Interviewer: Congratulations, Pankaj, in your book, Let us tell you that it’s a fine book, indeed. It’s your debut published novel. How do you see this achievement?
Pankaj Saini: This book was a proof of concept for me. I wanted to put out a decent, hopefully, error-free, text that will entertain the readers. The response tells me that it has been a moderate success and it has given me a huge boost as I work on its sequel.
Interviewer: Did you read so much of detective fiction? From where did you get the idea to write such an interesting book?
Pankaj Saini: I try to read books of all genres. To be honest, I pick up detective fiction when I am not in a mood to read anything. These novels are usually fast-paced, intriguing, and keep you working on the clues. For my own book, I referred to history, mythology, common action flicks, and a lot of superhero stories. I combined them with my own interest in music. Setting them in India added a little desi touch as well.
Interviewer: Being in the IT field, how did you come about writing a book?
Pankaj Saini: IT job is to pay the bills and have a decent standard of living. I do enjoy this job. Most of my stories have come from real people I’ve met in my 11 years of corporate life. This career has helped me travel and meet people from different kinds of backgrounds. Writing has been an expression of freedom for me. Freedom from my own thoughts at times. Once written, I can forget about it and move on. The idea of Music Men was something I had been exploring since high school days but I needed to live some life before I got to implement it.
Interviewer: As a reader, who are your favorite authors – in International and your own country? Did you, as an author yourself, ever try to copy someone’s style of writing?
Pankaj Saini: Charles Bukowski, Ken Follet, Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson and so many more. Amongst Indian authors, I really admire Khuswant Singh and Ashwin Sanghi. I did initially try to write like Bukowski but once I went beyond 50 or 100 pages, I had this hanging voice in my head which wasn’t my own. I couldn’t bring out my stories by imitating Bukowski. His style worked for his stories. Eventually, if one writes for a long period, he or she finds their own voice and style.
Interviewer: Music Men Volume-1. You named the series Music Men, which again is very different. Please throw some light on the same.
Pankaj Saini: I wanted to keep it simple. Music is as important as food for me. Towards the end of the book, I’ve introduced the Music Men. There will be further information in the upcoming books. Maybe Music has magical powers, who knows. 🙂
Interviewer: Music and drums seem to be an integral part of your life. (We checked your social media feed). What do you feel is the role of music in life?
Pankaj Saini: Like I said above, music is a vital component of my life. It helps me think and better connect with my emotions. I have playlists for every kind of mood and even to change a certain mood. With music in my ears and head, life feels a little easy and manageable.
Interviewer: I personally, loved the action-packed, fantasy read. But due to the use of certain words and language, I believe it cannot be added in children’s fantasy books category. What do you have to say about that?
Pankaj Saini: I never intended it to be a children’s book. In fact, I left a clear note in the book, although towards the end, that it’s not a text for children. 🙂 I wanted to portray the present urban culture, I could not do it without talking about sex, alcohol, and a little crude language. Cursing is such an integral part of how we express ourselves in times of joy, anger, and sheer frustration. Having said that, I’m working on incorporating such themes in a more classy way in my upcoming projects. That’s the feedback I’ve received.
Interviewer: I re-told the story to my kid and he really liked it. When can we expect Music Men Volume-2 coming?
Pankaj Saini: I hope in a few months, before 2020 ends.
Interviewer: So, after this one, Music Men, have you planned some other theme to write? What will be your next venture in writing?
Pankaj Saini: With Music Men, I’ve already taken upon a mammoth challenge. The whole saga the way I visualize it will span across 5 books. I have no clue about writing anything else as of now.
Interviewer: What is your favorite genre to read and your favorite book and/author?
Pankaj Saini: I try to read every kind of book. That’s how one grows as a reader and a writer. If I have to pick one genre, it will be fantasy fiction. Right now my favorite author is Brandon Sanderson.
Interviewer: At last, many thanks Pankaj, for your time. We wish you the best of luck for future endeavors.