Interview: Welcome to Criticspace Journals, Pankaj. First of all, congratulations on the publication of your book “Music Men”. How has the audience responded to the book so far?
Pankaj Saini: The response has been overwhelming. People have been honest and positive in their feedback. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Interview: What is the story behind the title “Music Men”?
Pankaj Saini: Ah, I would like to keep that a secret for now. It is going to be a major reveal in the coming books in this series. All I can say, music has been a great influencer in my life, in both easy and tough times.
Interview: In the present time, when people are exploring mainstream themes, how did the idea of a superhero work come to you?
Pankaj Saini: I watch superhero movies. I love this genre. I feel I could create my own league of superheroes. The idea had always been there since I was in school. But I needed to live life for this idea to mature and finally come to fruition.
Interview: How easy or difficult was it to create the character of Sartaj in giving him the modern man’s touch and also the superhero touch at the same time?
Pankaj Saini: Sartaj is an ordinary person. His story, other than the supernatural elements, is the story of many of us in this modern world, having an easy life, living in our own little bubbles, not able to deal with reality what shit happens. It wasn’t difficult to work out his character. Honestly I had more trouble with a few other characters in the book.
Interview: Any superhero you had in mind while writing the character of Sartaj?
Pankaj Saini: A lot of them. Thor, Iron Man, Batman, Superman, Super Commando Dhruva, Doga.
Interview: What is the basic message that you want to convey to the readers through the medium of the book?
Pankaj Saini: I have no message to convey. I do mention a few issues that plague our world. But people are smart enough to figure them out on their own. I just want to entertain the readers with an interesting story. I hope it is worth their money and time.
Interview: There’s been a lot of appreciation of your book and people have genuinely loved it. What kind of literary writing do you think the present audience looking for?
Pankaj Saini: I can only talk about fiction. People look for good, intriguing stories. Something to take their mind off the real world. An escape for a few hours.
Interview: Are there any particular authors or books you enjoy reading?
Pankaj Saini: So many of them. I read a lot. But let me stick to fantasy and fiction. So, Tolkien, J K Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, Ashwin Sanghi.
Interview: Would you like to give any advice to budding writers? How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Pankaj Saini: Read a lot. Try to write every day. Be hard on yourself. Edit what you have written before you show it to anyone else. Please, do a creative writing workshop. I engaged with a few editors for my first book. I went through the kind of corrections they do. Now I make sure I take care of many of those corrections on my own.
Interview: What would you like to say about contemporary writing and What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Pankaj Saini: There is a lot of work getting published. Not every book is a good book. Still, I am glad that people are taking an interest in writing. Quantity and quality of readers are also increasing. The kind of work I like to read acts as a guide for me. My own writing and story should match the level that I seek and appreciate in any other book. Writing and research go hand in hand for me. It’s a continuous process.
Thank you so much for sparing your time and answering the questions. All the best to you.