Sunday, May 9, 2010

Author Speaks!!

Hello & Welcome to this special post where we meet the the author & publisher of the nevergoingtobe bestseller of all time “The Geek & The Ghost”
So today we have with us , MJ Lakshmi Narayanan
Blogger : Hello & Welcome
MJ : Thanks ..its great to be here
Blogger : First of all congratulations for being promoted from being a blogger to author or booker as you have mentioned
MJ: Thanks  (has a suppressed grin)  its great ..feels good actually
Blogger: since when u have been writing stories
MJ: well i think i first wrote a story during my 12th standard, it was short story based on a terror plot.i had written it in the back of physics record note.there was no blogger at that time at least i didn't know. i don't think I showed it to anyone.
Blogger: when did u realize you have the skill of story telling?
MJ: I have a way of animating things. In school, people wud prefer me to tell them wat happen in the cartoon show yesterday than anybody else because i just don't tell , i perform, i replicate the music, sounds,voice modulations.i guess that’s where it all started,the quality of visualizing things and reproducing them.
Blogger: Did u perform on stage?
MJ: Not really.I mean there were dramas and dance shows,but nothing original or solo
Blogger: how did u develop this skill
MJ: i never consciously wanted to develop this skill or anything like that, but i  realized not everyone is gifted with imagination and creativity. Some small instances strengthened my confidence that i am really good at it
Blogger: Like?
MJ: small things like one of the laser guns used in Fifth element, i had imagined it before i saw it , but the big one was when my friend Celes called up and was like “bad news”, i asked wat happen? “ he told me “they have stolen your story” ..the movie was “day after tomorrow”
Blogger: you had the same story ?
MJ: not exactly the story,but yes the concept & plot. I had started writing a storyline  called “Age of the Aquarius” i even made ppt trailer (chuckles) It was not for a book but wanted to make a movie..a trilogy actually..so i was discussing the plot with him and the next day he sees the trailer with one exact scene i described..the water entering the city. When i saw that i said to myself “wow i am good at this”
Blogger: interesting ..u working on it still?
MJ: no i have lost the files..but the idea is still there. but no plans as of now..its a huge sci-fi production…i dunno if i will be able to do it.
Blogger: coming back to your book…how that started?
MJ: well i started my personal blog in may 2009 and i was having the one of the most interesting phases of my life and instead of blogging as it is, i made it into a story so privacy can be maintained.
Blogger: wat was the plan when u started it?
MJ: there was no plan..later i got some feedback saying it is good and some ppl were curious to knw abt the real  DJ & DG.
Blogger: did they find out?
MJ: well it was easy for them to guess DJ is me and those who knew the real DG also guessed ,it was her
Blogger: u mentioned its based on true event..the chats were real?
MJ: yes and no..as i had mentioned everything was fictionalized..readers thought i have actually copy pasted the chats..but i never did that..i wrote all chapters without any reference material
Blogger: wat about the plot? u freezed it before hand?
MJ: i had several plots in mind of various genres , one was sci-fi,one was psychological,one was pure comical  but i guess the ended up writing a drama..my theme was to have a story about friendship esp between a boy & girl…something opposite to “when harry met sally” 
Blogger: hmm u wanted to make it sci-fi?
MJ: yes..there was actually a scene when OD2 meets DJ…but my readers were more excited about the  comical sense, than a deeper plot.so since i am a  marketer i was bound to give what they wanted, so i just made it like Karan johar movie,dripping with drama & sentiment (laughs)
Blogger: then how did u manage to complete it?
MJ: it really was an amazing journey.When i started i wanted finish of in 10 chapters in 10 weeks time,but the story grew by itself. When i start blogging only the central theme/event will be in my mind,the dialogues and the jokes come only when i am typing,more like a impromptu speech. I took me almost a year to complete it that too because I made a decision to end it soon
Blogger: yes we were able to see the rush in the last chapters
MJ:hmm,,actually the i got the  plot for the ending chapters way back in august, the problem was to fill in the gap,keeping the interest levels high.Even now some say,i have ended it too soon.
Blogger : speaking of ending…the last lines…?
MJ: yes , that last lines were stolen from Pink Floyd’s High hopes.It was 4.30 am when i was typing the last words –“happily ever after”..and the song was playing on my lappy and i thought they fitted perfectly for the ending.
Blogger: wat were the problems u faced during this journey
MJ: the problems were multifaceted …
1.was for the story itself,i had no idea where i am going with it..i had to change its course in the middle, that's y the 10th chapter looks botched
2. privacy..since real ppl were involved ,it was hard to convince readers to treat it only as story..after the 22nd chapter ppl actually asked me if i got fired (laughs)
3. i know there are some rules for story or book writing but i had no clue about them simply because i never had any intention of publishing it..i thought it will stay only in blog but when i had to bring it to the book version, it got complicated. moreover i couldn't ask anyone for advice on these things as i wanted to keep it a secret
4.technicalities of publishing:- when i first decided to make into a book i thought i will just make it like one of my project reports..printing of reports wasn't very  very hard. u type it in word make into a pdf, put cover pages,take print outs and get it binded . but when it comes to print a book like this, the game changes totally.
Right from deciding the size of the book, font,font size, layout designing, images, cover design etc etc everything had to be perfect.High end design software's like Corel Draw, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop,Illustrator needed to be used. I had no clue on these things,and realized i cannot do it myself, so i got hold of one of the designers from my work place and sat with him to do it. It was really hard, the book designing was as hard as writing the story itself.I joked to my friend that i can actually write a story “making of book gg”(laughs)
Blogger: When and why did u decide to publish it  
MJ: good question..well the real DG’s bday was coming up and i wanted to gift her something different, then i remembered the gift i got from my friends Rajiv & Vaisak..a calendar with all the priceless moments of my alliance days.that was the best gift ever.So the idea was to gift something original so i decided i will publish it and present it….
Blogger: so the book launch was on her bday?
MJ: no  i wasn't able to finish it by then..funny thing i got a instance of chaos theory during this..600 kms away in a city called Erode Mr.muthukumar (name changed) decides to ride without a helmet and to his bad luck , gets hit by a water tanker ,kept in ICU for a week....he was my designer’s relative ,so the designer went on leave…becoz of that it got delayed by 15 days crossing the deadline..and there were printing issues,many printers were not ready to print only 4 and if they did,they were not able to the binding as required. i gave it  2 weeks after her bday
Blogger:how many did u print ?
MJ: i actually published 4 ,one for each main character DJ,DG & RJ and one for Ruchi who wrote the foreword.
Blogger: why didn't you go for actual publishing?
MJ: hmmmm..one thing i was not sure whether it was worth publishing  and moreover personally i don't see it as a book
Blogger: how do u see it then?
MJ: i see it as a time capsule…so even after many years whenever i want, i can came back to 2009-2010 when i read this book
Blogger: but since many others have read it and liked it now..will u be publishing some more?
MJ: i am considering it… i want to up the quality and bring the cost down. problem is the print volume. i cannot print too many and i don't want to..i am looking at various options for effectively doing this.i am searching for good offset printer.let see..if not i will print a few more in digital to be sent to a select few.
Blogger : well we are eager to see more copies being printed.hope to your name on book stores some day .
MJ: thank you.and i would like to take this moment to thank everyone who read my book and gave the feedback.
Blogger: even though you have stressed on the privacy part..we are just curious to knw, how much of the story is actually true?
MJ: (laughs out loud) i will leave it to the readers to take their call on that…
Blogger: any plans on next story?
MJ: no plans as of now..i don't want to rush into any new project right now.
Blogger: all the best MJ and thanks for your time
MJ:  thank you.. pleasure’s mine
Blogger: That's all folks for now.. stay tuned for more updates on The Geek & The Ghost  2nd edition…thank you
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