Abhilash Sanyal is a Cyber Security engineer, currently working with ITC Infotech. Apart from being a voracious reader, he spends his free time writing short stories, thrillers being his favorite genre. He also likes playing the guitar and visiting new places.
How was your experience with the Juggernaut writing platform? What appealed to you best?
Writing on the Juggernaut platform was a truly great experience. It provided convenient features to design the cover, segregate various elements of the book and periodic saving ensured I didn’t lose any aspect of my work. My favourite feature was the cover designer. A book may not be judged by its cover, but it does provide a first impression. I was able to use the tool to create a book cover that was beautiful, and more importantly, relevant to the theme of my story.
What motivated you to start writing in the first place? What is your writing inspiration?
I always had a fascination for books. I started reading books at a very early age. This prompted me to take part in the essay/story/poetry writing competitions in school. I also used to maintain a personal diary to pen down my thoughts. While watching movies and TV shows, I used to imagine different plot twists/endings and how the characters would behave if put in that scenario. All of these played a part in me taking up writing as more than just a hobby. My inspiration? Well, I cannot point to a single source. I find inspiration in random actions of everyday life. This random actions form the focal point of the story. For example, a turbulence-filled airplane ride from Bangalore to Mumbai inspired me to write the story ‘Passenger 32C’.
How do positive or negative reviews influence your writing style?
I always encourage honest and critical reviews. When I was a kid, my father used to proof-read all my essays/stories, and his reviews used to be extremely strict. His focus was always on how to make my work better. There is always scope for improvement, he used to say. From a young age, I learnt that critical reviews were a medium for me to re-focus, assess my work and improve upon it.
I consider positive reviews as acceptance of my style of work, which is the best thing you can ask for as an author. It is highly gratifying when the reader is able to connect with your work. However, staying grounded is the most important thing. The story should always be the hero, not the author.
Which is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors and how do they make it to the top of your list?
Mystery/Thriller without a doubt! The proverbial “twist in the tale”. I started with Enid Blyton and Franklin W Dixon at a very young age, and then gradually moved to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Mysteries fascinate me, and you will find that most of my stories are inspired by this genre. It would be difficult to rate the authors who have been such a source of inspiration for me, but Doyle and Christie rank right up there. I have an emotional connect with their writing.
Often amateur writers get discouraged due to negative feedback. What would be your suggestion to them?
I like to call them critical reviews instead of negative reviews, because that is what they should be visualized as – a critique of your work. As I said before, critical reviews must be considered as avenues to revisit your work, and analyze it. It is important not to get discouraged by them. What is more important is to stay true to your work. Believe in your work. Enjoy your work!
According to you, what is the one most important quality that a writer needs to have? Apart from the love for writing of course!
I would have to say ‘Imagination’. I believe this is a critical aspect of writing. Let your mind soar. Don’t limit yourself to specific lines of thinking. Put yourself in your characters’ shoes. Imagine how each of them will behave if put in certain scenarios. Imagine how twisting and changing the plot will affect the outcome of the story. Keep questioning yourself. This world is but a canvas to our imagination. Let it soar.Yes, research and planning are important aspects, but they all are direct derivatives of imagination.
Which is that one book which is an all time bestseller for you? Why?
It has to be “Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie. I believe I was around 12 years old when I first read it, and I was literally blown away by it. The way it was written, the way the mystery was built up, and the ending that takes your breath away. It was completely unpredictable. A truly remarkable piece of work. From that point on, Hercule Poirot became my favourite fictional detective.