Friday 26 June 2020

Questionairrie with Mukul Kumar

So, this month's featured Author is ' Mukul Kumar'

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!

 I am a bureaucrat by profession and a writer by passion. I belong to the 1997 batch of the Civil Services. An Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, I am at present working in New Delhi. I have studied Humanities at Delhi University. I have been honoured with the National award for outstanding service to the Indian Railways. My written works include the poetry anthology ‘The Irrepressible Echoes’ and two novels, ‘As Boys Become Men’ and ‘Seduction by Truth’. ‘Catharsis’,  is my second poetry anthology is about to be published. Besides writing my hobbies include reading, travelling, listening to music, driving etc.

Questionnaire with Mukul Kumar

1. How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?

I can recall scribbling verses even as a schoolboy; it has always been there in me; I believe writing like any other art form is intrinsic to man, it comes naturally.  But yes, I took to serious writing since 2012 when I came out with my poetry collection. I see myself as a purely imaginative person; writing is kind of creating a parallel world, maybe a parallel universe as well, and that is possible only by imagination; Einstein rightly says imagination encircles the world, while knowledge is limited in its reach.

2. What do you find most challenging about your writing?

Being a poet as well as a novelist, I would like to differentiate between poetry and fiction in terms of challenge. Writing fiction obviously demands much more efforts and time than poetry which is like a spontaneous overflow settling on paper quite smoothly. For me, the challenge in writing fiction has been still tougher by way of trying to find a middle path between profession and passion.

3. What do you do when you are not writing?

Reading and trying to figure out what is inside me waiting to be written. Not writing for long drives me restless; it is like living with some mind-space always occupied with writing.

4. Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

Future is anyways uncertain, and this Corona experience has gone only to testify this wisdom. But yes, aim wise I want each passing day to improve my craft of writing and amplify my presence as a writer in the world of letters. I am genuinely happy that post my bureaucratic career, I have something so meaningful and exciting to fill in the vacuum.

5. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?

Here I am reminded of Mark Twain who said that he never wrote a book that did not get written by itself. I feel that amply answers the question. A writer has to wait for the story to catch him.  But yes, the first novel of a writer I feel tends to be quite autobiographical content-wise. My first novel ‘As Boys Become Men’ is a coming of age novel that carries quite much of the boy I was, more with regard to experiences than events that are majorly fictional.

6. Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

I will begin with a caveat- the world of letters has always been challenging, more so now when many are trying to write, and in consequence, this world is getting flooded with what I call instant literature. Publishing is really an uphill task. My tips - Do not write unless you feel compelled, write from your heart, have patience with regards to publishing, and read a lot to test and improve your craft. For me, originality of style is one of the crucial driving forces.

7. What is the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

 Truth, beauty, and wisdom; I feel a good book unconsciously teaches the readers life and living. Books are the instant balm for your pain and sufferings, and source of pleasure as well.

8. A lot of people are interested in writing for money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations regarding what can be made?

Let us accept the fact that reading has taken a beating in these times when writing has surged in surfeit, with new forms like the blog and social media expressions having fattened the volume. Even in the late 19th century, Oscar Wilde could not help saying that books were written by the public and read by none.  So, making money out of writing is not easily possible, especially in case of fictions. I am coming to experience that nonfictions are selling far better, and one must look at the other ways like articles etc. to make some money if one can. But yes, having said that I do not want to miss saying that if you have luck anything is possible; ‘click’ is the keyword here.

9. What motivates you most in life?

 Self-discovery is the prime motivator for me; keeping my ears close to my heart is kind of listening to the sweetest possible music. Like writing, I want to discover many other things in me. I want my life to remain unfinished till I die, like a book which Oscar Wilde says can never be finished and can only be abandoned.

10. The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations?

I find this question quite close to my heart as a writer my best tool to handle religion is the reason. Rationality kind of purifies religion, exalting it to ‘faith’ that furnishes hope and sanity, and Dharma which is nothing, but morality based upon the sense of righteousness and humanism; religion must serve man and not the vice versa.

11. What is the story behind the name of your book?

‘Seduction By Truth’ I feel is an interesting  blend of fiction and non-fiction; story-wise it explores the theme of marriage and desire with the storyline being based upon extramarital relationships, but  I have conceived and crafted the plot in such a manner that I could finely weave religion, mythology and history into it. That takes me back to your previous question; this book amply illustrates my approach to mythology and religion.

12. What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

As far as I know, plagiarism has been as old a phenomenon as writing itself. But the good thing is that while plagiarism is on the rise, we are having the effective technological tools to check it. That instantly reduces the concern pretty much.