Author Interview – Joygopal Podder
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Author: Dr Roopleen
Joygopal Podder wrote his first novel at the age of 50 and since then, he has not looked back. In an interview with Dr Roopleen, he shares his life’s journey, dreams, hopes and aspirations for the future.
Roopleen: When and how did writing happen?
Joygopal Podder: Well, I must thank my parents for encouraging me and helping me realize my passion in writing.
When I was young, my mother would collect the notebooks (in which I had penned my childhood writings) and show them to relatives and neighbours in London, where I was born.
I was only eight years when we came to India and settled in Delhi. It was at that time that my father gifted me Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ and a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. Is it surprising, then, that I became a writer!
I used to write stories and articles for newspapers and magazines while still in school and college. I earned a gold medal while pursuing a law degree and this opened up many corporate doors for me. That’s when a management career took over and writing stopped.
R: Tell us briefly about the kind of books that you have written. Do you have plans to explore other genres in the future?
JGP: My genre is drama, crime, mystery and thriller. Several of my novels are also set in the Indian film industry. Geographically, my novels are located in familiar territory for Indian readers: Indian cities and Indian milieus. The events unravel in the streets of Delhi, in the gardens of Bangalore, in the malls of Gurgaon and in the film studios of Mumbai. Resorts like Mussoorie, Goa and Ali Bagh are not just holiday destinations in my books but locations for action, drama and plot twists.
Yes, I want to write a historical novel.
R: When it comes to plotting, do you plan everything in advance or let the story flow? How much of the people you know manifest into your characters?
JGP: Both. Some characters and attributes are from real life. Some are from imagination.
R: You have made it to the ‘Limca Book of Records’ as the fastest writer of crime fiction in India. How did you go about setting that record?
JGP: When I started writing my first novel at the age of 50, I had no ambition to set any record. What did happened was that I re-discovered my childhood passion for writing stories and I realised that this is what I had been born to do.
So I resolved that, for everyday for the rest of my life, whether I was at home or travelling, whether it was a weekday or a work day, I would make sure to write about a thousand words a day. It is this frenzied pace which has led to 11 books from my pen, all published within two years.
My 11th book, ‘Merchants of Dreams’ has just been released. The twelfth, titled ‘Vanished’ is due for release by the end of the year. The thirteenth, titled ‘Goddess’ is almost complete.
I feel blessed that I am able to write novels so fast. Writing is like playing a musical instrument; the more you do it, the better you get.
R: For people who have never read your books before, which book would be a good one to start out with?
JGP: Any of these: ‘Merchants of dreams’, ‘Superstar’, Millennium city’, ‘Beware of the night.’
R: Do you think that churning books in such quick succession can compromise the quality of the books?
JGP: Not in my case. In fact, if I take a gap break, I lose the flow of the story – I have to re-connect.
R: How do you keep your creative juices flowing? What advice would you give to people who ‘run out of creativity’ while writing?
JGP: Look around you. Read newspapers. Imagine the life stories of people you meet.
R: In lighter vein: How do you visualize things 10 years down the line; which is the most likely possibility- publishers getting tired of publishing your books, readers getting tired of reading your books or you running short of ideas. (Who will find it difficult to keep pace?)
JGP: I hope none of these happen. Should not! I love writing and readers enjoy reading my books.
R: What is the hallmark of success as a writer for you?
JGP: A successful writer is one who has wide readership. To put it in one word- ‘POPULARITY’ -that’s the hallmark of real success.
R: How has the journey been so far?
JGP: It has been an amazing journey. After 17 years in the corporate sector, I shifted to the social sector, as a fundraising specialist. I am now working in my third NGO- ‘ActionAid’ as a Director and my twelve years in the social sector have been the most satisfying of my life.
R: New writers are always looking up to the experienced ones for guidance in navigating their writing futures. What tips do you have for the newbie writers?
JGP: Do it only if you love it. Everything else will follow, and I mean it!
R: What is the most valuable lesson that life has taught you?
JGP: A few years back my wife got blood poisoning and almost died. She recovered after a very big scare and a long stay in the ICU, but she lost her kidneys. For the last four years, she has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine in a hospital for four hours a day three times a week to stay alive. All this has given me a new perspective on life and has made me realize that life is very fragile and you never know what will come at you. One should not defer fulfilling one’s passion to a later date since that day may never come.
Dr Roopleen is a Motivational counselor, Speaker, Ophthalmologist and Author of ‘Principles of Success made easy-14 easy steps to climb the ladder of success.’
If you are a new gen writer and would like to talk about your creative work then write to her email@example.com