Gunjan Porwal is an engineer by education and profession. He studied from IIT, Kanpur and currently lives in Pune. His demanding job and time he needs to spend with his family, however, couldn’t stop him from pursuing his passion, writing. A person’s persona has a great influence of the environment in which he/she grew up.
Gunjan is fascinated with the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. His love for Indian mythology and love for writing resulted into his debut book, Ashwatthama’s Redemption.
The book is really good in many aspects. You can read our detailed review for the same at:
Reading the book made us curious to know more about and thus we approached him. Fortunately, the things worked out positively and from our team, I got a chance to have a small Q/A session with him. I would love to share it with you all.
We are glad to have a conversation with you. Thank you for sparing some time to have a Q/A session with us. Your debut book Ashwatthama’s Redemption is getting a positive response in both commercial and critical aspects. Please accepts our congratulations for the same and tell us something about it (the response to the book).
Thank you. And also appreciate you having me for this session.
The response to the book has been very nice. People are writing to me appreciating the book and the way it has been written. When you get validation from people who don’t know you, it gives proof that your work has not gone in vain.
That is on-the-spot. When you do something that you find happiness in, it gives a different high. You feel positive and look forward to doing it every single free chunk of time you are able to snatch in your schedule.
The other part of your question about getting a positive response on the course needs more explanation. Sometimes you have to keep doing the things you love without any validation. If you look at the entertainment industry, many movies that are made with extraordinary love and passion, fail to do well at the box office. Sometimes even very well-written books fail to pick up. Often, it is more than two years of effort that goes in vain. But one must understand that it is not an external validation that matters. If one feels happy in doing something, and can find a way to progress towards the final goal, the intermediate criticisms and failures should not matter. Many great authors and artists were deemed failures in their times but were hailed posthumously. So external validation is great, but it’s the internal one that matters more and makes you feel complete.
I have been brought up in small towns in Bihar, primarily Dhanbad and Ranchi, from where I completed my schooling. Like most other 90s kids, I was attracted towards engineering and did my graduation in Computer Science. Post that, I have been working in the software industry, primarily in the Computer Graphics and GPU Computing domain.
Apart from work, I enjoy watching movies and now web series. I also like to read.
I remember hearing mythological stories from my mother during my childhood. As with kids during 80s and 90s, we were heavily influenced by Ramayana and Mahabharata and watched the complete series during that time. I think during those times, the limited availability of content helped in making sure we followed the story completely. So that was a good influence.
In these days, the amount of content available on TV and the Internet is massive. I think a kid hardly gets any free time today. Few decades back, storytelling used to be verbal, passed from generation to generation. Now that space has been invaded by movies and web series, which are in huge number. Now we have content on every possible topic available, which in a way is good too since there is lot to learn. TV is not necessarily bad if it is used as a learning medium.
However, I still feel that verbal storytelling is still the best way to pass on knowledge as it forms a personal bonding. Nothing can replace that. Grandparents can engage kids to hear interesting stories while feeding them or making them sleep. A kid gets attracted to anything that is interesting, and verbal storytelling still is a great way to carry a legacy forward. It must be definitely carried on, though I feel it requires more effort from the grandparents now.
There is a large part of Indian mythology that has not been explored. That is a very exciting prospect because it gives us a chance to bring to the forefront a lot of information which helps us in understanding where our traditions and culture comes from. Some common acts that we follow in daily life would become much more meaningful once we realise the history behind them; such as why do we worship Tulsi or why do we apply tilak on our forehead or why do we only use right hand in taking prasadam. Indian mythology has deep roots and it is a storehouse of knowledge. Almost every tradition that we follow in our religious and spiritual lives can be traced back to its origin in history and mythology.
The prospect of creating my own world and engaging a reader. It is challenging but then once it is done, it gives a sense of happiness on seeing the creation.
Ashwatthama, despite being one of the greatest warriors in Mahabharata, was punished for a night of misadventure. That took away his greatness and the punishment he was meted out seemed too harsh for what he did.
My choice started with the thought of bringing out the story from his perspective. Many times, we are not able to see the story from the antagonist’s viewpoint. So I wanted to tell the story from an alternate perspective.
I find Bhishma and Dronacharya quite interesting since they were among the best warriors, almost invincible. Only when they put down their weapons, could they have been defeated. Their powers are worth exploring.
Minor spoiler ahead, so those who plan to read the book, kindly skip. I would have loved to write more about the conversation between the father and son.
I am exploring other genres also. It is interesting to write in different genres as you get to explore different areas. There is lot of fun in that.
The sequel to Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak is in progress, and almost in final stages. However, it might be up to a year before we see it in the stores since there are lots of stages in publishing that are needed and they only give a better result when done in a slower and progressive manner.
I was happy to be working with the creative team at Om Books International. I was involved during the initial phases of cover design, and I gave my inputs to the team about my perspective of the cover. Later, when it was designed, they sent a rough draft to me and asked for my feedback.
The journey has been fulfilling. Before I started writing the book, I was unaware of the publishing industry and the process of getting a book in the stores. It was only after the book was accepted and then when I went through the entire process, right from the time of writing the first draft to getting the book released, I realised that I had learnt various aspects that nobody could have told me. This is something that one only learns by experience.
I love reading late Michael Crichton and Dan Brown. The best part about their writing is the insane amount of research that’s done for the topics chosen and then presenting it in a super-easy reading format.
It is good to make an additional impact. From my experience, the trailer has to be rocking to make a significant impact. It is difficult to do that with a limited budget.
I prefer traditional printed books more as they give a better feel and I can go back to any part of the book instantly. However, it is much easier to learn a new word on the ebook reader.
Social media is a tricky tool. On one hand, it can be used to spread awareness about the good in the society, on the other it consumes too much of our attention. Gone are the days when we could focus our energies on one task alone.
If used properly, it’s a game-changer. If not, it just drains all your important hours.
Sure. Here are my social media links:
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorgunjanporwal
- Twitter: @PorwalGunjan
- Instagram: @the.author.gunjan
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.gunjanporwal.com
I am most responsive on email, followed by Instagram and then Facebook/Twitter.
If you have reached here, I hope you enjoyed the interview. Please head to my website if you wish to get about 40-50 free preview pages of the book. You can decide then to invest in buying my book. I also keep sharing updates on my social media handles, and would be soon sharing progress on the 2nd book.
Please feel free to send me any feedback that you have about Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy Book From Amazon India – Paperback
- Buy Book From Amazon US – Paperback
- Buy Book From Amazon India – Kindle EBook
- Buy Book From Amazon US – Kindle EBook
Over To You:
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