Ayan Pal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from VTU, Karnataka and has completed a course in Education Technology from SDSU, California. He is an IT Professional and an author.
As an author, he is known for his acclaimed short stories in the Amazon bestsellers Chronicles of Urban Nomads, 21 Tales to Tell, and When They Spoke. He has also contributed to India’s first composite novel, Crossed and Knotted, Upper Cut, Her Story, Rudraksha, Arranged To Love, Tonight’s The Night and Long Story Short. He is a columnist of lifestyle magazine ThnkMkt and blogger at South Asia’s leading literary magazine Open Road Review.
Passionate about public speaking, Ayan also loves reading, creative writing, watching and reviewing films, listening to music, and binge watching his favourite TV shows. Confessions on an Island is his debut novel.
How do you feel getting interviewed again on WriterStory?
It’s fun and refreshing to be interviewed for a second time, and that too within a year. Really looking forward to it… bring it on!
How to write a good manuscript and present it to the publisher?
Let me answer that in two parts:
As far as writing a good manuscript is concerned, I feel it’s important to break down the book into effective chapters and write them in a way that makes it impossible for the reader to not reach for the next chapter once he is done with one. Secondly, it’s important to try and reach the main plot/conflict of the story within the first three chapters. How effectively one does it will determine how well the book turns out to be.
Now as far as presentation goes, it’s important to come up with a synopsis that reveals (about the plot/characters/theme) as well as teases the reader to find out more. It is important to understand that this is not the Blurb of the book, but a detailed synopsis. Hence my advice is to keep it simple while ensuring that the strengths of the book are highlighted. Once done, one must choose three chapters as a sample. Usually that’s the norm. Here I would like to mention one more point – try to include the first three chapters. That usually works better!
What is the greatest challenge in choosing the right publisher?
One of the challenges for most I feel is in deciding between traditional and self-published. While I prefer the former, I am sure the latter works as well for many. Once that decision has been made, its preferable to go through some recent books published by the publisher and to then find out how it’s doing in the market. A combination of quality (editing, printing, cover and content) and quantity (distribution/presence in top stores like Crossword, Starmark, online presence, offline visibility) can help one make a more informed decision. But I still feel the greatest challenge is having a publisher choose you. The opposite is not that challenging in comparison!
How much research did you do before writing the book?
Actually quite a lot! I had to research on places across the world, food, customs, and a lot of psychological aspects of the human mind. Once you read the book, you will hopefully be able to get a glimpse of the authenticity. And for that, I do have to thank the research I conducted.
What motivated you to write the book “Confessions on an Island”?
I was motivated to write it when I got to know that a lot of my author friends were successfully trying to complete a novel in the month of November as a part of NaNoWriMo Challenge (also known as national novel writing month across the world). Though I started mid-November, I was able to complete my first draft (~50K words) by the second week of December. That apart, I was also inspired by several things that had happened to me and / or my friends in the past which I wished to interconnect through this novel. I hope I have been successful in my attempt!
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Confessions on an Island”?
‘Confessions on an Island’ is a psychological thriller / contemporary fiction narrated by an Island, a bestselling author, and a seemingly heartless abductor. The following is a blurb of the book:
An abducted woman trapped on an island is given a chance to escape, provided she tells stories emerging from the stories her intriguing abductor tells her. Clueless about why she is being forced to participate in this game of Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the woman, a bestselling author, decides to play along. And therein begins a thrilling tale narrated by an island. Of a man and woman consumed by the power of their imagination and truth, even as the stakes are gradually raised. Soon the only way out is in – into the past, heart and mind. The island is ready to confess. Are you ready for the truth?
How did you came up with the idea of writing a contemporary fiction genre book?
The idea of the genre came to me when I realized that contemporary fiction allowed me to express ideas that were so diverse that it was indeed difficult to categorize them into any other genre. Contemporary fiction however allowed me to effectively mix the best of several genres (thriller, mystery, drama, mythology, magic realism) in one fluid tale with a very contemporary structure. Only time will tell how successful I have been in my attempt. But I feel I have finally found a genre I can stick to!
Can you enlighten on any of your marketing/promotion strategies which worked for your previous books?
A combination of celebrity endorsements (whenever applicable), reviews (Blogs/Amazon/Goodreads), book readings, and word of mouth helped the most. I also found that well designed trailers added to the allure. And of course a well written book. Because without it, no amount of publicity can help!
How much minimum time should an author give on a daily basis to writing?
I feel every author should write regularly. But for me, I prefer to do so on a weekly basis instead of a daily, simply due to my job in the IT Industry. I usually write late nights, early mornings, and for large stretches of time over the weekends. An average of 7 – 10 hours of writing every week should work fine. Of course you do have to put in more hours when you are in the middle of the book.
Any tips or words of motivation you want to share with aspiring writers?
While all of us are capable of writing and coming up with great stories (many I hope), it’s in telling them effectively that we usually falter. Which is why I request anyone interested in becoming a good author to read as much as possible. Especially books in the genre they wish to pursue, and even otherwise, if time permits. The best way to learn is by reading! And of course, as I said in my previous interview, in keeping a sharp eye on things happening around you. The trick is to not stop… listening, observing, analyzing, reading, imagining, discussing, and thinking. When one gets into a habit of doing so, writing will automatically follow!
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