I hereby welcome the second and the final author of today’s spotlight session – Mr. Prashant Pinge, Author – Sceadu.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
PP: I was born and brought up in Mumbai. I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and three postgraduate degrees in management. I started my career at Rockwell Collins in the US but later shifted back to Mumbai to join our family business. I am also a marketing and branding professional and have my own firm, Media Panther. Apart from writing, I enjoy collecting old coins, reading fiction, travelling to exotic destinations, watching movies, and listening to music. I am keenly interested in psychology, mythology, and ancient history.
BNI: So, what all you have written / published till date?
- Avantika’s Garden – Children’s fiction – Virgin Leaf Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
- Naughty Avantika – Children’s fiction – Happy Squirrel (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing) – longlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Awards in the Children’s Writing category in 2011
- Raja & the Giant Donut – Children’s fiction – Happy Squirrel (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing) – shortlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Awards in the Children’s Writing category in 2011
- Sid & Po – Children’s fiction – Happy Squirrel (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing) – longlisted for the Crossword Book Awards in the Children’s Writing category in 2013
- Monica’s Third Tooth – Children’s fiction – Puffin Books – in The Puffin Book of Funny Stories for 7-Year-Olds
- The Dark Rising – YA fantasy fiction – Penguin Books – The Killer App and other Paranormal Stories
- Priyanka’s Missing Tooth – Children’s fiction – Young Buzz – Sakaal Times
Furball’s Midnight Snack
BNI: What inspired you to write this book?
PP: I have always been fascinated by shadows. But it was a simple question that inspired me to write Sceadu. What if our shadow held a land replete with dangerous creatures waiting to find a way into our world?
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book.
PP: Sceadu is a thrilling YA fantasy adventure that blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
PP: Sceadu is the old English word for shadow. I chose this title because the word has a very mysterious feel and the story takes places inside the shadow. There is a deeper meaning attached to the title as well since the shadow has been interpreted from a psychological perspective.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
PP: The intended audience is anyone ages 12 and above who is a fan of the young adult fantasy genre. And why should they read this book? Well, they absolutely must if they want to unlock the secrets of the shadow.
BNI: Who is your favourite character? What makes them so?
PP: I really like the character of Steven from Sceadu. I enjoyed imagining his idiosyncrasies and writing his dialogue.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main characters. What does he/she do that is so special?
PP: My main characters are four ordinary children, Matilda, Robert, Steven, and Patrick, who are thrust into an extraordinary adventure in a land inside their shadows. If I were to describe them, I would say they were bright, gutsy, loyal, and adventurous but with their own idiosyncrasies. What makes them special is that readers will be able to identify with all these characters, allowing them to experience this adventure on a very personal level.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
PP: The hardest part about Sceadu was creating a fantasy that could be explained logically. It involved a lot of research in the domains of psychology and mythology. The easiest part was actually writing the book.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
PP: If there was one message I would want to convey, it would be the importance of balance and harmony in life.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
PP: I have always had a great imagination. However, the decision to write happened much later. It was fuelled by a dream where the plot intrigued me so much that I had to get out of bed and pen down my thoughts. I write part time although I do hope to reach a stage where I can pursue my passion with complete dedication.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
PP: I have been inspired by many writers such as Phil Pullman, Agatha Christie, and Somerset Maugham.
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
PP: I have always been a huge fan of the fantasy fiction genre. What I really like about it is the fact that I can really let my imagination flow. It also introduces me to fantastic worlds to which I can travel without a passport.
BNI: According to you, what is the hardest thing about writing?
PP: The hardest thing about writing is that my hand cannot even come close to matching the speed at which my mind is throwing out ideas. And this can be especially frustrating when the ideas are not even related to the book I am working on at that point in time.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block.
PP: If you ever feel you have hit ‘writer’s block’, just run circles around it until you reach an exit.
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
PP: My advice to aspiring writers would be to enjoy the journey and to keep writing.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
PP: The most challenging part about getting published for the first time was developing familiarity with the dynamics of this industry, from crafting that query letter to sending out the correct materials to submitting the manuscript in the appropriate format. And then the wait until the book finally hit the book shelves was an ordeal in itself.
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
PP: The passion was always there. Bu this book has also taught me the importance of patience and perseverance.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
PP: Here’s an exciting excerpt:
Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow. But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously. She stomped upon it repeatedly. But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles. Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.
All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
PP: I want my readers to immerse themselves into this fantastic adventure and experience the amazing journey to the land inside the shadow.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
PP: The cover is undoubtedly a very key driving point when it comes to book sales. A great cover tempts customers to pick up the book and take a closer look, increasing the chances of purchase substantially.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
PP: For me, the biggest advantage was retaining complete creative control and being able to market and sell my book globally. Although digital distribution has advanced significantly, the biggest concern has been discoverability. However, I have enjoyed coming up with an innovative promotional campaign which has garnered significant publicity for Sceadu.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
PP: I would say PDF.
Books News India thanks the author for devoting time in answering the mammoth of question despite the busy schedule. We wish him best of the venture for his book – Sceadu.