In an interview with G20, author Jayant Swamy talks about the rituals of writing, and his recent novel Family Secrets, which is a fictional story of two half-brothers who face-off under contrasting circumstances. Excerpts:
Q. Why do you write novels?
A. Writing has always been part of my life. I always have several stories swirling in my head. I constantly inhabit the world of imagination and intuition filled with what-ifs and why-nots. Writing novels offers me the opportunity to harvest this gift, factualise fantasy and fictionalise fact.
I am a keen observer and interpreter of human behavior and a soft skills trainer. I like to channelise my passion for behavioural sciences into creating characters that are memorable and writing emotional scenes brimming with human drama.
Q. Tell us something about your latest novel. What is your dream star cast for ‘Family Secrets’?
A. My second novel Family Secrets, a corporate thriller and a dynastic drama is the story of two warring half-brothers and their relationships. It was released in October 2020. Published by Vishwakarma Publications, the cover is designed by my literary agency, The Book Bakers.
Siddhartha, the English teacher-turned-conman seeks justice for a missed inheritance. The powerful business tycoon Abhimanyu, the illegitimate son of lawyer Vikramaditya, is the solitary owner of the family fortune. A series of face-offs between them, the cleverly-planned cons of the one, thwarted by the boardroom-like moves of the other — make the book a corporate thriller.
Siddhartha’s loving relationship with his theater-artiste wife Sadhana, Abhimanyu’s reverence for his blue-blooded mother Rani Maa, and the emotional tussle he faces in accepting his newfound son Rahul, provide the elements of human drama.
I would love to see Akshay Kumar as the easygoing Siddhartha and Ajay Devgn as the cold and calculating Abhimanyu. Dimple Kapadia as the majestic Rani Maa, Anushka Sharma as the versatile Sadhana and upcoming actor Vikrant Massey as the emotion-filled Rahul would make for a dream cast. Lawyer Vikramaditya the father of both Siddhartha and Abhimanyu appears in a flashback — Manoj Bajpai in a Special Appearance would be the icing on the cake.
Q. Describe your writing process. What are your writing rituals?
A. My home office is my writing haven. A confirmed owl in my circadian rhythm, I prefer to write late into the night. I listen to music when I write — I cannot work in silence. I clearly know my endgame, start with an outline, and keep writing accordingly until my characters reach a critical velocity — my characters then take over from me, writing their own stories. I often have stretches of time when the creativity does not flow. I have learnt to use them to edit and reorganise what I have written previously.
Q. Your biggest learnings as a writer?
A. Patience, patience, patience. That is my biggest learning from the umpteen rejections I had received for my debut novel. Not to take rejection personally and continue doing what I believe in, that is an attitude I quickly learnt to cultivate.
When opportunity meets preparation, success happens, that is the other learning. Marketing my book is in my control. A reader’s decision to spend their money and buy my book, is not! Marketing efforts can definitely influence that decision but cannot guarantee the sale, right?
Q. Describe some of your high points and low points as a writer.
A. When my first novel Colours in the Spectrum was published, my heart sang ‘This is what I am born to do’. That was a memorable moment. I got to relive it when my second novel Family Secrets was published. Higher points as a writer are yet to come! There are several low points I have faced, continue facing. They teach me valuable lessons, make me more compassionate.
Q. What is your advice to budding writers?
A. You are the CEO of your own life. Exercise the power of individual choice.
Write from the heart. Never sell your soul. If you don’t enjoy writing, don’t become a writer. Be authentic. Don’t write what you consider to be hurtful or harmful. Be innovative. Develop your own signature style.
Q. What message would you like to send to your readers?
A. I write to express myself, and share my perspectives with a larger audience. You may like it or you may hate it. After all it’s only a story. You may or may not agree with what I have written. In fact, I wouldn’t want everybody to agree with everything I write. Sit back, relax, read and enjoy. Pen me a heartfelt review if you can. That will be precious. Family Secrets is as much a corporate thriller as it is a family drama.