Debut author Rajeev Saxena in a freewheeling chat talks about his book, writing method and future projects
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I’m a natural storyteller. They come to me without any effort. Most of the time I think about the plot first and then start building up characters. At a broad level, I know my main characters in the story in the beginning but several of them are formed as the story develops. Sometimes I just go back to my script and completely strike off a few small characters who are either not that impactful or for some reason are not fitting into the story. It’s just the part of fine-tuning the script.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
I’d say that for this novel, most of my story is developed from real-life inspirations rather than from worldbuilding. Though the book is a work of fiction, a lot of surroundings, locations, places and ideas are real. Pinto, a sort of unromantic person, the protagonist, wants to change the world through his ideas and in this process, his wife Lavanya is not only a partner but also a critique. It’s not a science fiction book and that’s the reason, the worldbuilding was not that strong or important for this book.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
As an author, I’ve tried to give equal attention to every chapter. The book is about how an ordinary person can change the world through his ideas and technology. One of my favourite ones is how Pinto implements a system so that VIP would like to give up their VIP status on their own, without any force, without any violence and without any kind of lure. Strange but true.
I’d leave readers to read the book to know more about it. But this is my favourite chapter. The chapter is also related to how Pinto tries to bring changes to politics. I used to think politics is a dirty thing but it completely changed my belief. Politics could be a true game changer if done rightly.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Though there were several research topics I worked on, two of them really intrigued me a lot and changed my mindset. It’s a general perception that government officials and politicians are shirkers. But I realised that it’s not the case always even if it’s true very often. There is so much work pressure on the government and so much lack of resources that sometimes I wonder how they are running it. Also, people of India are more gullible than I thought. It compels you to think whether India is a good country for democracy or not. Politics could be a great way to solve several problems in our country as long as it’s clubbed with right innovative and pragmatic technical solutions no matter which field they are related to.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Yes, that’s the characteristic of my novel, which makes it different than other books in the same genre. An ordinary couple can change the country if they have passion, determination, courage and a lot of commitment. Also, technology can solve anything whether issues are related to logistics or transportation to politics. The only need is that right, practical, cost-effective and simple solutions should be invented. It also tells you that unromantic men can also have a successful love life, though in a humorous way. I’ve made sure that while giving these serious messages, I should not forget the entertainment and funny moments of Pinto’s life so there is a lot of focus on humour.
What are your future projects?
I plan to spend a lot of time on researching the topic, building the plot and forming characters. I’ve started working on it. Probably my second book will be out in one to two years’ time. I don’t want to stick to one genre. The next book would be very different. Please stay tuned.