Just Six Evenings is one of the many books being written about contemporary relationships in a generic way that is neither too distasteful nor exceptionally memorable though the blurb promoting the book says, “It is the perfect amalgamation of instances that an MBA school won’t prep you. The murky life of ambition, politics, power games and ethics and the havoc it all sometimes wrecks on love and friendship.” In an interview, author Tanmay Dubey gives us his take on the book and life.
What inspired you to write at first and where do you draw your ideas from?
Born and brought up in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), I received the upbringing of an average middle class Indian boy. I studied Mechanical Engineering and then completed my MBA (Marketing) with the dream to make it big in the glamorous corporate world. So after almost 12 years of successfully working in the corporate world, I looked at folks like me, from small cities running in a mad rush to become ‘somebody’. I felt I should write something to bring forth the other side of this ‘India Shining’ myth. Today for a young boy or a girl, there is a whole system that wants him or her to become ‘someone’. IIT/JEE classes offering sure shot admissions in prestigious institutes. Professional Institutes offering sure shot placement. Your family’s prestige is attached to your CTC and your ‘offsite’ placements. It is because of this mad rush that youngsters are caught in corruption and they toss their ethics in search of success, fame and money. This ideology is what inspired me to write my first book, on a topic that is close to my heart and on a life that I have lived.
What was your experience with getting Just Six Evenings published?
I have undergone a tough time getting my book published. Publishing is a business and not many involved in this business are honest. With traditional publishers taking time to evaluate your manuscript, because of the sheer volume of scripts they receive, a lot of self-publishing houses have come up offering printing services. Offering self-publishing is a money-making tool by the publishers where they charge for the cover design, for basic editing, for covering the print cost of the book and more. I had a tryst with one such publisher but I wasn’t too happy with their end results. Although they got the book released in February 2014, it cost me an exorbitant sum for a few hundred copies. Letting them go, since the rights to the book were with me, I continued my quest for a good publisher and finally received a call from Rupa Publications. They liked my manuscript and post some editing in the second edition and with a brand new look; they were kind enough to publish it. So it was quite a roller-coaster ride to get published the first time. My advice to writers who want to get published would be this: Don’t be impatient. If your writing is good and your efforts are honest, dreams do come true!
Tell us about Just Six Evenings?
JSE is a love story at its core, coated with a light spiritual message on life, its purpose and relationships. The backdrop is the modern corporate underbelly and its myriad issues. All the characters are inspired by real life situations. The events that happen in the span of six days and six evenings in the protagonist’s life are the dramatic tools that have been used to tell the story.
Do you plan to continue writing? Any plans for a second book yet?
Yes, I plan to continue to write. I have received a good response from the readers and have been urged to continue writing.
I have completed the first draft of my second book. Hopefully, it should be out early next year. I have the plot ready for my third book also. It will be a thriller.
What authors do you read most?
I don’t limit myself when it comes to reading, therefore I pick up any genre/book that either I personally find intriguing or one that is referred to me. I enjoy reading Dan Brown, Fredrick Forsyth, JK Rowling to name a few. Amish Tripathi is someone I’m very fond of reading.
Do you have any literary idols who you aspire to write like?
The amount of success that Indian writers like Amish, Ashwin Sanghi and Chetan Bhagat have amassed is inspiring a lot of new authors of course and it leads me to be confident that an alternate career can be crafted out of just passion. I admire their work but my literary idols are Dan Brown and JK Rowling.
You’re also a full time professional. How do you find the time to write? Do you have a routine?
I lead a very busy life as I work full time and writing has always been more of a passion.
But since getting published, I have decided to continue writing and that leaves me with no choice but to be really careful about my time management. I only get time to write on weekends and I am absolutely religious about it.
I have made a strict routine of reading for about 45 minutes before I go to sleep every day and write for at least 7-8 hours on a weekend. I would though completely love to take a break from regular life, go to the hills or the beach for a few weeks to really dig into my story.
What are the hardest and the most enjoyable bits about writing?
The hardest part of writing a novel is to find the right word that would express the exact feeling that I am going through. The most enjoyable part is that with the help of words and your story, you are able to take thousands of readers to a journey into a world that you have imagined as a writer and make them laugh, cry, love and hate the characters you have created.
Do you have a motto or philosophy you live by?
The motto of my life it to try and live in the present and with as much awareness as I can. I do not expect anything from anybody as expectations lead to dissonance. I believe in being positive and creating positivity around myself in my talk, writing and among the people I meet.
What have you learned most from your experiences in getting your first book published?
My biggest learning was that help didn’t come from the people whom I expected the most from. I came from people whom I least expected to help me!