After That Day… I Never Saw Her Again’ is a novel by Arun (whose real name is Pavan Bhimavarapu). The novel went on sale last month and has been ranked number 2 at Notion Press, an online self-publishing platform. The fiction novel revolves around a love story in the pre-independence era.

Pavan Bhimavarapu

It talks about the struggle for independence, the role of leaders, spying on enemy countries and how all this affects the protagonists Prudhvi and Sanjuktha. Pavan is an ex-software employee turned Flipkart delivery boy turned author. One hell of a ride right? We felt the same after seeing a post online by one of his friends, which inspired us to reach out to interview Arun.

“Hi guys, This is the story of my friend, Pavan Kumar Bhimavarapu (Arun Bhimavarapu), an upcoming novelist. I have known this guy for the last three years. We were once colleagues in TCS before he resigned. “I don't know... something here doesn't feel right,” he had said.

'Such an idiot,' I had thought. One Sunday morning, I went for grocery shopping, and saw him working at the departmental store. I hesitated to go talk to him while he saw me from the distance and waved. I waved back. One simple wave and that gave me a friend for life.

I saw him take blows from life, one after the other; work part-time to meet his daily expenses and write at nights. I saw him visit production houses with movie scripts and being sent out empty-handed. I saw him deliver 60 Flipkart shipments a day, to collect money for self-publishing. 

I saw him sell his watch, a Titan sports edition that he had bought with his first salary, to print flyers for the novel. I saw him distribute them to people near colleges and software companies. I saw him fight with all that he had, to reach what he loved. But... I never saw him cry. I never saw him thinking to step back, even at the hardest times of life. - Arun’s friend, Sandeep Katakam, posted on Facebook

Excerpts from the interview 

What inspired you to write your first book? Can you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My intuition inspired me to write. But my interest in writing originated from my first love. She loved listening to new stories all the time and I always wanted to impress her.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t, the story did. Actually, I wanted the title to be catchy in the first go, and my storyline gave me the answer.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That’s the beauty of art. No two readers grasp exactly the same essence. Leaving it to their understanding and imaginations, my underlying message is that life should go on, no matter what.

How much of the book is realistic and what books have influenced your life most?

Regarding the amount of reality, let’s keep it a secret... And about the books which influenced me most in my life are Mahaprasthaanam, Tilak Kathalu and writings of Chalam and Aarudhra.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? What are your current projects and if you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If I really have a chance, I’ll choose Puri Jagannadh as my mentor. You can rule with a guy of his potential being your guide.

I am working on my second novel right now – ‘My Nightingale’. And in my latest book, I would like to change many things. It’s like you never run out of things that are to be changed and improved.

Can you share the challenges you faced while penning this writing?

The major challenge I faced was to sketch an edge where the reader falls into the world I created. That’s the danger zone where most of the authors fade out.

Who is your favourite author, what is it that really strikes you about their work?

In Telugu, it’s Chalam. The way he pulls out the basic human instincts in you is outstanding. Even a kid can connect to his writings. In other languages, Ken Follett-master of war affairs. No novel can be as gripping as his.

What was the hardest part of writing a book?

Being on track with the storyline and stepping into different shoes every day. And when it comes to emotions we play with, they start playing with us. We should be very strong to take hold of them.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

To my readers, I say, “Love you too. There are no writers without readers and no artistes without audience. You are the one for whom we work. Thanks for being there.”

Writing a book is one thing and publishing it, is another. Promoting it beats both of them. The real meaning of bringing a book to life is making the world turn to it, which is not so easy. I am trying very hard by distributing flyers to potential users, sliding them into newspapers in the morning, promoting on Facebook and so on. But, it feels like these are hardships worth taking.

By:Rashmi M