The second author being welcomed for today’s session is Pritam Banerjee. The teenagers, often unknowingly, land into certain circumstances which they regret later on. Sometimes, they might be innocent enough to be sensitive enough to make up to the loss incurred upon them.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
PB: Well I am Pritam Banerjee, born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal and did my schooling from National Gems Higher Secondary School. Currently I am in 3rd year studying BTECH in Aeronautical Engineering. Other than that I am a musician, scriptwriter, cricketer and a quizzard. I am a film buff, a pet lover, especially dogs. Listening to music and reading novels are my favourite free time work.
BNI: So, what all you have written / published till date?
PB: Just one novel till now which released in the month of February
BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
PB: Well to be frank I was reading the novel ‘Oh yes I’m Single and so is my Girlfriend’ by Durjoy Datta. Suddenly some part of that novel inspired me to write ‘I, Me & Her, Forever’. So I would like to thank Durjoy da and his book for inspiring me so much.
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
PB: Actually as the story was ready I had decided 2 titles for it. One was ‘If only I had the last chance’ & the other was ‘I, ME & HER FOREVER’. But then I felt that the latter one was much more appropriate than the first one and it completely went with the content of my novel. So finally after discussing it with few people I decided to name it as ‘I, ME & HER FOREVER’
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
PB: ‘I, Me & Her Forever’ is not only a romantic novel; it’s also a tale of crush, relationship and friendship. This novel is written specially keeping in mind about the life of teenagers, their perspective about love and relationships, how they lead their life when they are in love, the problems which they face when they are in a relationship and obviously what life becomes after they are separated and how their thoughts about love change rapidly. So I would strongly recommend teenagers to go through my novel once
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
PB: Well my favourite character is obviously Meghna Biswas without whom this novel would have been like a rotten egg. Setting up a hugely contrasting character between Abhishek and Meghna and make them fall in love was hugely difficult for me. I wanted to keep Meghna at an upper hand than Abhishek because she was the one who I feel bought life to my novel being a good girlfriendish type. And you know love is love. It doesn’t come with a tag (laughs). So the twist was to make Meghna fall in love with Abhishek even though he was completely the opposite. And speaking about the least favourite character I don’t think so there is any because every character here played an important part in the novel in some or the other way.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
PB: Apart from thinking about the title of the novel nothing was easy, be it setting up the plot of the novel, getting the ideas together, using good words and good English, writing the entire novel or the publishing procedure, the entire journey has been a hard one for me.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
PB: Yes definitely, my book conveys a lot and I want readers specially teenagers to grasp the message that don’t ever confuse between infatuation and love. The two things look similar but they are highly different. You should be 100% sure when you are in love. Once you are in relationship you should hold onto it till the last breadth. This novel is written specially dedicated to teenagers about their frequent break ups and all but once you have the self realization and sacrificing nature, the base of a relationship becomes stronger. If you are really in love you don’t need to sacrifice your career or stop chasing your dreams. You should remain focussed and look forward to achieve your goals. If you have a good partner he or she will definitely support you. If two lovers have to be united they will be. Nothing on this earth can separate them.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
PB: Yah they do tell me via email or through message in Facebook. They keep on posting it in Facebook and Twitter. I get mixed responses from my readers and I completely respect their reviews. There are many who give me constructive ideas and to do a better work in future. So thanks to all of them.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
PB: Haha (laughs). Writing is my passion. Whenever I get free time I start thinking about a topic and when that leads to several ideas I decide to frame it in the form of a novel. Never did I want to be a writer. It wasn’t a long term wish or knack. It was just a sudden eagerness that I wanted to write a novel. I was reading that novel by Durjoy Datta around the mid week of February 2013 and after one week of completion of that novel I started working on my own novel. And then the journey began.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
PB: Durjoy Datta obviously. Then it would be Gabriel Garcia Marques, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nicolas Sparks and Jane Austen.
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
PB: I started reading novels with love stories. The more love stories I read, the more I got attached to it. I cannot explain you why I am attracted to this form of genre but I can surely tell you that I love reading love stories. Then when I decided to write my novel I was truly determined in writing a love story because I felt I could justice to this form of genre.
BNI: According to you, what is the hardest thing about writing?
PB: See I am not someone who is doing a course on literature or I am not that kind of a student who used to get the highest marks in English in school. I used to get average marks always. Be it in English grammar or sentence construction or fluently speaking in English I was not that appropriate. So I feel use of good English words and writing proper English is the hardest thing about writing
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
PB: To write good novels and getting my readers love is all that I want
BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
PB: There hasn’t been any tough criticism so far but there were people who said that the standard of the novel should have been higher and I really do feel so and keep that in mind when I start working for my next novel and the best compliment was that of a girl (smiles) saying I purely brought out the teenage life in my novel and it’s a must read for teenagers.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block?
PB: “Don’t think too much. Keep on working hard”.
BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
PB: Yah that’s a pretty good idea but I haven’t thought about it as yet. Hope I can come up with a trilogy of ‘I, ME & HER FOREVER’ sometime in future.
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
PB: Read more. The more you read, the more you get to learn and the more you learn the more you gain knowledge. You can develop a good and unique style of writing a novel, different and varied sorts of ideas will automatically develop and ultimately you’ll be able to enrich yourself by that. And for those who are already established writers I have just one message for them “Keep getting better and better”.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
PB: Well there were many. Firstly, I was never ever superb in English. As I told before I was an average student who used to get average marks. So to step into this field I had to read around 200 novels to enrich myself still I felt incomplete.
But I didn’t lose hope and kept on doing the hard work by reading good books, magazines, newspapers and all so that I was having that minimum knowledge to write a novel. Once I progressed with the work, problems kept on arising like sometimes I was short of ideas, having that minimum vocabulary was creating a barrier in writing the novel. There were nights when I used to stay awake yet I couldn’t write anything. But with time the matter got resolved.
Then there was family pressure as well telling me to stop writing the novel and concentrate more on my studies and as you know Bengali families always have that same old legacy to make their children concentrate more and more on studies, nothing other than that, so that was happening with me as well. Yet I was adamant in writing the novel, fought a lot with my parents and finally completed the novel.
The last part I think was the hardest one that is to get in touch with the publishers. At the beginning none of them were accepting my work. They were having greater demands which I was unable to fulfil. I didn’t live up to their expectations. Maybe the standard of writing which they were expecting was not there in my novel or maybe the story did not appeal to them or looked convincing enough. So I had to face a lot of rejection.
I went through a temporary phase of disturbance and dejection. But I kept on trying and finally Smriti Publishers accepted my work. I owe my sincere thanks to them for allowing me to produce my work and prove my talent.
BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
PB: Umm, well I would say that the chapter ‘The Final Commitment’ was my favourite among all the chapters because I was having different sorts of ideas about what to write in this chapter. The phase when two teenagers are in love but they cannot confess that to each other and then the time when they are about to get into a relationship was difficult in setting. I was thinking of some unique way of making Abhishek propose to Meghna because in every other love story I found the boy bends down to propose her girl. So after putting much pressure on my brain and seeing the fast trending technology in the market I decided to use the messaging factor as a method of proposing to your love. I think that no girl would ever accept that kind of proposal. Haha (laughs). It was indeed unique and different! (Smiles).
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
PB: Yes, definitely, a lot of things. As I told you before I was not that kind of a student who used to get the highest marks in English in school or had a strong vocabulary or spoke fluently in English, so before starting off with this novel of mine I had to read a lot of books to enrich myself like how to start off with the story, how to progress with it, how to maintain the flow of the story and all. The whole journey of writing the novel has been amazing. I got to read many books, learnt new phrases, the style of writing, learnt new words which not only did inculcate me but also made me go through the Oxford Dictionary (which I bothered to touch in my school life) and improved my English a lot.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
PB: Haha (laughs) there are lots. I don’t want to disclose anything more here. I would like to keep my mouth shut. One message for everyone “Read my book”.
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
PB: To reach out to max to max people of the country specially the teenagers so that they can relate themselves to the novel and draw a message.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
PB: See the book cover is an important aspect. But a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover. People should go for the content of the novel, what the author wants to stress on and what message he leaves. But keeping in mind the competition in today’s world, the book cover plays an important role in the sales of a novel. So as per your question it will be a partial ‘YES’ and a partial ‘NO’.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
PB: Well in self publishing the author is responsible and in control of entire process. In the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations the authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services. The distinguishing feature of self-publishing which I feel is that the author decides to publish his or her work independent of a publishing house.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
PB: Undoubtedly printed hard cover book