I read Music Men Vol 1 BADOGA in the month of November and truly appreciated the writing of its author. It was simple yet engaging and the story itself was compelling enough for me to have a conversation with its creator. So, when I did get a chance, I went on to ask author Pankaj Saini about how he got into writing and what/ who is his inspiration.
In a candid conversation, he mentioned several aspects of reading and writing honestly. I hope you love reading it as much as I did.
Ques: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Pankaj: Well, I am a techie based in Bangalore. Exploring old music and reading up about mythology and religion are my favorite things to do. I drive and travel a lot. I am a decent cook and an average drummer.
Ques: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Pankaj: I have been writing on and off since college. Short stories, poems, and articles on my blog. There was never a particular moment of any such realization.
Ques: What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
Pankaj: I enjoy writing. I feel I have a lot of stories to tell so I write. It can be anything, fiction, creative nonfiction or even a poem.
Ques: Tell something in brief about your latest book. How did the idea of coming up with this book strike you?
Pankaj: I always wanted to create my own superheroes since I was in high school. But back then, these characters were just skeletons. As I grew up and life happened, they started to develop and have more flesh. But more than just superheroes and fantasy, I am interested in music and mythology; the origin of humans and even the universe. So these characters are just a means to explore our history in a fun way and offer an alternate future for mankind. Through this book, I also want to introduce people to the kind of music I like listening to. Music is a great healer and connector. I hope more and more people realize this.
Ques: Does the anxiety of being a first-time author hit you? How did you cope with it?
Pankaj: It has not hit yet. I had fun writing it. Now friends are reading it and telling me they like it. So, life has been kind and good.
Ques: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Pankaj: I took a break of a year and a half from work. I got a lot of writing done during that time. Now with a job, I try to find an hour or two every day, and weekends to write. I’ve realized I can’t just have a fixed routine. Writing hits me whenever it wants to and at random times. And that’s the interesting part. I have written a lot into late nights and I have not written a word over weekends.
Ques: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Pankaj: Oh, a lot of things. Reading, watching movies and TV series. Road tripping, traveling.
Ques: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Pankaj: Talent may show you a path but it takes discipline to walk that path. For me, I’ve enjoyed being disciplined about writing. It has come naturally.
Ques: What do you think makes a good story?
Pankaj: If the author has been honest with his story, whatever it may be, and doesn’t hold back, it makes the book, a good read for me. The hard work comes across.
Ques: Have you ever gotten a writers’ block?
Pankaj: Not really. I have realized that if I force myself to write when I have absolutely no clue what to write, that’s frustrating. I’d like to quote Charles Bukowski‘s poem ‘So you want to be a writer’ here :
‘If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it’
Ques: How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading around the world especially in India?
Pankaj: Reading scenario is definitely improving with the growing middle class. People are picking up books more often now. But I think overall, reading is still competing with Netflix/Prime of the world. About writing, I feel a lot of books are out there, not all are well written. So one needs to be diligent in what we call a good book. For me, if the story is captivating, even mediocre writing would be okay. If the story isn’t inspiring, then the writing must be top-notch.
Ques: The best piece of writing advice you would like to give to budding writers?
Pankaj: Don’t write till you know what you want to write. Be hard on yourself. Just because you’ve written a page or a hundred, doesn’t mean others would want to give you their time to read it. Do a few writing workshops. Hone your writing skills. Read a lot. I can not stress this enough. Once you’ve written a piece, take a break from it and then relook at it maybe a week or a month later. You may find flaws in it that you didn’t in the first draft. You would learn how to improve it on your own.
Ques: Do you read books? If yes, which one is most dear to you?
Pankaj: Oh, yes! I can’t pick just one book. Lord of the Rings, Anna Karenina, Pillars of Earth and other works of Ken Follet, Foundation Series by Isaac Esimov. And any book or poem by Charles Bukowski and Khushwant Singh.
Ques: Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project that you are working on?
Pankaj: Oh, definitely! This book is just the beginning of the Music Men saga. I’m already working on Volume 2. I estimate there are going to be at least 4 to 5 books in this series.
*We wish Author Pankaj Saini all the best for his future endeavors.*
Connect with the author here: Pankaj Saini on Instagram
Buy his book: Music Men Volume 1: Badoga