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Exclusive Interview with Abhaidev (Mayank Chandna) – Winner of Sri Aurobindo Indian Literary Award, 2022

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Author Abhaidev (Mayank Chandna) recently won the Sri Aurobindo Indian Literary Award, 2022 for his excellent contribution to literature. Cherry Book Awards believes he is a contemporary star of Indian literature. We caught up with her for an exclusive interview. Here it is:

What inspires you to keep inspiring people through your literary creations?

If I say something inspires me to inspire others, it will be deceitful on my part. Nothing inspires me to do what I do. Writing to me is just an urge, like scratching your skin when there is an itch. I am nothing more than time’s puppet, like everyone else. The only difference is, I am into writing and I am honest most of the time. Honesty, at times, touches people.

Share about your published books.

I have published 5 works of fiction so far and all of them are unique if you believe the feedback of the readers. I don’t like to get stuck to a particular genre. If a story interests me I will write it no matter what it is about. My first, That Thing About You, was young adult fiction. The second, The Influencer: Speed Must Have a Limit, a speculative thriller with philosophical elements, The third, The World’s Most Frustrated Man, a semi-autobiographical, existential fiction. The fourth, Death of a Seeker, a collection of short stories. And the latest one, the fifth, The Gods Are Not Dead, a visionary, metaphysical, and science fiction with philosophical elements. So, you see, I am not limited to one particular genre.

What are the qualities of a good author?

Good and bad are labels readers assign depending on their intellect, inclinations, interests, and level of spiritual awareness. Every book caters to a particular audience. So, there will always be people who will find “good” books “bad” and “bad” writers “good”. What we mean by “good” writers are people who cater to the largest number of people of varied tastes and interests.

Share some of your major literary achievements.

Mentioning the list of awards I received so far and media coverage in this interview would be futile. All info is available if you search on google. The only thing I want to say is, my books have touched the lives of many readers and angered quite a few. In both cases, they have served their purpose.

What is your advice to young and budding writers who want to publish their debut books?

Just be honest. That’s it! There is no thing such as “good writing” or “bad writing” in actuality. And please don’t write if the words “bestselling” and “bestseller” are on your mind.

What kind of books do you love to read?  Name any three books apart from your books that you would recommend to all.

I read a variety of books. I am very well-read and have consumed a lot of non-fiction. But lately, I have stopped reading them. Now I read mostly classics and science fiction books. The three books that are on my mind right now are –

1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

2. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

3. The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham.

The list of writers I admire is huge but if someone is into science fiction, I would recommend books by Clifford D. Simak and Philip K. Dick. I have read all of their works (novels). Do give them a read. Both of them are super amazing and uncannily original and indigenous.

As an author, is it important to write in simple or high-end language, and why?

One must be able to say big things as easily and as clearly as one can. As writers, we do get seduced by the charms of language, prose, and esotericism. But believe me, it’s not worth it. I am starting to write like an 8-year-old now. An 8-year-old with the mind of an adult.

In your opinion, how can the decreasing readership trend, especially in India be stopped from further decline?

I don’t think readership is decreasing. People are just more into non-fiction these days, that too the non-fiction that is available for free. The nouveau rich and the higher middle class are doing their best to inculcate the habit of reading in their children. Very soon we will see a change. People will be willing to spend a lot on fiction too. Give or take 20 years, India will become one of the biggest consumers of fiction books, irrespective of the formats (audiobook, ebooks, paperbacks). I am convinced that one day, reading books, especially works of fiction, would be considered a sign of elitism and superiority, just like watching, playing, and discussing football is for Indians.

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