The Bookoholics: Generally, the new authors dabble with romance, what made you write humour?

Anirban: Good question. Even I think about it at times; the simplest answer is that I can’t write in any other genre other than humour. In any case, there is no fun in writing say a murder mystery when I already know who the killer is going to be. During my growing up years, the books which have had a profound influence on me were comic books, specifically ‘Asterix and Obelix’; I believe that the creators of the series, Uderzo and Goscinny, were geniuses. In fact, I have tried to pay a small tribute to them in one of the stories in my book. Then there was ‘Tintin’ by Harge, an adventure series but with large doses of humour. Though I have read loads of books from almost all genres, I was more drawn to books with high humour content and I don’t mean the joke books. So when I started writing, I subconsciously started writing the funny stuff. I had never planned it; I just turned out that way.

There is one more thing. I believe in meaningful humour; something for everyone beyond the love and laughter. The essence of my stories should stay on with my readers long after the stories have been read.

My first book ‘Just Kidding…Yours, Destiny’ is actually an unusual love story with humorous undertones whereas my second book ‘Are You Kiddin’ Me?’ is a no holds barred humorous book with each story as unique and diverse from one another as possible. Both these books have plenty of subtle takeaways which will differ from reader to reader based on his/her life experiences.

I believe in meaningful humour; something for everyone beyond the love and laughter

The Bookoholics: They say a writer’s first book is almost autobiographical, how much of you comes out in Just Kidding…yours Destiny?

Anirban: You seriously expect a fiction writer to tell you the truth? But yes, there were a few aspects of the story that were inspired from my life experiences; after all art is inspired from life. I would say my first book is 20% fact, 80% fiction. Readers will need to guess which 20% and which 80%.

The Bookoholics: Was being an author on the bucket list? How did it happen?

Anirban: Never. I had plenty of buckets ranging from cricketer, painter, question mark, engineer, question mark, corporate honcho, question mark, but being an author was never one of them.

I entered a blog writing competition on a lark at IIMA and somehow managed to win (guess others were too busy studying, also explains why I perhaps didn’t top college..ahem). Anyways, the story doesn’t have a happy ending; the organizers eventually scrapped the contest.

But I realized that I enjoy writing, this realization came at a ripe old age of 38. I then decided to try my hand at writing a full-fledged novel which led to my first book ‘Just Kidding…Yours, Destiny’, an unusual love story with humorous undertones. Encouraged by a great public reaction to my first book, one thing led to another; now I have 2 published books and a 3rd in the pipeline.

The Bookoholics: How did your book affect your personal and professional life?

Anirban: Adversely, it split the two right in the middle. Unlike many authors, I was unable to balance office work and writing. Working in corporate makes a heavy demand on your time, and I was pretty stressed with the lack of time for writing. Finally in 2017, I decided to bite the bullet and quit my job to focus on writing full time.

The Bookoholics: How has been the journey of being an author so far?

Anirban: Quite fascinating actually, similar to the tagline for my book ‘Funny, Riveting and with a wicked twist in every tale’. Each day brings new surprises, mostly pleasant ones.Though I may still need to convince suspicious bookstore managers that I am the author of my book, what makes my day is when a reader writes in to say that my book has brought so much laughter and happiness is his/ her life. As an author, I live for moments like these.

what makes my day is when a reader writes in to say that my book has brought so much laughter and happiness is his/ her life

The Bookoholics: Who is your favorite author?

Anirban: Whilst there are many authors in my love list, J.K.Rowling, Mark Twain, Keigo Higashino, Jerome K Jerome to name a few, my clear favorite is R.K.Narayan. His book ‘The Guide’ is a masterpiece and was ahead of its time; the book touches you at so many different levels. Even thinking about it now gives me goose bumps.

The Bookoholics: Which part was hardest for you to write?

Anirban: I think it was the book blurb for my latest book ‘Are You Kiddin’ Me?’. How does one encapsulate the essence of 13 unique short stories in a couple of paragraphs? It took me a while to come up with an effective blurb. What I found harder was the editing; it can kill the author in you.
It is good thing that I write humour and so I can read my stories again & again. Had I tried my hand in writing a murder mystery, I am sure that there would be lot more murders in the story by the end of the editing process.

I wear my rejections like badges; they validate that my content is unique.

The Bookoholics: How hard was it to get your book published?

Anirban: The funny part (funny now, not earlier) is that despite my first book having done so well, finding a publisher for my second book was becoming such a taxing exercise. But then I reminded myself that humorous fiction is a relatively untapped genre and not too many publishers would be enthused try something new and share my vision. So my yardstick for success was acquiring at least 20 rejection notes before someone said yes. I guess it was after 22 rejections that a reputed publisher like Srishti came on board. I wear my rejections like badges; they validate that my content is unique.

The Bookoholics: What publishing advice will you give to young authors?

Anirban: 3 tips
1. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, uske baad Kranti. Have loads of patience. Writing a book is a loving, nurturing but time consuming process. So is finding a publisher.
2. If you have a great story to say, start writing. Don’t get bogged down by grammar.
3. Be careful with your manuscript, there are plenty of unscrupulous elements in this industry.

The Bookoholics: Is there a third book on the way?

Anirban: Yes. Based on the popular reaction to my first book, a thematic sequel tentatively titled,’Just Kidding…Yours Destiny 2’ is on the anvil. This will be a full-fledged novel again in the humorous fiction genre; different characters, completely different story with delightfully wicked twists.