BNI: Dear Sir, please update us with something about yourself and your background.
KG: I was born in Ranchi and moved to different cities for my education and job. I have a post- graduation in Engineering and an IT professional and employed with a large MNC. I am living in Thane (Mumbai) for the last ten years. I enjoy travelling and take keen interest in people and places.
BNI: Is this your first novel or you have already made your debut? What all you have written / published until date?
KG: I have one published novel to my credit titled “Last Rites: Unforgettable People, Unforgettable Memories” and a short story “The Ghost of Rishop” available on wattpad.
BNI: So, actually what was your inspiration behind writing your first book and/or this book?
KG: The first book was based on a personal experience, rather interlinked experiences of early part of life which is very close to my heart. It’s about bonding and relationships in a small city and around a simple deaf and dumb character who dedicates his life for his mentor’s family and interestingly belongs to a completely different religion.
The current book is derived from a few characters I have met in different parts of the world, different places I have seen ( I consider places as characters as well) and a perspective of what a foreigner will experience in India. I wanted to bring out something interesting but at the same time intended to relate cultures, talk about conflicts and historical events, just not a simple mystery.
BNI: It seems to be an interesting plot. A 30-word tagline for your book.
KG: A mystery story that travels through diverse countries, cultures and few decades unfolding many unknown facets of modern history, ultimately unfolding the mystery and reaching the climax in contemporary world.
BNI: The Balcony on the River – is an unusual usage of word phrases. How did you come up with the title?
KG: In fact, the credit goes to my daughter Ankita. While visiting a place, something made me to comment – Balcony on the River and she said, it can be a very interesting title for a novel. As I wrote this story, I found it quite relevant and stole her idea.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
KG: Readers of all age, as mystery is of interest to all. Those who like to read about places, inquisitive about different cultures should definitely read. And then people from outside India will find it very interesting as they will see many unknown facets of India.
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
KG: Aksharjeet, though enters very late in the story represents bright, smart and intelligent Indian women and she is my favourite character.
Ajay Sharma, the typical corporate executive who entangles everything in complexities and wants to pass the buck always.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
KG: Andy Singh, a British Sikh born to a Sikh father and a British mother is the key Character. He has an unpleasant childhood. His roots are in a distant village of Punjab but he had never visited India, having hard feelings against his Indian father. Andy is full of rational thoughts, a committed son and a genuine friend of Nevin McIntosh, a Scottish colleague who goes missing in India. He comes to India along with his friend Nevin’s girlfriend Sara Sutherland, in search of him. He experiences India for the first time and his feelings undergo transformation gradually, his thoughts primarily driven by mind starts transitioning to his heart.
Another key character is Aksharjeet who is intelligent, spontaneous, possesses a big heart and breaks all shackles whenever there is a need. She is sensitive but at the same time practical.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release? KG: The writing part is always the easiest for me. The difficult part is creating visibility for the book. A good story or content may not be sufficient today for getting enough publicity.
BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.
KG: Many of the events integrated in the story were something I was also not aware before writing this novel. However, when I was writing, I was able to visualize them and then I did my research to get into further depth and I found them. It was quite strange.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
KG: I will like to quote from “Balcony on the River” and make people think
“You will realise, your life had taken a turn each time for good, or worse based on how they behaved, I mean your mind and heart, whether they could get along or not. We may not realise immediately, realisation often comes late in life. Look deep into that, two minds and two hearts there. You expand it and you will find so many minds and hearts interacting with so many other minds and hearts. Does it look complex?”
BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book?
KG: No plans for a public promotion event at this stage. But it will be great to do, if I get an opportunity.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
KG: One reaction that keeps on coming – weaving of the story is fantastic and it is as if they are able to clearly see the places and the characters.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
KG: Writing has been of interest to me from quite early stage of life. I participated in writings competitions at different stages. More than me, my friends used to think well about my writing abilities. I wanted to pen down something which was close to my heart and that brought up my first book. Then I started enjoying it.
I am of course a part timer as I have a demanding job to handle in a large organization.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
KG: Though I am ready to read different genre but contemporary authors who usually inspire me are – Jeffrey Archer, Amitav Ghosh , Khalid Hosseini
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
KG: “Balcony on the River” is of mystery genre but I never started the writing with intent to make it a mystery plot. The story gradually evolved and I went with the flow.
BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
KG: Establishing the characters. You may feel them since you are the creator of those characters but you will fail if your readers don’t understand them.
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
KG: To become a happy author who enjoys his writing and one whose writing is enjoyed by readers.
BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
KG: Often the language of rejections which were not in line with what they conveyed. Best compliment comes when a reader simply says – I couldn’t keep aside the book , once I started reading it.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block.
KG: To be candid, I don’t get much time to write. Hence, I am always full of ideas when I get some time to write. However, to others my tip will be – leave it for some time, your thoughts and sub-conscious in incubation and it will work finally.
BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
KG: I really salute those authors who can write book series, not an easy thing to do. I am yet to think over for my latest book to have a book series.
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
KG: I can only advice budding writers to enjoy the writing to start with and not start thinking about “sale” before writing. Selling is a different ball game.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
KG: Rejections from multiple publishers and you feel particularly bad when you find that you get a rejection immediately about content / quality, quite obvious that no one had even peeped into the content.
BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
KG:The last one as it is the climax chapter and not one but multiple mysteries get revealed. It had made me think a lot and was not easy to pull the threads, which I had spread through different chapters of the novel.
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it? KG: Apart from gaining more knowledge through my research, I think it made me matured on many aspects of life. The book touches philosophy as well and some of the things I wrote, I had never dealt in earlier.
BNI: Any amusing story about marketing this book, so far.
KG: In the huge organization where I work and which is spread across globe, almost each discussion is staring with some chat about my book and that’s really interesting to watch. I am thankful to my colleagues and seniors.
BNI: What do you think about – What does your protagonist think about you?
KG: Andy Singh shares two of my favourites – Darjeeling Tea and Jeffrey Archer. He may not like travelling which I do, though he has been made to travel a lot.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
KG: “You will realise, your life had taken a turn each time for good, or worse based on how they behaved, I mean your mind and heart, whether they could get along or not. We may not realise immediately, realisation often comes late in life. Look deep into that, two minds and two hearts there. You expand it and you will find so many minds and hearts interacting with so many other minds and hearts. Does it look complex?”
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
KG: It reaches out to more and more readers in coming days and I would look forward to know their views.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
KG: Yes, it does. I have first-hand reactions where readers often talk about the cover page first.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
KG: There are different levels of maturity of self publishing. If there are mechanisms to keep the content quality good, it’not a bad option. Promotion and physical distribution are challenges.
BNI: Thank you so much for your precious time. I would like to apologise for an unnecessary delay and keeping you on wait. We wish you luck for your future ventures.