Author Interview: Sachin Dev

~ Author Interview ~

About the Book:
The Third Yuga is slowly drawing to a close. Nam – the greatest Empire on Janani – is going to face some fierce winds of change. Seers foresee omens of death and destruction in the return of the Banished One – A God who will claim the ashes of this world as revenge. While out in the streets, rumours abound - of older forgotten powers stirring.

Caught in this maelstrom of a power struggle between Gods are three ordinary lives: General Fateh, the most celebrated soldier in Nam who starts to question his faith, Ishan – a gifted orphan who struggles to comprehend his destiny and Abhaya – a young monk in search of truths about this world. Their choices and actions will shape the destiny of this scarred world that becomes the playground for vindictive Gods.

In a world where Rakshasas arise out of left-over traces of Maaya and twilight forms the portal to countless worlds around us for Daityas and Yakshis to dance through, a God is only as powerful as those who believe.And when Gods rise, faith of men will be tested…And broken.

About the Author:
Sachin discovered Tolkien in his teens, alternative rock as a new adult and digital marketing in pretty much his late twenties. These still form a large wedge in his circle of life. Travel, radio and theatre have also figured in that ever-expanding and diminishing circle.

On perhaps a more prosaic note, he is an engineer from BITS Pilani and holds an MBA from Indian School of Business. Attribute the love for numbers and pie-charts to this. He is currently based in Bangalore and happily married to Harini. He spends an inordinately large amount of time chasing after his two dogs (who love the free life a bit too much) when he is not busy dreaming up fantasy worlds full of monsters. And beautiful Yakshis, of course.

He can usually be found ranting on twitter under the handle @xenosach, devouring books and talking about them on his blog. You can always stalk him online at his official website

Hello Sachin, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 

1.   First things first: how did you take up writing?

S:Well, there was no clear “the pennydropped and realization dawned” kind of moment that told me I had to follow my heart and be a storyteller. I have always been fond of reading. And somewhere along the way, that love translated to writing. Sometime in my early pre-teen years, I thought I should write my own version of a story that is perhaps more exciting than the Secret Seven, Famous Five series. And I haven’t looked back since.

2.   What was your very first attempt at creative writing?

S: I must have been all of eight or nine when I penned my first story that I called the Famous Trio series#1. A bad mash up of some Tintin adventures and my over worked imagination set in Florida and the Amazon jungles – featuring three sixteen year-olds who keep getting into trouble – in the process, solve a mystery involving stolen diamonds and Incan statues.

3.   Where did you get the ideas for your stories?

S:While I’m heavily influenced by a lot of the stuff that I read – I keep myself updated on the latest in speculative fiction as I get sent books for review all the time, so a lot of my writing style is inspired by the authors I love.
The Ideas – well, they come fast and furious all the time. For every novel I have an “idea” file where I collate all those cool little nifty ideas that strikes me whenever (you could try Evernote app to tag such!) and I always do a “story outline” – and “character” outline – then divide stories into chapters filled with side notes what characters POV is featured and which major plotline would I write about.

It has helped me so far! Books on Indian mythology (For example, the legend of the Andhakan killed by Shakti – was a demon who could re-generate from every drop of his blood spilled on the ground. This caused me to start thinking about ‘rakshasas’ – as demonic creatures born of the union of the left over traces of Maaya that originated from the seeping wounds of a Goddess punished to sleep buried deep inside the Earth and spirits from the netherworld. Different forms arise depending on contact of the blood with different substances!) Different folklore and world mythology stories from books and the internet - they all help form different parts of my own world building.

4.   What in particular gave you the idea for The Faith of the Nine?

S:Vaishnavism talks about the ten avatars of Vishnu – the tenth being Kalki, who will cleanse the world of “foul filth” bringing an end to this Kali Yuga. This got me thinking about a world – entering its last yuga and also this question: What if the Gods who created the world have been forgotten and the older ways of faith lost? And what if it’s not clear whether the Avatar (that is the descent of the divine to the material realm) will save the world or not. What if the prophecy is unclear? The avatar’s appearance in the world can either plunge the world into ashes and blood and destruction or save the catastrophe. And what is the cost of ‘saving’ the world?
While this was mostly the premise to the series – my first book, Faith of the Nine is actually a back-story fleshed out with world building details and history – for a short story that I had submitted some years back for a fantasy anthology in UK. The feedbackI got on the story was that readers would love to get connected to the two main characters’ back-story and the history of the world where the story is set in.

So I knuckled down and wrote that back story and fleshed out that world – and lo! Behold! Part One, Faith of the Nine was born! 

5.   Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?

S: For most parts, I’m disciplined for short periods of time when I write – like for a spurt of 3 months I try and get my writing done in the early mornings, sticking to a schedule of 1000 words a day. Then I slack off and write in spurts.  But there has been little tidbits that has helped this “process”

For example, for every novel I have an “idea” file where I collate all those cool little nifty ideas that strikes me whenever (you could try Evernote app to tag such!) and I always do a “story outline” – and “character” outline – then divide stories into chapters filled with side notes what characters POV is featured and which major plotline would I write about. It has helped me so far!

6.   A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?

S: It’s exciting times to be an author. You are no longer shackled down by the distribution reach of a big league publisher. I love the freedom enabled by the power of the Internet – and plan to use the same in the future for sure. It’s a viable option but it’s tough. Book discovery without the muscle of a publisher backing you purely on digital is tough. With the deluge of books being churned – even in a market like India where English reading is just about reaching its potential in terms of maturity. It probably requires an army of Avengers to get this right – and people who opt for this route better be ready for tons of hard work.

For my first book, though, I was sure I will go the route of a traditional publisher and see my baby in print – bright and shining on the display counters of retail bookstore window.

7.   If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?

S: That is one of my favorite questions. Because hey, license to dream! And dream big I will.

So assuming it’s going to Hollywood:
I would have Ridley Scott or Darren Aronofsky direct this one as a movie as it would have to obviously be a big budget big banner EPIC movie!

Russell Crowe brings the right amount of pathos and grit to the role of General Fateh, an ageing soldier who questions his faith and loyalty to the empire.  I will have perhaps fill up the Rakht-dhaaris (the personal protection detail for General Fateh, twenty of the them sworn to protect him with their lives and blood) with the likes of Chris Evans ( Captain America) Chris Pratt ( Guardians of Galaxy), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) Chris Pine ( Star trek 2009) Tom Hardy (Dark Knight Rises) – I could go on! But all of them hunks would do great filling up the boots of Fateh’s lieutenants kicking ass.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of my favorite character actors and he would fit in admirably well into the role of the monk, Abhaya Samanna – whose questing for the truths about the world and all that he finds might not be what he likes. He is just such a great actor for a young guy!

Christopher Waltz (inglorious bastards) will make a leering Tamanjinn Nasri who is the mysterious new general promoted to be part of the triumvirate in Nam alongside Fateh – enough dripping menace in that guy to qualify for this role. It’s a role shrouded in secret !

I really don’t know any of the famous child actors now in the industry – but I would have liked Daniel Radcliffe play the character of Ishan ( precocious youngster!) when he was younger.

On the other hand – if it were in Bollywood or just any other movie enterprise in India, I would let SS Rajamouli handle pretty much everything from casting to camera. I would trust his instincts given that he’s given the world the first Indian magnum opus blockbuster that can rival any epic fantasy production – Bahubali!

8.   What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?

S:While I have always wanted my first book to be an epic fantasy ( that’s the genre that I love the most!) I want to try and experiment across genres. So for starters, I would like to wrap up my first trilogy – Wheels of Janani, onto book-2 and 3. I am sitting on an incomplete manuscript for a contemporary boy-meets-girl falls-in-love Cinderella story set in modern day India – as well ideas bubbling up for countless other sub-genre stories. Like a zombie apocalypse set in Kochi, a space opera that I’ve started writing, a historical fiction about the port city of Muziris in Kerala. So, as Calvin tells Hobbes, the days are just packed!

9.   Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?

S: This book has been heavily influenced by some of my current favorite fantasy writers doing a brilliant job out there. Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch. My all- time favorite would probably be Stephen King for his ability to spin magic and infuse realism with words. Among Indian writers, I love Krishna Udayasankar’s work on her nuanced thought provoking series Aryavarta Chronicles based on Mahabaratha. Of course, Tolkien set me up on this fantastical journey and George RR Martin only fueled the fire sky high.

10.                What would your advice be to aspiring authors?

If you keep waiting for a good time to start writing, then that day will never arrive!
All those nebulous ideas you start jotting down in your little red diary thinking one fine day you will write a book, unless you start on them today, like right now – it’s never going to happen. So believe in yourself and pump yourself up and get going.  The journey might be long and arduous but the reward of getting it published in itself is worth it. Also don’t write for an audience, write for yourself. Don’t write to impress, write to express yourself. Take part in a NaNoWriMo. Push yourself and get that story out. All of us have one or more inside us!

11.                What would be an ideal gift for you?

A vacation – either in the Mountains or a beautiful isolated beach where the sun doesn’t set but stays frozen in the twilight zone. Heck, since we are talking ideal, where time itself is frozen like that. Broadband connection of course – and my loaded up Kindle. Along with my laptop for me to write.

12.                And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?

A book I could turn into a movie?
Hmmm….picking through my recent favorites that would have to be The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. The very definition of EPIC fantasy. Mesmerizing magic, absolutely breath-taking action sequences, sprawling battle-scenes, three main ‘heroes’ – and tons of visual spectacles in the way the world of Roshar will be shown on screen. Some badass CGI effects. Did I mention, some ass-kicking fight sequences? Oh I did? You should read that book if you haven’t!

Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works.