Hello, everyone. Today I would like to start a new project, called ‘Author Interviews’. I thought that most of us can google Wikipedia and search for something about an author we love, but I wanted more than that. I wanted to get to know them better, to understand their way of thinking, to have more. So this is it. 🙂
That being said, I will start my project with an Indian author. You probably noticed him when I posted my article for Disconnect. He is called Amaan Khan, or, if you want to be rigorous, his full name is Amaan Zahir Khan. He is 28 and is passionate about literature. Interesting fact is that he gave up a few months ago his carrier as a lawyer to enter the world of editing and copy-writing, to do what he loves. I honestly do call that a great deal of a courage, cause that is what it takes to change your life so drastically. To date, he has written two books, Phillipa and Disconnect.
But enough me talking, so let’s get to the point. Here are 20 questions with 20 answers from Amaan Khan.
When did you know that you can write books?
I guess it was when I was 21 years old. At that time, I had just read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and I was so inspired by that 2000-page book that I just wanted to finally try writing a book of my own. And so I did give it a shot (Philippa). It took eight months to complete. And during the writing process, I never really thought that I’m writing a full-fledged book. In my mind, Philippa was just a very, very big family story that I was penning down; I never thought of it as a ‘book’ or ‘novel’, not until I had completed it and it was all written down and out of my head and existing in front of me.
What was the first thing you wrote?
It was a short poem I had written about one of my pet cats who passed away. I wrote it when I was 9, and I wish I still remembered how it went, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to save a copy of it. It’s been 18 years since then.
What do you like most about writing?
The best part about writing is the fact that, when I write, my characters inspire me to be as strong and brave and selfless as they are. Even though I am writing their story and I know what’s going to happen, they constantly surprise me and make me realise I can be a better person by learning about the choices they make. Like, it isn’t until I write a particular character-development scene that the lesson sinks into me. It sounds strange, but that’s how writing makes me feel. Also, I really like to get excited when I’m writing a big, massive scene, like a huge turning point or twist in the story. Those parts are a thrill to write.
From your two current novels, which one is your favourite?
Hmm, that’s a tough one! It’s like asking a mom which of her kids is her favourite! To be honest, it is impossible to choose. I do not want to seem diplomatic, but I truly feel that I could not love one book more than the other. Both have been amazing, I love them equally, they are equally important in my life.
Which one of them was better received by the public?
I would have to say that Philippa was better received by the public. The reason for this is that it was actually published in the country. So it had wider exposure and a big chance to be recognised. On the other hand, when I uploaded my second novel (Disconnect) on my blog, there was a relatively smaller audience. Therefore, in comparison, Philippa was received better by the public, who rated it 4/5 stars.
Is there something that influences you when you write?
Yes, there is. Humanity influences and inspires me to write. The good, the bad, the kind, the evil, the shallow, the magnanimous, the chivalrous, the selfless, the greedy, all of it. Every virtue of humanity inspires me to write. And I just love it.
What is your favourite spot for writing?
Haha! My bed. Just because it’s so cosy, and once I start writing I never want to leave my bed.
What is your favourite book?
It’s The Catcher In The Rye by Jerome David Salinger. Coming of age. Teenage angst. I’m all for it. That’s my go-to, all time favourite genre and subject matter. Nothing beats it. It’s the most important rite of passage every adult goes through. It’s what I relate to the most and often find myself writing about too.
What is it like living in India?
It is amazing. My friends and I keep saying how lucky we are to be living in one of the best places in the world. It’s amazing for opportunities, since we are about to become the biggest economy superpower in the world in the next ten years. The country has not even witnessed full growth potential yet. The best days are yet to come. It’s an amazing time to be living in India. We also feel blessed and grateful that we can call this safe and happy country our home.
Have you ever thought about leaving to new horizons? Leaving India for another country?
I’ll admit, I used to think about this a lot. About how it would be to live a great life in the US, or UK, or Australia. But this was ages ago, when I was an adolescent who was dazzled by life abroad. Now I know better. And I feel like I’m happy where I am. I’ve learned to be modest, and content and fulfilled with what I have. India and Mumbai is my home, and I have no reason or desire to live anywhere else. The horizons here are just beginning to blossom. It’s an exciting time.
You have created a career of a lawyer which you left for copy-writing? Is there anything left in you that is connected to law? Is this job still influencing your writings one way or another?
Yes. So I used to be a lawyer, corporate lawyer. And last year I left that line of work to pursue a career in copy-writing and copy-editing. So, that is what I am now. I am an Editor at a private content company. In me, there is a little bit of something still connected to law, but it’s not like I miss it a lot or I wish I could go back. My current job is a blessing. It’s what I always wanted to do (edit), and it’s helped me so much by teaching me the nuances of language that I wasn’t aware of. It’s influencing my writing by teaching me skills and how to perfect my writing and editing to the optimum level. I’m definitely a better writer and editor than I was six months ago.
How do you like spending your free time? When you are not in front of a book or the pen?
I really like watching movies, and it doesn’t matter which genre. I love comedy, thriller, horror, drama, romance, action, all of it. There isn’t anything that I don’t like. Plus I love to run a lot, so I do that at least 5 times a week. And besides reading, I like to spend time with my friends and family whenever we are all free to hang out over lunch or dinner or coffee.
What kind of music do you like?
Again, just like movies, I like almost every kind of music under the sun. Rock, hip-hop, R n B, some Rap, some Country, and the like. Something I have not been able to get into is K-Pop. I don’t know why. It seems everyone in the world is going gaga over it, but I haven’t been able to develop a liking for it.
What are your plans for the future, regarding literature and non-literature?
So, regarding literature, I would really like to start working on another book, and also create more plans for my blog, so that I can keep writing for the years to come. Regarding non-literature, I plan to pursue my career in Editing and find some growth in it. Perhaps work for a publishing house or publication where I can contribute to better writing and editing for a mutually beneficial relationship. Yup, so the dream would be become a second-time author or an Editor-in-chief.
Almost everything that you write is more or less based on a distopic world. Why is that?
Well, I’m not sure. I guess it’s because that’s the default human condition, to live in misery and abject situations, eventually finding hope and joy and the will to rise. I like a good life-affirming story.
Unlike the short stories, your novels are very realistic. Is there a reason for this difference between them?
Ok, so I suppose I see it this way: short stories are fleeting, and so they can be a little unrealistic; while novels last much longer, so they have to be realistic. When a reader reads a short story, he is looking for an escape from reality and wants to read something different and strange, so short stories provide that for him in a small amount of time. It’s ok if a short story is unrealistic and plays with reality more. However, when a reader reads a novel, he/she will be investing a lot of their time and effort into the whole book, so they want something concrete that they will believe in and relate to. Therefore, my novels are more realistic, grounded, and very similar to their own lives and reality in general.
What is your philosophy of living? What is your motto?
Just to be happy and make other people happy. That’s all I aim for, by being good and trying to be a better person every day.
What is your biggest wish?
That I win the lottery and I can retire by the time I am 30. I’m not joking. I’m only 27, but I feel 80. Adulting is not my cup of tea. I wish I don’t have to work another day in my life! Also, true love and happiness and world peace, but I suppose that’s asking for too much. Haha!
What is your notion of friendship? When can you call a person your friend?
I can call a person a friend when there is mutual respect, understanding, trust, honesty, loyalty, transparency, and of course love.
Anything else you would like to say?
Yes! Thank you for this interview, Gabriela! It was a pleasure to give these answers! And I’m so happy that you were so moved by Disconnect that you wanted to read it twice. Not only that, you wanted to write a review and interview me too! Honestly, I feel like I don’t deserve such good treatment for my writing, but you’ve become such a good friend! If my writings have been enjoyed by you, then my work as a writer has been successful. Thank you for everything!
Well I also thank you for giving me this opportunity to get to know you better, but especially thank you for who you are and what you offer to the world.
This was the first author interview that I have held and I am very happy. Hopefully there will be more and more that will be part of my little home, but till then, I will be leaving you with a smile from me and hope you have a very good day till next time. 🙂