gamble has paid off. The chairs are full and people are ready with copies of his books. Nagarkar shows off the cover of his new book and offers a short explanation of the story and dives into the interaction with the audience. When he asks how many have read his latest book, hands shoot up. “This is my third time in Coimbatore and you folks are just lovely,” he assures his preening audience. He had mentioned earlier that feedback from readers helped push him out of his comfort zone.

Questions range from how he names his characters to his writing routine and Nagarkar answers each one patiently and seriously. One young man wants advice on launching his own writing career and Nagarkar tells him to believe in himself but adds a cautionary “it’s not easy.” It takes him around 45-60 days to finish writing, he tells a young girl, “but the process before it is finally published could be anywhere up to six months. We have finalise the title, the cover and there will be rounds of editing…” Asked about his writing routine, he says he is not particular about anything except for having his desktop. “For other kinds of writing, I use a laptop but, when it comes to my books, it has to be that desktop. For the rest, I’m not fussy.”

“Why She Friendzoned My Love?” asks one lady. “Why not the other way?” Nagarkar looks startled but answers gamely that he’d seen it happen to many of his friends. He adds a sage bit of advice: “It doesn’t matter whether it happens to a man or a woman; the important thing is to move on. It’s difficult but you cannot ruin relationships by pressing your feelings onto someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Try to maintain the friendship; if you can’t, move away.”

Asked to define love in one word, he laughs. “What kind of love do you mean?” he asks in return. “There’s the love between a parent and a child, between friends, romantic love…. There are too many forms and it cannot be squeezed into one box.”

Another young man asks if Nagarkar would write a book with South Indians as the protagonists and looks thrilled when the author replies that he’s already begun such a story. “Only thing is I don’t know when I will finish it. If I can do that, it may be my next book.”

In between the queries, Nagarkar asks a couple of questions based on his books and the one who gets the answer right gets an autographed cloth bag with the book jacket on it.

Watching him in action, it is hard to believe that he went through a phase after his fourth book when he contemplated not writing any more. “My parents wanted me to return to my corporate job. My friends also advised me to do so. And my books were doing well but it wasn’t good enough. I didn’t publish anything for around a year. But then when my fifth book came out, I decided to try some innovative methods of marketing especially on social media. I opened a Facebook page, started doing book launches, interacting with readers …”And the momentum since then has kept him going.

Time to relax

I read a lot and watch shows on Netflix

Right now I’m watching Sacred Games and I loved Broadchurch

The book I am reading now is Calling Sehmat

Sometimes I pick up books just because I like the title or cover

Among my favourite authors are Jhumpa Lahiri and Dan Brown

I love thrillers because they are so different from what I write

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