Saturday, May 17, 2014

An Interview with Mr. Vishwas Mudagal (Author of Losing My Religion)!!!

His novel has recently been announced a "BESTSELLER". I got an opportunity to talk with Vishwas Mudagal. Do read the interview below and know what he wants to say about his future as writer and entrepreneur. 

How does it feel to be an author now, Mr. Vishwas Mudagal? And that too your debut novel becoming a bestseller? 

It feels incredible to be a published author. More so because I never really thought I would write a novel so early in my life. And it’s a definitely a dream come true to see Losing My Religion, becoming a best-seller. 

What exactly made you write such a different novel? 

I think that might be my style; I don’t know any other way of telling a story. I have no formal introduction to writing stories or novels, but the one thing I knew was that I wanted to write a meaningful page-turner and entertain the heck out of the reader. And I don’t think of anyone while I write my story, I write it for myself. The author in me has to entertain the reader in me. 

Moreover, the idea for LMR came from my life. I had started an Internet company in 2007 that couldn’t make money in spite of getting amazing user traction. I went broke and didn’t know what to do further. I wanted to quit everything and go on a journey across India, when I saw one of my friends doing it. But I couldn’t go on that journey, and ended up writing about a person, in my situation of bankruptcy, who goes on an uncharted journey when he meets a crazy American hippie. That’s how Losing My Religion happened!

Before we head towards discussing your book, we would like to know in spite of being an author, what do you exactly do? And do you wish to continue with the job or come into full-time writing?

I am a serial entrepreneur and a CEO. I am currently the CEO of GoodWorkLabs, which helps global companies, startups and entrepreneurs build software products and succeed in the marketplace. Technology is an integral part of me and I have been passionate about it from childhood. 
Do I wish to come into full-time writing? That’s a tough question. Writing or rather storytelling is my passion. It gives me so much of pleasure that I forget the world when I write. But I love entrepreneurship with the same verve, it gives me an adrenelin rush that I can’t explain. How do I choose between the two things I absoutely love? I can’t. So the question is how do I balance my time to do both. That’s a Herculean task, especially when my readers are demanding (yes, demanding!) for my next book.

Did you really visit these places mentioned in your book like Malana, Goa and Haridwar?

I have visited majority of the places mentioned in the book. Travel is the food for the soul and I love to travel. You discover or re-discover yourself only through travel, and unplanned travel is the most exhilarating experience. 

I have been to Goa, Om Beach at Gokarna, Haridwar & New York, pretty much all the places mentioned in the book. The only place I haven’t been to is Malana, but I have traveled to the Himalayas extensively. 

How difficult was it for you to get published in this scenario when it is said that only rejection comes in the author’s way?

I took around two years to get published. Many publishers rejected the novel for many reasons, some because it was a fresh concept, some because they thought it’s a business book, and some because I was a debutant. But Fingerprint! believed in the book and commissioned it and the rest is something everyone knows. 

How has been the response of FingerPrint! till now seeing the good reviews coming in?

Fingerprint! is a great publisher, with a good editorial, design and marketing team. Recently they threw a success party in New Delhi celebreting the success of Losing My Religion. They have been very supportive and are putting all their weight behind my book. 

I have lately seen some celebrities talking about your book. Can we hope for this getting adapted into a movie?

Everyone who has read Losing My Religion wants to see it as a movie. People from the film industry are surprised to see that my book is actually written like a movie script. They feel it will make a big-budget blockbuster. I didn’t do it intentionally, but perhaps that’s the way I write. Only time will tell whether it will become a movie and who will take it up. 

By when are you coming up with your next novel? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.

I’m not sure when my next novel will come. People are eagerly waiting; some can’t even wait. I get mails and messages almost every day telling me how my novel has influenced them, inspired them, given them hope, made them cry, made them remember their friends who they have lost, helped them get over a breakup, pushed them to start a company—all this in just two months as my book launched recently. Many told me ‘Thank you for writing LMR.’ When I hear someone thank me for LMR, I am touched. 
I know people have huge expectations from me now. I heard one critic say: ‘How will Mudagal beat his own work?’ When people start worrying about how an author will beat his own work, I believe he has arrived. 

Since 2011, I have been stuck with an idea of a man in the future. I can’t get it out of my head and I hope that will be my next. But I might end up writing a sequel to LMR as well. I don’t decide these things, my heart does. So let’s see what comes next. 

In the end, tell us in 5-7 lines, what speech will you give if you win a Major Award for the Best Indian Author for your books?

This is a tough one. I never prepare my speeches, I am always spontaneous. But I will definitely thank people who have supported me and believed in me. And my readers! And give a message to people to follow their passion without fear of failure with my parting words ‘Follow your passion and the world will follow yours...’
Youth in India has been told to follow a defined path of going to college, taking up a job, marrying as soon as possible, starting a family, buying a home, and never taking risks. We have to change this, we have to create an India that thinks big, that innovates, that defines a glorious future, and this is possible only when we take risks, experiment, and follow our passion. It is my mission to give this message to people in India of all ages. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas (Book Review:4.25*/5)

   After reading lots of epic fiction, I finally picked up this book based on pure mythology. "Rise of the Sun Prince" written by Shubha Vilas. It's first book in the series of "Ramayana: The Game Of Life" (whole series is going to be of 6 books). Jaico Books known for publishing similar stuffs once again gives us a book which has a soul of Ramayana and character of Rama right from its cover page to the words written to describe this beautiful tale. Book 1 is wholly dedicated to the life of Lord Rama from his birth to his marriage. Another specialty is its protagonist. Most of us would think peeping into cover page and synopsis that it would be Rama but the real protagonist of this book is Vishwamitra and then Dasaratha. That's what Book 1 gives you as a surprise. :-)

           When we talk about Ramayana, we talk only about the incidents that plays big part in the epic. But how did the hatred and origin of that particular incident occur, Shubha Vilas concentrates upon that in this book. E.g. How Rama(in his childhood) once plays a small prank with Manthra because of which she starts hating him more than before and that hatred results Rama going to exile for 14 years two decades later.

       Even the fight between Vishwamitra and Vasishtha is something new and exciting to read. How does Ramayana lands into Valmiki's responsibility to write is with what this book starts with. The story of Ahilya turning into stone, the formation of Srilanka, the competition between Vayu and snake etc. are also given the main preferences in the book along with main occurrences in Ramayana. 
   The usage of capital H in "He" and "His" even when the words arrived in the middle of a sentence to describe Lord Rama shows the amount of respect author has for Him. I read a book "The Exiled Prince" few days ago. You can call this book an improved version of it. The small notes and messages in the footer of pages are as beautiful as the story. I want to only read it once again specially because for most of the time, they acted as interruption to the story(drawback). Also, the "Laws" of few things that author has noted in between of chapters are inspirational. 

            The chapter from the Book 2 introduced in the end of this book didn't worked well with me. I felt it took away the excitement of climax from Book 1. Also, the cover page of this book though beautiful, serene and attractive makes it look as if the book is for school children. That's the only reason why adults won't pick up the book misinterpreting animation as children's muse. But read this book to know about Vishwamitra's elegance, Dasaratha's simplicity and Lord Rama's rise. In all, I would give this book 4.25* out of 5. It's definitely readable. Go For It!


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