Author Interview: Muralidharan Parthasarathy
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Muralidharan Parthasarathy: Kafan by Munshi Premchand. I would request all senior writers, upcoming writers and all readers to read this short story and feel proud that one of the best writers ever in any language is the legend of our soil and the role model for all generations.
Ravi: The Best piece of writing advice?
Muralidharan: Please write the story you would love to read.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Muralidharan: You mean on web or print magazines and as books. I write on all platforms and all media. If you mean my preferred location, there are two. My private terrace with a small garden and my exclusive room of course :-)
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Muralidharan: From anything that is materialistic. All utterances, exchanges, moves, signals, offers, flattery and friendliness that are starkly materialistic provoke me to write.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Muralidharan: It is my breath.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Muralidharan: It takes several months to do research and scheme chapters, say a minimum of six months and actual writing I complete in one month. The only exception is ‘Bubbles burst- lessons and takeaways from Covid19’ completed in three weeks in April as an outcome of the agony I underwent watching every institution and authority clueless.
Ravi: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Muralidharan: None. Because of the horrible childhood I had in acute poverty and humiliation and exploitation is the resource needed for most outstanding works. Supplemented with reading serious works during teens I started writing.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Muralidharan: ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Muralidharan: Indian literature by Sahithya Academy Granta from the USA are examples. Any serious stuff magazine is my favorite.
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Muralidharan: Indifference to repeated edits.
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Muralidharan: I wrote the life of Buddha in Tamil as a biographical fiction titled ‘Bodhi Maram’. What fiction is possible? The answer is I discarded all the miracles from his life and depicted him as the most enlightened ordinary man. I didn’t agree to the popular mythology that a low caste person fed Buddha with a contaminated stuff that killed the greatest man. The hardest scene was the chapter in which Buddhawith attained wisdom beneath the Bodhi tree. The most painful chapter was writing about his end. I wept for a long time uncontrollably after writing the final chapter.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Muralidharan: Why not?
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Muralidharan: An author never hides anything. I mean a genuine serious and gifted author. He leaves scope for readers’ creative understanding of certain things. What he shows and what he leaves unsaid are contextual and subjective to his caliber.
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Muralidharan: I read certainly. I find constructive criticism helps me to improve.
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Muralidharan: ‘Metamorphosis’ by Kafka. It simply transformed my understanding of fiction, the scopes, the power and the form and content.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Muralidharan: I edited out only selective portions where I sounded arbitrary and casual.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Muralidharan: It cannot be a routine. I write only on some days. On other days I research I visualize and I work on a creative spark.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Muralidharan: For two decades I was part-time. For the past three years, I am a full-time writer.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Muralidharan: Research by a fiction writer is selective and motivated, and never scholarly. The research goes to add value to the fiction and authenticate the parallel themes therein.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Muralidharan: I am a big zero in marketing. I understand you spend and market otherwise go to hell.
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Muralidharan: I have a fiction for adults ‘Boomerang’ in English and Tamil and ‘Karthik’s magic bike’ a children’s fiction in English and Tamil still unpublished. A collection of short stories titled ‘Draupadi’s only partner’ is almost ready for publication but it is only in English.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Muralidharan: I self-published my first novel and the library authority bought 1000 copies but my writing continued as ever. No impact.
Ravi: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Muralidharan: Why did you hesitate to experiment in form and content for more than a decade?
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Muralidharan: I don’t want to embarrass any author by mentioning names. I am a friend of many authors. One author is helping me as the first reader and the reading has contributed immensely to my improvement and has motivated me a lot.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Muralidharan: Readers want original stuff. I am convinced. A creative crafty work will certainly be relatable to readers. My works will be a good beginning in serious reading for pulp readers too. I write the fiction I would love to read applaud and celebrate.
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Muralidharan: Write till your last breath, write the ones you would love to read and edit as many times as possible, read non-fiction and poetry more and read-only reviews of other authors’ fiction.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Muralidharan: Indian literature by Sahithya Academy is the only one that comes to my mind. In the web there are many magazines but we need to find out stuff.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our RaviReads Blog Readers?
Muralidharan: ‘Bubbles burst- lessons and takeaways from Covid19’ completed in three weeks in April as an outcome of the agony I underwent watching every institution and authority clueless. The book was my answer to the indifference of the authority to the plight of millions of low paid workers and the public who live in constant fear of psychosis.
Thanks to Muralidharan for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to email me at the address on my contact page.