Behind a book - Harsh Agarwal

1    Continuing with the author interview series today we have a very young and vibrant author Harsh Agarwal with us here  sharing what writing and books are for him:
Firstly a warm welcome to Reviews and Musings. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations for new releases that you have lined up as of now. Time’s Lost Atlas as a compiler and then your own Nazaqat. How does it feel? Nervous… excited? Can you please tell us something more about them?

Thanks Namrata! It’s a pleasure! Well it feels like a responsible parent whose kids are having an examination coming up. You have expectations, you are nervous, you are excited and you keep on thinking how teachers (readers in this case) will react to it. It’s a mixed state of anxiety, excitement and anticipation. That’s all I can say! 

Both of my kids are being published by Half baked beans. Nazaqat is my third full length novel which is about a prostitute who takes this profession on her own will. I basically aim to shatter all the stereotyping and set a new image of the modern Indian woman who is sexier, bolder, and smarter and is no less than man in any domain. My other kid – Time’s Lost Atlas is an anthology of stories based on various events in last decade. It has been written by eleven amazing authors and I have compiled this anthology.


2.       So both of these books are coming with Half Baked Beans. How does it feel working with them?

It feels wonderful. I see Half Baked Beans as publishing house of the new era. Apart from these two books, I also did a creative writing workshop organized by them. I mean who takes the pain of guiding aspiring writers? Rather than imposing its books on the reader, HBB is spending a considerable amount of time in interacting with readers and understanding their expectations. Since I am working as an editor too, I can explain how selective HBB has been for picking up the right scripts and I really feel that they all will do exceptionally well.

3.       What made you think of Time’s Lost Atlas as a concept? And how did the whole thing take shape in your mind – 11 authors, bringing them together to work on a project like this must have not been an easy task am sure.

The idea was conceived around two year back when I was working with an organization named The Fountain Pen Guild. The basic aim was to provide a platform to novice authors. Interestingly, in two years, few are no more novices and have published their novels already!
It was a very tough task. The list of authors which was first created is much different from the new list which is finally getting published. Because of time constraints, quality and everything, we have to keep on changing the authors. It required a lot of coordination, countless phone calls, editing sessions and a lot of struggle. But, in the end, I feel it was all worth it!

4.       Wow! When is the book releasing? And from where can the readers get it?
We are planning to put it on pre order by last week of December. Readers will be able to order it online and soon after then, it will reach stores and libraries as well.

5.       Your previous two books have been very well received. Can you share with your readers your journey of reaching till here from your first book? In short a journey to being published as an author.

It has been an amazing journey – a complete learning experience and it has certainly changed me as a person, in a better way of course. I started at the age of 19 and I am soon turning 22. These three years, I have learnt quite a lot of things being in writing industry. I have learnt to be optimistic and practical at the same time, to work hard even when I cannot see where I am going, to be patient and most importantly – to be open towards any sorts of ideas. Doesn’t matter how absurd they may sound, as an author or perhaps as an artist, you can’t discard it entirely.

6.       We all are curious to know more about Asylum from you. Why the name and what exactly is it about?

Asylum, just like the name suggest is a refuge of writing industry. We provide various services which are pocket friendly along with free consultancy and we do project which aims to promote new authors. Time’s Lost Atlas is one such project. We also have internships where people can work from their home and earn and learn at the same time.

7.       Tell us something about your upcoming projects apart from these that you are currently working on.
Apart from these, I am travelling to ten major cities of India for workshops and interactive sessions. In each city, we are joining hands with more authors and creative enthusiasts. It is being done with Fablery and the entire event is being called Caravan:

I am also working as an editor and have a few projects in my hands. And yes, my new venture – www. which  is basically a travel website with writers being the locals itself. In each cities we are picking up enthusiastic writers who are fond of exploring and they are being given the job of writing articles about their own city.
And, I am also doing a few mentorship projects with one of them almost complete. It deals with farmer suicide in India.

8.       Though there are many words which can be associated with you – an author, a mentor, an artist, entrepreneur etc. What is the one word that you think describes you perfectly.

I guess that would be opportunist. I have always tried to cash on every opportunity destiny has given me. And when destiny snatch opportunities away from me (which it do pretty often), I make things even by creating more of them. All the tags you mentioned above, I would haven’t been related to even a single one of them if I had not been an opportunist.

9.       Something more about Harsh which is not commonly known:
Ummnnn…Maybe that I am an engineering student too. I hardly my friends introducing to their friends as an engineering student. They either introduce me as an author or an entrepreneur. But, I am also an engineering student which plays a pivotal role in being the way I am. It defines a lot of aspects of my life.
a)      Favourite Book: The God of small things
b)     Favourite Author: Arundhati Roy
c)      Favourite movie: 7 khoon  maaf
d)     Favourite destination: New Delhi (love to roam around aimlessly)
First word that comes to your mind when you hear:
e)      Love: complicated
f)       Dream: Dare
g)      Harsh: Soft!
h)     Chocolates: Pure love
i)       Books: Oh that smell!

10.   One message that you would like to give out to all those aspiring authors out there.
Be patient! Don’t rush! Give more time to your writing and channelize your creativity and time. Try being fresh and innovative with your ideas! And don’t lose hope! That’s all!

Thank you so much Harsh for being here today, it was a pleasure interacting with you and we would like to wish you all the best for all your future projects!
You can read more from Harsh at his website HERE


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