Author Story Article Release
Hello author, on behalf of all the readers, we would like to discuss something about you and of course, your book as well. This conversation will help reader to know more about you and your debut book. Please give answers in brief.
Most welcome to Criticspace Journals, Author. We heartily congratulate you for being a published author. It’s really a great achievement. First thing, we would like to know about your basic info as a person, daily life, career so far and anything you would like to share about you with your readers.
I grew up and completed my education in Assam. I am a chemical engineer by profession and started my career in Delhi. Having completed my master’s degree in engineering, I have worked in the energy sector and lived in Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi and Paris.
I now live in Perth, Western Australia, with my wife Manjuri and two children, Joor and Jiri.
That’s really great; please tell us something about your journey of becoming an author. When you actually started writing, and how was the circumstance? Did any person or situation influenced you to write your debut book, or was it your childhood hobby of writing?
I spent my formative years in a region in Assam which was near the forests of the Himalayan foothills in the border of India and Bhutan. Being very rich in wildlife, these forests were the hunting ground of the princely state of Cooch Behar and the zamindaris of the region. In the region surrounding these forests, there was a mythical tale amongst the local people about a herd of elephant supposedly led by a mysterious girl.
The memories of the incredibly rich flora and fauna of these forests and the tales of the sighting of the elusive and mysterious elephant girl remained with me even after I moved abroad. Over the years, the gradual destruction of forest cover of the area saddened me immensely. The sense of loss and pain motivated me to write the book Elephant Girl weaving in the legend of the girl into an intriguing plot of mystery and suspense.
As far as the situation at home or influence in my life is concerned, I consider myself fortunate that I grew up in the household of my maternal grandfather Sahitcharjya Atul Chandra Hazarika, who was one of the topmost literary luminaries of the Assamese language. He excelled as a poet, dramatist, children’s story writer and penned a record number hundred and twenty-five books in Assamese. My childhood was spent in a house which felt more like a library. My love for reading and eventually writing (albeit much later in life) was greatly influenced by the literary environment I grew up in.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? Be descriptive please so that our visitors know about you little more.
You do need a driving force or be overcome by an overwhelming emotion to kickstart you and get you going.
In the forests areas surrounding the town I grew up in, there were numerous claims from local villagers and some foresters, of a maiden clad in a white sari leading a herd of elephants. The history of the princely states under British India; the life and times of the Maharajas and Nawabs fascinated me immensely. The backdrop of the plot, the verdant belt of forests lying in the westernmost corner of Assam bordering West Bengal along the Bhutan foothills, constitute a large habitat of the elephants and is the region I grew up in. The forests were the hunting ground of the princely state of Cooch Behar and the zamindaris of Eastern India.
This fascinating background of the region remained etched in my memory long after I left Assam and India. I always felt I had a story to tell. What better way could I put my love for the region and my passion for telling a story than spinning a plot of a treacherous maze with the players shuttling between the opulent royal palace in North Bengal and the deep dark, mysterious forests of Assam with the protagonist being hurtled into a rollercoaster ride of adventure as he becomes obsessed to get to the bottom of the mystery of the elephant girl?
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
The title should naturally come out of the problem that challenges or torments the protagonist and propels the story forward. The conflict at the heart of the story, the shadow that hovers over the protagonist is a good pointer towards the title.
In the case of my book, a series of strange events in the deep jungle unfold to pique the curiosity of the protagonist. Despite attempts on his life, the murder of his father, the Maharajah and his favourite brother, he is enticed to unravel the mystery of the elusive girl who supposedly leads a herd of more than a hundred wild elephants. This tale of obsession, deceit and betrayal, which tears apart the protagonist between his urge to seek out the mysterious maiden and his desire to spend time with his loving wife in an advanced stage of pregnancy had to be christened as “the elephant girl.”
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A good story, a crisp writing style and flawed and believable characters, unexpected directions are important elements of the fiction genres that appeal to me.
And a story that trusts readers, that does not tell readers everything, makes it even more enticing.
What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?
I read somewhere that a novel is like a good meal where the characters are the ingredients, and the plot is the way it’s cooked and served. Both the plot and characters have to be strong. At the heart of the plot should be a conflict that challenges and taunts the characters. And the characters should be flawed and believable.
In the case of my book, I had a broad plot in mind when I started. I also knew it would be unusual for the plot I started with to be precisely the same as the finished plot. I adopted a basic, flexible outline which was embellished as I developed subplots and twists. As I progressed with the story, the characters grew, which in turn again morphed the plot. I let the characters earn their fate as the plot steered its own way.
Are you on social media, and can your readers interact with you?
Yes, of course! I would love to interact with my readers and hear their valuable feedback. Readers can be in touch with me on various social media platforms
Facebook Chitta Ranjan Pathak
Facebook Page: The Elephant Girl
Please tell the reader something about your book. What is your message to those readers who have still not read the book. Why they should pick it up for reading?
The Elephant Girl is an entirely different genre book from the urban romances, thrillers and mythological adaptations flooding the Indian fiction world.
Readers will get a taste of the Raj era and find the mysticism surrounding the trees and the wildlife of that era. It is a page-turning thriller with the players shuttling between the opulent royal palace of a princely state on the 1930s and deep dark forest with secrets. The book is a meticulously researched work of fiction entwining historical, geographical, and ecological information of the region which captures the essence of the verdant forest setting in the Raj era beautifully.
Those who love nature and wildlife will enjoy the book for its natural setting while the mystery element will appeal to those who like a juicy murder mystery.
And yes, the most important thing we would like to hear from you is what is your message to those new writers who have not yet started their journey of becoming an author? You have been their source of motivation, please convey your thoughts with them.
If you have that nagging or sudden urge to write, then start writing right away. Procrastination for writers could mean loss of drive, avenues, and readers. When you at long last start writing, you will be overwhelmed with the frustration as to why you didn’t attempt to write when you felt the first itching to write…years ago. Life will always be busy.
THE BELOW SECTIONS CONTAINS SOME IDEAS FOR INJECTING A BIT OF FUN INTO YOUR INTERVIEW
Would you rather
Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
A room full of spiders, as long as they are busy in their web design.
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Though I prefer winter, if you qualify with “endless”, I would go for an endless summer. Endless winter sounds far more melancholic.
Would you rather have constant nagging pain or a constant itch?
I will go for pain…..constant itch is irritating and could be embarrassing.
Would you rather always be an hour early or be constantly twenty minutes late?
An hour early with a book in hand.
Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage?
Tea or coffee
Hot or cold
Movie or book
Coke or Pepsi
Morning person or Night owl
Social Media or book
Paperback or ebook
All the best for your future and this book too! Thanks for answering my questions.