18
Jun

“I was itching to create.”

By Shana Susan Ninan

Here’s an email interview I conducted with the author of The Journey of Om – Chandru Bhojwani:

A transition that you’ve made successfully – from writing articles and short stories to authoring your first book now. How was it made possible?

If I’m being honest, I’d have to admit that I sort of stumbled on to the writing path. I had a desire to be creative since an early age and combining that with an ability to express with the written word, led me to write as a hobby. The editor of Beyond Sindh saw those pieces and offered me a column in the magazine. While Beyond Sindh allowed me to hone my skills, the desire to create and experiment with different genres led me to writing short stories. It was during this period I started to pen down The Journey of Om, expecting it to be another short story however; as time went by I kept adding to it. The feedback I received from avid readers was encouraging and when my agent, Sherna Khambatta shared her thoughts, I believed I had something worth sharing. Rejuvenated by her feedback, I dedicated myself to completing the book and what was once an incomplete 12 page short story is now a complete novel being read by the public.

Have you wanted to be an author early in life, or did it just flow from one to another?

I never studied or trained to be a writer and as I mentioned, it started as a hobby. In writing I found an avenue through which I was able to express my thoughts in a witty, tongue-in-cheek way while getting my point across and entertaining readers. I never expected it to go anywhere until a reader told me I had missed my calling. When Beyond Sindh came knocking, it reinforced what my readers thought. Still, I never considered myself a writer and felt like a pretender when I referred to myself as one. As a result of the feedback, support and especially with the publishing of my first short story, The Love Letter in the Inner Voices anthology by Mirage Books, I believed that writing was a road I could seriously embark on.

Your literary idols?

One of the books I thoroughly enjoyed and at times even wished wouldn’t end is Vikram Seth’s, A Suitable Boy. Other writers whose work I’ve enjoyed are Conn Iggulden, Michael Crichton and John Burdett.

How did you feel when you faced the first blank page, the moment you started out to write The Journey of Om?

I was itching to create. I felt like I had a volcano of creative magma waiting to erupt and was eager to construct the ideas, thoughts and images in my mind via the written word. It’s tough to describe how it feels when I start typing and watch the story in my head manifest in black and white. I guess the closest thing I could compare it to is an addict getting his fix.

Your thoughts about the reception of the book, your maiden effort…

The feedback has been superb! Most of the readers have enjoyed the novel and have been able to relate to it on one level or another. A majority of the criticism I’ve received has been fair and I’ve taken it on board for my future writing endeavors. Overall, I’d have to say that I’m pleased with the reception although I do wish it was more readily available.

Did you have any particular age group in mind while deciding the storyline?

The Journey of Om is a tale about relationships, love, betrayal and life in general and has something for everyone. That said I felt it would appeal to those in their young twenties through to those in their fifties.

Which character in the book do you like the most, and why?

Most of the readers have told me that their favourite character is Mona. Personally I’d have to say I’m a fan of Jim. His contribution to the plot is not only refreshing but adds levity to the lives of those around him. In spite of being one of the sub-characters, Jim’s carefree attitude, sense of humor and voice of reason exemplifies his solidity as a person and allows him to be the subtle anchor in Om’s life.

The book is listed in the Vodafone Crossword Long list…

This has truly been a surreal odyssey, and when I learned that The Journey of Om was long listed, it came as an incredible and pleasant surprise, to say the least. I’m truly thankful and to know that my work is being well received and appreciated is the icing on the cake.

What would your next book be about? Any thoughts?

I have been milling over a story about an overnight dot com millionaire returning to his birth place of Mumbai after being away for two decades. His odyssey introduces the readers to a host of colourful characters while he comes to terms how Mumbai differs from his preconceived notions. The story is one of succumbing to temptations and losing ones soul in a hedonistic oasis, until the high wears off and the protagonist hits rock bottom. Once he finds his bearings, the protagonist sets off to ensure justice befalls the social juggernaut that plotted his fall from grace. It’s positioned to be somewhat of a darker tale sprinkled with humor, some of it rather true and crass.

A word for your readers…

Thank you for your continuous support and belief in me and my work. Your feedback is always valued and welcomed and I hope my writing continues to entertain each and every one of you.

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Rating: 9.4/10 (8 votes cast)
“I was itching to create.”, 9.4 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 3:42 pm and is filed under Authors, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

comments

2
  1. June 23rd, 2010 | Amit Butani says:

    I’ve read the Journey of Om a couple of times and it is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable book. From beginning to end. The book is definitely enjoyable for people of all ages. My 70 year old father enjoyed reading the book so much that he finished it in 6 hours.

    The writing style is fantastic which is what makes it such a joy to read. Although the story does center around one person’s difficult times, there is enough humour and wit that helps to keep the story pleasant and not at all depressing.

  2. February 1st, 2011 | mauie says:

    I always get excited to read author interviews especially of a writer who is not only very nice but has produced a successful debut novel.

    Have reread The Journey of Om quite a few times already and the story still gets to me. That’s why it scored high on my review:

    http://pachuvachuva.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/the-journey-of-om/

    And the same reason why it’s included in my reading list for the month of February 2011:

    http://pachuvachuva.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/love-in-28-days/

    Looking forward to Chandru’s future books. ^_^

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