I take immense pleasure in interviewing the author of the day. There is something about the title of the book which I find intriguing. So when I was presented with an opportunity to interview Sitharam Jayakumar, I grabbed it. He is the author of ‘Eighty hours to save Karen’. He is an Information Technology professional who started writing when a friend who was impressed by his versatile language urged him to do so. His repertoire includes social issues, women’s empowerment and fiction. He is a published poet too.
Q. Is thriller your favorite genre? Is this your first book in this genre?
A. Actually, I have two favorite genres. These are thriller fiction and humor. It is very difficult for me to choose which one I like more. I would say I like thrillers a shade better than humor, but it is really ‘touch and go’. Yes, this is my first book in the thriller fiction genre.
Q. What kind of writer are you? Are you an obsessive outliner or more like “seat of the pants”?
A. I have heard from many writers of thriller fiction that it is important to have the plot and the characters of your book clearly outlined in your mind before beginning to write a book. I tried to do this before beginning my book, but I drew a big blank. I almost gave up writing the book. But before giving up I decided to make an attempt to write Spontaneously instead of outlining things in my mind. I sat with my laptop and penned the first chapter. I found this easier. The rest of the book simply flowed. So, I would describe myself as a more “seat of the pants” kind of writer.
Q.What’s the greatest obstacle you faced in writing your book?
A. As I said in my answer to the second question I almost gave up writing my book because of my inability to come up with a clear outline of the plot and characters before beginning to write. I overcame this difficulty by writing spontaneously. Another thing is after every three or four chapters I would try to think ahead and find myself stymied. Yet again I solved the problem by simply writing and by not thinking too far ahead. The minute I did this the words would simply flow. In addition, I found it difficult to find time to write with a very tight schedule in my day job.
Q. When did you realize that you want to be a writer?
A. Honestly, I just drifted into writing. Last year we had the founding day function of the organization where I work. One of my close friends and colleagues suggested I write and present a poem in the function as I had never participated before. I presented a poem on the antics of my mischievous twelve-year-old daughter and it was a huge hit in the ceremony. This lead to my starting a blog for poems. One thing led to another and I began posting articles and short stories on my blog. Finally, I participated in the Blogchatter eBook carnival. And today I find myself a published author with a Kindle eBook for sale on Amazon.
Q. Tell me about the protagonist? How did he manifest himself to you?
A. The protagonist in my book is a seventy-year-old grandfather treading a treacherous path to save his grandchild from the jaws of death. He is retired from the Indian Air Force and is the holder of the Vir Chakra. His granddaughter, Karen is all that he has left in the world. He has great strength of character though he does have some negative characteristics too. He is not a habitual churchgoer, but he has religious leanings. This does make him a bit intolerant at times. He is modeled on one of my school friend’s grandfather. This school friend of mine was the son of a Major in the army who had died in the war. My friend’s grandfather used to entertain us during the holidays at my friend’s house. He had a flowing white beard and was a really charming old man. My protagonist does not have a beard though.
Q. What can our readers expect next from you?
A. I am currently working on a psychological thriller. I have written around ninety pages of the book. I am working on the book, but it will take a little while for me to finish the book as the priorities lie elsewhere right now.
Q. What do you think your protagonist thinks about you?
A. I am sure my protagonist would be fond of certain aspects of my character and he would also dislike me in some ways. I am sure he would like my honesty and straight-forward nature. But then I am not a man of action and more of a technocrat. I am sure he would have for me the customary contempt that men from the armed forces have for civilians.
Q. How do you overcome Writer’s Block?
A. I get a writer’s block every time I think ahead about the plot in my books. Even when I am writing a poem or an article I have this problem. When this happens, I stop thinking and just sit with my laptop and let my fingers dance on the keys of the keyboard. The story flows easily that way, at least in my case. Different people have different styles of writing. Mine is to simply not think beforehand and think only during the process of writing.
Q. Describe your process for research while writing.
A. This is the first time I am attempting to write a full-length novella. I needed to find out certain things about the gallantry awards given by the Indian Air Force and the various ranks of the officers. I looked up the Wikipedia article to decide on my protagonist’s rank, his decorations etc. Eventually, I made him an Air Commodore and the holder of the Vir Chakra. My book also required certain details about Satanism. I largely depend on the internet for the researching while writing.
Q. Share some valuable tips for publishing and marketing your e-book.
A. I have been sharing my Amazon book link in all social media like Facebook and Twitter. I have made my book a part of Amazon Kindle Select. This makes the eBook available to people who have subscribed to Kindle Unlimited for free. Making my book a part of Amazon’s Kindle Select gives me access to several advertising tools which I plan to use.
Book Blurb: The book ‘Eighty Hours To Save Karen’ is a tale of a grandfather’s perilous journey to save his granddaughter’s life. Is little Karen the victim of a supernatural phenomenon? Or is her affliction something entirely natural? Air Commodore Mathew Williams undertakes the journey to unravel the mystery and snatch his granddaughter from the jaws of death. Danger lurks at every step. He has to tread warily for one false step could spell disaster.
@SmallFryBlogger, 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!!