A little about you
My name is Sapan Saxena. Born in the city of Nawabs Lucknow, I did my graduation from NIT Allahabad. I have been working as a Software Engineer since like 8 years now and I barely manage to juggle my time between work, family and pursuing my passion of writing. I try to devote a couple of hours daily to my books.
My job as a software engineer required me writing huge algorithms which made me think I could start writing fiction as well as at least that would make some sense.
What made you write this book?
I would acknowledge my father who brought up an idea that prompted me to cook up the basic theme of my first book, and my wife for being the actual push when I was struggling with social stigma.
As an author my first priority is to think of a cracker of a story. If the story doesn’t appeal to me as a reader, I would never start attempting it.
As soon as a story convinces me it’s ready to be shaped up into a book, I don my author hat and start building a world of fiction.
I try to keep my characters relatable and approachable, my stories realistic, yet entertaining. I do a lot of research for each and every of my scene and that usually pushes my novel beyond the deadline I set up for my book. My second book UNNS has one scene at a place called Marienplatz in Munich, Germany, and I made sure I study the entire history, geography, culture, map and photos of the place to consume and understand the place in totality. This helps in people being able to relate to my books.
About the book
UNNS, I started writing when I traveled to New Hampshire last year. It was winters and the season of snow, and somehow in my mind, a big part of the book comprised of snow all around. Earlier I had decided to write this a couple of books later as I was not sure I would be able to handle romance that well, but then I decided to give it a shot.
The book is a romantic espionage thriller with a basic theme of the Sufi-inspired seven stages of love. How my central characters go through each of the stage time and again across year and geographies is the basic crux of the book.
I think the USP of the book is it being old school and told like a poem in narration, but very modern and very edgy. People start reading it as a teenage romance but it changes gears rapidly and soon you are on a roller coaster ride.
Again, the central characters are very real and relatable. The situations are genuine and the places very authentic. They will definitely love the thriller edge of the book which is written as a romance. The romance angle also is unique as not many books have been attempted on the seven stages of love.
Tell us more about your work
My first book Finders, Keepers was a suspense thriller based on Indian history and mythology. It received great reviews from all over was highly acclaimed. It helped me formulate quite a reader base.
Apart from my books, I also own two blogs named Rhythm Divine, in which I mostly explore topics related to Indology and Sleepless Surfer which is for lighter stuff like short stories, book reviews, etc.
I mostly am comfortable in writing and exploring fiction based on history and mythology. Not a big fan of historical and mythological fiction as such, but do like to explore the rationale behind the symbols present before us. I think I am able to narrate a suspense or a mystery story much better than any other genre. Maybe that’s why my second book UNNS has a heavy dose of thrill element as well in spite of predominantly being a Romantic book inspire by Sufi themes.
I started writing only when I knew I have a story which would appeal to a lot of people across ages and geographies. Even for my second book, I chose a story which would be appealing to everyone. And that is my biggest push and rationale behind writing books. Write a story the world would remember. I invest a lot of time into building my characters and none of them is easily forgettable. They all make an impact in their capacities.
Do you have a writing schedule?
I do not have a strict writing schedule, but let’s say when I am on a manuscript I keep on thinking about the book almost every minute I am awake (sometimes when I am asleep too), so most of the plot shapes up during my off-writing time. Then all it remains is to key in the idea in form of words in my laptop.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Because of how I work on my manuscript, I don’t hit writer’s block that often, as most of the hi-points of the book are already well thought of and imagined. However, during the transition between the high points, I do hit a block in a way to make it interesting and the momentum gained in the previous high point isn’t lost. For that, I take a break, search for how to make the scene interesting, add some detailing, put in some nice trivia about the place where the scene happens, its history, or do something to achieve a flow.
Your advice to aspiring authors
It’s an open secret that traditional publishing is the best a writer can get for his efforts. However, I don’t think self publishing is bad either. In fact, if you have that much confidence in your manuscript, you can definitely go for self publishing. Marketing is a very important step. Keep Calm, and take help of Writersmelon.
Your favourite books and authors
I am a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, Ashwin Sanghi, Surendra Mohan Pathak, Ruskin Bond and Dan Brown. Give me an option between a paid vacation and their books, and I will opt for the books.