Author Interview: Alcatraz Dey

Friday, 6 March 2015

After quite a while, I am back with another Author interview.
And this time, I've had a wonderful opportunity to talk to Alcatraz Dey, the author of 'The Serpentine Scrolls'

Alcatraz Dey is a writer,novelist, blogger,editor and poet from INDIA. His works include the Colossal Series in which the first book SERPENTINE SCROLLS has been released. He writes thrillers with an element of mystery, thrill and real facts.

His poems have a dark side usually symbolizing his character. He remains a mystery to everyone. He feels an aura of mystery is apt for his persona as he writes mysteries. He blogs as well and his written for various companies as a freelancer.

He is an avid gamer and his pen name ALCATRAZ is inspired by the protagonist in his favorite game series CRYSIS.
(Source: Goodreads)

H: Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?
A: Well, I am a Physic honors graduate from JNU. I belong to Bangalore although I have pursued my education in various cities of India. And to be honest I am a normal 24 year old guy who loves cricket, football and gaming.

H:When and how did writing happen?
A: I always used to write poems since childhood. I was a very proficient orator and I used to write my own speeches. As I became mature I realized writing is an art that helps you release all stuffed up feelings inside. People dance, people sing and then there are people who write to feel alive. Although writing a full length novel came much later when I started working as a content writer. It was then I decided that it’s better to write for yourself than writing for someone else!!!!

H: How did the idea for ‘The Colossal Adventure’ series come across your mind? And what made you choose this literary genre for writing?
A: Frankly, the novel started off as a romantic spy espionage thriller. During the same time I was reading a lot on religion and how it has transformed over the ages. It was then I decided that plot needs to be epic and teach people how religion was supposed to be and how it has become!!! So if you read the novel initially the concept of Creator is not there, there are only portions of Hannah’s past which were added later. However the rest of the story plot was all scripted beforehand!!! It’s like you read the blurb of the book, and you spend lots of time thinking about what the story was? What was the climax?
Why the genre of thrillers you ask, I honestly believe it is the only genre which appeals to everyone. Moreover, the amount of work on the storyline that goes into a thriller is huge. So, when you are writing why not write something that people will be excited to read. Only a thriller with a mystery background can generate so much interest according to me!!!

H: Are there any other genres you tried writing on or, willing to write in the future?
A: I honestly do not think so!!! My first novel was Journey to the Centre of Earth by Jules Verne, then Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh. Then, there came a time in College when I read 4-5 Indian romance novels. I was disturbed to the core and ironically they were bestsellers!!! It’s not that I cannot write romance or say period drama or any other genre. I just want to stick to a genre. Even if only 100 people read my book, I do not want them to get disturbed due to mediocrity of my work like I was a few years ago!!!

H: What is your writing process? Are there any strange writing habits you follow, that you think helps you a lot?
A: I have a bean bag on which I sit and I do not get up from for hours sometimes entire nights. I have a small table on which I write all plot points with a marker. It really helps because the kind of stuff I write, even if I miss a single event or a point the entire story can go for a six. I write mostly at night, sometimes into early mornings!!! Time just flies by and I do not realize most of the times. There are no particular habits, but I do keep a bottle of cold drink or any juice by my side to keep me going!!!

H: What was the biggest difficulty while writing the Serpentine scrolls? Is it the plot, characteristics or anything else?
A: I think it was to make believe the reader that this can actually be true!!! So I had to bring in a lot of real life incidents and mix it with fiction. So, for a layman when he finishes reading it there are some fictitious things which he will actually believe to be true. Other than that the research that went in because the spectrum was quite wide. From Buddha, Muhammad, Aryabhatta, Birbal, Galileo, ISI, Jihad, Terrorist attacks, Jesus Christ, Kamasutra and what not!!! I wanted it to be a secular book. So if a guy from any of the religion reads it, he understand what I am trying to convey. That was also a big challenge.

H: What/Who are your inspirations for ‘The Serpentine Scrolls’ and the other books of the Series?
A: The protagonist as I have told before is named after my love Interest!!! Most of the characters in the book are related to her in some or the other manner!!! Other than I think I have always believed Religion has been misunderstood by us, I was just trying to convey it!!!

H: Who are your biggest inspirations? What role did they play in your life?
A: My mother first of all!!! My uncles who have been there besides me always. My father who first read the script. My friends Himanshu, Amar and Mahesh for being there with me through tough times!!!

H: If given a chance to choose actors for the big-screen adaptation of your book, who would you select?
A: Dhanush as Ihsin. Alia Bhatt as Sera. Naseeruddin Shah as Jebbar. Anupam Kher as Shahid Hafiz. Tabu as Abidah. Irrfan khan as Vish. Dimple Kapadia as Premier
And for a Hollywood cast
James Franco as Ihsin. Chloe Grace Mortez as Sera. Robert De Niro as Jebbar. Ben Kingsley as Shahid Hafiz. Helena Bonham Carter as Abidah. Johnny Depp as Vish.

H: Every writer has to deal with ‘Writer’s block’ some time or the other. Did it ever happen to you? If so, how do you deal with it?
A: I believe if you have passion, you will not get Writer’s block. Seriously I have never had one. I am working on three different plots at the same time, never had any.

H: As a writer, there might be some points where you are not satisfied with your writing and episodes where you’re completely disappointed. How do you avoid or deal with them?
A: It happens a lot of time. You just need to divert your mind, take some rest and then get back at it. If you believe in what you are writing, you should be able to get a better version.

H: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I watch a lot of movies and TV Series. I am a hardcore gamer. I used to teach dance, so I do that also sometimes when I am really down and out.

H: Indian Publishing Industry is one of the biggest, and thousands of books come and go everyday like waves in the ocean. What are your most and least favorite things in the publishing process? And how do you think a new writer can swim against the tide and make a place for his novel?
A: The only positive I see is the huge reader base. There are two kinds of readers in India. First, the guy who will read only what is popular, the second who goes through reviews and is a more sensible reader. The second type is very rare. Other than that there are numerous negatives, but it is there in any creative industry due to the huge amount of works that get taken up every day. I just feel sometimes the readers in India need to be more aware of what really is good literature and fiction. As a new writer you need to be very clever. People feel they will sell 10000 copies as soon as they release their book. Honestly, it will never happen unless your marketing strategy is good enough. The target audience for the genre has to be analyzed. Even if 300-400 people read your book and appreciate it, you should feel satisfied, things will only go up from there. Of course there needs to be a conscious effort from the writer to promote his work. Remember what the Joker said” if you are good at something, do not do it for free” So you have to prove to your audience that you are good enough!!!

H: Tell us something about the next book of the series, how far has it progressed? When can we expect it to hit the market?
A: The next book is titled The Sacrilege of Annie. It is 60-70 percent complete. The climax is being worked upon. It will be out by end of this year!!!

H: Last but not the least, is there anything you would like to add? Something you’d like the readers to know?
A: I just want to tell there is a lot more to Indian writers than just Chiclits and sleazy masala Romances. There are writers like Ravi Subramaniam, Ashwin Sanghi, Vikas Swarup. Aravind Adiga etc who write real good fiction. We are from the land of Kushwant Singh, R.K. Narayan and Premchand. Widen your horizon of reading!!! 

And, we reach the end of the interview with Alcatraz Dey, I sincerely thank him for taking time to answer all the questions with patience.

You can contact him at his Official Facebook Page


His Twitter Handle is @AlcatrazDey

I'll be back with another interview soon!
Until the, Ciao!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post!! In fact, i agree with the author and i will like to personally add reading good quality fiction is essential for the world ...i truly desire that the readers appreciate each and every single effort put forth by every author and remember the hard journey of book publishing as well!!!

    All the best,Alcatraz Dey!!