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16 Jun

A social worker who has stories to tell. Meet Prakash Vir Sharma…


JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?

PVS: Born in Moradabad (India) in 1973, I am presently living in Kolkata, ‘the City of Joy’ , with my wife, son and daughter. I would describe myself as easy going, friendly and passionate for writing since my college life (1990) . My childhood was very strange, I grew up in two remote villages, no TV, newspaper, movies or even radio. It did give me a unique view on storytelling.


JR: When did you first realise you want to be a writer? Who spotted that talent and what was the first thing you do knowing that?

PVS: I came in touch with Late. Hari Singh Nirbhay, the owner and chief editor of a weekly newspaper “Shrambheri” in 1991. I was given regular space in his group publications. I then started to send my articles to various newspapers and got published in various states. Thus, I totally immersed myself in print media during my graduation. I have written hundreds of articles in various regional and national newspapers.


JR: Do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?

PVS: Writing needs good command over language. I don’t think any formal education is necessary in creative writing. Since 2014, I am reading, learning and writing on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot about different aspects of the craft of writing from following the conversations on various social platforms. I believe everyone has a book inside them if they want to write one. However, for cartoons etc, one need to undergo a professional course and/ or training.


JR: Are you a full-time author? Do you have other activities as main source of income? How do you organise your schedule and time in writing a book?

PVS: My writing has only most recently turned into a potential full time job when I got an idea of self publishing. I have been writing forever, but only as a hobby. I would like to tell my readers that all of my books are written during my journeys to distant places, my stay in various cities in India. So far there are my two self published books “Kathputli” and “Life In Shackles”. Professionally, I am working as Senior Manager with India’s leading Steel company. Apart from that, I am an educationist and social thinker. I usually give 2 – 4 hours daily for my reading and writing.


JR: What made you decide to start writing something? What or who influences you?

PVS: As a social worker, I have seen people’s struggle for life, I have seen many committing suicide and at the same time many touched new heights of their career. I usually analyze various situations of life to decide what message I have to give to the society on a specific issue, and it gives me idea of writing. Further, my hobby of reading provides thoughts to my own mind. I can’t tell you how many stories I started and never finished. I have two incomplete novels, two motivational books, one poetry book, one book on current issues. There were too many ideas flooding into my brain for me to concentrate too heavily on any one. As of now, I don’t know how much I will successfully come up with.


JR: What is the greatest lesson you have learned and/or greatest achievement you have reached as a writer?

PVS: I started self publishing from an Indian platform in March 2017. Last month my second book “Life In Shackles” reached on top of Storyteller UK 2017 contest. I have author pages on goodreads.com, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, its all what I have achieved within a short span of time. My book is in top 30k books on Kindle bestsellers. I would like to share my experience with aspiring authors that don’t rush to publishers, start with self publishing and POD.


JR: Do you have habits in writing? Any specific time and/or place to write?

PVS: I am not habitual in writing but definitely I am passionate about writing. The most of my write ups is written during trains, sitting on river banks and in hotel rooms where I stayed during long journeys. I use table only to shape my thoughts in the form of book.


JR: How long do you normally finish writing a book? What is the hardest part in the process?

PVS: I am writing since 1990. There are drafts of my thoughts, stories, novels, articles. That’s why I need 4 to 6 months to come up with a new book till the stock lasts. Still I have around 6 books in hand, which will be published soon.


JR: Do you have professional editors to furnish your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

PVS: I do not have any professional editor. I write the dialogues myself. I use various styles to make my work interesting and simple to understand by everyone. Foe better editing, I would suggest to read the work repeatedly. I simply follow Smashwords style guide or Createspace formatting guidelines.


JR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?

PVS: Playing with words is my hobby. I change my style of writing in every story, sometimes it seems like a novel and sometimes it’s just like a memoir. It works because the readers don’t feel bored like in case of a fixed storyline.


JR: Do you ever face Writer’s Block? If you do, how did you overcome the situation?

PVS: No one is exception. Writer’s block is a natural phenomena. When I feel a situation like this, I stop writing and use to go on a tour, sometimes I get myself fresh on social media, that is an ocean of thoughts. Though, it is better to take a break and to spend some quality time with family members, colleagues and to enjoy get together.


JR: Do you have professional designer to design the cover and/or interior of your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

PVS: Yes, I take professional services of my best friend Mr Basant Goswami, and that too free of cost. However, I discuss the theme with my family members and  facebook friends. ”First impression is the last impression” – hence it is advisable to have an appealing book cover.


JR: How do you involve in promoting your books? Any marketing technique you can share?

PVS: I promote my books myself through social media, my blog and author pages at goodreads and various amazon author pages. Hard work is the key to success, you just type my name in google and see the magic of hard work I am doing. LOL


JR: Give your thoughts about traditional publishing Vs. self-publishing?

PVS: I am in favour of self-publishing because it doesn’t need piled up inventory and huge investment.


JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?

PVS: I have co-authored two books (Mahakate Panne and Pratibimb), two of my books are published independently (Kathputli and Life In Shackles), at present I am simultaneously working on two books (Uth Jaag Musafir Bhor Bhai and Upvan), still there are 4 – 5 books as rough draft.


JR: What genre that you normally write, and what draws you to this genre? Do you always write in the same genre?

PVS: I love to write analytical articles on social and political issues to create awareness in general public. But I write poems, stories, self-help, motivational topics too and sharing my own experiences is my hobby.


Life In ShacklesJR: Of all the books that you have written down, which book that you think the best one? And what do you think readers will find most appealing about this book? What’s the “real story” behind this book?

PVS: It depends. Success needs multidimensional approach. One need an appropriate cocktail of advertising and promotion. Only writing and publishing is not enough. However, getting words of mouth is not an easy job, yet my first book made its presence from social media to print media. My second independent and self published work “Life in Shackles” is featured in StorytellerUK2017 International Contest.


JR: Any other works in progress?

PVS: Yes, there are two books, I am working upon. I am sure that my inspirational, motivational and self help book will be available in first half of 2018.


JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?

PVS: My advice is not to stop writing in any circumstance. Doesn’t matter whether you will find a publisher or not. Lot of options are there now a days. Put your best efforts in every book, definitely you will be a bestseller one day.


JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?

PVS: Readers may reach me through google search, through goodreads and amazon author pages, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google plus, wordpress, or through e-mail : prakash2484@gmail.com


Prakash Vir Sharma

One Response to An Interview with Prakash Vir Sharma

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