A man who needs no introduction. The romantic author of Modern India and the most heart throbbing icon of today’s youth ‘Sudeep Nagarkar’ comes up with his new love tale ‘It Started With A Friend Request’. Thousand Miles Team had a close interaction via email and here it goes:
TM: What is the inspiration behind your current novel ‘It started with a friend request?
Sudeep: I always want to write true stories based on real life rather than reel life. When I completed my 2nd book, I knew there won’t be another part of Aditya-Riya love story as it had ended with ‘That’s the way we met’. I have a habit of going for an outing to a nice, happening place after finishing a book. So after I had completed writing ‘That’s the way we met’, I was vacationing in Goa when Kritika—one of my gang mates who had accompanied me to Goa—suggested I write a book about Akash and Aleesha’s story. They were my friends who were seeing each other. And then ‘It Started With a Friend Request’ happened.
TM: Tell us briefly about your novel. Is this a complete fiction?
Sudeep: As I said, it’s a true story of my friend Akash and Aleesha who met accidentally and their relation blossomed. The story has a lot of different elements and takes you through varied emotions. You will realize the importance of having a true friend in your life after reading this book. Moreover, it will also show you how life is so unpredictable.
TM: Did you ever get any rejections for your previous novels? If yes how did you react to them?
Sudeep: Yes, I was rejected by a few publishers who told me that the story sounds too real to be true. I think that worked in my favor and readers loved ‘Few things left unsaid’ which was published in 2011. The rest follows. However, one needs to keep patience in the entire process of publishing and writing. An author can’t be a well-known face by himself; it’s the love of readers that make him one. This requires a lot of patience and effort.
TM: How did you come up with the titles for your books? Tell us briefly about the three novels published so far.
Sudeep: People always have this perception that I keep titles that are trendy on purpose. However, if you have read my books you will come to know that all the titles actually suit the theme of the book. I have tried to keep titles taken from our day to day life. We often use these titles while conversing with our friends. The first impression is the last, as they say.
TM: How do you usually find your ideas?
Sudeep: Everyone has a story within themselves. You need to identify which one has the potential of being turned into a novel. Not every story can be written. Nowadays I see everyone writing their own love stories so they can get it published in a novel but before doing that one should understand that not every story can be told on a public platform. Moreover, if it’s inspired by real life, then you need immense strength to handle criticism, pressure and the questions from your relatives. 😛
TM: What are the major challenges that you have faced in writing ‘ISWFR’ ?
Sudeep: I think getting an approval from Akash’s mother was the biggest challenge. She is sweet and very possessive about Akash as he is the only earning member of the family. Unfortunately, he lost his father when he was too young. So his mother is kind of concerned about him. I made her understand why I wanted to write the book and promised her that I will never bring Akash on a public platform. She eventually agreed.
TM: How has been the response and does it fulfill your expectations as a writer?[/marker]
Sudeep: Firstly, I never aspired to become a writer so as such there never was any expectation. God has been too kind towards me and my readers have been extremely loyal and supportive all through my journey. Even after the release of my debut book ‘Few things left unsaid’, I had not fully got over with my depression but their love made me what I am today.
TM: Do you see writing as a career?
Sudeep: Let me keep this short and sweet. Yes. For those who claim that in India you can’t take up writing as a career, you’re wrong. If your writing is such that it can connect with Indian readers, you will definitely find success. It’s all in the mind. If you wish, so you can.
TM: Is there any message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
Sudeep: There is no one particular message in the book. You can take many things from it. I would love the readers to analyze the book individually. I think the message of true friendship and true love are the most important ones in the book.
TM: What are your hobbies besides writing? Yours other interests and passions.[/marker]
Sudeep: I love to spend time with my family and friends. I am comfortable with them and can have a fun time with them. Listening to music and reading books are the things that I do when not working.
TM: Any particular genre you would like to write about more?
Sudeep: I would love to explore more genres in the future for sure. As of now, it’s all about It started with a friend request 😛
TM: You are an Electronics Engineer turned Author. How has been the career transition?
Sudeep: The only difference is now I work from home. I can lie on my bed and work; I can watch television and work. In the IT Industry I never lied, I never watched television, and neither I went out for an outing during office hours. So this is the transition. Good or bad, it’s for you to decide.
TM: Do you have to travel much concerning your current book? If yes, how was the travel from place to place?
Sudeep: It’s too early to talk about it since everything is in the process of getting finalized. Days are hectic and nights are more hectic. Aspiring authors usually see the fame side of well known authors, but forget the hard work behind it.
TM: Who designed the covers and helped you in publishing ISWFR?
Sudeep: The covers are fantastic, right? The covers are designed by Saurav Das, a freelance designer who designs books for my publishers, Random House India. The whole bunch at RHI is indeed very supportive. I harass them a lot, but they bear with me. I wish someone would have helped me in publishing. However, I never opted for fake promotional agents as I never believed them. I remember there was one website called wizconnect who had mentioned that they promoted my debut book but that never happened. So it’s all about making money out there. I am mentioning this just to alert aspiring authors who will read this interview.
TM: Which is your favourite book and favourite author of all times?
Sudeep: I don’t want to be partial by mentioning one name as there are many good authors out there but ‘Not without my daughter’ remains my favourite book till date.
TM: Tell us something about your life apart from writing.
Sudeep: I am shy and feel uncomfortable in the company of people I don’t know. I am more comfortable in a female company as I believe they understand boys better and make them more disciplined.
TM: ‘Love has got no language’. What, according to you, does this means and how does it affect?
Sudeep: Who said that? Didn’t you read love ‘Few things left unsaid’, ‘That’s the way we met’ and ‘It Started with a friend request’? They are written in English: D Jokes apart, I think love has its own language of signs and one can’t say love has no language.
TM: Any message you want to deliver to your fans and modern Indian writing trend?
Sudeep: Keep reading and loving my books. I will try to match up to your expectations and I know the creator will give me the courage to write many more stories. Other than this, I love my readers’ family and thank all my fans for being so nice to me. I hope they all will love reading ‘It started with a friend request’.
TM: Your thoughts on being featured in the present issue of our magazine Thousand Miles.
Sudeep: I thank Rathin Dutta for giving me an opportunity to connect with the readers of Thousand Miles. It’s truly commendable that he appreciates and promotes writing in an age where not many people pick up a book.