Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In Conversation with Sailesh Mishra!

Hi Sailesh Mishra,

Hope this finds you in good spirits!

It’s a pleasure to take your interview today. So let’s start:

Hailing from the small town of Dhenkanal in Odisha, Sailesh Mishra is currently pursuing a bachelors in Technology in Computer Science and Engineering in KIIT University. He is also responsible for a magazine namely 'ExaVaganza', which is one of his largest ventures. He also founded and currently manages an organisation for young aspiring writers which goes by the name 'The Vestige', which helps them understand the wider aspects of writing. Along with that he is a prolific speaker and poet on several occasions as well. He believes in the darker genres of youth fiction and aims to excel in that.

Here, he lets his readers know a little more about himself and his journey so far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you Sailesh Mishra:

1. Tell us something about you that only people close to you know.

Well, my love life so far has sucked in the worst of ways possible (laughs). Another thing they will tell you is that engineering was never my first option. It was always literature. But thanks to our non-flexible system, I ended up there (but I like it here, a lot).

2. How does it feel to be a published writer? Has it changed you in anyway? How do you handle fame?

Well, first of all, it feels amazing. You have something to define yourself. It is amazing when my seniors come up to me and say that at the age of 19, I have already achieved half of what is the usual wet dream of every aspiring writer in India. But I personally feel that I am nowhere and it is just the beginning. It has made me more ambitious. It has wiped away the fear of ‘thinking big’ from my mind. I don’t know about fame, but when someone approaches me and tells me that I have inspired that person in any way, then it makes me want to work harder every single moment.

3. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Since I was a child, I had this incredible urge to write. Around six years ago I used to see movies and write scripts to their sequels made up from my own imagination and that got popular in my class. But I never gave a thought of becoming an actual author until I finished school. But then I knew that I just cant be an author. I took a good amount of time to polish myself till a point where my words actually started to deserve the paper in people’s hands.

4. Tell us something about your book, The Perfect Flaw. How did the idea of a book shape up in your mind?

The Perfect Flaw is the first installment of 'The Cerebral Chronicles' series. It is a coming of age teenage action thriller wrapped up under the concepts of science fiction. Like usual Indian thrillers, it isn’t historical but it is more you can say. Superheroic. The idea shaped up in y mind around 18 months ago when I was busy preparing for my boards. So after boards ended, I immediately started to work on that. The idea sounded clichéd ad overly complicated. So I had to make it simpler and unique. Hence the research began. I read around a hundred research reports from several people, read a lot of books, and did a lot of digging to find a concept. The antagonists of my book also needed some serious research. I can tell you one thing. I have read lots of books and I read them now as well. But I have never, anywhere read a book like The Perfect Flaw. You can take my word.

5. How do you envision your book will impact your readers?

 I envision the book to have a mass appeal all over the country and abroad. Almost every chapter (including the last) ends with a cliffhanger. In a generation obsessed with stereotypic romantic plots, I want my book to be a breath of fresh air and create an impact by making the characters a lot more relatable than usual thrillers. I want to create such an impact that the readers would not need advertisement to read the second installment of 'The Cerebral Chronicles'.

6. Briefly tell us about your earlier writings and the subjects that interest you.

My initial entry into this amazing world of writing was through poetry. I had a mentor as a brother who is one of the most amazing poets I ever came across. Inspired from him, I came across poetry. I failed in classical poetry and to quote him my lines were often ‘too technically mainstream to be poetic’ So I changed my genres in poetry and found solace in the darker areas of writing. Technicality and grittiness became my signature. My first published work in an anthology was often termed as 'too gritty and matured for my age'.

7. Share some of your interesting memories you lived while writing The Perfect Flaw.

Well, there are a lot of memories associated with the making of The Perfect Flaw. I made some friends during this period who now mean a lot to me now. One of the memories being, my visit to Puri which compelled me to completely change some locales of the book’s scenes. Now because of that they not only look realistic but also authentic. Then while I was writing the climax of the book, I lost a father figure to haemhorrage. Its impact affected the ending of my story making it much grim. Well in a jar, 17 months, infinite memories.

8. What or who was your biggest inspiration behind this book?

Speaking about idea, narrative and method my biggest inspirations came from Dan Brown, David Baldacci and Quentin Tarantino. Yes, you heard that right, the last one especially. Dan Brown and David Baldacci gave me ample ideas to maintain the thrill and be successful in keeping the reader hooked to the book but the style of narration is inspired with Quentin Tarantino, the legendary Hollywood writer-director. The monologues are long but catchy and sometimes philosophical. There is a lot of swearing but those suited the moments adequately and that taught me about honest realism. And talking about motivation, my family and this very close senior brother of mine supported me to move over everything and focus on my writing. Some lady friends used to constantly help me out with little encouragements and my class friends were essential in it.

9. How did you make sure the information used in the book is accurate and up-to-date?

Other than the narrative and the characters, the research is the heart and soul of The Perfect Flaw. I have to research for months for getting an actual concept closest to a reality to implement it on a today world plot. Stacks of research papers, lots of video lessons, books and stuff were studied only for the scientific accuracy. I even projected my concept to one of my super geek, super nerd and super scientifically intellectual friends to confirm this theory and moved on only after I got a strict thumbs up. Then a lot of research was done on the places mentioned, 1900s history for antagonist development etc. As I said, this culmination of 293 pages took 16 months to reach the point where it is in your palms.

10. What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you?

New writers have this incredibly flawed tendency of rushing into things. Writing a book isn’t just only writing a really long and strainous piece of work which requires insight, hindsight, multiple perceptions, research, command over grammar and punctuations, marketing strategies and a lot of stuff. But in a mad scramble of getting published many miss out some of these things and end up disappointed. Read at least 150 books before you even think about writing one. Patience is clearly what they lack.

11. How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you say or have written?

Criticism is the key for improvement hence, encouraged. And speaking of agreement or disagreement, we cannot just please or make every person agree to us. Disagreement sucks but it also helps in providing a different perspective hence helping me improve.

12. What is your least favourite part of the writing process? What is your biggest strength when it comes to writing?

Well, I would say editing. Because every time I re-read a document of mine, I found out at least one error which I left the previous time. Considering the book is around 52000 words, imagine the stress (shrugs) and it also shows my lack of 100% attention and derails my morale for a few moments. Speaking about biggest strength, I believe that the method of my narrative is my greatest weapon. Being a thriller writer where usually the focus is on events and their narration requires special attention, I believe that is where I stand tall the most.

13. How did you decide the characters and the settings for this book?

The first rule of creating characters is, be honest and real. You don’t have to force down a certain level of awesomeness or swagger just to make a character more likeable. The readers love the character whom they can relate to. Because come on, nobody gives a damn about them unless one cant connect with that person. The lead character of my book goes by the name Jonty. Believe it. He is me! Yes, I always put myself at situations of the character and then leave the rest to honesty. We all know we ain’t no Rajnikant. So be real. And once we got one character right, the other characters will evolve as the plot progresses. Same with the settings. Unless you aren’t writing a purely imaginative fantasy out-of-the-world stuff, you need to stay real to the ground and adjust the narrative and tone to that. I usually tend to keep the tone darker, cause that helps me get inside my characters.

14. What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing?

Well I enjoy reading, music, movies and English serials. I do debating, public speaking, MUNs. I enjoy an occasional game of football or badminton and well, I dance in our college Dance crew as well. Being single has its perks of doing whatever you want, isn’t it? Other than that, I manage and founded an Organisation that takes in aspiring writers in order to help them understand this tricky business. I have my own magazine which goes by the name 'ExaVaganza'.

15. Tell us something about your future projects. Are you writing anything at the moment?

As I mentioned about this book being the first of its series, I am currently working on the second one which is aimed to release next year at this time. Other than that, I am working on my magazine 'The ExaVaganza' and the organisation named 'The Vestige' and take it to higher levels.

16. What do you think about the writing industry these days? Do you think becoming a full-time writer is an advisable option?

Now a days, the writing industry has become a big plumpy, money minded businessman who is always scared of trying anything new. So unless you are a really rich person who is ready to invest a million rupees on your book, no it isn’t advisable to go full time.

17. Any tips for budding writers?

Read, study, do your homework and be patient. (Please do not mistake me with a grumpy middle school professor with specs, I am just 19).

18. What are the roles of an editor and a reviewer in the success of book according to you?

They play a major role, In fact their role is more like the secret ingredient to success. They tell you where you went wrong and help to to project where you are right to the people interested in that work of yours.

19. How does it feel to be interviewed by me? *basically the interviewer wishes to hear praises* *haha*

Well, I heard a lot about you and was pretty excited for this interview to be honest. So it feels pretty great because I myself had been following you for quite some time now.

20. Anything that you would like to tell us? Your favourite writers? Your hobbies? Or just some sneaky peaky details?

Well, I guess i did cover my favorite writers and hobbies in the previous questions. And I know I should not be saying this because it may be mistaken for forced advertisement but believe me, The Perfect Flaw is the kind of book I never came across. I request everyone to give it a read. It is 100% worth a try. Thank you.

Wow! So we have come to an end of this awesome session.


Welcome to the world of Jonty. A sensible and matured teenager whose life finally started to make sense after several years of an accident trauma which wiped out his memory and killed his father. His college life was at an all time high with a typical best friend and dramatic crushes. But life is not that predictable, is it? As his life shifted south-ways in the craziest way possible, he transformed into a normal college kid to a swearing, cursing example of violence who will stop at nothing to protect his family. Being escorted and trained by a Castellan Prize Winner Dr Vikram Jaitley and a special task force agent Raghav Goswami starting from the streets of Delhi to the natural alleyways of Odisha, Jaydev Shekhawat(Jonty) would be facing against an enemy who is without a face as it is not some personality but a whole rogue organisation by itself. Jonty uncovers secrets he never knew and his life was never the same again. His gift was not strength or agility. It wasn’t something outworldly magical but it was worth billions at the mafia market. What is he dealing with? What transformed him from a regular teenager to a vicious cussing warrior and what were the secrets his mother tried to hide? Welcome to the first instalment of the Cerebral Saga, an extraordinary global journey under gritty circumstances which answers the Question, “What is the Perfect Flaw?”

Buying Link: Amazon

Readers, let’s be kind to the writer and buy the book soon. Do share your feedback with me once you read The Perfect Flaw.

Happy Reading!

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