Sunday, 17 April 2016

[Ask and Answer] Interview Session with Shreyas Bhave - Author of The Prince of Patliputra

1. How would you describe yourself if viewed from a third person's perspective?

*Chasmis(Bespectaled)* :p 
*Guy with a beard* 
*great listener* 
*The one with the dreamy eyes* 
When I was little, my mom used to call me monkey! Now, my girlfriend does the same! I guess not much has changed, has it? :p

2. Engineering or Mythology? Which among this is more of your thing?

Actually, speaking of it, mythology and engineering are quite alike. While writing mythology, we are creating a world that did not exist before. Same is with engineering as Einstein famously said, ‘Scientists examine what already is, while engineers create what never was.’ Design, in engineering strictly governed by scientific rules, yet there is scope for your imagination to flow freely which is exactly what you experience while writing mythology.

3. When and how did you realize that you wanted to write Asoka Trilogy? "?

Some years ago, I was visiting a mountain pilgrimage called Girnar in Junagarh district few years back. It boasts of a vast Jain temple and also the highest point of Gujarat state. When I enquired who had built the Jain temple, the answer I received was it was built by Chandragupta Maurya. The question which came to my mind is why was a king from Patliputra faraway, building temples at the edge of his empire? Afterwards I visited a underground network of Buddhist caves nearby. I was impressed by its architecture. “Who built these caves?” I asked and the answer that came was “Samrat Ashoka.” This was the incident that drove me to find out more about this great Grandfather-grandson duo and the outcome is the Asoka trilogy.

4. Why did you choose Samrat Asoka and not some other ruler?

This decision was purely commercial on my part. Historical fiction is read by very few people in our country and when we write about some legendary historical figure of India, publishers always counter the proposal, saying that people won’t know about him because very few people are interested in history in the first place. With Asoka, I had a strong answer on my side to counter this argument. As Asoka’s Chakra flies proudly on our national flag, I could strongly say to any publisher who stated the above argument that each and every person in our country who calls himself Indian will definitely know about the national flag and as a result will know Asoka’s name. 

5. How did you go about with your research?

I had to go through a lot of ancient documents before beginning to write this book. I read ‘Asokavadana’ which is a Buddhist text on Ashoka’s life. I also read modern books on the subject like the ones by Charles Allen to find out more about the period of that time. I have explained my experiences in a blog post titled: 10 Rules of writing historical fiction.

6. In your book, the chapters narrating the era of Chandragupta and that of Asoka are placed alternately. How did you get the writing done?

The alternating chapters are exactly the crux of my story. Correlating between the various characters and events of the two eras is what drives my story.

7. How much time did you take to write 'The Prince of Patliputra'?

Six months precisely. I began writing the manuscript in between of my 5th semester exams (Because engineering exams are great generators of creativity in everything else except the exams itself :p) I finished the first draft in 3 months, then the revisions and the other two drafts took three months. However, the real question would be how much time did it take to bring the story to the market from the conception of the idea. That, I guess would be something like 2 years.

8. When can we expect the 2nd and the 3rd part of Asoka Trilogy?

That would, to a great extent depend on the readers of the first book! As you’ll be well aware, in case of trilogies, publishers gauge the amount of response for the first book for quite some time before writing the cheque for the second. So I appeal to all those who want the second part as soon as possible to spread the word about ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ amongst their friends and contacts. The more quickly the book 1 becomes a bestseller, the lesser time required for the other parts to come out. To those who can’t wait, I have already uploaded sample chapters from this book at

9. Did you suffer from writer's block anytime when writing? How did you get over it?

Many times! A writer who does not have writer’s block is like a zebra without stripes! Whenever I read a new book, it drives me to go write something. Same is with watching a good movie or a nice TV Series. That is the way I deal with my writer’s block.

10. Who is your inspiration/ role model?

I am considering that by inspiration, you mean a role model in the literary world. This is a tricky question as there are so many great souls to choose from! (Yes, souls because the top ten of my favorite authors are now dead.) In Fiction, I love the work of Alistair Maclean, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, Ayn Rand. In Nonfiction, I’ll mention the great biographer Emil Ludwig. 

11. Where do you see yourself 5 years hence, in the field of writing?

The ambitions are the same as that of every writer out there. To see your books become bestsellers! To be loved by all your readers for quality as well as quantity. To have TV series and movies be based on your books. But gradually, I want to branch out into nonfiction writing and write about stuff that really haunts our world, like environmental problems, economical disasters and social inequality.

12. What would you like to say to your readers?

I would like to say that I hope that all of you enjoyed my book. If you loved it, do rate it on Amazon and Goodreads or send a picture of yourself with the book to me and I will feature it on my Official Facebook and Instagram pages. Such kind of activity really helps a new author. If you did not like it, please do tell me the reasons so that I can learn from the feedback and improve my work. In both the cases, engagement is the key. I am available on my Facebook profile or at my email id:

You can get in touch with Shreyas through the below mentioned links:

Book facebook page:

Book Trailer:

Author facebook profile:

Buy his book on Amazon.

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