Q1. First of all Tell me something about yourself..
Well I like to describe myself as a doctor by qualification and artist by temperament! I was born in a family of doctors so becoming one was almost a given but after finishing my medical graduation I chose to pursue management studies and as a result got into a profile not many people even knew about. That exposure to new and different experiences, both personal and professional, helped expand my horizons and made me grow as a person.
Q2. When did you start writing and how did you get an interest on Mythology?
Mythology runs in my blood - I have grown up on stories told by my grandmother in childhood and have devoured Amar Chitra Kathas with the hunger of a famished man when I could read. Later I got hooked to science-fiction and while reading the works of H. G. Wells and Isaac Asimov realized that this was not very different from the stories of my childhood and hence rediscovered mythology.
Writing was always a passion and I have been blogging since my MBA days though that was more of personal rantings. After getting into a job I decided to try my hand at writing more serious stuff especially related to the two topics I find most interesting – terrorism and mythology. I tentatively began putting down my thoughts in my two blogs – ‘Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism’ and ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and found that my articles were getting great response from readers and that’s how the journey took the next step.
Q3. I have read your Blog. It gives us a good knowledge on our Mythology. From where did you get knowledge?
I read a lot of mythology in my free time and like connecting the dots wherever things are missing. The Hindu puranas especially are a rich storehouse of stories and so are the Buddhist Jatakas. I have read the Valmiki Ramayan and the Mahabharat as well as the Bhagvad Geeta and Srimad Bhagavatam but it is a constant process and you can never say it’s done because there’s so much to know!
Besides I like reading about the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Nordic mythologies as well whenever I can find time.
Q4. Tell us something about your book? And why did you choose “Vishwamitra” as your main character?
Vishwamitra is a fast-paced book that details the journey of a mortal king who rose to the level of a Brahma-rishi, the highest of high-priests in the Universe by the sheer determination of his will. He challeneged the norms set by society and proved that a human could become greater than the gods if he so desired.
That determination to follow his own path and chart out his own destiny was what attracted me to his story for it resonates with my own perception of the world. I took an unconventional approach to my professional life and I saw the same rebellion in Vishwamitra making him a very fascinating character for me to write about.
Besides, I have been reciting the Gayatri Mantra like most Indian children right from childhood and when I researched about my character I was shocked to know he was the one who discovered this Mantra! Imagine there are millions of Hindus all over the globe chanting the gayatri Mantra everyday without knowing who its originator was - that was the final confirmation for me that his story needed to be brought out to the world!
Q5. I have read the book and I must say it is a well researched book. Where did you get all the details of “Vishwamitra”?
Well the primary source of Vishwamitra’s life is the Baal Kaand of the Valmiki Ramayan and I almost lapped it up completely before even beginning to write his story. I have tried to retain the milestones of his life as they are but have added my own interpretations of how or why things happened the way they did.
Q7. How did you manage your Profession as well as your blog and your Novel?
Haha well I am still trying to juggle them all!
I believe that if you have a passion for what you are doing it is not difficult to manage things in life. I love my work and my blog and of course now that I have tasted success, writing a book gives me a big high so I plan my days accordingly so that I can give attention to all the things equitably. It is of course challenging but so far so good I guess!
Q8. Tell us something about your publisher and your journey with him as an Author?
Well my publisher is Penguin and for me, Vaishali, my editor is the face of the house for she is the one who motivated me to write and has helped me throughout the process. It was a learning experience to say the least for writing articles in a blog that are full of scientific and technical details is vastly different from writing a story that can keep the reader hooked from the start to the end! Also I came to know how the publishing industry works for the first time.
Q9. Who is your source of inspiration?
I admire all the people who have gone out of their way to do something that was bigger than their own lives. Mahatma Gandhi who even in the era of no social networking connected the entire country to fight for freedom tops the list.
Others include the Mughal king Akbar, who embraced India’s religions as his own and tried to create a syncretic concept of Din-e-ilahi; Shivaji Maharaj and Guru Gobind Singh who united warring factions to tackle the later less tolerant Mughals; Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi who fought with the mighty British to demand her right to freedom; Swami Vivekananda, who presented ancient Indian wisdom to the western world for the first time and Martin Luther King who fought for equal rights for blacks in America.
Q10. Apart from writing and your profession, what else is your interest?
Well I love reading fiction, traveling and photography. Meeting people and exploring new cultures is a passion for it gives me more insight into our own customs and rich heritage and how the entire world is connected with the same basic threads of morality.
Q11. What sort of marketing you are doing to promote your book?
My efforts are more focused on the social media through my own Facebook page and the blog both of which have a dedicated following.
Q12. How will you face both negative and positive reviews of your book?
Both are important for a writer and need to be taken in what Bhagvad Geeta calls the spirit of a Yogi. Too high a praise shouldn’t go to you head and criticism shouldn’t bring you down rather both should help you change for the better and I am trying to follow the same path.
Q13. Apart from mythology, If you get a chance to write on another genere than what genere you would love to write?
I would love to write a political thriller sometime!
Q14. In mythology characterization is very important. Tell us something about the characters of your book and who is your favorite character?
There are four or five major characters in the book and my story tries to do justice to all of them presenting their view points and thinking process as much as the main protagonist but without doubt my favorite is Vishwamitra.
I had to build up the characters in his life for the Ramayan, understandably talks about him more than the people around him and almost the entire first half of the book is my imagination of how those people looked or behaved or dealt with the world around them based on the prevalent beliefs of that time.
Q15. Are you planning to write another book? Have you chosen the title and Genere. Give us some light on it?
Yes actually I have started working on my second book recently. The genre for now remains the same and the title shall be disclosed once it’s done but I can tell you this much that it involves someone from Vishwamitra’s family J
Q16. What message would you like to say to our readers and debut writers?
I wrote online knowing well my stuff was open to all for plagiarism and would not pay me anything but did it nevertheless out of the passion for writing and all the effort I put in for all these years has brought me here today. So keep working hard and you’ll definitely get whatever you truly wish for in life. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.
Author can be contacted at: https://www.facebook.com/Dr.Vineet.Official
Thank you Vineet for spending your valuable time with us. I loved your book and hope to see your book as best seller. All the best.