Interview with teen author Sai Prapanch

It’s another teen author on my blog this time. And guess what? He’s from India!

Welcome Sai Prapanch, author of “Contractor: The Legendary Contract of Vento

1) How did you get published at such a young age? You are 18, right? How was the publishing process like?

After completing my book, I spent time looking for publishers. I approached two publishers, with both interested in publish my book. Unfortunately, neither could give me a proper date as to when they could bring my book out, with one of them saying it could take up to 2016, based on the available resources.

Instead, I brought it out under my dad’s business’ publishing wing, with Indian Book House (IBH) agreeing to distribute it.

From my experience, I can say the Publishing industry in India is still archaic and painfully slow. However, with the internet, self publishing is pretty convenient. Bringing out an ebook is extremely easy and gives scope for a much wider audience too, as shown by my success in markets like U.S and U.K

2) What inspired you to write your book? How did you  keep up with writing despite all the school work?

I’ve been into books for as long as I can remember. My parents instilled a reading habit into me from a very young age, making sure I read at least one chapter of a book every day. I have also been captivated by Japanese animes such as Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, Pokemon and the like. They have amazingly unique storylines and I cultivated a habit of looking things at a different perspective. I started daydreaming about such anime-like plots, slowly developing my own, unique story. That was what resulted into my first book, “Contractor: The Legendary Contract of Vento”.

Of course, writing while focusing on school was tough. Once I came to a decision that I really wanted to finish writing the book, I had to compromise on certain leisures like watching television, going out in weekends and scheduling my day make time for writing. But all of it is worth holding the finished copy of your book in your hands and seeing the fruit of all your effort for those months.

3) Can you provide us a synopsis of your book?

The story of the ‘Contractor series’ takes place in the fictional world of Gara, where mystical objects known as ‘Contracts’ exists. These contracts have various powers, which can be used when people offer a drop of their blood to them, thereby performing a ‘blood contract’. The story revolves around one boy and how one Legendary Contract turns the wheels of fate for him as he embarks on a quest for revenge

4) Who are your favourite writers?

It was Enid Blyton who first got me captivated to books. Her stories, especially ‘The Mystery Series’, were the perfect blend of mystery, humour and effortless language.

As I grew up, Dan Brown and the Legendary J.R.R. Tolkien took me on mind-boggling rides and constructed the most dazzling, beautiful worlds in my mind.

5) Did your friends and family support your writing endeavour initially? Or was it like…  ”I don’t understand this boy! Can’t you stop with this writing bullshit and do something about your studies?”

My parents and friends were the ones who even convinced me to try to get the book published. My parents realised my passion for writing and made sure to kindle the flames into a roaring fire. They put as much heart and soul into bringing the book out as I put into writing it.

My friends never once scoffed at my endeavour to enter the literary world. In fact, they provided as much support as they could give, reviewing and advising on every chapter as I completed them.

It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that my book may have never come into existence without them being present every step of the way.

6) Is your book part of a series? If so, are you working on the second book? How many words do you write a day?

The ‘Contractor’ series is planned to be 5 books long, with the next one aimed to be out by the summer of 2016. It’s still a work in progress though.

Now that I’m in college, it has become even tougher to balance my academics with my writing. I often forsake my sleep to squeeze in a page’s worth of content a day. Writing is more about my immediate mood though. If I feel like it, I could finish one chapter in a day, yet sometimes, it could take me an hour to write one good paragraph.

One has to be more systematic if they are to stick to a deadline though.

7) Do you plot your stories beforehand? Or do you make up storylines as you write?

I keep the basic storyline in mind and join the dots as I write. I’ll know they’ll have to get form point A to point B, but I mostly make up the journey as I write. Others use different methods, but this has worked better for me.

8) Fantasy fiction is currently overtaking India (Amish Tripathi), do you think Indians will eventually  take fantasy works seriously as is happening in the west, instead of labelling fantasy as junk fiction?

Fantasy will certainly take over India in the coming years. Based on the demography of my sales, the book has been most well received by teens and pre-teens, followed by those in their twenties. The older generation does find it harder to digest fantasy concepts, but with the amount of exposure the current and next generation gain from western books, movies and games, they would definitely take to the fantasy genre more warmly than the ones before them

9) More and more teen authors are coming up (Arkopaul Das, Oliver Dahl, Swarnim Kalbande etc) thanks to Amazon Kdp. What do you think is a teen writer’s biggest strength/weakness?

Strengths-

The ideas. The plots. Youngsters are proven to have a more vivid imagination than adults. They tend to think in ways adult minds can never hope to. And the earlier they start using their minds to develop plots and ideas like this, the better they’ll get as they grow older.

There’s also an amazing scope for improvement as you start early. My language transcended boundaries as I wrote my book to a point that one could think two different people wrote the start and the end of the book.

Writing often helps amazingly in personality development. The earlier you start, the greater the impact. In the long run, with more teen writers in the coming generations, we’re sowing the seeds to a smarter, better and more humane society.

Weakness-

Time management. As teens, most of us would lack the maturity to stick to schedules and deadlines. We would be tempted to socialise and spend time with friends, some of whom won’t take lightly to you saying no.

Handling criticism. As young as we are, we should expect some criticism about our works. Unless you’re a genius by birth, it’s almost unavoidable, owing to our lack of experience in writing. Unless you’re mentally prepared to take this criticism as fuel to spur the fire in you, it could very well burn out the passion you hold for writing.

10) Anything else you’d like to say?

Never refrain yourself from following your dreams. There may be doubters and mistakes along the way, but if you truly love what you do, never let that get you down. Learn from your mistakes and improvise. With hard work, determination, and belief in yourself and those around you, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

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About A J Chaudhury

A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India of fantasy and historical fiction. His short story "A Song of Blood", set in historical Pragjotisha, has released recently, and more tales are following soon.
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