What has been the most rewarding moment as an author?
I wrote several opinion articles for the Arkansas Democratic Gazette and Temple Daily Telegraph on politics and education in the USA. The majority were published quickly and others with some delay. I was thrilled to see my name in print and was much more delighted to receive compliments from the readers of newspapers on my views on things of importance to society. I thought nobody would care to read them and much less to share their opinion with the writer. I was hooked on writing from then on, and I’m here sort of, to express my thoughts in a story form and be gratified and recognized.
If you could offer one piece of writing advice to a novice author, what would it be?
Recognize that nobody is perfect in writing, and all have deficiencies of their own. Sit down and write, then polish. To write, one needs an idea. Ideas come from listening, seeing, and contemplating. Ideas written with a new perspective and in new settings will often appeal to readers. Next to ideas is the discipline to put down ideas in a string of words on a sheet of paper. Disregard the distractions that hinder or prevent you from writing. I’ve a lot of ideas but have no discipline and I’m often distracted. As someone said, ideas are only dreams, and they disappear as soon as you get up from your sleep. Resolve to write each day at the same time with determination! Hard, I know.
How do you find your ideas for a book?
I’m not sure if I’ve an idea for a book. For a book, I would like to write about my life and let my protégée know of my origin, struggles, successes, and counsel them what works and what does not work. I’ve a story to tell because it’s unique. From nobody and nothing from India I came to become someone and something in my country of adoption, the USA. I’m blessed in a million ways and out of gratitude I need to record my life of simplicity, hard work, and loyalty to the God, people, and country. Sometimes, I wonder if my old ways and thoughts would be of any relevance to the modern generation.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading and how often do you read?
I read many books while growing up in India. Fiction, non-fiction, and thrillers hold my interest. I love writings by Pearl Buck, Dickens, Faulkner, A.K. Narayan, Salmon Rushdie, Spielberg, Agatha Christie, Edgar Poe, and the Bible. I’m not reading much now a days, for a reason. But I read the Bible every day to stay calm and peaceful. Poetry in Psalms, wisdom in Proverbs, mystery of everything in Ecclesiastics, why bad things happen to good people in Job, and other books in the Bible tell me the human history and how God interacts with humanity to make a change. This book is indeed a mystery revealed to humans, and I like magical stories in such a book as the Bible.
What has helped you/hindered you in deciding to BEGIN the writing process?
Talks on writing in YouTube and books and booklets tell me writing is hard and calls for discipline. I confess I lack both. While in Arkansas, I attended a class on creative writing and the instructor was excellent in motivating students to write. Simple instructions, assignments and compulsory readings were a part of the instruction. To my surprise, I responded well, and my classmates and the instructor liked my storytelling on ‘Altar of America’ and ‘Green America’. Such a hands-on training on writing is effective and if practiced continuously will help new writers. I’m addicted to painting and it’s hard for me to choose between writing and painting. Other distractions include gardening and watching many sports.
Did your formal education or upbringing/background prepare you in any way to write?
I’ve more education than I need to make a living but it’s all in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. However, I’m trained to write competitive grant proposals for funding, and I wrote reports on the progress accomplished in research projects. From childhood, I had a desire to pursue literature, but my family persuaded me to study science and engineering. Life, as my parents explained, is more than personal gratification but it’s existential. They are wise and correct, perhaps. My childhood desire came back haunting, and here I’m attempting to fulfill my desire to write about all things I hear, see, and do. There is much especially for my memoir to record/write before it’s time.
I’m a transplant from India. After completing my education in engineering, and after a couple of years of working in the aerospace industry in India, I became an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Germany. After three years, I and my wife came to the U.S.A. I taught engineering in several universities including Texas A&M until my retirement from the University of Arkansas a few years ago. I taught myself how to paint, mostly impressionism in watercolor and acrylics. We travel a lot, and I’m curious about ancient cultures, people, and their art. I’m keen to know how kingdoms came into existence and why some cultures flourish and others do not. We have three grown children and six grandchildren, and they live in three corners of this country. I’m glad I became a member of the SGWL.
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