Mr. Dhawan is an erstwhile private equity professional, banker & content producer; a serial start-up entrepreneur and a recent, out-of-closet writer. He is also a true Libran who bares an acute sense of fairness, a flashy dimple and sometimes, a heart of gold.
Based out of New York & New Delhi, he has donned many hats but words move him like nothing else. More often than not, he is found experimenting with stories, life, and coffee. He believes in ‘chasing the hell out of your passion until it looks up and says hello’.
The Unprodigal is his debut novel released in July 2019. Published by Rupa Publications, it is a combustible melting pot of powerful fathers and defiant sons – a roller coaster ride of lasting bonds, broken promises, and winding alleys, where truth could be lost forever. In its first month, the book debuted at No. 1 in pre-orders and then reached no. 1 in the ‘Indian Writing’ books category on Amazon with rave reviews from Ayushmann Khurrana, Ravi Subramanian, Tahira Kashyap, Neeti Mohan and more. It is available in all leading bookstores and online. In an Exclusive Interview with Thousand Miles Inc:
Thousand Miles: What is the inspiration behind writing your debut novel ‘The Unprodigal’? Was writing a novel of this genre your childhood dream?
Author Manu Dhawan: The inspiration is this deep desire to express myself uniquely. I believe, regardless of what a story is, the reason it is loved or not is whether there is a heart in it. I like to bring my heart with me every time I write and I hope the readers will feel that.
I have always wanted to and indulged in creative writing since I was a child. I have delved in college magazines, creative marketing, and social blogs since then. Writing a book was an obvious progression. I like telling stories that give people hope and positivity and the strength to stand by what is right. The aim is to make my readers reflect, laugh, react, question, answer, think and express, one tiny emotion at a time. Or a giant opinion. A mediocre question. Or maybe, just maybe, a bright thought. After all, it is what we were born to do.
Thousand Miles: The young generation nowadays is not focussing on their goals and is attached to social media and online games. Your way of looking into the matter.
Author Manu Dhawan: There will always be something new that the young will indulge in. We indulged in motorcycles and cigarettes. Technology is what they indulge in. Maybe the next generation would indulge in space travel. That’s how life goes. But focus and the perseverance you require to get to your goal does not go out of style. Regardless of what the attachments are, I would only suggest the younger ones to chase something that impacts the world positively. Everything else is just noise.
Thousand Miles: How was the book launch experience in Mumbai alongside Neeti Mohan? Kindly share it with us.
Author Manu Dhawan: It was invigorating! To have so many people turn up including friends, family, avid readers, press and social media followers was extremely humbling, yet exciting. There were people of all ages in the audience including 12-year-olds and 60-year-olds.
Neeti’s a rockstar. She’s a great friend but more importantly, she is a much better human being! Having known her for years, her consistent passion for her work and the vibe she brings to it is incomparable. So thankful that she could make it for the launch.
Thousand Miles: Your novel ‘The Unprodigal’ is a perfect blend of typical relationships in an affluent family, closeness among siblings and also the rivalry and jealousy. As an individual and Indian, how do you see yourself growing up with siblings and their success and achievements affecting our lives in general?
Author Manu Dhawan: In The Unprodigal, the Routs are an exceptional family and find themselves in an exceptional situation. Therefore, relationships are going to be unique and will test the boundaries of love and hate. As an individual, I have been fortunate to have 2 awesome and loving younger siblings – individuals who are great human beings full of love and smiles. All 3 of us have been instilled with similar values by our parents that our main protagonist Aryan got from his grandfather. For me, my siblings’ success and achievements only make my heart swell with pride.
Thousand Miles: Are you in support of the statement, ‘Success makes a man looks good’? Kindly explain your perspective on this.
Author Manu Dhawan: Depends on how you define success. If by success you mean money and power wielded only for more money and power then no, for me, it doesn’t. Here is what success means to me – an inclusive status that allows for true happiness through money, health, and love and garners a symbiotic relationship with the eco-system that you are a part of, big or small. This success does make a man look good.
Thousand Miles: Any cherished moment from your work or family you want to share with us for your fans to know.
Author Manu Dhawan: When my 3-year old passed a bookshop and shouted ‘that is my papa’s book!’
Thousand Miles: In your book, the protagonist of the story went on trying to find the truth behind the death of his beloved Grandpa. The story narrates with certain emotions that we experience in day to day life in a vivid manner. The plot of the novel is intriguing. What are you trying to convey through this book? Does the story reveal anything related to you?
Author Manu Dhawan: I have used my memories of places, people and experiences from my life to create this melting pot. I have infused drops of people I know – friends, family, acquaintances and strangers to create this ocean. Apart from that, this book is a work of fiction and does not relate to my personal life.
Thousand Miles: Would you like to advise to our novice writers who are writing the first novel/book of their lives? As a new writer/author, what are the things one should be careful about?
Author Manu Dhawan: The secret is in reading what you wrote as an unsuspecting reader. If you can be unbiased – read it just like you would read a page of a book you casually picked up a in book store, and If it gets your attention and you want to read more, you know you are onto something. Build on it.
Thousand Miles: As India is developing at a faster rate and talents from all fields are surfacing at national and international levels, do you think Indian parents should encourage their kids to pursue their passion for the betterment of the country?
Author Manu Dhawan: Absolutely!
Thousand Miles: Your thoughts on being featured in the ‘September Issue’ of our Magazine.
Author Manu Dhawan: Really excited to interact with your readers and happy to be here!