(For all of my awesome followers who continue to stop by even though I've been slacking on getting to your blogs to comment: THANK YOU!! I've been trying to get caught up on my writing, revising, and critiquing so I can get back to commenting. It's hectic over here, but I'm getting there-slowly.)
Now on to the TAG! Today is Utsav Mukherjee. He's an awesome guy and writer who I met at...Why yes, of course, AQC! :D You can find him at his blog, Pineapple Lightning (he's lightning, btw) and he's also on Twitter.
1. When did you start writing?
At the age of 11. I started with a rip-off on Secret Seven/Famous Five and then transcended to a fan fiction of the Order of the Phoenix. It had several good plot points, which were quite similar to the actual book (Sirius dying, Fred and George's shop etc.) I had the threads of my current novel when I was 14 and although most of the story has changed since, a few words from that time still remain in my first chapter.
2. What made you want to write?
The joy of reading about a world you can immerse yourself in. I wanted to experience my own world and also, through it spread the joy to others.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
I always had that thought in mind. I love writing but more than that, I love having my works read. For that, publishing is essential. I didn't know anything about the publishing process though and I probably still don't.
4. What genre(s) do you write?
Fantasy and Sci-fi. I don't think I am good for writing anything else, yet.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
You write what you read. And my favourite genre is High Fantasy, although I have ideas for a thriller.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Get a laptop and type! No, not really. Although, I am a slave to my writing moods. I can't get too much done unless I am in one of them.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
A mix of both, I think. Having a vague outline is important, so that you know where you are heading. But then again, ideas keep popping in while you are writing, so I tend to go with the flow.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Internet. I come up with so many questions while writing, that it is imperative for me to keep researching on topics.
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I used to write on paper when I started off. But college life turned me into one of those desk guys sitting in front of a computer. So now, it's directly on the computer.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
Two books and about ten short stories. None of them have seen the light of day. I may come back to them some day.
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Well, surprisingly no. Everybody always thought I had a way with words. But for me, sometimes writing takes a backseat because of the ten-thousand other equally awesome passions I have. Right now, writing tops the charts.
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I am not much of a social person. Other than Facebook, I have only recently joined twitter.
13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
I will keep that on hold because I don't have enough experience to comment. One thing I am comfortable with is long sentences, whether reading or writing, but run-ons seem to be a strict no-no.
14. Why do you write YA?
I don't have an age group in mind when I start writing. I selected the genre first, which was Fantasy/Sci-Fi and I guess it became a YA because I was 14 when I had the preliminary idea for Jimmy, so my writing and my story reflects that. I know, it is a norm to know your target audience because it helps the marketing of the book but we as authors want everyone in all age groups to connect to the story. Harry Potter is read by adults and LoTR is read by teens.
15. Are there many writers in India? (Just curious how common it is for people there to pursue writing)(And I mean this question in no offense at all, btw.)
I am not entirely sure, as to how popular writing for getting published is in India yet. But there are several leading novelists from India like Arundhati Roy (God of Small Things), Aravind Adiga (White Tiger), Chetan Bhagat (Five Point Someone) and a new favourite- Amish (Naga Trilogy).
16. Attorney by day/writer by night...Do the two ever mix/interfere with one another?
Sadly, more than mixing, being a lawyer hampers my writing time. Being on the call 24 hours a day makes it tough to continue writing on a regular basis, especially since I am not a legal drama writer like John Grisham. The one thing that has been a positive impact is my drafting skills have improved.
17. What would you do/think if you stumbled upon an invisible ladder?
Do what my MC did. Climb it and pretend to be Superman. Also I could make money getting other people to get pictures clicked like that.
18. Are there similarities between you and your MC in Averagely Extraordinary?
There are similarities and differences. I was decently well-placed academically and sports-wise and some of my friends, who were at that time not so inclined to study, used to get lectures from their parents. I wanted to put my fantasy of going on an extra-ordinary adventure being in the shoes of an average kid. And my story follows the dictum- Sometimes being average at everything is better than being good in one and bad at others. The desire to be special is strong in all of us. Jimmy wants to be special as well. The story is about how he responds when he understands being extraordinary is not always about being the best.
19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Usually working, playing table tennis, cooking, academic pursuits and the minimum dose of socialising.
20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Try and write so that you can see the events in your mind like a movie. To me, that is the core of writing.