Author’s Background: Author Selvan Srinivasan, lives in Hyderabad with his wife, daughter and two grandchildren. He is the Co-founder and Chairman of Hyderabad’s leading mental health services providing organisation, PFP Psychological Services Private Limited. He is a mentor guiding participants through an online program called Awareness Journey. He also teaches a course in Alternative Therapies to post graduate psychology students in a college in Hyderabad. He is a practitioner of energy medicine and a writer.
Criticspace Firstly, Congratulations on your book, “Inner Alchemy!” Well, What inspired you to write this book? What was the impetus behind this work of yours?
Selvan Srinivasan: Thanks Neel, I am glad to be here talking about my favourite topic of bringing “Inner Alchemy” a storybook, to fruition. When the idea of “Inner Alchemy” first took shape in my mind, I was conscious of the challenge that self-help books often face – the unconscious resistance that readers may experience when faced with a slew of instructions. It’s a natural response; we’ve all grown up with elders telling us what to do and what not to do all our lives. I wanted to circumvent this resistance by presenting the guidance in a different, more entertaining form.
“Inner Alchemy” is a not your typical self-help book; it’s a light, entertaining story. I recognized that in the modern urban setting, people might be put off by a book that feels like another set of instructions. So, I chose to tell a story that almost everyone in such a setting could instantly relate to. Ayushi, the protagonist, represents the struggles and experiences that many individuals face in their day-to-day lives.
With “Inner Alchemy,” my primary goal is to entertain. I believe that when a reader is entertained, education and inspiration naturally follow, but in a more subtle and enjoyable manner. It’s reminiscent of how, as children, we learned some of life’s most valuable lessons through play. That learning doesn’t stop as we grow up; our deepest insights often come when we approach life with a light, childlike state of mind.
Criticspace: What inspired you to write this book? What was the impetus behind this work of yours?
Selvan Srinivasan: The inspiration behind “Inner Alchemy” stems from a deep-rooted desire to demystify the world of energy healing and alternative therapies. I was an Entrepreneur and Industrialist for four decades deeply seeped into the Capitalistic Corporate World. And then as I went through a seemingly miraculous healing transformation when I was 55 years old I was compelled from within to quit the career of my lifetime and don a new avatar as a mentor, life coach and practitioner of energy medicine. It had inspired me to create a six month online mentoring program that I called Awareness Journey. During the next five years I have been blessed to come across many participants who have journeyed through this program with my guidance and have experienced similarly miraculous healing and transformation in their lives. These involved being cured of incurable physical ailments and mental health conditions, as well as emotional and relationship issues as well as career growth and financial issues. A desire to share this experience with a wider audience inspired me into trying my hand at writing my first self-help book. Feedback from readers and reviewers of that book led me to writing my second book in the Literary Fiction genre.
Criticspace: You’ve given a very interesting title to your book, which is very inspiring too so, what made you go for this title for your book?
Selvan Srinivasan: “Inner Alchemy” is the story of one of my participants joining the Module One of my Awareness Journey mentoring program which is titled “The Happy Place Module”. When I wrote the first draft, the book was called “The Happy Place within.” That name was meant only for me and my core team of advisors and editors. To me it seemed more like an apt title for a self-help non-fiction book and I was always looking for a better one.
Once the entire editing and rewriting process was completed, a long process of deliberate contemplation and brainstorming happened. It was an alchemical process deep within my consciousness and it resulted in this name. “The Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho, who I consider as one of my influencing mentors, was an engrossing story that fired my imagination during my youthful days. So I was in no doubt now that “Inner Alchemy” would be an apt title for a fiction novel.
Criticspace: What was your mind-set, while working on this book? Is it based on any particular experience of yours?
Selvan Srinivasan: I usually travel to some far away destination while writing my first draft and return back for the more cumbersome and time consuming process of editing and rewriting. For this book, I went on a four-month sojourn to some of the most breath-taking places in the US. These included the banks of Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, the Potomac River in Maryland, Tybee Island on the East coast and San Diego on the west coast. Since it was a long trip, I managed to write the first draft of not only this book but also my next book.
I was away from my home in Hyderabad and therefore free from all my daily routines. I would say my mind-set was one of relaxed carefreeness.
Criticspace: What are some of the learnings that you gained from writing this book of yours?
Selvan Srinivasan: It was humbling. Completing the first draft of “Inner Alchemy” left me with a peculiar sense of incompleteness. At 61, I am a male mentor, guiding people through life’s intricacies. In contrast, Ayushi, the central character, is a woman half my age, navigating her own unique set of challenges. While my extensive experience in mentoring provided a foundation, it became apparent that to truly capture Ayushi’s essence, I needed a more authentic perspective.
To achieve this authenticity, I shared the initial draft with a select group of young women, seeking their insights and perspectives. Among them, my own daughter, Aarathi, a respected psychological counsellor with a substantial clientele, played a pivotal role. Their feedback led to a complete rewrite, shifting the narrative to Ayushi’s point of view. It was a collaborative effort that transformed the book from a mentor’s musings to a genuine portrayal of Ayushi’s journey.
During this rewriting session, a profound shift occurred. The narrative ceased to be solely mine; it became a collective creation, blending the wisdom of my years with the fresh insights of the younger generation. It was at this juncture that I experienced that surreal feeling accomplished authors or any creative artists are said to have felt after completing their masterpiece. The book now felt alive, pulsating with the amalgamation of diverse perspectives and shared experiences.
It was at this point that I fell madly in love with the novel “Inner Alchemy”. Falling in love with my creation was not an act of ego but a genuine appreciation for the humility and collaboration that birthed it. Now, as I anticipate its release, I am eager for readers to embark on the same transformative journey that reshaped the book during its creation. “Inner Alchemy” is not just a story; it’s an invitation to explore, learn, and discover the subtle nuances of life through the eyes of Ayushi, a character who embodies the collective wisdom and aspirations of a generation. As the author, I am bursting with eagerness for readers to engage with the narrative, to resonate with its authenticity, and perhaps find a reflection of their own journeys within its pages.Top of FormBottom of Form
Criticspace: Next, I would want you to tell us about some of those writers, who had inspired you and whom you follow!
Selvan Srinivasan: I have been a voracious bookworm right from the age of eight. In my teen years I would finish a five hundred page novel like Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rynd in one marathon sitting of eleven hours. How can I list the authors who inspired me in just a few words! To name a few and leave out the others would feel like injustice to my own inner conscience.
At risk of hurting my own sense of fairness, and with a relevance to the core message of “Inner Alchemy,” I would say Eckhart Tolle, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Louise L Hay, Barbara Ann Brennon, James Redfield, Steven Covey, Donna Eden, Arianna Huffington, Christopher McDougall…
Criticspace: Is there any message that you would like to convey to your readers? Or any piece of advice, which you would like to give to the readers out there!
Selvan Srinivasan: Life can be smooth, easy, peaceful, and joyful despite the chaos and turmoil surrounding us. You only need to learn a few skilful things, as Ayushi did in the book, to transform your life. In fact, you need not learn too many things; you need not even embark on a journey into Awareness as Ayushi did. You can just enjoy reading a nice storybook, and while you are at it, you may find at least one easy tool that you can try out then and there and adopt it in your life.
This alone can bring about unimaginable improvements in your life situation, inspiring you to venture deeper. “Inner Alchemy” is not just a book; it’s a companion on your journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling life. So, I encourage you to seize the opportunity and order the book on Amazon. Its pages hold not only entertainment but also valuable guidance, offering a path toward a holistic, well-rounded life that many seek.
Criticspace: Are there any other books being worked by you? Please let us know about your future projects.
Selvan Srinivasan: : “Inner Alchemy” is the inaugural piece of a series I’ve titled “Tales from the Awareness Journey series.” The narrative unfolds in the bustling city of Hyderabad, India, against the backdrop of the challenging year 2021. Ayushi, a young software professional, grapples with the complexities of urban existence when her life takes an unexpected turn.
The pivotal moment occurs when Ayushi encounters Ranjan, the architect of an online transformative experience known as the Awareness Journey. Intrigued by the promise of profound change, Ayushi decides to enrol in this mentoring program, setting the stage for a significant shift in her life’s trajectory. Ayushi, a character inspired by numerous real-life students from my mentoring program, meets Ranjan, also known as Oogway in the tales. Oogway, a fictional version of myself, becomes a guiding force in Ayushi’s life.
The Awareness Journey comprises six modules, each spanning a month of daily online mentoring, including guided meditation audios, training videos, texting, and video calls. Each novel in the series corresponds to a specific module, and “Inner Alchemy” is associated with the first one, “The Happy Place Module.”
Over the next two years, I plan to publish the remaining five novels in this series, each continuing the transformative journey that begins with “Inner Alchemy.” The unfolding narrative promises readers not just a story but a holistic experience that blends entertainment, wisdom, and self-discovery.
Criticspace: Thank you so much for answering all my questions. All the very best to you for future and your book too!
Selvan Srinivasan: Thank you, Neel Preet, for the insightful questions and the opportunity to share my journey with you and your audience. It has been a pleasure to delve into the intricacies of “Inner Alchemy” and the broader landscape of energy healing and consciousness.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the readers for their support and engagement. May the insights shared in “Inner Alchemy” serve as catalysts for profound transformations in the lives of those who embark on the journey of self-discovery. Wishing everyone the very best on their path to inner alchemy and holistic well-being.