Vaibhav is a marketing professional working with an MNC by day, blogger/ writer/ poet by night. Author of the bestselling If God Went to B-School, Vaibhav is also one of the top contributors to Faking News, the satire portal. An avid bibliophile, Vaibhav lives on books, food and oxygen – in that order.
An Interview with Bestselling Author Vaibhav Anand
April 21, 2016 By Hiten Vyas
Today we’re thrilled to introduce Vaibhav Anand to e-Books India with whom we carried out a recent interview. Vaibhav is a blogger, writer, poet and a satirist. He also happens to be a bestselling author and his most recent work is a book called The Great War of Hind. Read on to find out about Vaibhav had to say about his background, his books and his approach to writing.
Please tell us about you. Where are you from? What is your professional background and how did you become an author?
I am an MBA from FMS, Delhi and an engineer from Delhi College of Engineering. I have actually held a day job for the last six years since I graduated from FMS. I wrote my first book in the second year of B-School: the intention was to tell the B-School story no one was talking about – the unglamorous murky truth of how the premier league MBA ecosystem in India almost collapsed when the 2008 global recession hit. And well, I had always wanted to write ever since I read my first Famous Five book what seems like aeons ago.
To a lot of authors, the dream is to write a bestseller and retire. While I had flirted with the thought initially when my first book came out six years ago, I eventually realized that a classical author’s job is lonely, depressing and dark. You basically sit in a room waiting in despair for the right idea, the right words, and the right characters to come to you. I doubt I will ever be a full time author – as it is, I can hardly write when I am at peace or with time on my hands. The best ideas always come to me when I am pressed for time; it is the constant grind of life that makes me an author, for the most part.
What types of books do you write?
It often takes a very different technique to write different kinds of books – which is why most science fiction writers only write science fiction, comedy writers only write comedy, mystery/thriller writers only write mystery/thrillers and so on; for the most part anyway. I grew up on a diet of all kinds of books, all of which I secretly wished I had written – and what I have discovered overall about myself is that I tend to be fairly ambidextrous when it comes to writing. I just need to train for a particular style if required. Training takes months but primarily involves reading the masters of that genre and noting their techniques. You learn a lot from masterpieces but you learn more from bad books from the masters of a particular genre. For example, one of the books in the Harry Potter series (the 4th book if my memory serves me right) or Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently series are both written by masters but have significant flaws compared to the authors’ earlier works. For an author like me, it is absolute gold to read mediocre to bad books by great authors… it’s like seeing an elaborately constructed building with the foundations and the wiring showing; it just makes understanding how to write the genre much easier.
My natural voice is cynical, which is where the first book ‘If God Went to B School’ fit in. Over time as I started reading satirical articles on Faking News a few years back, I discovered that I could easily slip into satire writing (which led to my 300+ posts for Faking News so far). But reading the novelized history of the Mughals (by the husband-wife duo going by the pseudonym ‘Alex Rutherford’) made me realize I wanted to write historical fiction. I enjoyed the books so much that I wanted to write that genre! Which is how ‘The Great War of Hind’ was born.
I remain perennially besotted with sci-fi comedy too; inevitably, I will write a book or a series in this genre. Maybe a few years down the line.
Can you please tell us a bit about your most recent book entitled The Great War of Hind, its overall plot and the key characters in it?
The overall idea of the book is around how we believe epics written by Valmiki and Ved Vyas to be about Gods and real men. To me, Valmiki and Ved Vyas were the Stan Lee’s of their generation, who wrote these stories to regale people. In parallel, I had been toying with a simple logical idea of creation – God creating man and animals – and I saw no better way to tell the story than to pick mythological characters everyone knows and plug them into a story of the origin of mankind and animal-kind and how and why it all happened, and what happened after. ‘The Great War of Hind’ and ‘The Legend of Ramm’ series are built around this kernel.
Are you working on any other book(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?
Well, I am sort of obligated to finish this series (Legend of Ramm) now that I have started it. So that will be a couple of years of my life at least. Unless something else catches my fancy next, I should write the sci-fi comedy I have been hungering to write for a long time after that.
Can you please tell us about your approach to writing? For example, do you follow structures and writing rules? Or do you write in a free flow way? Do you have any particular time of the day you like to write? Or any specific environment you prefer to sit down and write?
A significant amount of time for me goes in establishing the skeletal structure of the plot first. This takes a month or more (sometimes much more). Writing for me is about threading the needles I have laid down, as the plot. But it does get complicated at times. You might have a great idea while writing that completely muddles up the plot, or find it impossible to write to stick to the plot structure. So it is a tedious bone-crunching process.
I write best when I am constrained for time, when I am tired and stressed. There is no particular time for me – I just try and get in a little bit of writing everyday.
From your experiences, could you please share 2-3 top tips to help beginner authors who want to publish a novel?
Read, read every day. And read the classics first to get a grounding in the language. You’ll get nowhere by reading the complete works of Chetan Bhagat.
Write a lot. Write your own blogs or for blogger networks. Keep that animal in you alive.
Be meticulous. A comma in the wrong place on one page can shave a point off book reviews. Every brick is important; every speck of cement is important in what you are building.
It’s quite another thing to sell a book in India though but in the long run, good writing, strong plot structure trumps short term gimmicks. Not everything you write will be a blockbuster hit, even if you get a selfie with some minor celebrity holding up your book.
How can people find out more about you?
I tweet from @vaibrainmaker. I collate my satirical articles, book reviews and other random thoughts on the universe on www.makingrain.blogspot.in. My three books are on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1YAvSYy
Over the next few years, the number of books will hopefully go up. God willing.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]
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