“Write from the heart, not what the trend is. Then truly work becomes pleasure. And then, hopefully one day the right readers will find you”, said Digonta, when I asked him for an advice for young writers. That statement sums up Digonta for us, who allowed me to interview him. We ended up discussing books, writing, publishing, little travel but mostly his debut book Slow. Here are some extract from the interview :
Avinash(Avi): Congratulations on your first book. Tell us about Slow…?
Digonta Bordoloi (DB):Thank you, Avinash! Slow…is a story about life and living. It’s told through the eyes of Baba, his family and friends & servants that keep changing with every place, when Baba’s father is transferred from one town to another. Early on, Baba realises and lives by one rule – that there is no hurry. The first part of the book is set in the nostalgic 70’s and 80’s. Then through a Rip Van Winklish twist in the story, it moves to the present day.
Avi: Sounds so good…. How much of “you” is hiding behind “baba”?
DB:Good thing about fiction is you can create a character out of multiple people. Better than any plastic surgeon’s job, I guess… To answer your question, guess about 40% in the beginning is me in Baba, then in the second half of the book, probably I am hardly Baba, who becomes an observer. Then probably my inner mind becomes 50% Baba.
Avi: Paperbacks or ebooks? No diplomacy please
DB:The environmentalist and the gypsy in me, makes me go for ebooks. Once you get used to them, they are very handy to read, if you have a nice, simple, e-reader. With paper book, I am always heartbroken to leave them behind, every time we move.But with print on demand becoming more popular, at least a bad book needn’t rot in tons of paper.
Avi: yes, the publishers, authors, bookstores, readers…everything is on demand now a days it seems.
DB: Yes, in that race, don’t know if some are forgetting the core of the business, that is something written from the heart. Not what the market demands.
Avi: Do you believe in self-publishing and how it is changing the books business according to you ?
DB:I decided to self publish Slow, because I was lucky to have an excellent editor, in-house. Initially before sending it out, my wife Susie, volunteered to edit it. She had experience in editing of scientific papers, so I was initially apprehensive. But since our reading interest in fiction is similar, she ultimately did an excellent job on it and I realized I needn’t go to another editor.
I guess self publishing has its pros and cons. It has made it easy to publish. But then writers shouldn’t forget that the process of writing hasn’t become easier…
Avi: Yes, and also the role of editor in making the book better, and publisher in promoting the book…
DB:True. I think the divisions had worked for so long, because they do work. But one good thing with self publishing shaking the old foundation is that now publishers cannot sit on their high horses and go through manuscripts in a skimming manner, but look at every piece more sincerely, or they might be the ones missing out.
Avi: Who were/are your favorite authors when growing up and now?
DB:Till my teens it was mostly comic books, maybe a bit of Enid Blyton. Then there was a phase where I hardly read anything. And now, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is God.
Avi: Any closing words for Slow…
DB: Think people who have moved from small towns to big cities to work, will especially find Slow…very relatable