Author Interviews, Books

An Interview with Soumitra Bhattacharyya, the author of “Beneath the Snows of Kanchenjunga”

Displaying S Sekhar PICTURE FOR BOOK.JPG

1) You have taken the analogy of Kanchenjunga, how did you come across this analogy? Have you always been fascinated by the mountains?

 

I was born and brought up in Darjeeling and naturally I spent my child hood in the shadow of the mighty mountain; but realization that Kanchenjunga still holds such a special place in my heart and means so much to me, actually dawned upon me only when I moved out of Darjeeling for further studies and employment. During my stay there I hardly gave it a glance but as I rode the roller coaster of life away from it and met challenges and tacked all that life threw at me; I started missing my home town of Darjeeling. Kanchenjunga came to symbolize the jolly, gay fun filled peaceful time that I spent growing up in Darjeeling and the pristine glory of Kanchenjunga, shimmering in bright sun light – calm and confident that nothing would shake its foundation came to represent all that I wanted to achieve in life. So when I started writing one story and then the next and then the next; it suddenly dawned on me that all the characters in my book were living in and around Darjeeling and just like me,  they too were struggling and going through the motions of life and they had their Kanchenjunga right beside them.

2) You have written about ordinary people and their daily struggles, why choose such characters?Beneath the Snows of Kanchenjunga by [Sekhar, S]
One just needs to simply observe one’s surroundings to see so many stories being told around you. A woman sitting quietly on a bench in a busy platform, gazing at the young child pestering her mother for candy, could be a story. Maybe the woman on the bench had a child but not anymore….maybe she has just come from the doctor who has just told her that she can never have kids….so many directions for a story teller to take. Another example…….A bus driver, driving his bus and sweating and cursing at traffic is looking forlornly at a billboard depicting a new residential building coming up……maybe his wife is nagging him for a home and he does not have the means to buy one….lot of stress at home…..so does he take the nefarious route to earn quick money…… or maybe he does not love his wife so much and its easier for him to just kill her and stop the incessant nagging. So much material is out there for a story teller that all he has to do is just observes the ordinary people around him.
3) What was your thought process while writing the book?

I just had a basic idea on which I started writing and I took it one story at a time. So technically there was no big plan and strategy as to what I should write and honestly there was no thought process to them at all….. other than the fact that the location which was in and around Darjeeling. The characters just evolved by themselves as I kept writing and the stories just came to life as the characters came to life.

4) Tell us about your publishing journey.

Well after a long period of collecting rejection slips Leadstart finally gave me an opportunity and I am hoping it will follow through to a long and successful publication.

5) If there was one thing that you wanted to tell potential readers, what would it be?

In a world with so much complication and choices here are stories that are simple, easy to read and interesting.

6) What advice would you give to people who wish to publish their work, but do not know how?

Publishing is so much easier to do these days that anyone can do it so don’t fret on how to publish and where to publish. There are many options available to get your manuscript into the hands of the reader. The most difficult part is to spread the word and get people to read your book so that they can then advocate your work to people know to them who in turn should spread the word…. Bottom line…a book sells because of good word of mouth and if you have a good story to tell….people will read it and talk about it….end of story.

7) Which books/authors inspire you?

Oh so many…Agatha Christie all novels, Somerset Maugham short stories, Ann Rand books, Rise and Fall of Third Reich, Mountaineering Books by Ed Viesturs; Reinhold Messner’s Annapurna..John Krakauer’s Into Thin Air…..Charles Dickens Pickwick Papers, Tale of Two Cities, Thomas Hardy Mayor of Casterbridge and Far from the Madding Crowd…..the list is endless….

8) How can your readers get in touch with you?
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