Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. So if you are an avid reader and you like to travel, then you are in for a surprise today. I take immense pleasure in introducing Maheshwaran Jothi, author of Puglia: Hidden treasures of Italy. He believes one needn’t be rich to travel. His blog has practical details about traveling; including the culture and foods in local and international destinations. He has authored 6 books. The interview with him left me marking Italy as my next travel destination.
Let’s get on with the interview. Shall we?
Q. You say ‘This book is a new type of travel guide with clear details on what to do every day and the sequence to see them’. How is it different from a travel guide?
A. In general, travel guides target the destination and not the traveler. With their never-ending list of local monuments & attractions, they make the traveler envy or worried about missed paces rather than appreciate the ones they visited. Since travelers have a limited time at their disposal, I have cherry picked the places and paced the travel in a relaxed way so that the traveler is fully immersed in the journey. The book has optimized the locations, including the order in which it can be visited, for the traveler to just follow without any hassle. Because, I strongly feel, a vacation is not a hurry-burry I-have-been-there sort of trip.
Q.Why did you choose Italy when the world is filled with other beautiful destinations?
A. Now that’s a good one. I stay in Milan, and my experience says that most travelers here are visiting only for the famous sites like Rome, Venice etc. But there are plenty of hidden treasures in here, which I thought I should bring out for the traveler. Staying in Italy and not highlighting those beauties to the external world is injustice. And this very thought gave birth to my first travel eBook.
Q.You have written about ‘financial freedom’. That’s a huge leap from finance to travel. How did you get into travel writing?
A. Writing is my passion [I hated writing when in school, that’s a different story!]. My job involves travel and made me visit around 2 dozen countries. And there are hundreds of interesting incidents that happen during each visit. One day the thought struck me with a bang “Why am I not sharing such interesting events?”. So, I started writing my travelogues for years and today here I am – writing about my stint in travel writing.
Q.What will you surprise us with in the coming months/ years?
A. Will it be any more of a surprise if I reveal it now? Jokes apart, I was working on a novel “Codice Bianco” with the storyline centered in Milan, Italy. Yes, I said “was” because the job & family commitments have kept me away from completing it. Not sure how long I will have to hold my character Salvatore Meloni’s intro in here. I am praying to get it done and have it release this year. I am sure you will like it.
Q.What are some of the biggest illusions people have about travel writing?
A. Interesting question. Many here feel that only those having the opportunity to travel to exotic places can write on travel. And you should be financially sound to make such travels. No. You can do travel-writing even by visiting the nearby beaches or a historical temple in your city and write about it. Some of my first travelogues were on Rameswaram and Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple from south India. Just step out of your home and look around – You will see different colors and cultures. Begin with it.
Q. What is your greatest personal accomplishment?
A. I feel overwhelmed by that word. I am not sure if I have really made any great one. But the day I became an author, I felt a sort of accomplishment. And today I have 6 titles under my name. Personally, this makes me feel happy that I did something that will stay & continue to carry my thoughts in this world for long, even after me.
Q.If you could time-travel to anywhere, where would you go? Why?
A. Early morning of 16th of August 1999, to my home. Will help me save my father when he gets a heart attack. Unfortunately, no one was near him to save on time. Sorry, I wanted to keep this interview as entertaining as possible, but then what’s the use of time-travel if we cannot save our dear ones?
Q. How do you overcome Writer’s Block?
A. Say a goodbye to the “thoughts”, keep off the writing and do the things I love most – Travel. Yes, I ignore that guy if he does not want to help me. And after a while, he will come back dancing to be noticed by me. And I welcome him with both hands. More you ignore, more he rushes to you!
Q. Describe your process for research while writing.
A. It completely depends on the Genre. If it’s related to finance, like my Financial Freedom book, then there are a lot of figures to seek out, ever-changing laws etc. So, I research these data and get to the underlying concept to explain to my readers than the actual results. Because the results could change with time – GST was something which was not there when I wrote this book. But if it’s fiction based story, then it’s my imagination. My personal experience has come handy in many situations than research. For some of my books, I have also used google maps extensively!
Note of caution. Internet could be a good place to do research, but with the growing fake news and false propaganda, it is no more. Books and Libraries are still a good resource.
Q. Share some valuable tips for publishing and marketing your e-book.
A. 1. Having gone through the process of publishing both in physical & eBook format, my vote any day goes to eBook. Especially the Kindle Desktop Publishing from Amazon. To any indie author, Social media is the most powerful tool not only to make themselves be noticed but also as a good marketing tool for their creations.
2. Few known secrets for marketing:
- Keep a personal site, it always ascertains your authenticity.
- Keep blogging related to the book you publish.
- Keep the conversation moving & engage with the readers.
- Join similar interest groups. But do not jump to share your links for every conversation. Be genuine.
3. Not to forget, content is most important. So, make sure you follow the 5R – Read, Rephrase, Reorganize, Refine & Review. For more details on 5R, please head on to my blog! Good luck!
Book Blurb Content: Travel guides give people detailed lists of places in a region. But one finds it difficult to plan and worry about the lack of time to see so much. This book is a new type of travel guide with clear details on what to do every day and the sequence to see them.
With 6 books under his belt, you will definitely be impressed with his Goodreads author’s page. You can download the book from Amazon. If you need to be further convinced, you can read Shilpa’s review of the book. To hear straight from the horse’s mouth here is Maheshwaran’s dramatic reading video.
@MaheshwaraJothi, do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well. Wishing you all the best for the eBook and all your future endeavors. Wishing you lots of success!!
Fellow authors, did this interview surprise you? Did you find it insightful? Do you relate with the author? We would love to know. Do comment and share your thoughts.
Read Mayuri’s interview on Anshu’s blog. And head to Ashwini’s blog to read Rashi’s interview. This interview is a part of a series of #AuthorChatter- interviews conducted jointly by @anshuwrites, @ashwini and yours truly.