He wields his pen with grace and weaves stories deftly. He’s a stickler for grammar and juggler of words. Meet Ajith, the writer behind the writer.
1. When did you start writing?
I started when I was in school. I was a writer who copied. I used to create stories out of Tarzan comics and blatantly borrow Edgar Rice Burroughs’ dialogues.
2. Who are some favourite writers who have inspired you?
Started with James Hadley Chase, moved on to Alistair MacLean, bumped into Enid Blyton, Sidney Sheldon and Frederick H. Christian. Then came Isaac Asimov, Brian Aldiss and Desmond Morris. Jack Kerouak and Tom Robbins were soulmates, Kafka and Kundera happened. Jeffery Archer, Tolkien, Saramago, JK Rowling, Anita Nair, and a whole lot of others barged in. Now I am happy with the likes of Murakami, Elif Shafak and Vikram Seth. It’s tough to say who really inspired or inspires me.
3. What is your process of writing?
Stare down the blank white sheet of paper. Mutilate it with black ink.
4. You have a collection of short stories published, to your credit. How did that make you feel? What are your future writing plans?
Like every fledgling author I felt good. However, I am not liking what I had written. I am now trying to pen 42-word stories.
5. You have been so productive and many of your works have won awards. How does that make you feel?
It sure feels good to keep my dopamine levels up.
6. Do you believe in creative blocks? Have you experienced it? If yes, how did you overcome it?
I have experienced it. I don’t believe in them, maybe that’s why I could go around it. As the saying goes, there are no problems without solutions.
7. On writing, Bukowski says, “If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.” Do you agree with this or do you think writing comes with hard work and discipline?
I agree with him completely. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing it will definitely reflect in your writing.
8. What is one style of writing you have never tried or wish to try in the future?
I would like to try “spontaneous prose” like Kerouac.
9. Writing for leisure. Writing as a vocation. What do you prefer and why?
I love writing.
10. What is your advice to young writers?
Read whatever that comes your way.
Write like there is no tomorrow.
Rewrite the same way.
Repeat all of the above till you get it right.