FROM AUTHOR Amish Tripathi’s curious dependence on cream biscuits while writing to Ashwin Sanghvi’s juxtaposition of the relationship between a critic and a writer to that of a dog and a lamppost, and Christopher C. Doyle’s six-year journey of rejection before his first book was published, Tuesday morning was filled with animated discussions for the students of Sanskriti School as they met three of the country’s most celebrated fiction writers.
The session titled — “EPIC”URIOUS — Interpreting the mythological tales — which the school organised in association with Westland Books and Book World saw the three writers discuss their work which draws largely from Indian mythology and marries history and science fiction to it.
While each writer accepted that they depend largely on mythological texts and characters, each one admitted to a different style of writing and thinking. For example, unlike Amish who has read and studied Indian mythology and is now presenting his own interpretation of the stories, Doyle said his style is inspired by a lot of Western authors who wrote about mythology using science. “These are not just myths but a lot of science is involved. And I thought we have so many interesting stores in our culture. So I started research — can we use science to explain mythological secrets like mortality. Interestingly I found that there is a way to explain it,” he said.
Similarly, Sanghi spoke of his fascination about the overlap between history and myth but admitted that, like Amish, he is presenting old wine in a new bottle.
Each author outlined the number of rejections they had faced before their first book got published. While Amish said he had to self publish his book, Sanghi joked that his book was rejected by every literary agent, including those representing children and culinary books. “I completed my first book in 2008 but it didn’t get published until 2016. It was because I wanted to be an international author, so I ruled out Indian publishing houses and sent it to 17 to 18 literary agents abroad who rejected it as the central character was Indian,” he said.
Asked about the critic’s reaction to their books, both Amish and Doyle shared painful experiences where the first was told to go back to banking while the latter, who had spent two years in research, was faulted for not researching enough for his book. “My first review appeared in the US where basically the writer said it was a good book had it stopped on Page 10,” said Sanghi.