Hey guys, I hope you have had the opportunity to read my latest book review, The 365 Days here. After reading the book, I was buzzing with questions and I thought the best way to get my answers was to speak to the author, Nikhil Ramteke, directly. Hope you enjoy reading his interview.
Could you tell us about your challenges in writing your first book?
The book is about Indian expatriates and their exploitation. Even thinking on such theme was a big challenge. I work in UAE since last 9 years. Everyone knows that rules and regulations in GULF are very strict. Dealing on subject which involves the local people & government was a two edge sword to handle. Addressing the issue without hurting the religious sentiments and cultural & social orientation was the biggest challenge for me.
Where did you get the ideas for your novel? Was it inspired by your somebody you know?
There are many pointless Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in Gulf especially for young people. You meet new people from either gender but you don’t really connect. You can say that the accumulation of such evenings was my inspiration to write this story. I wanted to write about these characters that just don’t connect, for whatever reasons despite
What kind of research did you do, and how long do you spend researching before writing The 365 days?
I am a writer at core. In fact, writing is what I love to do as my passion and hobby. The story unfolds in 2007.So I had to go through a lot of back-dated data about Malayali migration history, Kerala backdrop as am a non-Malayali, immigration & visa formalities, cross-cultural migration, job structure & agents, numerical data year-wise & day to day routine activities of labor at that time. Today lot of reforms had been done by the government of UAE for the labor camps such as good living conditions & medical as compared to 2007.I also visited labor camp of our company to have exact idea about the accommodation facilities. I spoke to many different nationality labors, technicians & other odd-job workers about their situation here, how they got here, family condition back home. I was working on a very thin and a little inaccuracy could have caused backfire on my bread & butter.
How did you select the names of your characters?
It’s a realistic fiction involving a story whose basis is real and whose events have happened in that real-world. The names of the characters are real-life. I took the characters from the people around me to have a true feel. I pinned special behavioral aspects of my office colleagues and developed them accordingly to suit the story.
How many hours a day did devote to writing The 365 days?
I wrote mostly on weekends.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Hardly few persons other than family members take you seriously .The most difficult part is to explain others about your thinking and vision. People don’t understand if you do anything beyond your routine circle.
Did you have to face any rejection while attempting to get The 365 Days published? How did you deal with it?
Yes, many times. I guess the reason was the storyline. I am aware of the fact that the publishing market is flooding with repeated love stories. I thought people have not got bored of romance that dominates the Indian writing. But somewhere I felt that there are plenty of people like me who must have got fed up with the chocolate romances published by every other author (nothing personal).
There are also readers who yearn for serious literature. So I wanted to do something off track with a fresh theme. The story was around me. I just needed to pen it down. Initially I took rejections very seriously .But later when many publishers reacted the same way then I thought that it’s not about the writing it about the current trend. I started ignore the rejections till I finally got Write India Publishers.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I am a voracious reader and had read lots of fictional and non-fictional novels. Mrityunjay by Shivaji Sawant & R.K Narayan books have influenced me a lot.
Do you believe in writer’s block? What is the best way to deal with it?
Yes. The best way to deal is to eliminate distractions, take out time for you & focus.
Will you have a new book coming out soon? What would you like to write on next?
Not so soon. But yes, I am working on that. It will a fiction story & will have social issue based content