Author Interview: Swapnil Saurav
Updated: Sep 3
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Swapnil: I love all the stories by R. K. Narayan and O Henry. Would be difficult to pick one from so many great works but still I would pick “The Last Leaf” by O Henry. It was published in 1907 but still its so relevant even in today's times. It tells the story of an old artist who saves the life of a young neighboring artist, dying of pneumonia, by giving her the will to live.
Ravi: Best piece of writing advice?
Swapnil: Best writing advice would be to all my writer friends is – keep writing and more importantly keep reading. Reading not only expands your imagination, vocabulary and empathy but also makes your brain more active which is required to improve your writing.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Swapnil: I started writing on my Facebook Notes section but now I am moving to ourstoryinsight.com website. My stories and poems will not first appear on this website.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Swapnil: My stories are inspired by things that happen in our lives, in our neighborhood, takes, or that we read in the newspaper. My stories are based on the simple subject so it isn’t difficult to get the ideas.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Swapnil: Both. When I start writing I feel fresh and energized but I always struggle with the endings. Writing endings of the stories sometimes exhaust me. There are many stories and books which I have left it midway which I will revisit later and complete. I had to leave them midway because I wasn’t getting good ending ideas. But surely will complete them. Poems always make me energized.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Swapnil: It depends 😊 There are books which I have started but haven’t completed in more than a year but there are books which I could complete in one month also (one such book). I am not full time into writing so that makes it difficult at times, other priority stuff takes overwriting. Generally when thoughts are clear in my mind then I could complete a book in about 3 months. Just to let the audience know I have not yet written a novel, that can take months to complete.
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?
Swapnil: Very difficult to answer but probably I should have read more books. My sister was and still is a voracious reader. If I could have got that habit, my writing would have been better. But as they say, better late than never so I am doing that right now.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Swapnil: Panchatantra – I think the book is very under-rated. Simple yet powerful meaning stories. Those were the first books I read and I still love them, still can read those stories with same enthusiasm. Apart from that I read various books by RK Narayan. The first novel I read was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Swapnil: I grew up reading Chandamama and Tinkle. I don’t find good literary journals around. But I regularly visit websites like Wattpad and Pratilipi.com
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Swapnil: Apart from the time I spend at office and with family, I can give up everything else!
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Swapnil: Ending scenes are very difficult for me to write whether it’s a short story or a novella. I feel I can easily link one scene to another and to end, it takes a lot of thinking.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Swapnil: Sometimes 😊
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Swapnil: Yes, I try to do that to keep the interest of reading till the end alive. Even if the reader guesses it right still they have to read till the end to know if they go it correct or not.
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Swapnil: To tell you the truth, earlier I was not bothered about the reviews. I used to write for myself and I didn’t care if someone liked it or not. Now that I am writing more and more, the reader's feedback I have started taking it more seriously because now I moved into the next phase of my writing where I want people to read my work. I do data mining from all the reviews I get. I look for suggestions – whether it’s positive or bad reviews. I look at how can I improve my writing. If I get it I take it. Not everything I can do so those I can't do, I leave it. But I do make a point to thank everyone who takes out time to review my book, I really appreciate their feedback.
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Swapnil: I think the best part of writing fiction is that creativity has no limit. You can give shapes and structure to your thoughts. You can be imaginative. I have read many times of fiction but I always respect the thought process of the author. What I hate is someone trying to pass fiction as reality. Otherwise, I love all types of fiction.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Swapnil: Nothing. I take review comments seriously but it'sup to upto my wish to accept or reject with thank you. I waited for more than 1 year and then I self-published my first book. I liked it so much that I self publish all my books. It's easy, it's profitable and I maintain my freedom of expression.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Swapnil: I do write a lot- something or the other. I write on average 25 hours every week. Some are for my personal use, something I share in my closed group, Facebook/LinkedIn, and some goes into my upcoming books.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Swapnil: I still consider myself as a part-time writer only. Being a part-time author gives me lot of scope to see and understand things around me. I love to meet new people and get new ideas for stories.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Swapnil: I do research only when I am writing a technical or management book. I look at the books available in that domain, their table of content and the cost of the book. I have not yet written on a topic for which there isn’t already some content available in the market. My books are different from the existing books in a way that I add a lot of examples, programs, case studies for my readers and also explain in step by step easy manner.
For non-fiction stories, I don’t do much research. I go with my thoughts and the flow. Post writing, getting feedback from your close friends is important.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Swapnil: The best way to market your book is to let your readers tell others to buy it. Especially for fiction books, I think, authors need to take help from their friends and family members first to read and spread the news. Then once can use social media platforms to reach potential readers. Initial help from your known people is crucial. One can become part of active book clubs like the one we have in Hyderabad – HydRAW (Hyderabad Readers and Writers). You will get like-minded people who can help to spread your word about the books you have written. I am part of it and I am very much thankful to the HydRAW members for their help when I needed it.
For non-fiction, initially one has to compete on cost maybe till you are not a popular author. One can reduce the price of the book and wait for positive reviews from the readers. Taking help from Social Media also helps.
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Swapnil: hahaha.. many 😊 there are some in just the idea stage, few in 20-50% range. The moment it crosses 50%, I try my best to finish it. I have at least 7 books right now which given time can take the shape of a well-finished book.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Swapnil: I have or you can say, had to change a lot. For my first book, I was eager to publish my first book. Publishing it was the only in my mind so that I can call myself a published author. But later I realized that publishing is not everything. Now I focus more on the content and the quality. Publishing comes much later. Probably that’s why so many unfinished books in my list 😊
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Swapnil: To tell you the truth, I want to be different as much as possible. I am more of an original writer because I find it difficult to know what readers need so easy way is focus on what you want to write 😊
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Swapnil: My only advice for the upcoming writers is to read and share. Read as much as you can, this will help to improve your writing and then share as much as you can with your friends, family, or a fellow reader or writer. Listen to their feedback and comment – you don’t have to follow everything but it also helps to improve your writing.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our ravireads Blog Readers?
Swapnil: My latest book is a novella which I launched a few weeks back. It's titled “Journey Beneath the System”. This story is about four friends who land up in a big city looking to make their careers. They come from small-town and believe that the people in cities are also trustworthy just like people in their village. It so happens that all four of them start working for an underworld without their knowledge. The story is about their struggle, aspirations, and ambitions. It's available on all platforms.
To know more about Swapnil Saurav's A JOURNEY BENEATH THE SYSTEM
Check out the Link.
Thanks to Swapnil 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.