Interview with Arjun Dutt
First of all, I would like to welcome you in the Literary World. Being capable of expressing feelings in the form of words is itself an achievement. Here, at WordCurdwe would like you to express your feelings and experience as a writer, reader and as a human.
- And now as you have entered this world, how do you feel being a member of it?
It feels great to finally get my novel published. It was a long time in the making. I am happy that I managed to transform an idea, which I felt was unique and relevant to today’s times, into a written work, which I can share with the world.
- What made you think that your book is different from others? What makes your book special that reader should pick it?
My novel is different in several ways. Firstly, the underlying theme which my novel explores – loneliness and alienation in the perpetually connected contemporary social media age – is a subject matter that has (not been explored very frequently/ been largely overlooked) in popular Indian fiction. Secondly, both the protagonist and the narrative is quite different. Like many characters in modern Indian fiction, The Last Seen Romantic’s Aryan has aspirational qualities – he worked hard, played by the rules and landed a good job. However, unlike most other novels his trajectory is one of increasing paranoia and alienation rather than one of easy wish-fulfilment. The novel’s protagonist challenges the preconceptions of readers accustomed to a more comforting literature. Aryan’s sardonic wit and bluntness allow him to provide an enjoyable, satirical commentary on the world as he sees it. This bluntness provides the reader a raw, visceral insight into his emotions as he struggles to come to terms with his feelings of jealousy and obsession and his sense of longing, alienation and paranoia intensifies. The complexity and unflinching honesty of the depiction of the feelings described set the novel apart from most other works occupying this space in the popular canon.
- While writing this book what were your expectations from the book? Were you sure that this book could give wings to your writing career?
I wanted to create something which would be thought-provoking, something which would make people stand up and take notice. I felt that I had a great idea for a novel and I wanted to do justice to that. I am quite happy with the end product – I feel that I have created something that is unique and hopefully something that people can identify with.
- What do you think of writing as a career? What importance does literature plays in your life?
I don’t think of writing as a career; I’d like to write if and when I have an interesting thought that I’d like to communicate. I’d like to write as and when I choose, at my own pace, and not be bound by the need to write in order to make a living. So, writing is something that gives me great pleasure, but is not really a career for me, in terms of being a sole source of livelihood.
- What according to you is the best way to connect to the readers? Words shooting from heart, an extraordinary story or something else?
Yes, I believe that the best way to connect with readers is to shoot straight from the heart. Each of us are different and special in our own way, and only when we shoot from the heart can our own uniqueness be reflected in our written work. And I believe that’s the best way to truly connect with readers and even people in general – by being yourself.
- Now as your debut book arrives in the market, what do you expect from your readers?
I hope that readers are able to identify with the situations described in the novel and relate them to situations in their own lives. But most importantly, I hope that readers find the novel interesting and an engaging read.
- When you were in the initial phase of the writing journey, what obstacles you faced as a debutant author?
When I began writing The Last Seen Romantic, I started out with only a broad outline for the plot in mind. I worked out most of the specifics once I actually started writing. The biggest challenge that this created was that I had to make frequent changes to the manuscript as often I’d write something and then feel like changing it altogether.
- Does at any stage you feel like leaving the script in the halfway. Who would you like to give the credit of being a constant supporter?
No, I never felt like leaving the script halfway since I was convinced that I was creating something special which I wanted to share with the world. I did have the drive to keep going and make iterative improvements to the manuscript till I was satisfied that I had done justice to the plot and the underlying idea. My friend Aman Mann reviewed my manuscript and made suggestions that made the story richer and more complete. In addition, he’s the one who I most often consult for general advice pertaining to my novel. So, I’d say he’s been my greatest support as far as The Last Seen Romantic is concerned.
9.What do you usually prefer-pen, typewriter or computer?
I usually prefer a computer, since it facilitates the process of making revisions to the manuscript as well as editing.
10.What are the core qualities an author must possess?
Everyone has the potential to be an author. We all have tales to tell – be it a product of our experiences, observation or imagination. However, in order to be an author one must have the conviction that one has a tale worth telling- often people don’t write out of fear of their work not being worthy enough of being shared with others or fear of their work being ridiculed. Apart from the conviction that one has a story worth telling, of course the ability to articulately flesh out the piece of writing is just as important – often we have a fantastic story in our minds but the ability to express it in words is not something that everyone possesses. In addition, perseverance is an extremely useful quality – writing is an iterative process wherein one usually makes several revisions to one’s work/manuscript before the finished product is ready. Giving up the work midway is often tempting, as the process can become tedious. So the determination to stay the course before the completion of the final product is important.
11.Tell us about your latest book.
The Last Seen Romantic is a story of a romance facilitated by social media services, which illustrates how in a world that is perpetually connected, it is still possible to feel lonelier than ever before. The novel tells the tale of Aryan, a 25 year old professional who grapples with the complexities of impassioned first-time love as his love interest, Tanvi, departs for a foreign land soon after the two meet. The Last Seen Romantic explores how devices and services, which enable Aryan to remain in touch with Tanvi, end up accentuating his anxiety, insecurity and sense of alienation, and how his virtual world impacts his real life
12.Tell us about the best compliment you’ve ever received and the criticism given to you as an author.
The best compliment that I’ve received: One of the readers of my novel had this to say to me – “I read your novel in one sitting. I couldn’t keep it down for a second. I loved it.”
The most interesting criticism that I’ve received: One of the readers of my novel had this to say to me – “ The story was okay but I really disliked the protagonist. What an asshole!”
13.How much your stories are influenced from real-life stories?
The idea for The Last Seen Romantic came to me from observation of the trials and tribulations of the digital lives of people around me. I noticed the extent to which peoples’ interactions on social media and instant messaging services impacted their everyday lives, often in negative ways. To me, these specific instances of peoples’ experiences of the people around me were symptomatic of the broader impact of our digital lives on our real lives. Though the observations of the experiences of people around me set me thinking, the plot and characters of ‘The Last Seen Romantic’ are fictional.
14.These days every author wants to come in the list of ‘Best-selling Authors’? What do you think about it?
I am not really too concerned with titles such as ‘Best-selling Author. As a writer, I believe that I have created something special which I want to share with the world. I would simply like as many people as possible to read The Last Seen Romantic, something that I worked on with all my heart to create.
15.Tell us something about your five year goal. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I have not set any time-bound targets for myself. I would love to write more whenever I get another idea for a novel. More importantly, I would like to use the feedback that I receive from readers of The Last Seen Romantic to improve myself as a writer, so that my next work is better than my first.
16.How much time do you take to complete a novel? Is ‘patience’ the keyword to become a successful author?
I took around six months to write The Last Seen Romantic. However, I spent considerable time before I started writing in coming up with the outline of the plot. I did make a few revisions to the manuscript before completing the novel to my satisfaction. So yes, in my experience, patience and perseverance are important in order to do justice to one’s idea.
17.Last, but most important question readers would want to know- Are you working on another book? If yes, how different is this from your last work?
I am not working on another book at present. However, if inspiration strikes and I do have an idea that I feel is worth translating into another novel, I would love to write again.
Thank you for sparing your precious time!
We hope you enjoyed the session.
Source :- https://wordcurdblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/interview-with-arjun-dutt/