I hope you're having a great day. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing contemporary romance novelist, Rajesh Konsam.
PB: Hi Rajesh! Welcome to pjbermanbooks.com. Tell us a bit about your background.
RK: Hi Peter! Thanks for the opportunity. pjbermanbooks.com is a cool site. As for my background, I come from a small state in India called Manipur. I’m passionate about reading and telling stories. Writing being my primary passion, my daytime job (software engineering) is also something that I enjoy. I dabble on poetry occasionally. I love working out at the gym on the weekends, but amid this COVID-19 lockdown, I settle with 4 a.m. jogs.
PB: Thanks! I'm really glad you like the site. What made you decide to become an author?
RK: I’m an expressive person, and I guess the desire to express my thoughts morphed into a story. I also feel that there’s a dearth of good representation of sensitive topics like mental health in books and movies. There’s a saying, “Write what you want to read and what hasn’t been written yet.” Maybe I’m trying my luck here.
PB: When did you first start writing?
RK: I’m a late bloomer when it comes to writing. My first real piece was written when I was in college. I guess I had a flair for short write-ups or modern poetry initially, but it was when the itch for storytelling kicked in that I started focusing on novels.
PB: What was the first story that you can remember writing?
RK: I think it was a vain attempt at writing fantasy. I remember cooking up a half-baked story about werewolf hunters, shapeshifters, mermaids and wizards. I don’t even remember where I kept it. As it was written on paper, I have lost it.
PB: When you begin writing a new story, do you always know the ending?
RK: I love this question. I always have a definite and well-planned ending for every story that I write. Even if I’m not fully sure about the final plot point, I ask myself these questions. Is it a sad ending or a happy one? What’s the final twist? Which character will meet a certain fate?
Towards the middle of the book, I work on the foreshadowing and the initial denouement. I will make sure that as the story progresses, it will ultimately lead to that one event.
I follow a template where the plot points follow this order: crisis, pre-climax, climax and afterthought.
PB: If you could meet any of your characters, who would you meet, and what would you say to them?
RK: I would like to meet Roshan from ‘Bittersweet’ and say as he goes through violent upheavals in life, I cannot solve his problems, but a pep-talk might prepare him for the worst in life.
I would also love to meet a supporting character, Ragini, from the same novel, and tell her that it’s okay to have made bad decisions and that sometimes, owning our mistakes and moving forward is all we need in life.
PB: Tell us more about your recent coming-of-age novel, Bittersweet.
RK: ‘Bittersweet’ is a story about a group of young millennials, led by Roshan and Shanaya, who struggle to find footholds in the creative industries, as they tackle their first jobs, financial independence, second relationships, compromises, loss of identity and fear of failure.
It is set in a fictional version of Mumbai, and focuses on the dreams, the disasters, the fear and the uncertainty of creative youngsters. The book is available on Amazon worldwide, and there is a Kindle version too.
PB: Where did the idea come from?
RK: I had a tough time as a college student. I was uncertain about my future and had this ‘noise’ in my head. At one point, I was convinced that I would do nothing substantial in my life. This fuelled me to write about the struggles of millennials albeit in a different setting.
As a successful engineer and a novelist, I have now overcome that phase of my life, but I’m glad I ranted my feelings when it still mattered.
PB: Of all your achievements, which are you most proud of?
RK: It has to be the one where I get messages and emails from people telling me that ‘Bittersweet’ helped them cope through their own struggles.
Whenever I read them, I ask myself a set of questions. ‘What kind of contribution do you want to give the world in the long run? What is it that you desire most in life?’
PB: What is your favourite book series to read and why?
RK: I took a chance on the 'The Remnant Chronicles' by Mary E. Pearson and love it for its fabulous plot twists, world building and beautiful prose.
PB: What are your long-term ambitions with regards to writing?
RK: In the future, I can see myself writing books in different genres. With short stories, I have dabbled with psychological thrillers and mysteries, and hence I would like to try writing novels in these genres. I am also dying to write a cyberpunk noir, but I guess, there’s still a lot for me to learn.
PB: If you weren’t an author, what career would you be in?
RK: I would have tried my hand at being a psychologist. This field intrigues me.
PB: What’s the next target for you?
RK: I want to focus on writing about mental health in the next two years and spread awareness on it. Having a good readership on it is what I desire next.
PB: That's a very noble cause. Finally, tell us a random fact about yourself.
RK: I have learned to say ‘I love you’ in nine languages but have refrained (failed actually) from using any of those since college.
Thank you to Rajesh Konsam for talking to us today and giving such and interesting and disarmingly candid interview. It's been fun!
If you would like to purchase Bittersweet, you can do so via the link below: