Let us know about Debashish in his own words: I have completed my B A (Hons) in English and M.A (English) from Delhi University. This was followed by a one year certificate course in Feature Film Screenplay Writing from Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.
Am currently writing episodes (story-screenplay-dialogues) for Agent Raghav, a crime investigative thriller on & TV, along with my co-writer, Anshul Vijayvargiya. We are also working on a commissioned film project together. In terms of book writing, I am currently penning my next novel, Charlie Next Door, which is being published by HarperCollins India again. It’s scheduled for release next year.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. And then a point came – right around the time when I was 13-14 years old – when I began to ponder if I could actually create stories of my own. The thought led me to jot down amateur short stories, novel concepts, half-finished novellas in my father’s diaries, and read up even more on the genres that fascinated me. I guess that was where the whole journey began.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
Mostly fantasy, horror and mystery books. Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Tintin, Goosebumps were some of my favourite series. I was also heavily into the Indian comics and children’s fiction series dominant at the time – Chacha Chaudhary, Nagraj, Chandamama, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha – the likes. I would keep pestering my father to buy me more the moment I was done with them.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
The never-ending malady of self-doubt that you constantly find yourself plagued with throughout the journey. And of course, the struggle of trying to keep yourself disciplined and focused amidst the million other struggles and stress factors that you may be facing in your day to day life. And did I mention writer’s block?
How much research do you do before writing the book?
For my debut novel, Me, Mia, Multiple, I went through quite a bit of research articles and literature detailing first-hand accounts of therapists and psychiatrists who had dealt with cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder. I also read through a lot of case studies available online. And as far as the suicidal tendency of my male lead, Jeevan, goes, I read up on the online journals and also visited online support communities of friends and relatives and of course, the patients suffering from this malady.
For my second novel, Charlie Next Door, I am mostly relying on personal experiences, memories, and instinctive knowledge of characters I have known in real life.
What motivated you to write the book “Me, Mia, Multiple”?
I have always had a strong fascination for dysfunctional characters and black humour. Deep in my heart, I knew that if I write a book someday, it would be about individuals whom the society would consider “damaged” or misfits. Then, once when I was in a rather down mood, I got this image of a guy lying across a railway track and reflecting upon life while waiting for the train to come. And that’s how Jeevan popped up in my head. The question was – what now? What happens to him?
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Me, Mia, Multiple”?
Well, it’s a quirky tale of what happens when Jeevan, a manic-depressive suicidal guy, bumps into three unique characters during one of his suicide attempts – 1) Mia, a whacky girl who is determined to make him live at any cost 2) Tanya – a brash, aggressive chick who wants to uproot him from Mia’s life and 3) Alisha – a sensuous, seductive belle who wants to get into his pants before Mia …
The catch – all three of these girls are the same person. For Mia has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and Tanya and Alisha happen to be her alter egos. Add to that her father – who happens to be an ex encounter specialist – and Jeevan’s three controlling, snoopy elder sisters – and you have a recipe for chaos, confusion, and comic disaster.
How did you come up with the idea of writing romantic fiction genre book?
For me, Me, Mia, Multiple is not so much a romantic story than it is a story of self-discovery and growth, where love happens along the way. Both Mia and Jeevan have major issues in their life and psyche, and the beauty of this story lies in how – amidst all the mess and confusion and tragi-comic situations – these two lost souls end up healing and completing each other in ways they had never thought possible.
Who are your favourite authors?
George R R Martin, J K Rowling (of course), Lars Kepler, Charles Dickens, Manu Joseph. Matthew Quick is a recent favourite.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
Depends on my scriptwriting schedule, to be honest. Writing for a TV show is a hectic job in terms of deadlines and delivery schedules, and there are days when I find myself utterly consumed by it. Under ideal situations though, I do try to keep at least an hour or two every day for just sitting and thinking about the book, if nothing else.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Read as much as you can, and write as much as you can. Without these two practices, growth is impossible. And the more you do them, the more you will see the difference in not just your writing, but in your overall maturity and your way of thinking as well. Also, don’t go by anyone’s success or failure story. Do what you think is right. Every writer comes with his or her own journey.
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