Interview with Krishna Ahir, Author of The Cat Hunter
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Krishna Ahir: I have many, however if I have to pick one, it will be “The Gift of Magi by O. Henry, This man has written some of the best short stories ever and he was one of the main reasons I enjoyed English lessons at school. Of all his work, this is my favorite.
The story is that of Jim and Della, a poor couple, and their Christmas gifts. I am not much into romance-nonsense, but this story is really great. Watching the "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas" adaptation of this story is one of my personal overall, as traditions now!
Ravi: The Best piece of writing advice?
Krishna: Writing starts with simple fact, if you’re not making time to write, no other advice can help you. This is why so many writers are seem preoccupied with time management. As a writer, you need to neglect everything else. Many authors need to put blinders on, finding ways to simplify their experience and reduce the number of potential distractions. That might mean consistently keeping designated time slot for writing or find ways to ward off digital derailment. Ultimately, the literary exercise is about finding ways to defend something fragile—the quiet mood in which the imagination flourishes. Personally, I need to make sure I still have a private self. Because the private self is where my writing comes from.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Krishna: I am not fussy as to space where I write, however, I am fussy about the ambience in which I write. The idea can come in any ambience and surroundings, however writing I need my space, my quiet and nature around to think and write.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Krishna: Well, honestly ideas are free and everywhere, anything can generate an idea. All you need is to be receptive. If you can develop the habit of thinking of anything that grabs your interest in terms of whether it would make a topic for a fictional or non-fictional work, you'll find more ideas coming your way than you can handle. The hard part is developing ideas into stories --and writing those works to completion.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Krishna: Trying to write is exhausting, however writing is always been energizing for me. Emotionally yes it can become exhausting, as I tend to be too involved in my stories however overall, I love the process, I find it liberating, energizing and rejuvenating, spiritual and yet exhausting at times.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Krishna: Well my last book – The Cat Hunter, took my close to 6 months to finish, however I had the advantage there as the idea, plot and story flow was already in my head, I just had to write it down. For me, the book writing time starts from the time the idea is born in me, post that everything else takes place and that generally takes 6-9 months. Short stories are different things altogether, if I idea and story flow are in my head, I can finish it in a day.
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?
Krishna: I will spend more time reading, I have read a lot in my childhood, yet at the same time if I could change something, I would go back and read more and more. I firmly believe a good writer is always an avid reader and loves to read.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Krishna: My favorite book as a child was many, however I was a big fan of crime and thriller. As a child I used to love reading Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Krishna: I have many however to name the top few – Harper’s Magazine, New England Review, tin house and five points.
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Krishna: Sleep, which I tend to give up even now😊 As I get so engrossed in writing or thinking about my characters, their behavior, their life, their stories that most of the time it keeps playing in my subconscious mind and I end up losing my sleep.
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Krishna: I would say any scene which needs to bring out a high emotional quotient in a reader is difficult, as those scenes take pieces of me in it. Be it high emotion filled with anger, love, hatred, anxiety, sadness – its likes any scene which has a high emotional quotient takes a toll on me personally like a lot of thought and rewrites go into it, I have to think as a character, as a reader and as an author and also as an editor at the same time and maintain the sanctity of the character, reader, writer, storyteller and also an editor. So, it’s a balancing act that can be very tiresome.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Krishna: No never, I don’t find the need to Google myself, I don’t consider myself to be a celebrity to be on Google.
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Krishna: Well almost all writers hide secrets in their stories, even I do. Its like parts of me, parts of my life not in the literal sense however extensions of my subconscious feelings, life incidents, etc. do end up reflecting in my stories however I doubt any reader or even a friend will be able to find them as they are far fetched extensions and not exactly me or my story.
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Krishna: Of course, I read all my book reviews. Well, both good and bad reviews help me become a better writer. With good reviews I know where I am going in the right direction, and bad reviews help me improve.
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Krishna: Yes, Paper town by John Green, although people either love John Green or don’t, all his books make you think differently about the world. Green writes the perfect YA books for those wanting more in life. For me, Paper Towns touches upon those overdeveloped gated communities that we see so much in our former Florida home. Conformity. Sure, Margo might be a self-indulgent twat at times, but that is part of the reason why Quentin loves her.
Margo disappears in the midst of their high school career, causing Q to follow a scavenger hunt where he learns about life, friendship, and coming of age. Paper Towns is a book that is sure to make you think about our lives’ purpose.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Krishna: First the book was longer so I had to cut out few portions, which is very difficult for a writer, as a writer cannot decide what part of the story can be removed as for a writer all parts are equally important. I too had to remove a few parts and considering the Indian reader base I had to remove a few adult contents too.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Krishna: Generally, an hour or two.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Krishna: All my life, I have been writing snippets since my childhood and never took writing seriously till 2018.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Krishna: Since my book is a psychological thriller, I had to study and research psychological profiling and how a deranged mind can make a person go to the extreme. The traits, behavior characteristics, style of walking, talking, reactions to different situations, etc. a complete psych workup for a mentally challenged individual and how their past experiences shape their psych.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Krishna: Well I am still trying to figure that out myself, so if you get to know about it, do share the secret😊
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Krishna: I have one completed manuscript for which I am in search of a publisher and another one which I have recently started writing.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Krishna: Frankly it hasn’t changed for me. I still write for myself – I think if I can write a book which I would love to read, then surely it would be publishing-ready.
Ravi: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Krishna: Read more and have faith in your writing.
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Krishna: I know a lot of other authors and poets and they surely have helped me a lot to become better. 2 years ago I wasn’t even sure that I can write well, Mahboob Hussain sir from the HydRAW club, was the first from the outside world who gave me the much-needed motivation and confidence which has led me to finish my first novel and write more always. Mahboob Hussain sir and other members of the HydRAW club, including Arun sir, Sudheendra, Devika Das and all the others have been instrumental in taking my writing seriously and I will always be grateful to them to help me attain confidence in my writing.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Krishna: I feel originality is the key, as a reader too if the story becomes predictable, I lose interest in it. So, it’s vital for the story to be original, as if its original it will automatically become interesting.
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Krishna: Write often. I do think you need to make this a part of the texture of your life, something that you do on a regular basis, as a workout schedule.
Then, learn to let go. Let go of old drafts that aren't going anywhere or scenes that don't work. Don't spend months tweaking a fundamentally flawed project when you can move on to the wonderful new projects that are percolating in your head. The 'you must start what you finish' attitude although admirable can be a pitfall because it prevents you from taking a necessary course correction when you need it.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Krishna: I would suggest the same as a few of my favorites - Harper’s Magazine, New England Review, tin house and five points.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our ravireads Blog Readers?
Krishna: Its storyline is based on the violent killing of cats across the city. But the reason for killing is not known. It is like a serial cat killer & has a whimsical mentality to kill innocent animals. But it's more than that. It reveals another aspect of human physiological nature. It signifies the innermost depths of human callousness and cruelty. It depicts the diabolical nature of a person who has no conscience, no guilt, and no qualms when it comes to killing people. It all starts with the innocent cats, and the story takes ruthless and murderous turns. They depict and showcases different shades of human nature. After all human nature is very mystical. No matter how deep we explore it, we can never know it enough! You will experience vivid emotions -Love,
Friendship, Loyalty, disgust, Evil & more... Read The book for more. Here’s the link
Thanks to Krishna 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.