Sabarna Roy

Interview with the renowned fiction author Sabarna Roy

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Sabarna Roy is a trained Civil Engineer and passed out with a First Class Honours Civil Engineering Degree from Jadavpur University in 1988. He is presently working as Senior Vice President and is in the 25th year of his employment with Electrosteel Group.

Sabarna Roy is engaged in giving leadership to Business Development, Applications Technology and certain key Strategies in the Electrosteel Group.

He has a technical book, titled: Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Contracting Methodology published by Scholars’ Press in European Union with two of his Co-authors, which have been translated into 8 major European languages.

He has been visiting national and international conferences to talk on various matters concerning ecology and environment. He is a firm believer in Paris Climate Accord and believes in lowering the Carbon Footprint in the industry to reverse the climate change effects on the planet.

He is an active participant in the multifarious activities of International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, Confederation of Indian Industries, Central Board of Irrigation and Power, and Indian Geographical Committee of International Water Resources Association.

Sabarna Roy is an author of critically acclaimed bestselling literary fiction of six published books. They are: Pentacles; Frosted Glass; Abyss; Winter Poems; Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018, and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020.

He is a Goodreads author with present rating of 4.05 with reviews and ratings in excess of 1,500 and on Amazon, he is rated between 4 and 5 with reviews and ratings in excess of 1,250.

He has been covered by all prestigious national and international media including The New York Guardian, Nigerian Tribune, Kathmandu Tribune, Forbes India, etc and he is on Wikipedia.

He was an invited speaker on the opening day at the Noida International Literary Festival 2019 and a panelist at the Tata Steel Literary Meet on the opening day at a session, which discussed the Dark Side of the Mind.

He has been awarded the Literoma Laureate Award in 2019, Literoma Star Achiever Award 2020, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 won the best book of the year 2019, the A List Award for excellence in fiction by the NewsX Media House and Certificate for The Real Super Heroes for spreading a spirit of positivity and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Forever Star India Award 2020.

Please tell us a bit about yourself. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I had a normal and happy childhood. My family consisted of my parents and my younger sister apart from me. My father was a Marketing Professional and retired as Chief (Marketing) from Steel Authority of India Limited in 1996. My mother was a homemaker, who mostly took care of our studies. My sister went on to do her doctoral thesis from Jawaharlal Nehru University and I did my Bachelor in Civil Engineering (First Class Honours) from Jadavpur University in 1988.

I wrote during my university years between 1984 and 1988.

I have been a poet since the age of 18. The first book that was published by me was a slim book of English poems, titled: Pain, which created a stir in the student circle in Calcutta. I almost abandoned writing in 1989. I wrote a full-length play in Bengali in 1994, which was later published in the annual edition of the renowned Bengali Journal Bohurupee in 2010. Apart from this, I did not write, except occasionally, but did not publish them until July 2007 when I was almost bugged by a very potential virus to write. I felt I would die if I did not write. Since then, I have been writing very seriously and my first book got published in 2010, it’s titled: Pentacles.

Between 2010 and 2020, I have produced 6 Literary works. After Pentacles, came Frosted Glass, followed by Winter Poems, and thereafter came Abyss. In 2019, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012-2018 was published and in June 2020, Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 was published.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Clarity of thought, lucidity and authenticity are the most significant elements of good writing.

How do you come up with the titles to your books? Is it one of the most time-consuming processes in the whole journey of writing a book?

The titles of my books come to me organically. They almost leap out from the contents of the books. Sometimes it is time consuming, sometimes it comes all of a sudden.

Please tell us about the Etchings of First Quarter of 2020. Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 comprises a novella and a poem cycle.

The novella, in the background is a sweetly evolving dialogue between a step-father and a step-daughter, and in the foreground it is a dissection of ideas pivoted around dualism of human life by discussing literary characters like, Lolita, Humbert Humbert, Anna Karenina, and Nikhilesh; thought-leaders like Hegel, Marx, and Heisenberg; political phenomena like, the Bolshevik Revolution; schizophrenia, love as an idea, and the secret love story of T S Eliot; and ecological phenomena like, marine conservation, and all of this is done in a unique way, almost as if we are engaged in a conversation with the author, to make us realize the plurality of life and accepting it to find peace and harmony in life.

The poem cycle is an anthology of 20 sharp edged poems that excite and thrill you as you are encapsulated in the whirlwind of the confrontations between the poet and his alter-ego.

What was the inspiration for the story?

Actually, I wanted to write something for my daughter for a very long time. Secondly, duality or dualism of life, and conflict between a poet and his alter-ego are subjects, which have bothered me for a very long time. In the first three months of 2020 I wrote a novella surrounding duality and a series of poems that depicted the conflicts between a poet and his alter-ego. I wanted my daughter to get exposed to intriguing issues and widen the horizon of her mindscape. This is how the concept of Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 occurred to me.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

The key challenges I faced, while writing my 6th book are: how comprehensible I would be in getting across my points in Duality, the novella and how the novella and the poem cycle will gel with each other inside the book.

The pandemic has changed life as we know it in many ways? Do you think it has or will bring a noticeable change in how authors go about their work?

I am a Senior Engineering Professional employed in a large engineering-manufacturing Company and an Author of Literary and Technical Books and peer-reviewed Technical Papers that are published in National and International Journals of repute. After the National Lockdown, which started on March 24 and carried on until May 31 our production facilities were closed down and we incurred huge financial losses. Thankfully, we did not retrench a single soul during this time but were forced to implementing pay-cuts to keep our cash-flow afloat, with the higher salaried white collared staff taking the highest hit. Now that we have reached 90% of Plant efficiency, we have withdrawn the pay-cuts as well. As a traditionally published Author the first thing that hit me was: My sixth book Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020, which was published on June 26 came out on Amazon Kindle and could not be published in hard-bound format as was planned earlier since the printers were not working in Mumbai at that point in time. As such, the book could not have a proper physical all-India launch. My publisher and I had planned this book as a slim and an elegant hard-bound book, which has not seen the light of the day till today. However, I believe the hard-bound paperback version will come out in October as the situation is improving day-by-day. However, the pre-publication and post-publication reviews were planned intelligently and as such, the sales on Amazon Kindle have been phenomenal on a sustained basis. I have been busy during the continuing pandemic with various Webinars in the capacity of a Senior Engineering Professional in some and in the others as a Literary Author. I also planned and structured my next book on the Pandemic during this time and wrote and published 4 Technical Papers on the Irrigation sector in India, Specialized linings/coatings that are anti-corrosive and anti-abrasive, and Desalination Plants in India. In the end, I must say Pandemic has been a learning in tackling despair, hopelessness, remoteness and boredom. However, human beings with their implicit imagination, intuition and adaptiveness carry on learning from one-moment-to-the-other.

I believe in the threat being an opportunity. For Authors, the Pandemic has unleashed before us a plethora of topics and ideas on which we can write and explore new avenues.

Currently I am writing a book on the Pandemic, which I wish to publish in 2021.

Please describe a typical writing day. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

I have a working space where I do my work as an author with a dedicated library. There is also a separate working space where I work as a Senior Engineering Professional. Through the day and night, I shuttle between the working spaces; sometimes I am performing my roles as a Senior Engineering Professional and sometimes I am writing my books.

I mostly write on things that I know well. But I do research for sharpening specificity of characters and events in my books.

A lot of people dream of writing their own book but only a few are able to go through the entire distance. Any advice you would like to give to upcoming authors?

I can give a few tips, which can work remarkably well for aspiring authors and poets in school: –

  1. Maintain a journal or a diary for yourself. This is a tool where you can talk to yourself most privately and later your journal or your diary will reflect back the way you have progressed in life.
  2. Read as much as you can and reflect upon what you are reading. Also, jot down your book reviews, however brief they are, in your journal or diary.
  3. Capture all your thoughts, ideas and dreams and let them flow through you in the form of written pieces in your journal or diary.
  4. If you are inclined enough, create and maintain a regular blog and socialize it among your friends, family and relatives and seek their opinion about what you are writing. This is a process from where you will learn.
  5. Try to be original and authentic, however immature you are, because in being close to yourself you will reconnect with your soul during the process of writing. This is very critical and significant to become a good author or a poet.

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