My Strength Lies in Writing Humor Says Author Santosh Vishwanath.
Santosh Vishwanath is a spreadsheetoholic, who makes a living by making sense out of numbers and at the same time, loves to live in a world of words. He’s been in Bangalore all his life and has seen the different shades of the city – varying from pensioners’ paradise to the Silicon Valley of India. This journey has helped him draw his characters, who he is sure will continue to voice out more stories in times to come. GD team interacted with him last week, here is the highlight of the interview,
Q. Your Debut novel Wottaplot! Piece of Land vs. Peace of Mind sounds interesting, how it feels to be an author and what is the response of the readers in general?
SV: I am excited and nervous at the same time actually. The responses have been encouraging. The most pleasurable response has been from the people who knew me from a long time and didn’t know this side of me. They have always known me as a numbers person, and are welcoming this creative part of me.
Q. Tell us something about your first novel Wottaplot! Piece of Land vs. Peace of Mind, what made you choose the subject and what is its USP?
SV: The USP of the book is its very tagline – A piece of land vs. peace of mind. I wanted to bring out the plight of an average middle-class person trying to acquire a land, and give a humorous twist by articulating the issues that one faces in the process.
Acquiring a piece of land or an apartment has been the flavor of the decade for a middle-class Bangalorean. That’s what made me choose the subject, as many would be able to relate to this quite well.
Q. Which genre you enjoy writing the most and why?
SV: That’s a tricky one. While I believe that my strength lies in writing humor, I actually enjoy writing fantasy the most. The sole reason behind this is simple because I believe this genre gives the writer a poetic license like no other, and the characters can be larger than life in many senses. It truly tests your boundaries of imagination as an author.
Q. What is your quest as an author? Where you want to see yourself in the times to come?
SV: My quest as an author is to never stop telling stories. I have promised myself that I will keep writing at least one manuscript every year, if not more.
I see myself exploring the different genres in times to come, and be able to keep my readers engaged to more and more interesting stories of the different flavor. Thus, my quest is also to strive to not be stereotyped to one genre.
Q. How much the novel is inspired by your own life?
SV: A lot actually! I too am one of those average Bangaloreans who’d made acquiring a piece of land a quest. Hence, I’ve used some of the situations in the story which I personally went through.
Q. What are your plans for the promotions? Have you planned to launch the book in various cities or something like that?
SV: Honestly, this is all new to me. But yes, my publisher has been very helping in guiding me through the promotion process till now, and I will continue to rely on their expertise to continue doing the same.
Q. Was finding a publisher a challenge? How is your experience so far of working with Srishti Publishers?
SV: I believe that completing a manuscript is hardly half the job in the whole process of publishing a book. The most difficult part is finding a publisher who believes in your story. I’ve had a disappointing stint with the literary agents, and the only publisher whom I believed may give me a chance was Srishti, whom I directly approached. In retrospect, I believe it was the right decision. I’ve had an excellent support from the Srishti family. And it all is held together so well by Mr. Arup Bose, who I have begun to think is easily one of the most down to earth people in this industry.
Q. Who are your favorite writers and also tell us about your favorite books?
SV: I love reading fiction. Humor, fantasy, and mystery have always been my favorite genre. Thus, P G Wodehouse, J K Rowling, and Agatha Christie are my favorite writers.
Any book with the character Jeeves in it makes it my favorite! Also, I really like the book Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, which is one of the books that makes me literally laugh out loud even when I read it again.
The Harry Potter series did weave its magic on me, and I would be lying if I say that this didn’t inspire me to think about writing fantasy genre.
All the books that I’ve read from Agatha Christie have managed to make me believe that it is difficult to imagine the world on the mystery without her contributions. I mean, what a writer!
Lastly, I must admit that the books that actually got me into reading habit since my early days, were The Three Investigator series by Robert Arthur. Even today, if I pick up The Mystery of the Crooked Cat or The Mystery of the Green Ghost, I feel like I’m returning to my roots, and I hit it like old friends with these books.
Q. Who or what is your inspiration to write?
SV: The turning point, as I call it, happened a good seven to nine years ago when I was introduced to the world of P G Wodehouse (Very late in life indeed!). His books became an addiction, and it was just a fleeting thought I had that I can try and write. Thankfully, I held on to that thought which made me pen my first book six years ago. It was a humor fiction, with a subtle flavor of romance in it.
Q. What’s next? Already weaving ideas for future books or not yet?
SV: Of course yes! There are a couple of manuscripts on humor that I’m keen to get publishers interested in. Also, there are a couple of ideas on fantasy and mystery genre that I would like to give my time in the near future.
Q. Tell us about your personal life a bit and your interests?
SV: I might have to strive here to find interests that may help me hide the fact that I am quite boring and I have no extraordinary interests! Well, of course, I read and write. But to me, these two are not interests, but a way of life and I cannot imagine otherwise.
Maybe I can talk of things that don’t interest meJ. For one, I don’t watch television. I actually don’t own a television, and it was perhaps the best suggestion that was made by a mentor to me.
Speaking about my personal life, I have a very supporting wife, who by the way is an aspiring author. We are expecting our little one in a bitJ.
I love old Hindi movie songs and they manage to give me a great deal of comfort. Hemant Kumar is one of my favorite singers, whose songs always leave me better than I felt before listening to them. There! That’s one fact which not many know about me personally.
Q. Any message for the readers and budding writers you want to give?
SV: Never ever give up on the unique idea that came to you, which you believed could become a book. It is the story that has chosen you. Give it the time, respect, dedication and hard work that it deserves. It may become a published work someday. And if not, it would have taught you lessons that will come in handy in the next writing adventures you embark upon!
You can also buy his novel from Amazon, click here.