Saturday, 23 September 2017

Author Interview : Kevin Missal

Hi, guys! I am hosting a blog tour for author Kevin Missal's Kalki.  As part of the tour, I did an interview with Kevin and today's post is completely dedicated to that. I will reveal the book cover in my next post, stay tuned for that. Now without much ado, let's get onto Kevin's interview. 

Amazon pre-order link:

Pustakmandi pre-order link:


Hi Kevin! Welcome to my blog! It’s a pleasure to have you here today and we hope you have a great time answering the questions we have for you. Here we go!

1.              Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? What draws you to this genre?

One of the writers who have taught me (via Youtube) is Brandon Sanderson. He has these writing classes online where I learnt a lot about writing fantasy. The other is George RR Martin whose third person narration inspired me and how he structured each incident so personal to the characters.
          Whenever I think about what draws me to this genre, it’s partially the imagination, the sense of wonder, excitement, the idea of unknown. Fantasy plays around with a lot of genres like adventure, romance, thrill, mystery and I like this amalgamation.

2.             What sort of research did you do to write this book?

          Oh well my research is indirectly happening for four years. I am a History graduate and I learnt a lot about the Vedic Age. It always interested me. Then I began writing this book on Ashwatthama in modern times where Kalki plays a small part as a hero yet to born. The idea of Kalki kept growing in my mind and while I wrote an entire book on Ashwatthama which never ended up releasing, I got a ton of information about Kalki. Then I researched through Kalki Purana, Vishnu Purana, Bhavishya Purana and I learnt a lot.

3.             What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

          The upside is you get to create a whole new world, get excited about events and characters. You are noticed and respected by your peers who think of you as literal. The downside is many people don’t realize young, amateur writers make pennies. Even older writers. Nowadays, publishing is like a business. It’s no more a creative endeavor. You write a book and that’s where your creativity ends. Then starts your management, finances and you are supposed to spend a ton of money to get people to notice you otherwise no one would care about it.

4.             How did you come up with the idea for your book?

          The idea was simple. I had just watched Bahubali and read Game of Thrones. And I was like “What will happen if both of them are mixed?” and voila! Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu was created.

5.             What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

          I don’t want them to hate the book out of religious reasons. I am a Christian and many Hindus won’t like a Christian boy writing on a Hindu God. Recently, in one of the teasers I published that got rave reviews, one person wrote why I am writing about a god who’s yet to come. I have clearly mentioned in my book that “Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu” is a tribute to the popular culture like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kalki Purana and taking such good influences from all of them. It’s to make a story that will appeal universally. Many didn’t know about Kalki but because of my book, people are revising their own knowledge. Kalki’s timeline, who’s yet to come is often muddled up. Aryabhatta had said Kaliyug would happen in 3102 BCE and like Aryabhatta there are so many other sources that don’t give you a correct date. For me, Kalki represents the goodness, the richness of religion and how a religious man is pitted against evil who he needs to kill and destroy. It’s classic good versus evil story.

6.             What does your writing space look like? (Show us a photo maybe.)

          You don’t want to see a photo. It’s my room, either in Chennai or in Delhi. It’s damp and dark and dingy.

7.          If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?

          I based the character of “Kalki” on Ranveer Singh and the character of “Kali” on Irrfan Khan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

8.            What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

          Seeing your book appreciated. There’s no greater feeling than this. It just fills your heart when people understand what you wanted to write and how you wrote, the subtle metaphors you added.

9.             What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?

         Many. Rejections were so common in publication; I ended up building my own publishing house called “Kalamos Literary Services”.  It’s what they say. If they reject you, you build yourself and reject them.

10.         How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

          I would say it has made it easier, feasible. But I never liked it. People do, so that’s fine.

11.          How long does it take you to write a book?

          This one took full month which is like longest for me. Most of the times, I finish it in two or three maximum.

12.         Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

          Kalki Hari is this all powerful boy who is yet to learn a lot of things. He remains in his protective village and he feels he’s bigger than everyone. He is arrogant and brash. He acts first, thinks second. What makes him special is though, that regardless of all these things I mentioned, he’s genuinely a nice person. He cares for his friends. He respects his parents. And he wants nothing but peace in this world.

13.         Tell us about the cover and title?

         The cover is made by Arthat Studio, the creator of “Sita: the Warrior of Mithila” cover. They have just worked their best and produced a stunning piece of art. The title is simple, understandable.

14.         What do you think of “trailers” for books?

        Oh, absolutely necessary. I just had a teaser currently and it is going viral. I am getting a huge response. But it should be live action trailer, with a lot of production budget behind it. Otherwise, animated trailers fall flat.

15.          What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

         I’ll be really practical and I would give an advice that most writers in this country don’t. Many established writers say “oh you should write with your heart, use this technique…” and blah, blah. They are bullshitting you. If you are an aspiring writer, you’ll eventually write well. Everyone does over a period of time. But during that time, start saving up. Build your budget for your book and when you have a lot of money, then publish because if you want to be a bestseller, you need to market it first like a bestseller.

16.         What would you say is the easiest and most difficult aspect of writing?

          You get distracted. You get bored writing the same story every day. It needs a lot of determination to write one book. I have this person in my friend list on Facebook who constantly updates about his latest books. He has written so many and hasn’t finished any which is sad. He’s a talented guy.

17. What books have influenced your life the most?

         I would say the books that actually inspired me were the ones I read when I just began reading. It was “Godfather” by Mario Puzo, “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.

         Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Kevin. We appreciate you taking the time out to answer our questions and we wish you lots of happiness and success in life. 

        Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by! 

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