After the stupendous success of his Shiva trilogy with over 2.2 million copies sold, author Amish Tripathi is back with Scion of Ikshvaku, his first book in the Ram Chandra series.
In fact, the author has said he will not leave this genre any time soon thanks to his deep interest in the Vedas. In real life too, the author is a firm believer of Lord Shiva who he says is the source of ‘inspiration’ for all his works. He believes his transformation from an atheist to a staunch devotee, is all because of “Lord Shiva’s blessings”.
His latest Ram Chandra series takes the Hindu epic Ramayana on a completely fictional narrative. It is about a ‘tortured and ostracised’ prince called Ram in a corruption-plagued Ayodhya battling the ‘demon lord’ Raavan.
In a brief e-mail interview, the author shares some of his experiences and plans:
Fiction and mythology; how were you able to pull these together in Indian context? Especially when Hindu mythology has religious implications.
The honest answer is I wasn’t trying to create a new genre or pull two genres together. I just followed the story the way it came to me. I know some may think it strange, but I genuinely believe that my stories are the blessing of Lord Shiva.
Tell us about your new book from the Ram Chandra series, Scion of Ikshvaku.
I can’t tell you too much, otherwise what will you read in the book! But I can say that the Ram Chandra series will probably consist of five books and Scion of Ikshvaku is the first book.
Do you think western authors have more liberty in exploring their mythologies (Greek, Roman, Norse…) in fiction, unlike for Indian counterparts where there is a lot of religious interference?
In fact, I think it’s sad that the wonderful and rich mythologies of Greece, Rome and the Vikings have been reduced to mere stories. They are not living mythologies any more. People don’t believe in them, the way Indians still believe in our myths. The fact that our myths are still living myths makes it much more meaningful. That allows us to learn philosophies from our myths, which is the entire point of mythology.
How were you able to dodge resistance (if any) from Hindu outfits?
But there is no need for any controversy. The tradition of reinterpreting myths has been an old Indian tradition for millennia. Also, I think anyone who reads my book, even if they don’t like it, can tell that it has been written with respect.
Then Shiva, now Rama, who is going to be your next hero?
I have many story ideas in mind. Let’s see where Lord Shiva takes me next. But the next 5-6 years will be with the Ram Chandra Series.
Are you planning to explore other genres in your upcoming works?
Maybe. But practically all the ideas I have in mind for now are based on our ancient myths and philosophies.
Have you read books of contemporaries in your area of work, like Ashwin Sanghi’s or Ashok Banker’s?
Yes. And I am a fan of their work.
Every author has a publishing and marketing story. How thrilling is yours?
I don’t know if my story is thrilling or anything. But I went through the rejection cycle. My first book was rejected by every publisher it was sent to. Finally, my agent and I self-published The Immortals of Meluha. By God’s grace, it entered the best-seller lists within a week of launch. And then there was no looking back.