The Apple by Devashish Sardana is the story of Queen Azura guarding the secret garden of Eden that houses the apple of immortality. The book is an innovative, fast-paced thriller. If you like unique puzzles, ancient legends, and a pulse-pounding twist on a familiar story, then you’ll love Devashish Sardana’s action-packed adventure.
Today, we bring to you an interview with the author where he spoke candidly about his book and his literary success.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I’m Devashish Sardana, author of No.1 Amazon Bestseller for 100+ days – The Apple. I grew up with big dreams and an even bigger imagination in the city beautiful of Chandigarh. After graduating from IIM Ahmedabad, I sharpened my storytelling skills as a senior marketing manager in Procter & Gamble Company for 8+ years. Presently, I live in Singapore with my wife and college sweetheart, Megha. And flit across the globe selling hope in a jar (beauty creams)😊
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
It’s a journey that started 5 years ago after my wife, Megha, asked me, “What would you do if you didn’t have to work for a living?” I thought for a while. Deep down, there was only one answer – I wanted to write stories. So, it was decided. I’d follow my passion on the side and write a novel. Something I had always dreamed of as a kid. It has been an exhilarating ride, like a roller coaster that keeps going up – you feel scared of the height, and yet excited to be on this journey. And after 5 years, and many 5AM writing sessions, I finally self-published my debut novel, The Apple, in November 2019.
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
Stories. Compelling, thrilling stories. I’m a storyteller at heart and have always been intrigued by the art of wordplay – one word after another forming a charm that captivates the reader. Storytelling has inspired many facets of my life. Take my profession for example: after I graduated from IIM Ahmedabad, I knew I had to be in brand building – to tell brand stories for a living. Storytelling is the passion that connects my profession and my avocation.
Tell something in brief about your book ‘The Apple’?
The Apple, my debut book, is a fast-paced, action-adventure thriller. It’s best summarized by the tagline – History’s greatest mystery. Mankind’s greatest theft.
The Apple is set on the last North Sentinel Island off the coast of India where for 6000 years the Sentinels have safeguarded the Garden of Eden and its apple tree of immortality. But one fateful night the fearless, feisty Sentinel Queen awakens to find a man with a bullet wound in his head and an empty branch where the apple once hung.
If you like unique puzzles, ancient legends, and a pulse-pounding twist you won’t see coming, then you’ll love this action-packed adventure.
How did the idea of coming up with this book strike you?
Five years ago, I came across an article about the North Sentinel Island off the southern coast of India. The article mentioned how the Sentinelese have existed for centuries, and have resisted any contact – violently and vehemently – from the British colonists in the 18th and 19th century, and later, the Indian government in the 20th century – such that any contact with the Sentinelese is now banned.
And I thought – what have they been protecting for centuries that they are so violent? And I wondered – what if they have been protecting the fabled Garden of Eden?
That’s how the idea of The Apple germinated.
Do you see books as a carrier of an important message or a medium of entertainment?
Quite simply – both. I cannot stand preachy, boring writing. And entertainment for the sake of entertainment is forgotten the moment it’s over, like a flash in the pan. If we look back at the history of our civilizations, what has withstood the test of time are stories which both inspire and entertain.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Well, like a true MBA graduate, I’d say – it depends😊On some days, writing feels like meditation. On others, it feels like a chore. What’s important, I’ve realized, is to understand and accept the interplay, the balance of these two forces. So, even on days, it doesn’t feel like a spiritual practice, you can rest assured that you meditated, nevertheless.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
When I started five years ago, I was a free-flowing writer. I’d sit and wait for lady muse to come and ignite my imagination. After 3 years of writing, half-way through the book, I scrapped it entirely. Everything. Scratched. And, I started again. This time I wrote an outline first and I stuck to a schedule. I would deposit myself into a hard-back chair every single day and write. As Stephen King says in his book, On Writing – “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us writers just get up and go to work.” That’s exactly what I did.
Have you ever faced writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
Push through and keep writing. That’s what has worked for me. Every. Single. Time. Writer’s block is like the excuse we give not to get up at 5AM and go for a run. What’s important is to not get scared of the blank page and keep writing daily. What’s the worst that’ll happen? You’d scrap the crap you have written 😊 No one will see it anyway, except you. So, go ahead, and write. Always works.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or a full-time profession?
Honestly, never. Sure, I enjoyed writing. But, I also enjoyed Science and Maths. All my role models as a child were engineers or bankers or managers – and I thought, cool, that’s what I want to become when I grow up.
It was much later – five years ago when my wife asked me the question – that I realized that of all things I love, storytelling is what inspires me most. So, now I’m a pursuing a career in writing – on the side for now, hopefully, full-time in a few years.
What does literary success look like to you?
Currently, at the start of my writing career, success to me is acceptance of my writing voice by thriller and mystery lovers. That’s the genre I write in, and those are the readers I want to impress. Period.
How important is marketing a book in the present conditions when every day we see new titles coming up? Any tips to share?
You are asking a marketer the importance of marketing? 😊
It’s indisputably important. But, but, but.
The power of marketing starts with product superiority. One cannot promise a “Bestseller” and then sell a book that is shoddily written, or carelessly edited, or childishly designed. The product – the book – must be unique in some form, must appeal to the readers you are writing for, and, equally important, must be published – even if it’s self-published – with the same high quality as expected from a top traditional publisher.
Then, marketing helps.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors? What is your favourite genre? Your favourite book/s?
I am a thriller and mystery buff through and through. I cannot bear boring, descriptive writing. I need thrills. And twists. And action. I like fast-paced stories that grab you by the throat and never let go till you finish. So, that’s the genre which has influenced my writing the most.
Lee Child, Agatha Christie and Michael Connelly are few authors whose stories have inspired both my creativity and writing.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Marketing is important, but writing comes first.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Oh, absolutely! I’ve just started, and in the words of Robert Frost – “miles to go before I sleep”. I’m half-way through the first draft of my next novel – a chilling crime thriller along the lines of Scandinavian Noir, except it’s set in India and much relevant to the turbulent times we live in.
*We wish Author Devashish Sardana all the best for his future endeavours.*