‘I never read, because I never wanted to get influenced’

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Pankaj Dubey | 35 | Author
Pankaj Dubey | 35 | Author

How much of the book is autobiographical? 
It’s around 30 percent autobiographical, but I don’t believe there is anything called fiction. Everything is a fact; we just keep on changing the history, geography, culture, and names and call it fiction. Because I feel any individual is not interesting throughout. He is interesting for 20 percent of the time, so I required the interesting parts of five individuals, jammed them all into one protagonist, and made a completely interesting protagonist out of five friends. The idea is to make a film out of it, but I wanted to test the waters. To find out what is the response to the story.

What kind of audience did you imagine reading the book?
I’ve kept it quite open-ended. Those who are quite young will aspire to see this journey, those who are already on it will connect with the book, and it will help those who are past that phase of life revisit it. So in a way it is for everyone who wants to take the non-serious aspects of life seriously. The purpose of writing this book is to convert the non-readers into readers. Because I, personally, have never read a book in my life except my course books just to pass my exams. I am against all forms of knowledge. Knowledge makes you arrogant. I am pro-imagination. Because whatever you want to know can be gathered from Google. Why do you have to cram and remember everything? I never read, because I never wanted to get influenced.

What is your writing process?
With What a Loser, I’ve grown up with this story, so the seed was there all along, germinating, and growing within. The actual writing of the book took about a year. I could have written that much in two months, but I had to pretend to be a serious writer. I’ve been a storyteller all my life. I used to write a lot of love letters. If I liked any girl, I would write her a love letter, and if I was courageous enough to give it to her, I did. All the ones I did not are there in the book. Then came the social media phase, and I started chatting. That is also practice to write, to create an identity for yourself.

What directions do you see your writing taking in the future?
What a Loser is the first book in a trilogy. This novel is about a conflict of identity, a young boy from a small town in the cow belt trying to be accepted in a metropolitan in his new identity. It’s about a struggle to change his identity to get girlfriends. In the next book, the canvas will be bigger.

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