Interview with Manikanta Badam, The Author of Time to Inspire
Ravi: Tell me About Yourself?
Manikanta Badam: Hey this is Manikanta Badam. I’m from Andhra Pradesh and I study in Chennai. I’m known for writing ‘Time to Inspire’ which is a memoir book. I got a little limelight when I was titled for being the youngest Asian to compile biographies.
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Manikanta: Of course there are countless. If it’s of my book, my favorite will be the first chapter, the short story of Cristiano Ronaldo. My all-time favorite will be the short story given at last pages of “The Alchemist”, an excerpt from ‘Like the Flowing River’. That’s truly captivating and moving.
Ravi: The Best piece of writing advice?
Manikanta: Write only if you want to. Don’t be a pretentious writer. Make sure that you aren’t into anxiety as it’s often an inch away from a writer. Don’t let social media toxify you.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Manikanta: I write on M. S. Word as a tool. I usually write on Instagram and rarely on Blogger. I made my recent start on Twitter, Wattpad and Quora. Personally, I have been journaling & writing a diary for 7 years.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Manikanta: The way I look at life, mind portraits, loneliness, deep thinking and of course overthinking. All the elements of the universe conspire.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Manikanta: Often it does energize me anytime. Like how any work like gym, dance or anything does, of course, writing also exhausts me but at very rare times.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Manikanta: Well, as my first book is of a compilation, it took less time. To write it might have taken an overall duration of 4-5 months while it differs for sure if I ever write a novel.
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?
Manikanta: I would have started writing a bit earlier. Maybe I was fortunate that I knew that my best comes out in writing, but still. Learn every single day, as much as I can.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Manikanta: Maybe as a child, I was not very much engaged in the fun of the books arena. But I’d say its Panchatantra and Paramanandayya Sishyulu which I used to read on repetition.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Manikanta: The only literary journal I read was The Indian Literature. It’s a monthly journal from Sahitya Akademi and it’s so astonishing in all terms.
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Manikanta: Being extremely social is what I have already given up for writing. I usually tend to give up on things only when I feel alright without those. And I don’t think there’s anything much to give up for writing.
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Manikanta: Death scenes and negativity. I’d say both are very fragile to craft and need tremendous effort to pen down them beyond the way they are, in a portrait. Sometimes we can’t avoid negative sentences as that’s how life is. Most of the voices always love to vibe positivity while sometimes it’s inevitable to escape from facts that have a negative texture, both in life and writing. But staying positive is very easy once we walk into it, right?
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Manikanta: Very often. Whenever I feel low or times where I get stuck in boredom and oblivions, I put my fingers on Google.
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Manikanta: I’d say yes and I loved this question. I put many cryptic lines in my writings where people may find the true meaning behind it or may not. But we are meant to gift a beautiful blurry vision to our readers in that case if they can’t decode the true meaning.
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Manikanta: For sure I read them. I never skip any message from my readers. Good ones of course make me happy while bad ones balance it (Lol). I look into the bad reviews deeper and I often figure out what made them feel the way they did. But it’s not always you can fascinate the whole with what you do. The same formula here. But, fortunately and unfortunately, I had to faceless criticism.
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Manikanta: I wish I did, but I didn’t. I’m getting a few books very soon and I hope I’ll get to know more.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Manikanta: As it was self-published, I had to do everything by myself from interior & cover designs to marketing.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Manikanta: I don’t put a count but average also depends and differs entirely from days. Some days I write for hours. Some days I don’t. And think this is what we should do. Don’t stress out TOO MUCH. It’s okay until you love your pain but do something only when you feel like doing it, love doing it.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Manikanta: Still a part-time writer. Hopefully, one day.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Manikanta: Time more than I take to write. Especially for non-fiction, we need explicit research to make it more factious and captivating.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Manikanta: I don’t think I can answer this. But, speaking out about our work, organizing book launches & talks, reading sessions while relating it to the interesting stuff, can help.
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Manikanta: Around 20 or more.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Manikanta: I would say it has changed A LOT. It introduced me to the Indian world of reading and gave me an idea of how the publishing process and marketing in India is, for authors. It made me write more effectively and keeping the fact in mind that we are meant to touch the nerve of every reader possible.
Ravi: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Manikanta: For younger writing self, I would make myself understand the importance of words. Though I was fortunate to realize it earlier, it still deserves to be retold. I would assist myself in anxiety issues. Mine was a very fragile mind and I couldn’t express the importance of writing at those times. I don’t know whether it’s the same for all, but as of me, it healed a lot. Not completely, but mostly. I would recommend it as a therapy.
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Manikanta: Through the journey, I came across many writer friends who emphasize, validate, and put efforts to get myself better and I guess it’s an everyday process while we work on ourselves and others. Full-time best-selling authors like Preeti Shenoy, Anuj Tiwari, Durjoy Datta, Chetan Bhagat and many have somehow gifted me some tips to follow my heart and keep learning. They inspire me to chase miles ahead.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Manikanta: I think the best comes out only when one thinks of being original. To deliver readers what they want, we should live the character first, mentally and emotionally.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Manikanta: Muse India, The Bangalore Review and The Bombay Literary Magazine are what I recommend.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our Ravi Reads Blog Readers?
Manikanta: My recent and first book is “Time to Inspire: A compilation of 25 untold life stories.” It’s a collection of inspiring short stories portraying the life of 25 eminent personalities that we acknowledge, adore and admire.
To Know more about Mani's Time to Inspire check out this link
Thanks to Manikanta 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.