Indra Das is a B.A. in English from Franklin & Marshall College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Currently he is working as a freelancing writer. He is an Octavia Butler Scholar, nominated for Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and Tata Live! He also achieved Literature First Book Award in 2015. Let us know more about his writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
My love of reading, which I fostered at a very early age. As I grew up that grew into a love for stories across all mediums and media–and that constant craving for stories had the result of making me want to tell stories for a living.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
When I was very young, the first books that inspired me enough to want to write were Roald Dahl’s novels and autobiographies, Tintin and Asterix comics, then, a little later in my pre-teens, my first forays into ‘adult’ fiction were Stephen King, Michael Crichton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett. The first Indian English-language novels that I read was Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, as well as Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. As I grew older, of course, my reading became too varied to list here.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Getting over yourself and actually writing it instead of just thinking about writing it. For me, anyway. There are a myriad challenges to overcome if you want to write a book.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I did a lot of research for The Devourers, since it deals with a lot of history, mythology and folklore. I spent days reading texts on the Mughal era and mythology at my university library.
What motivated you to write the book “The Devourers”?
I don’t know that I had any one motivation, other than that I’m a writer and one of my goals was to write a novel. The actual thematic goals of the novel were constantly changing along the way. It started out as a short story, after all. I did, from a young age, want to write a good, modern fantasy novel set in India, though.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “The Devourers”?
The book is a cross-genre novel about a college professor in contemporary Kolkata who meets a man who claims to be half-werewolf. Their growing relationship unfolds a tale that spans centuries, from the Mughal era to modern day, exploring the legacy of tribal shapeshifters crossing from Europe to the Indian subcontinent during the seventeenth century.
How did you come up with the idea of writing historical crime fiction genre book?
It’s not crime fiction. It’s cross-genre, incorporating elements of what we might call literary/contemporary fiction, historical fiction, as well as mythic and dark fantasy.
Who are your favourite authors?
Far too many to list, I’m afraid. I could fill a book with all the names. Currently, am reading and loving Booker-winning author Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
It varies a lot–sometimes I don’t write at all on any given day, sometimes I write for hours.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot, write a lot, and learn to accept criticism from both yourself and others. Feedback is valuable. Revision is vital. Editing is necessary. Do your research–find out more about how the publishing industry works, if you want to be published. Read up on how to submit to magazines and agents, how to format your work so it doesn’t piss off editors and slush readers, what to expect when you try to make a living off writers. Don’t expect a lesson on any of those things. You learn by doing. Don’t give up after rejections–everyone gets them. Keep submitting.
You can buy his book now: