988th BLOG POST -->>
An Interview with the Award-winning and respected author- Terin Miller who has recently published "Kashi" released by Author's Empire.
1. Hello Mr. Terin, what is your feeling after being an author now? What’s your perspective about life now after achieving a rare flagship in your life?
I am thrilled to finally be published by someone else, who enjoyed my writing and believes others will as well. But my life for the most part hasn’t changed that much. As a good friend of mine, the writer Loren D. Estleman, told me years ago when he was having some sudden success: “I still have to stand in line at the Post Office.”
My perspective about life has grown, too, I think. I now firmly believe people should follow their dreams, no matter how unlikely the outcome may seem. Not long before being discovered by my publisher Mr. Kunal Marathe, CEO of Author’s Empire, a friend had sort of scoffed at my still-unfulfilled dream of being published, and suggested “if it hasn’t happened yet…” I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve already had one relatively successful career. But writing novels and short stories and occasional essays is what I really have wanted to do since I graduated high school.
2. When you saw your first novel for sale on E-commerce websites and placed at a bookstore for the first time, what kind of thoughts dominated your mind?
Well, being a journalist for more than 30 years, I have seen my name in print often enough without being charged to now be more concerned what I wrote is not too drastically changed, and to hope besides me and my relatives (who are no longer around), someone somewhere will read what I wrote and if not be moved by it, at least enjoy reading it and recommend it to others. My greatest joy will be if ever I see someone reading a novel of mine and see their face change with the emotions that I hope to convey. That, to me, would be a major achievement as a writer.
3. Before we head towards discussing your book, we would like to know in spite of being an author, what do you exactly do? And do you wish to continue with the job or come into full-time writing?
As I mentioned, I am a journalist. I’ve been everything from a police reporter to a foreign correspondent (in two countries). Currently, and for most of the past decade, I’ve been an editor of other reporters’ work. While I enjoy it for the most part, the former reporter in me is often wishing to have been the one to cover or write the story. But I once told a friend the great thing about being a writer or a reporter is that you never, really, ever have to retire unless you want to. I still feel young enough to have something to contribute to both journalism and writing. In other words, I probably will need more time for my ego to deflate—or my books to become popular enough to support me and my family--before you find me working on motorcycles or fishing and camping any time other than on weekends…
4. What is your latest book- Kashi all about? And from where did this idea occur to you?
Kashi is about what happens when a group of young people encounter and emulate, to a certain extent, another group of young people. It is about the consequences of entering relationships from your own perspective without having the sensitivity or awareness of the perspective and beliefs of the other person. And, ultimately, it is about the potential consequences of rebelling against a more seemingly repressive moral or religious code, without fully understanding the risks rebellion entails, or the risks and consequences to unintended victims or prior relationships.
The idea came to me first when I was a young Hindi student at Benares Hindu University. I was living with a group of people essentially my age, non-Indians, who were also language students . Some at the time tried hard to blend in, without actually investigating the society’s rules. And I witnessed some young Indians wanting to emulate us, particularly the freedoms of behavior we seemed to take for granted.
5. How much long did it take to write this book from the moment you started developing the story to start writing it till completing it finally with editing and all?
Well, as I noted, I first started thinking about it in India as a young language student. I’d say I pretty much thought I had it done, after digging the idea out of a stack of others that I started years ago, when I first self-published it, about two years before Mr. Kunal Marathe discovered it. And I am grateful to his editing and helpful suggestions, as I believe the Author’s Empire published version far superior to my self-published version.
6. Indian Publishing is too hard to deal with, was it easy for you to get a Publisher or did u wait for a long time to get your work published?
I certainly have not experienced Indian Publishing being “hard to deal with.” For that, I credit Author’s Empire. I have experienced publishing in the United States, and found it extremely difficult. Mr. Kunal Marathe contacted me. In the U.S., to get a publisher to even look at your idea, you first in most cases need a literary agent. I’ve had two—the first, actually, is the person who convinced me to try and write a novel when I had just graduated high school. He spoiled me, in the sense that he always preferred to see and read a completed novel more than just consider an idea or a premise. These days, it seems, even literary agents want your “concept” summed up in one line, or the equivalent of the much-written-about “30-second elevator pitch” of movie writers, now called a “query,” before they’ll even consider representing you. I guess the thought is if your “concept” is too complicated, readers won’t be interested and therefore no one wants to waste time on it. Imagine, as I do, Ernest Hemingway or William Faulkner having to “pitch” to a literary agent: “But what’s it about?” “It’s about an old man who hasn’t caught a fish for 80 days.” Or “It’s about a bear hunt.” Or, for the modern method, “It’s Titanic meets Moby Dick!” or “It’s Grizzly Man meets Kujo!”
7. What are the Promotional strategies that you and your publisher have applied to promote/market your book?
I really don’t know. I am delighted that Author’s Empire has taken promoting and marketing my book into its own hands. In the United States, more and more, it seems most publishers do not want to have to promote a writer’s work. And that leaves it to the writer, which is very little different from publishing the thing yourself. I am available for interviews, such as this, and even willing to Skype with book clubs, or to happily go to book signings and panels.
8. What exactly is your target from your Books- 1. Getting most copies sold out, 2. Getting the love of readers or 3. You just wrote it because you wanted to write a book once in your life, hence you have no targets?
My target for my books is to have people read them, and hopefully for someone to get something out of it, to remember it, to maybe recommend it to their friends. If that means getting the love of readers first, and then getting most copies sold out, so be it. If all you want to do is write a book once in your life, I say do it. And don’t worry about how or if it ever gets read.
9. By when are you coming up with your next novel? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.
Well, Author’s Empire I believe has plans for my next novel. When I wrote Kashi, I already was working on an idea for a sequel using the same character as narrator—John Colson. I won’t give you the title right now, in case it changes, but rest assured, another is coming. It is a “thriller,” though, a little later in John Colson’s personal history. And its subject is really the manipulation of relatively good hearted people who find themselves unwittingly part of a political game played by nations. And it takes place in India. Oh, and Colson has become the narrator in a third book, making Kashi really the start of a trilogy. The third book is sort of filling in some of the missing pieces of Colson’s background in India—why the country is so significant to him--and brings his character pretty much up-to-date.
10. In the end, tell us in 5-7 lines, what speech will you give if you win a Major Award for the Best Indian Author for your books?
Well, first of all, I’d thank whoever gave me such an award but note I don’t believe I’m qualified for it. I am not an Indian Author. I am an American author who happens to have written about India. I am an American author who still stands upon hearing “Janaganamana,” though I need a kick in the head to recall all the words. I am an American author who spent many of his “formative” years in India, and who always has and always will love India—seeing it for the first time when I was 3 ½ years old. But I also believe, as the great Rabindranath Tagore did, that literature—human stories—should know and recognize no borders. I look forward to the day when authors receive awards for being authors, regardless of their country of origin, or current residence, and when readers come to recognize that, while certain cultural aspects are inherent in writing, as they are in experience, some stories—that try in some way to describe the human condition—are universal.