- TLT: Firstly, congratulations on the publication of your book, “A Dalliance with Destiny.” How has the reception been so far?
Aman Singh Maharaj: It’s been very well received in India. There seems to be a considerable demand for this type of genre on the Sub Continent. South Africa is not much of a reading nation, which is a pity, but on the plus side, I have just been long-listed for the country’s most prestigious literature prize.
- TLT: What inspired you to write “A Dalliance with Destiny”? Were there any specific events that influenced the creation of this work?
Aman Singh Maharaj: I believe that everyone has a book inside of them, but not everyone may have the talent to write. I think this kind of talent is inborn, although experience does shape it. I cannot say that there was any specific event, in that, I just loved reading as a kid. However, at the time that I wrote the novel, I had the availability to work on it. Perhaps it kept me from being idle.
- TLT: When it comes to placing events within “A Dalliance with Destiny” and ensuring its accessibility to readers, how challenging was that decision for you?
Aman Singh Maharaj: I had to frame events by bringing in a bit of history to give an international reader from any culture, a feel for the subtle nuances that pervade the essence of the novel. Without that, certain chapters would’ve been a bit abstract.
- TLT: What are your thoughts on contemporary writing? In the context of “A Dalliance with Destiny,” do you believe it accurately captures human nature?
Aman Singh Maharaj: My personal belief is that contemporary writing does not, in any way, compare with the works of a Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy, where they had perfected the craft back then. On the other hand, contemporary times means that writers are not just competing with one another, but with other forms of entertainment as well, which are a lot more tactile, and provides immediate gratification. It is a difficult market.
- TLT: “A Dalliance with Destiny” showcases your unique writing style. Are there any authors you enjoy reading or books that hold a special place in your heart?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Indeed… I have mentioned Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens already. I am a bit of a racist reader, in the sense that I prefer reading books set in India. It is so much more colourful. Of late, I love the writing of Gregory David Roberts.
- TLT: How would you classify the audience appeal of “A Dalliance with Destiny”? Does it have a broad reach?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Not at all. It’s a fairly complex novel, has a bit of philosophy packed into it as well. So, it is not typical pulp fiction. I would like to call it a piece of literature, something that is meant to touch the soul, not just a feast for the eyes.
- TLT: “A Dalliance with Destiny” has introduced your potential as a writer quite powerfully. Can readers expect more from you in the future? Could you share any insights about your upcoming projects?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Well, I have started writing columns more regularly. But, in as much as I fought against it, I am being ‘pushed’ to do another novel. Many liked the lyricism of the chapter where the main character grows up, so I might do a whole book on that.
- TLT: What inspired the choice of the title “A Dalliance with Destiny” for your work?
Aman Singh Maharaj: I loved the alliterative lyricism of it. And, it underscores the theme of the novel perfectly. Who is in charge of one’s life? Is it oneself or the Universe (Destiny)? Or is it a tussle between one another?
- TLT: Among various writing styles, what led you to adopt prose as the form for “A Dalliance with Destiny”?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Writing should keep on enthralled. When I read a passage that I like, I sometimes need to take a breath, let it sink in, and then read it again. It must read as if it were teasing the eyes, massaging the brain.
- TLT: In today’s time, the ideas presented in “A Dalliance with Destiny” may not be widely discussed. In your opinion, what could be the possible reasons for that?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Honestly, I believe it is because the world is collectively dumbing down due to artificial intelligence and easy accessibility of information. Nowadays, university kids are using Chat GPT to write their theses. I mean, in my time, we had to go to the library and literary ‘dig’ for information. Technology has made our brains lazy.
- TLT: If you had to describe “A Dalliance with Destiny” in a few words without revealing any spoilers, how would you characterize it?
Aman Singh Maharaj: A lyrical thriller that traverses a century of generations and closes the loop on dislocation of an individual.
- TLT: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are interested in exploring the same genre as “A Dalliance with Destiny”?
Aman Singh Maharaj: Honestly, unless you win a major prize, keep your day job. Writing is a financial livelihood to very few people. For most writers, it is their passion that drives the pen to the paper, as it did with me.
- TLT: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I eagerly anticipate reading more of your books in the future. Best wishes.
Aman Singh Maharaj: Thank you for your time and effort taken in reaching out to me.
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