So, recently I received the opportunity to converse with Mr Saurav Chhawchharia, author of the best-selling book ‘Once Upon A Time’. The reason why I contacted Saurav was that at just the age of 18 he managed to create this wonderfully complex story and managed to convey it in such a simple way.
#1. Tell me about yourself
I belong to a small town in Rajasthan where nobody even knows what a novel is, for instance, Premchand’s books which were written in Hindi and people don’t even know that it’s called a novel. I didn’t have an audience back then and made use of social media to connect with people. I got some decent education, not the kind you get in Metropolitan cities, but decent enough to teach me a thing or two. Even if you pulled some strings to get ahead, no one would question you. I’ve been a topper all throughout my school life, however, when I approached my school teachers for help, even they didn’t have answers to the questions I asked. I participated in various writing competitions after my Board exams and have mentioned the same in my book, ‘Once Upon A Time’ of how I began writing as a career. These competitions paid a good amount of money in US Dollars and I had a three-month long vacation and hence it was a win-win.
After about three to four months of participating in competitions, I stumbled upon the idea of writing a novel. I wrote a book, which I completed writing in four months and was rejected by about 80 publishers, which I eventually discarded. I wrote another book which again got rejected, time and again I kept writing and all of those books kept getting rejected. I didn’t have the financial support at the time to self – publish my books, ‘Once Upon A Time’ is my third book which talks about my struggle of how I kept failing at writing each time. My book answers the questions of many people out there who aspire to write.
#2. Did you have any other inspirations for this story?
Khaled Hosseini’s book ‘The Kite Runner’ has given me the inspiration to write and he’s so beautifully portrayed each character, he has a special place in my heart. Agatha Christie, on the other hand, is my favourite author.
#3. Do you have a writing schedule?
No, I don’t follow any routine as such. Currently, I’m a CA Article and have to go to work on a daily basis. Earlier when I went for Coaching Classes, I had to maintain a balance between studies and writing and never followed a routine, since I did not want to compromise on either. Moreover, I think a lot about how I’d be able to bring my story forward and until I don’t get a concrete idea of it, I don’t go ahead with writing.
#4. How difficult is it to come up with an original story?
It’s really simple. The idea is to put aside all the books you’ve read and put away your phone and other means of communication, so as to prevent you from getting ideas from various platforms. I’m currently writing a book which would hopefully be published in 2019. It’s a love story of the 1980s and we know that a lot of Indian authors write about the same. To prevent from writing some story that already exists, I used social media to see what stories had been written by other writers to prevent chalking-up the same stories.
#5. What are your hobbies apart from writing?
I enjoy travelling.
#6. What are your favourite books and favourite authors?
Like I had mentioned earlier, my favourite authors are Agatha Christie and Khaled Hosseini. Apart from them, I don’t really read. The maximum that I can read in a year is probably 5 books.
#7. Do you feel that not being an avid reader could actually help with creating more original stories?
I feel that one should read the books of a different genre from what they write, for instance, an author who writes about thrillers should read about different genres like romances, fantasy, science fiction except for thrillers and that would help one with creating an original story.
#8. How did your friends and parents react to you becoming an author?
I have a few good friends who’ve motivated and supported me and I’m grateful for the same. My parents didn’t react much to me becoming an author, but they are fine with it.
#9. Do you have another career in mind or have you decided to stick to writing or do you want to maintain a balance between both?
Although I’m currently a CA Article, I plan on pursuing writing. In fact, I would pursue a career in absolutely anything if I were good at it, for instance, acting and singing.
#10. What is your next book going to be about?
I’m currently engaged in a collaboration with three other authors and all the four of us will be writing one novel. The one about the love story will be published after this collaboration.
#11. Do you want to stick to writing about love stories or would you want to explore other genres?
I will try to explore whatever is unexplored.
I want to thank Saurav for taking time out of his schedule to speak with me. I would like to wish him best of luck in all his future endeavours.
I would also like to thank Gayatri Jhala of gayatriskincaretips for transcribing this interview for me on such a short notice.
Saurav is available on the all social platforms mentioned below:
You can buy Saurav’s book ‘Once Upon A Time’ by clicking here – https://amzn.to/2rXYGCI