Interview with Ritesh Agarwal, The Author of Fried and Fired
Ritesh Agrawal, an alumnus of NIT Surat and XLRI Jamshedpur, is an HR professional with over two decades of experience. He lives in Bangalore with his wife and son. When not working hard or sleeping or walking - in that order, he is just another couch potato, occasionally picking up on writing or reading. ‘Fried & Fired’ is his debut book.
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Ravi: The Best piece of writing advice?
Ritesh: Just start it, and keep at it.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Ritesh: My study room, my dining table, my balcony.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Ritesh: Mostly my observations, my experiences and also what I see and read elsewhere.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Ritesh: It absolutely energizes me.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Ritesh: It took me about 1 year of ‘on and off’ efforts to complete the manuscript of my first book.
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?
Ritesh: I did not read ‘enough’ fiction as a child or teenager. Actually, I read almost none. If I could go back, maybe, I would read more classic and good quality fiction work of all genres.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Ritesh: Champak, Nandan, Chandamama are my favorite childhood books, which I can still read with similar childlike zest.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Ritesh: I haven’t read any.
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Ritesh: Deciding on the end of the book, and linking it back with Prologue.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Ritesh: Yes, Of course.
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Ritesh: Every single one of them. And multiple times over. I take every feedback in the right spirit.
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Ritesh: Not really.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Ritesh: A lot. Almost one-fifth of the original manuscript, over ten edits.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Ritesh: Not fixed as such. I mostly wrote over the weekends- around 4 hours a day, and on a few weekdays- 1 to 2 hours.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Ritesh: I am still a part-time author, as I have a very demanding full-time job.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Ritesh: I read a few books in a similar ‘humor genre’ set in a Corporate background. I also spoke to a few friends who had written and published earlier.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Ritesh: Still learning.
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Ritesh: None actually. Though I am developing an idea for the second book.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Ritesh: Not as such.
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Ritesh: Many of them. They inspire me.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Ritesh: Just start, and keep at it. And become better and better with time.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Ritesh: I am not the right person, here.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our Ravi Reads Blog Readers?
Ritesh: ‘Fried & Fired’ is the story of Manish- a young and naïve HR professional, and his short stint in a new job, wherein he finds himself amid a non-stop whirl of fast-paced turns and twists- amusing and bewildering at the same time. Presented with a golden opportunity of an investigation on his competent but whimsical boss, should he support power politics to get his boss fired or listen to his conscience? What happens next?
This is my attempt to laugh at myself and to encourage others to giggle a bit and take themselves a bit less seriously.
Thanks to Ritesh Agarwal 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.