Penning a captivating saga

First-time author Manu Dhawan is a former private equity professional, banker, content producer, and serial start-up entrepreneur. He is also an ad and movie director, and cinematographer. Having co-founded CinePlay, along with Nandita Das and Subodh Maskara, he has directed multiple movies for the company. The debut writer penned a coming-of-age story in 'The Unprodigal'.

Excerpts from an interview:

What was the idea behind penning 'The Unprodigal'?

I like telling stories which give people hope and positivity and the strength to stand by what is right. The aim is to make my readers reflect, laugh, react, question, answer, think and express, one tiny emotion at a time. Or a giant opinion. A mediocre question. Or maybe, just maybe, a bright thought. After all, it is what we were born to do.

'The Unprodigal' is a coming of age saga of a man put in a treacherous situation with only his determination and grandfather's love to stand by him.

It is a combustible melting pot of three generations of powerful fathers and defiant sons and explores the beautiful dichotomy of this sensitive relationship.

Have you incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novel?

I have used my memories of places, people and experiences from my life to create this melting pot. I have infused drops of people I know – friends, family, acquaintances and strangers to create this ocean. Apart from that, this book is a work of fiction.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everyday experiences and realisations I guess. I like telling stories which give people hope and positivity and the strength to stand by what is right.

What is your writing process like?

Writing is an intuitive process for me. It's a coming together of all my milli-thoughts, spurts, impulses, wide-eyed moments and subtle realisations to create something which did not or will not exist. I have never started a story knowing where it will go and what it is going to be about. It is usually a character or a situation that I start with and then one word leads to another.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I like to have an expresso on my side whenever I am writing even if I don't intend to drink it! It makes me feel adequately armed with ammunition, just in case!

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

It took me a while to get used to Rohinton Mistry. But now I love his style and books.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is the backbone of any story. It is what will make it credible and relatable. I take my research very seriously. I still haven't started writing this story that I have been researching on for 2 years since there so much to learn and understand on the subject, it would be unfair to write around it without knowing all of it! I am hoping that when I have all the information, I can bring out a perspective which has never been thought about.

Are you planning to write more books in future? If yes what genres would you like to dabble with?

Absolutely! I have been working on one for the last 2 years and want to complete that. I'd like to dabble with contemporary fiction itself but with layers of drama, science fiction, suspense and evolution.

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