Saturday, March 25, 2017

Meet Saurabh Sharma - Author of Teenage Diaries

Let's meet Saurabh Sharma, author of "Teenage Diaries the Days That Were". Reader can check his book review that we published last week here: Review Link

Please tell us about your studies and your educational background?
Post my schooling in Baroda, I did my engineering from NIT, Allahabad and MBA from Narsee Monjee
Tell us about your teenage?
Well, in school I was exactly like the character in my first novel – A studious nerd till I was in 10th and a spoilt brat in 11th. A few turn of events saved me from going astray.
Can you tell us about your professional background?
I have been sales manager in companies like L’oreal, Idea and Coke. I’m currently an associate director in Flipkart
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
I don’t read as much as I would like to, but I still average around 20 books a year. I was immensely inspired in college, like many others, by The Fountainhead. More recently, Colleen Hoover’s style of writing has inspired me a lot! 
When did you start writing? 
Being part of a Rock band in college, I used to contribute in writing songs, but I realised soon that that was not my true calling. Back in 2011, I happened to write a story (the 3rd chapter of my novel), which got overwhelming response from my friends on Facebook. That inspired me to write a novel. It took me almost 5 years to finish it though.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Writing for me is a therapeutic passion. I want my writing to make people smile, maybe laugh, contemplate and realize the importance of relationships. Though I’m definitely not in for money, I want to be a famous name in literary world.  Though it might sound too materialistic, it’s actually not. Pursuit to fame can easily be misconstrued as a selfish one, but the truth is that fame will only lead to a wider reach, which will make more readers pick up my book. The only thing that can motivate a writer to better his skills is feedback from his readers and I want to be famous to make my novel reach millions of readers. 
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Well I’m a fitness enthusiast as well as a sportsperson. I wake up at 6, head to gym, leave for my office at 9 30, come back at 7 and start writing at 8. There are times when I write 2 words in those 2 hours and there are times when I write 2000, but I make sure I write daily. I pick up a book at 10 and sleep by 11. 
What genre are your books?
I believe I am not a writer but a storyteller. My current book and the books to come will be stories of people around us. Seasoned with a dash of humor, my books will try to depict how our every-day conflicts shape us and how people like us overcome them. 

Click here to get chance to win your copy

Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
As the title suggests, Teenage diaries – from the perspective of a typical middle-class Indian teenage boy - describes the trivial (which we then thought were significant) challenges that an Indian teenager from a small town faces. Everyone goes through a transformational phase in their lives – time timing of which depends on when we met our catalyst. The protagonist here meets his transformational catalyst when he enters higher secondary, which changes him completely. This is the story of his transformation, his mistakes and his liberation.
Give us an insight into your main character(s)
The novel is a story seen from the eyes of Ghanshyam – a typical middle class nerd (yes, he is a poet too), clumsy around girls and easily bullied by guys. His best friend is Vikram who, quite contrary to Ghanshyam, is an optimist. Ghanshyam is in love with Aneya – the hottest yet coolest girl of the school. Armaan – the ultra-rich suave kid, who joins the school in higher secondary becomes friends with Ghanshyam and Vikram and their lives completely change post that. This is the story of Ghanshyam, Vikram, Armaan And Aneya.
Where did you get idea for this book?
It is inspired by true events that happened around me when I was in school
How much research did you do for this book?
Not much. It was more of trying to remember the events.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? (If applicable)
My favorite character is Armaan. He is insanely handsome and filthy rich, but he is not judgemental. More importantly, he can do anything for the sake of friendship and loves living life on the edge. I would want to have an Armaan in my life.
What was the toughest thing about writing your latest book?
This being my debut novel, I had no idea when to stop. I just loved writing about the characters that I had grown so fond of. When I finished the novel was a 1.2 lakh words (530 pages novel). The hardest thing was trimming it down to 75k words. Editing out events that I had so painstakingly written, hurt like parts of my body were being removed. Those 2 months were tough and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my wife. I still remember us sitting next to each other in coffee shops after our daily jobs, trying to edit out what we thought was least pertinent to the story. 
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?

Release date. 
The book was launched on 16th December, 2016
Can you tell us the response you are getting from readers?
The initial response has been overwhelming. It has got 65 reviews on amazon and it is trending at 4.8 stars. It has been able to reach the audience as we have gone for our first reprint. Being able to print more copies now that we are confident of its impact, we have been able to reduce the price of the book to ensure it can reach more readers.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on the sequel. Most of those who have read the novel want to know what happens next and are waiting for a sequel.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I guess a book series is tough to write, but if successfully executed can make the characters immortal in the minds of the readers. That’s the plan.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Firstly, do not let the story decide the end. Let the end decide the story.
Secondly, write daily. Even if you write shit one day, next day, write again.
Thirdly, there might be times when self-doubt will obscure your sensibilities. Share your first couple of chapters with someone who has not read them before. If they don't like them, you know you have to re-work on them and if they do, you will get motivation to write the next few chapters. Keep such 20 friends ready :)
And finally, re-write as many times as you can. Every time you revisit a sentence or a paragraph, you will be in a different state of mind than you were when you visited it last. That will bring in a fresh perspective and will help make it better.
Links for your book readers
Click here to get chance to win your copy


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