Behind the Book : Anurag Anand
Today in this segment we have with us Mr. Anurag Anand, the author of the recently released "To Hell and Back" by Readomania Books.
If you have been living under the rock till now and have not heard about him there here's a brief intro about him. Anurag Anand is a prolific author, a corporate professional and a devout family man, who finds himself shuttling between Pennsylvania, where his family is settled and Gurugram. Two of his works the Legend of Amrapali and the Quest for Nothing have made it to the final shortlist in the past editions of the Crossword Book Awards. His other books are Love on 3 Wheels, Where the Rainbow Ends, Birth of the Bastard Prince, of Tattoos and Taboos. and Reality Bites.
He is a contributing author to several renowned publications, including the Times of India and his column, ‘Corporate Whispers’, is a monthly feature in the Suburb Life magazine. The biggest reward for his writing, he believes, is hearing from his readers and interacting with them.
1. To begin with I would like to thank you for sparing your time for us and extend a warm welcome to the blog. Can you please share something about your journey so far?
Thank you for having me over!
My journey as a writer has been fascinating to say the least. My penchant for writing dates back to my childhood years. I used to be a regular contributor to my school magazine, feeling ecstatic each time I saw one of my pieces in print.
My first book – Pillars of Success – was also a result of my love for the written word. I started writing it because I had some free time at hand and I wanted to expend it in doing something that I truly enjoyed. I had no idea that what I was penning down would take the form of a complete manuscript, and eventually a book. From then to now, a journey that’s eleven books old, I have been writing because I find peace in the process itself. I am glad to have found a therapeutic vent to express my inner emptions in writing, and that’s what makes this journey truly enjoyable.
2. Did you always want to be a writer? What inspired you to pursue this?
I come from a family where I had grown up hearing about only three possible career alternatives that one could pursue – doctor, engineer or an IAS officer. Writing never even came close. So, no, I had never nurtured a dream of becoming an author.
However, I always loved reading – from comic books early on, to more serious literature eventually – and somewhere along the line I branched out to writing as well. I never looked at writing as a career option though, making it a point to balance it with my full-time corporate job. And I can only be glad that I have been successful in pulling off the balancing act thus far.
3. Talking about your latest release ‘To Hell and Back’ what was your inspiration behind this story?
I live in Gurgaon – a city that is a heady mix of the old world and the new. There are those traditional inhabitants, who, albeit monied, are caught between the orthodoxy of their values and the modern, progressive world that envelops them. And then there are those professionals who have descended upon the Millennium City from all corners of the world to make it their home. I believed that these kaleidoscopic hues of the city could serve as an interesting story plot, and that was my true inspiration behind To Hell and Back.
4. Are the main characters Namrata and Renu based on someone real?
The characters of Namrata and Renu are as real as the people we meet in our everyday lives – colleagues, hired help, or strangers that we brush past on busy city streets. Namrata and Renu are an outcome of my observations, creativity and the requirements of the plot. So, while they might not be molded on any particular person, they certainly are a sum total of several people I have come across at some or the other point.
5. You come across as a keen observer of life at large, especially with your descriptive narrations so it would be really interesting to know how different is Author Anurag Anand from Anurag Anand in real life?
Anurag the author and the person are the very same being. There is absolutely no difference between the two. I am a regular guy who struggles to meet the expectations of his boss at work, wife and kid at home, and friends otherwise. I don’t believe that I enjoy any privileges or hindrances in my microcosmic world on account of being an author. In fact, many people I interact with on a regular basis haven’t even read any of my works. And I like it just that way. It helps me remain my natural self at all times.
6. What does a typical day in your life look like? Do you have a writing schedule which you stick to or you write whenever inspiration strikes?Also, curious to know how you battle the demon called “Writer’s block”.
My typical day is largely dictated by my commitments at work. On a usual day, when I am not traveling, I reach office by 9:00 and return home by 7:00. What happens in between determines whether or not I will succeed in getting some writing done on that particular evening. And then there are demands from family and friends that claims a further chunk of my time. In between, whenever I can, I try and slip in a few hours of writing. So, no, I am unable to follow a structured routine for my writing, even if I so desire.
As for writer’s block, I think it’s one of those evils that strikes only if you will it to. Writing is best accomplished sans any pressure. So, if you begin by telling yourself that I need to finish a story/ poem/ article by such and such date, there is every chance that this self-inflicted burden itself might make your mind go numb. In my case, I get down to writing only after I am convinced about the story, having lived with its plot and characters in my head for several days. Then, all that is left is to allow what’s on my mind already to play out on paper.
7. Any particular writer or poet in specific who has inspired you the most in your writings.
Reading, they say, is the best building-block for writing. In this aspect, the list of authors whose works have deeply influenced me over the years is humongous. However, if I am to name a few – Gulzaar Sahab, Keigo Higashino, Franz Kafka, Dan Brown and Ayn Rand are some names that instantly come to mind.
8. As an author you have been experimenting with a lot of genres, something that is widely advised against by publishers and lit agents alike. How has your experience been so far? Would you advise authors to follow suit?
I have always followed my heart when it comes to writing. I write when and what I feel like writing, and the fact that I am able to do so is immensely satisfying. The multiple genres I have dabbled with have been well received by the trade and readers alike, leaving me with little to complain.
I do believe that there’s some merit in sticking to a particular genre as well. But as long as it doesn’t impact me, I am okay to live with it.
9. Any tips for aspiring authors.
Writing might seem glamorous on the outside, but it can also prove to be extremely tedious and painstaking. Be prepared for the grind and approach the process with utmost honesty and the rest shall follow.
10. Some words for your readers.
Thank you for spending your time, energy and money behind my work. Also, please don’t hold back on sharing your feedback and comments with me. Reading your reviews and e-mails is the single most treasured reward I seek from my writing. Please keep it coming.
P.S: All pictures are author's copyright.
Thank you so much for your time and the lovely answers!
P.S: All pictures are author's copyright.