Sunday, March 26, 2017

Meet Madhav Mathur Author of Dvarca

Indian literature has seen less number of books under the dystopian genre. Madhav Mathur's recent book Dvarca is able to get readers attention in short span. Let's meet Madhav and try to know about him and Dvarca.

Can you tell us about your education?
I’m an engineer, but I’ve done a lot of MOOCs. I try to keep learning new things formally and informally.
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
I always had a submission or two for the school magazine, loved debating, quizzing, and participated in sports. I also wrote and acted in a number of plays in university. There were never enough hours in the day.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Banking, Management Consulting, Strategy Consulting
Which author inspire you the most?
I love reading and my favourite authors are Mikhail Bulgakov, Herman Hesse, Hemingway, Philip K Dick, Rabindranath Tagore, Albert Camus, and Solzhenitsyn.
When did you start writing?
I have been writing since I was a kid in school. I wrote a poem making fun of the principal and it made people laugh. I enjoyed that feeling and have been writing ever since.
When did you decide to become a writer?
It’s been a lifelong journey, as writing is something I have always done. I started taking it seriously in school, writing poems and articles for the magazine. I had a few publications in youth sections of newspapers before I went on to write plays, films and novels.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I hope to keep searching for truth and to share it with people in an entertaining way that makes them think and ask questions. I don’t want to sound like anyone else. I don’t want to say things that have been said before, or in ways that are worn.
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I usually write for a couple of hours in the morning before going to my day job. I edit the same work later in the evening. It’s a decent way to get a fresh perspective.
Can you tell us about your first book?
“Dvarca”, published by FingerPrint is my second book. Before this, Penguin published my novel – “The Diary of an Unreasonable Man”. Apart from novels I have written and directed numerous films, including two feature-length productions.
What genre are your books?
“Dvarca” is dystopian, speculative fiction. “The Diary of an Unreasonable Man” was a thriller.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Dvarca is the first of an admittedly ambitious trilogy. It is a satirical take on family life in a future totalitarian India. It takes readers into this frightening world and lets them see things through the lives of common people.

Participate in quiz to win copy of Dvarca

Give us an insight into your main character(s)
There are three main characters in Dvarca. Through them I have tried to explore the ways in which we can challenge authoritarianism. Jyoti, a mother of two, is treated like cattle. She has very little control over her hours, and her body. Everything is monitored, curated and run by the State. She starts to question this regime and comes in contact with an underground movement plotting to overthrow the Government. Her compassion drives her choices and she faces great peril with courage.
Her husband, Gandharva, is a lowly bureaucrat who works at the Ministry of Finance and Salvation. He is obsessed with getting promoted and will do anything to advance his career. His fatal flaw is his curiosity, which leads him to uncover a sinister secret about Dvarca.
Their son, Nakul, is an outstanding student. He is patriotic, pious, and well on his way to becoming a great soldier. Something happens to him that changes his relationship with everyone around him.
Where did you get idea for this book?
My reasons for writing this book are related to a troubling childhood experience, that I think I share with most people of my generation. We were kids when the Babri Masjid was demolished. We were kids when the blasts shook Mumbai and riots took lives. These incidents left a mark on me and made me aware, for the first time, that friction or unresolved anger exists in society. Dvarca is a way to take these divisive elements, and project them into the future while imagining the worst. It is speculative fiction that hopes to find a peaceful way back from a horrible scenario. I made a short video to explain my motivations for writing Dvarca.

How much research did you do for this book?
There was a lot of research that went into creating Dvarca. My study still looks like a library hit by a hurricane. From foreign policy and international relations to scripture and its interpretations, I spent a lot of time reading and understanding more about the subjects I wanted to explore. The technology and science that exists in Dvarca also went through a rigorous process of discovery and investigation. I interviewed a significant number of people with views opposed to mine, to try and distil their arguments as best as I could, to debate them fairly through my work.
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book?
Dvarca was a difficult book to write, for three reasons- first there were many occasions when I would stop mid-sentence and wonder if I was crossing the line, entering dangerous and unchartered territory. This was echoed by some publishers who rejected my work, finding the content risky. Second, an entire world had to be created for this trilogy. It was not easy balancing character development, the story and world-building all at the same time. Thirdly, I gave myself the challenge of writing a story that did not answer violence with violence. Very often, books in the dystopian genre end up sticking-it-to-the-man with a bloody rebellion or uprising. My goal with the Dvarca trilogy is to bring change without becoming what you hate.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
There are a couple of short videos that we created for my book. One that talks about my motivations, which I already mentioned above and another, on the Facebook page, that describes what the book is all about.
How was the response from reader about your book?
It’s been less than six months, but “Dvarca” has an average rating of 4.1 on GoodReads and almost a full 5 stars on Amazon.
What are you working on at the minute?
Dvarca is a trilogy and I am completing books 2 and 3 at the moment. I have also started on a deeply personal project on a different topic. I hope it too will see the light of day.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Writing a trilogy has given me the freedom to explore huge, far-reaching themes in a comprehensive way, while giving me the structure and discipline to make it happen. The Dvarca trilogy is like a world tour of fascism.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write only if you feel you have something new to say. Don’t write for a market, don’t write for ratings. Write if you have seen or experienced truth and would like to share it in a way that is fresh. Once you have this motivation, nothing should stop you. Also, read as much as you can, all the time. It is as important as breathing, eating and sleeping.
Links for your book readers
Participate in quiz to win copy of Dvarca


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