Rohit Gore has written three novels and been in the Consulting and IT industry for the last one decade. In his childhood, his ambitions wandered from a theatre actor, an architect and a bookshop owner, but after an engineering degree, an MBA from S P Jain Institute and some aamchi Mumbai life, he is now a Punekar with his wife Pranita. Meet this history, music and sports buff.
Techgoss (TG): Just a basic intro about your background for the Techgoss folk
Rohit Gore (RG): I grew up in a number of towns in India. I love sports, specifically the discussing and watching part of it, since the playing days are long gone. I have travelled a lot all over the world. I am a frequent contributor to many online writing forums and wish there were more writing groups. I have a keen interest in history, especially the history of music and arts. I love music and follow both western (partial to 60s and 70s era rock and the 80s era punk rock, with Dire Straits, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam being favourites) and Indian (classical and Hindi film music).
TG: Your first book was Focus, Sam. The book is a growing up story, and had a great twist in the tale. How did the book happen? Tell us about the writing, the looking for the publisher and finally publishing, and then the responses.
RG: Well, the only thing that has forever struck with me is reading. I love reading across the genres. As Stephen King says, if you a read a lot, there comes a moment when you think you can write too. Something like that happened to me a few years back and I started writing.
My wife, Pranita, has always stood beside me. She told me to start writing seriously based on a few short stories I had written. She would beta read it for me and if she liked it, I would keep going. If she didn’t, I would discard it. My writing emanates from a stream of ‘What if?’ questions I keep asking myself. In ‘Focus, Sam’ the situation was ‘What if someone told a man that he was going to die in a year?’ It turned out that Sameer Sathe dealt with it in an ironic and destined-to-fail sort of a way. I completed the novel and went about agent-hunting. Kanishka Gupta of Writer’s Side liked Focus, Sam enough to sign me up, and he sold it to Rupa & Co. Before him, I had queried literally hundreds of US and UK based agents. Several of those had liked it, but Kanishka responded quickly and I became his client!
TG: How did the second book happen? Did you feel like you had to prove that you are not a one book writer ( I know that’s a rude question, but I want you to answer it anyway. Or was the book waiting already?
RG: I had started writing A DARKER DAWN even before I had started writing FOCUS, SAM. Amongst all my novels, it is the one closest to my heart. To be honest, I really didn’t think that I had to prove that I am a one book writer. I would’ve been happy had I written just one novel, although I wish it had been as successful as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird!
TG: Why did you switch publishers in the second book? How easy is it finding a publisher when you are one book old?
RG: It depends on the kind of genre the publisher is most comfortable with. FOCUS, SAM was more of a commercial fiction whilst A DARKER DAWN had a literary bend to it. It appealed to Lekshmy Rajeev of Niyogi Books. A publisher would certainly believe in a book if it falls in accordance with their objectives. It can be incredibly difficult to find a publisher if you don’t have a novel that the publishers can believe in. Finding a home for your novel can be tough, but thankfully A Darker Dawn found its destiny.
TG: What has been the response to The Darker Dawn? Can you quote an interesting response for each book, from a reader?
RG: Thankfully the reviews have been good. A DARKER DAWN got a stunningly positive review in Times of India by Arunima Mazumdar. Most of the people who have read both the novels have told me that they have liked them. And yes, there have been critics too. I believe it is a long journey and I guess whatever praise or criticism you get as an author, you become a better writer because of it.
For A DARKER DAWN, one of my readers told me that it reminded her so much of her childhood. Another reader told me that FOCUS, SAM at times made him laugh out loud and other times made him reflect. I guess, a writer can’t really expect anything more than that!
TG: You have used young protagonists in each of your books? Why is that?
RG: I believe it is both by design and default. The ‘What if?’ scenario in each of the first two novels dealt with adolescent characters dealing with terrible situations in their lives. The stories were told from the point of view of children and it made them resonate with the readers. Also, I am a big fan of novels by Carlos Ruiz Zaffon and Ian McEwen, and they have children as central protagonists in several of their novels. I am sure that had an impact on my writing as well.
TG: The third book is in the pre-order stage. Who is publishing it?
RG: It will be published by Grapevine India.
TG: Circle of Three seems to have a psychological approach to it. Can you tell us more?
RG: Circle of Three is a story of three people who have lost all hope in life. One day, their paths cross and their destinies are forever altered. The novel is about the liberating power of forgiving and ultimately, finding the lost hope in life.
TG: What is your process of writing?
RG: The way I see it is, that I put my characters in challenging, difficult situations all the time and how they react to the those circumstances determines the kind of novel it becomes. For example, A DARKER DAWN dealt with childhood mistakes. We have all made mistakes when we were kids, haven’t we? What I thought was ‘What if the mistake is so terrible that your entire life is destroyed forever?’ It became a dark tale of childhood memories that weren’t pleasant.
TG: What do you read? Who are your favourite authors? Who would you point to as your inspiration?
RG: My wife Pranita has always inspired me to keep writing.
If I could name one author who has influenced me the most, it has to be Stephen King. His entire body of work is a constant source of inspiration. I am also an ardent admirer of Kurt Vonnegut (quite simply the most endearing storyteller of all time), Nick Hornby (creates some fantastic every day characters that you can instantly recognize), Elmore Leonard (I wish I was even ten percent as good as he is in writing dialogues), Charles Dickens (masterful narrative technique) and Surendra Mohan Pathak (so addictive). There are, off course, hundreds of other authors who inspire me
TG: What next?
RG: Well, I hope to keep writing. I am not sure how many more novels I have in me, but I surely hope that I am motivated enough to keep writing!