What inspired you on this book?
I abhor the routine in life. Never liked going to school or college because it was doing the same thing again and again. Perhaps that’s the reason I always trusted that there’s more to life than just waking up, suffering the routine and going back to sleep every night. I love strange and unexplained things. I truly and honestly believe that the stuff in folklore and mythology is true. I believe that there are angels, demons, heavens and all those fabulous creatures with amazing powers. There are many worlds in 4th and 5th dimensions and we can’t see them because we are only 3 dimensional. I believe that man has the ability to perform ‘supernatural’ feats called miracles… I would, one day, be able to perform such miracles too. The Gurus of India have always said this is possible and for me the Gurus’ word is the ultimate. So, all my stories revolve around wacky and supernatural stuff. The concept of The Spookoholic: Kanchi came to me when I was thinking ‘in the opposite’, which is my method when I sit down to write. “We are all frightened of Ghosts. What if Ghosts are frightened of us?” And then the Spookoholic was born. The novel has a truck load of these weird concepts that would make you pause for a moment and perhaps think ‘What the duck! Could someone even think in this angle?’ J
Why did you want to become a writer?
I had worked on radio and television for several years. Had written hundreds of scripts. I enjoyed reading books that exited me but never dreamt that I would find myself writing one day, honestly. One day a good lady asked me to write a story and narrate it for her Internet magazine (I am a voice artist). I said yes and started writing. It was very difficult at first but the result was amazing, actually. The stories were filled with suspense and they were very very wacky and compelling. I had never read anything as wacky and suspenseful as the stories I started spinning. Awed, I went on to understand the art of story writing, designed a proper step by step method to churn out brilliant stories with minimum effort and then my work started getting published and appreciated. Yet, writing a novel was ‘impossible’ in my mind until the Spookoholic jetted into my life like a whirlwind J
What was the hardest part of creating this book?
I am a very meticulous person. I create processes and stick to them, albeit my nature that detests routine. But all this discipline ends when I finish writing my story or novel.
The concepts come to me, intelligent screenplay comes to me easily, at least 60% of the times. But the later part of proof reading, toiling with technical details of book publishing and marketing tested my patience. My left-brain, the logical side, tortures me when put to use. To top it all, I am very difficult to satisfy. Every decision is a herculean task and perfectionism is a difficult ailment to live with J The technicalities and ‘routines’ of publishing were the hardest part for me.
What do you hope people gain from reading it?
The Spookoholic is a man who sticks to his ‘Dharma’ or righteousness. There are very very few such people left on this planet today who are of this kind. He is honest, does not lie, respects the tradition and he is compassionate. These are the attributes that our planet requires of her inhabitants today. The entire story has episodes, placed at planned intervals that subtly imprint certain ‘higher vibes’ in the reader. If I am happier than anything about this book, it is because of this aspect of the novel. The reader gets a subconscious affinity to a way of being that has been almost lost. These form part of the story and I tried to be non-preachy about them. Apart from this, the reader will be enthralled by some good humour, weird antics of the protagonist, some very touching moments, intelligent knockouts of obstacles and classy romance.
When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?
I grew up with my grand parents for a few years in childhood. In these valuable years, I spent time lying down next to my grandfather every day, morning, noon and night… to listen to all his stories. He was an ardent reader and an author himself. He narrated to me some two hundred stories. But the first ever stories I listened were Sir Author Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. My grandpa was a great fan of Sherlock. He was my Holmes J And then he read me novels in English, too. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Green Planet, Killer Elite are some that come to mind. When I started reading on my own, I read Enid Bliton, Secret 7 and then lots of Robert Ludlum and John Grisham apart from others.
What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?
Reading has got its benefits. And it has got its downside – it influences you and it would take you away from reality or awareness (as in being in the moment). But nobody could be made to read. For some, reading is just not their thing. And that is perfectly alright. Yet, I should say that everyone’s life has this phase of ‘What? Reading a book? That’s not going to happen’. All who are avid readers today were in that space once upon a time. Reading does/can happen to everybody. The only trick is to keep reading. Read something that’s remotely interesting to you. Just a little every day without breaking the habit. One day you’ll discover that reading is happening effortlessly. And then, all the benefits of reading would be yours.
Why should we buy your book?
Because I am not rich enough, as yet, to give it free of cost to you J Just kidding. If you love to travel into a world where strange things happen… into a world where you’d feel kicked about beating the heck out of evil… into a world where there is love, compassion, strange powers and unimaginably weird spooks… you are welcome into the world of the Spookoholic. When you read through the book and reach ‘The End’, you will feel glad, happy and peaceful inside. You would even suddenly miss the Spookoholic. This is a memorable adventure of a silly yet lovable man, the girl of his dreams and his funny uncle… It describes incredible powers in a common man, an ad film maker. It has the excitement that’s akin to playing a deathly video game that has 3348 ghosts. And finally, it is written by a soul that has meditated for 25 years, day in and day out… every word was written to bestow beneficial vibes to the reader and bless her/him.