Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Samit Basu is an Indian novelist, graphic novelist and screenwriter.
Basu is the author of The Simoqin Prophecies, The Manticore’s Secret and The Unwaba Revelations, the three parts of The GameWorld Trilogy, a fantasy trilogy published by Penguin Books, India, Terror on the Titanic a YA novel, and Turbulence, a superhero novel set in India, Pakistan and England, published by Titan Books internationally. Testing Times, the first in his YA ‘The Adventures of Stoob’ released recently.
He says he is pleasant when free, awesome when paid. We find him utterly adorable!
tgbc – You just released Stoob. How easy was it to change your voice – from an adult to a kid’s – for this book?
Samit – It wasn’t tough. Writing is more fun than acting because while you have to get inside your character’s head as an actor, you’re physically limited in the sense it’s much tougher to be someone who looks radically different from you, or is an entirely different age/gender/race. For writers, you just have to think like someone else. And Stoob is a bit of me when I was that age, a bit of my friends, and largely influenced by three present-day boys I know. It was easy and fun.
tgbc – Why do most Indian YA books in India not perform so well, even though YA books have great readership here?
Samit – I don’t really know. I guess it has a lot to do with the general reading and publishing culture. I can’t change either, and over the last decade I’ve stopped thinking about it much. I love telling stories, and I’ve been lucky in that I’ve managed to keep doing it for a decade now.
tgbc – You are very prolific – how do you structure your time between writing, developing games and apps, and various other things?
Samit – I actually waste a lot of time. I still haven’t managed to get a proper writing routine or anything resembling a structured life. I tend to get excited by things I’m working on, and they get made pretty fast, and I don’t do much else while I’m writing. But there are many writers far more prolific and organized than I am.
tgbc – Deconstruct ‘speculative’ fiction for us please!
Samit – Science fiction + fantasy + horror + various unsorted oddities. The key unifying factor is that they all go beyond the laws of physics, invent new worlds, and are dependent on imagination – both writers and readers have to be able to think beyond the mundane.
tgbc – You write across genres – speculative, SF, YA and you do comics, short stories and full length novels. How do you compartmentalise or focus?
Samit – I don’t at all. I’ve also written things that aren’t speculative fiction at all, and I also write for films and TV. I find writing across media really interesting because each medium teaches you something new about storytelling and structure and plot and character, and I think you end up being a better creator because you bring new things to the table. The same is true for genres. We live in a world that is full of possibilities and options and exciting technology that lets us create work that people in previous generations couldn’t. Why stick to only one thing?
tgbc – What does your typical day look like?
Samit – I don’t have a typical day. Today, for instance, after finishing this, I’m going to go to a media office where we’ll be talking about an app. There might be a few meetings, on the phone or in the flesh, about a couple of TV/film projects. I’ll hopefully get some time in the evening to spend doing nothing with friends, and if I have any energy left I’ll work on the new book.
tgbc – Which of your books is your favorite one?
Samit – That’s like asking a parent to choose between his or her children. My first book will always be very special because it was new and strange, and otherwise I always feel like every new book I’m writing is the best one yet. If I don’t believe that, it’s not going to be good at all.
tgbc – A quote you swear by?
Samit – “Look for the bare necessities” – Baloo.
tgbc – One celebrity you want as your fan.
Samit – This is a new and tough question. Justin Bieber, so he could ask me for a signed copy and I could refuse.
tgbc – Have you ever attempted to write in Bengali?
Samit – Not since my last Bengali exam, which was in college. It’s not the language I think in. Though I’m tempted to make a Bengali film – my Bengali is film-worthy, but not book-worthy.