Bilol holds an MBA from a premier B-School of India. He is also an accredited Applied Behavioural Science Professional. His employers, whom he refers to as Clients, call him Senior Consultant. Bilol is a passionate writer and writes about almost anything. He cooks like any author does – years to get published and hours to be swallowed by readers. Oh yes – he daydreams – lots. Finally, he loves to experience places, where the personalities of his stories spend most of their lives. This, to him, is the most exciting part of being a writer. Let us know more about his writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I began writing when I was a teenager. I wrote poetry and short stories some of which was published and forgotten. I loved to read, especially because my father, a college professor in English literature, had a decent collection of books, built painstakingly by him by setting aside money from his modest income from which he and his wife (my mother) also fed a family of five. Ironically, these difficult days made my life exciting and colourful. On top of that was the liberalism my parents practiced and the freedom to explore our dreams that they promoted. I became a confused romantic. My romanticism is my biggest inspiration as a writer.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
I loved to read everything from books of grammar to classics of Bengali, Hindi and English literature. Tagore, Sarat Chandra, Bankim Chandra, Premchand, and Balzac were my favourites. Also a lot of Marx, Angels, Lenin and Mao Tse Dong. The collective influence of all this was enlightening, yet confusing. Add to that my love for music and spirit of adventure, you have a heady concoction of diehard romanticism.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Wrong timing of a powerful idea. Let me explain. We all know ideas, if not penned immediately, may get lost forever. And I seem to get most exciting ideas when I’m away from my laptop. I avoid using paper as a part of my obligation to future generations. The kambakht (read the best idea) flashes in my mind when I’m sitting in a board room with bored yet highly intelligent eyes focused on me. Or exactly when, in the long queue in front of the payment station of Hypercity Superstores, a newly-wed damsel-in-imminent-distress takes her first shot at me with “Have we met before?” Story ideas have a bad sense of timing.
The second challenge is when I have company at home. Writing is a solitary vocation. I have a special difficulty because I like to hear how certain dialogues, I’ve written, sound to me. I speak them aloud. If I do so with dear ones around me, their natural instinct and deep care for me would drive them to hunt for the helpline numbers of the nearest psychiatrist!!! The result? No serious writing with company at home.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I don’t research before starting to write. Story ideas and themes occur to me first. What begins as a few big drops soon comes down in torrents. Ideas begin to flood my mind and consume my being thereafter. I keep typing without even looking at the red wavy underlines of Mr Gates or the red dotted ones of the Late Mr. Jobs as the case may be, while occasionally clicking the ‘save’ button.
I stop only when I feel my laptop needs a break. By this time, a hazy plot has started to emerge. Once the key personalities seem to find a place in my plot, I start my research by visiting the places where I would find these personalities. I also research key events that highlight the history of the period of my story. I believe an elaborate research before writing is more applicable to non-fiction. Fiction loses its story-telling imaginary character, if one does too much of research before beginning to write.
What motivated you to write the book “The Palace of a Thousand Rainbows”?
The idea of this novel took its root when I was fifteen or so. Growing up, followed by life’s demands, put the book in a simmering back-burner, the flames continuing to trouble me every so often for decades. It’s like carrying a growing child in one’s womb for years. The child finally forced his way out in one month in July 2004 and claimed his space. It took another 11 years to get my novel published.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “The Palace of a Thousand Rainbows”?
The Palace of a Thousand Rainbows is a romantic fiction taking place over the past 40 years in India. The book attempts to reflect life in modern India and the universality of the loss of someone dear. The plot captures Barun’s lifelong quest for the ideal relationship that is rooted to unceasing love. Beginning with his teenage love for Maria, (whose pulse stops shortly after Maria had built a playroom palace) he sets out on a long journey in an erotic exploration.
Women (Sakshi – Barun’s estranged wife, Shalini – a lonely girl he meets accidentally in a hospital, Gargi – a journalist, Chandni – a girl with links to banned organizations, Shoma – sister of Barun’s only friend Sid) cross his path intimately. Maa, Barun’s mother, travels with her son on this tortuous long journey. Erotic attractions and passionate, socially-unacceptable fantasies become integral parts of Barun’s search and his journey through life. Human frailties make the impossible a reality and the possible a pipe dream……
How did you come up with the idea of writing romantic fiction genre book?
I am a romantic. I can’t write anything else. At least for now.
Who are your favourite authors?
The list is long. If I were to mention a few, I wouldn’t do justice to the others. Some names I’ve already mentioned while answering one of your earlier questions. I love books and find each author’s unique voice appealing. I love all kinds of fiction – literary, pulp, and commercial.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
It varies. When I’m into writing a full-length novel, I may write for hours until my eyelids give up. Morning hands the baton to afternoon, who passes it on to evening and finally night takes over for the last stretch, without any attention to me. It happens often. When I’m not writing a novel, I write at least 1000 words even on my busiest days. These scraps become entries on my blog or integral parts of another fiction soon.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
It would be preposterous for a first-time published author like me to even attempt to share writing wisdom. What I do is – observe the world around me attentively from oblique perspectives that many may not consider. To give a voice to these observations, I write, write, and write.
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