Describe yourself in five words
Thinker, Spiritual, Storyteller, Philosopher, Earthling
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
The fact that I battle OCD every single day and have to overcome it constantly, even for small tasks every singe day.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I meditate, practice yoga, disconnect frequently and write down my thoughts. It helps me look at what is real and what is only being amplified by my mind.
What scares you the most?
Clutter, be it in a physical space or in my mind. It scares me a lot.
What makes you happiest?
Minimalism, coffee, a good book, and good friends.
Why do you write?
Because it liberates me and also, it is my way of bringing about an impactful change in the society.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Ever since I was a kid, yes!
What motivates you to write?
The fact that people across the world read my works and it shapes them, shapes their ideas and their thoughts to a limited extent. My writing hopefully pushes them to understand themselves and the world around them better. This motivates me to write.
What writing are you most proud of?
My current novel Aarya, I am very proud of how it has shaped up.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I am proud of that fact that I have tried my best to look within myself in order to overcome my problems. For the longest time I have been offloading my shortcomings onto others. I quickly realized that every blame has an expiry date. Hence began the inner journey. And I am proud that I am taking that one-way street down to meet the true me.
What are the most influential books in your life?
The Mahabharata, Bhagavad Geeta, Tattvarthasutra are some of the most influential books on my life.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Here lies a great lover, friend and comrade. He lived his life on his terms and ended it also on his own terms. Now, he is liberated!
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in Mumbai, India. My paternal lineage hails from Gujarat, a mid-northern state from where my Grandfather grew up and my maternal lineage hails from Tamil Nadu, a southern state from where my mother grew up. So, these cultural amalgamations are richly entrenched within me. I currently live in Santa Clara, California before which I lived in Savannah, Georgia. All of these places, the people, and the cultural influences have played a great role in shaping my stories.
How did you develop your writing?
I am always writing! I often tell people, give me a blank white wall and I will write you the most compelling tale about that wall. So, I learn, I take critique and feedback seriously and incorporate it into my writing. I learn new languages and the origin of words and I take effort to improve constantly.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
From a commercial standpoint, getting published and marketing are both very difficult. And I enjoy writing very much, so it is never difficult for me to me write.
What marketing works for you?
Currently, I am learning the ropes of marketing and trying my best to deploy social media marketing tools. But I still haven’t figured out the golden rule of what/ which type of marketing is the best.
Watch my Trailer for my new Action & Adventure Aarya
Do you find it hard to share your work?
It is difficult to get your work across to scores of people. So yes, it is hard to share my work and get it across to a larger audience.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family wasn’t initially supportive of my writing. From a social standpoint, it is not seen as a lucrative career or sometimes even a respectable career. Over the years, however, they have become much more supportive of my writing and they enjoy it a lot too. My friends, on the other hand, have been very supportive of my writing and they are great emotional support for me as well.
What else do you do, other than writing?
I work full time as a filmmaker and visual effects artist. I love spending time in spiritual retreats and love spending time in nature.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I have worked as a photographer, visual effects artist, film-maker and cinematographer
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I am done and dusted with universities, they try too hard to fit everyone into a template that they think works for the world. But if I have to learn, I will continue my research on philosophy and the studies of Indian languages.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I will probably shift back to my hometown in Mumbai, India.
How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write with a pen and a book, that way the words flow naturally and easily. I have my music plugged in, I usually write at a desk but then also sometimes it is at a coffee shop or under a tree or by the river.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I need short spurts of sleep, so 3-4 hrs at night, an hour in the noon and my day is very productive.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My family, my friends and all the people who have believed in me. Without them, I would be nothing.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
When a good chunk of the world’s population would have learned, enjoyed and benefitted from my writing, I will count myself fairly successful.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am learning the ropes of marketing and hence am conducting various experimental campaigns on my own. I try to reach out to people over social media, position my book in relevant bookstores and so on.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
My new book titled “Aarya” is set in modern-day India and is a fresh take on Hindustani (Indian) fiction. I had a strong urge to show off the rich and diverse cultural integrity of India. I wanted to do so through my works of fiction. Not much is said or written about Indian fiction because that segment is practically non-existent. This is my bit to fill in the gap and tell compelling stories on that front.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I read, meditate, listen to music and spend life (I say life because time isn’t an entity you own, you can only spend your life, never time. Time will expend itself whether you like it or not) with friends and family.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope that people are entertained with my stories and I am hopeful that it will instill a seed or a thought in their minds about the way we perceive our world. Too much of it is fake today and it means nothing in the true sense of it. I hope that people will be able to gently start taking that inner journey with the help of my stories. My words will make them feel good about themselves and the lives that we live in.
New Delhi, India’s capital city, wakes up to its usual morning. Pankaj Khurana, on the other hand, gets a disturbing phone call. The prime minister is in grave danger. Khurana, the director of the Special Protection Group (SPG), responsible for the prime minister’s security, has a daunting situation at hand now. As he jumps into action, miles away, in a town close to Mumbai, more trouble brews. Izadyar Bagli, a prominent industrialist receives disturbing news. His close friend has been abducted. These incidences seem to show common links, and as they unfold, a terrible, never before seen nemesis comes to fore. The SPG and the paramilitary forces must now unite to tackle a formidable foe that has risen from the ashes.
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