Once with the dream of having his name on the cover page, to releasing two best selling books, this young author has come a long way proving without goals, you cannot fathom success.
Divyansh Mundra is every young boy who fantasises the real world coupled with his version of imaginations. “Secret of the Himalayan Treasure” and “Gangs of Bombay” speaks volumes about his capabilities to grip you in his creative fictional world. He surely knows how to create an illusion where the fictional world and the reality no longer remain stranger.
With the immense love and support he garners over the Internet, he rightly claims to be an author born out of the Internet. He is quite famous on quora among his 78,000 followers for his fictional crossovers, where his creativity surely could make anyone a fan of his sense of humour and innovative approach to the fictional world.
Our conversation with Divyansh has been the most exciting interaction we ever had with an author. His answers have undoubtedly made us fall in love with his writing, so without further adieu let’s dive into our tête-à-tête with him.
I remember binge-watching Game of Thrones when I was 18 and thought to myself, “Why can’t we have epic-fantasies like that in an Indian setup?”
What inspires you to write? How did you come up with your first book?
My first book is actually still unfinished. I have loved reading ever since I was in school, and thus had this dream in the back of my head to see my name on the cover of a novel—no bigger motivation than that. I remember binge-watching Game of Thrones when I was 18 and thought to myself, “Why can’t we have epic-fantasies like that in an Indian setup?” and then began my tryst with myself, tried to write my very first novel, an epic fantasy. I did it all… drew maps and established kingdoms and races and characters and houses, gave them their flavours, languages, geographies, rivalries, and spent the next three years writing an epic fantasy tale with no end in sight. I could not complete it with my studies and internships; it was hard to manage. But then I had this brilliant idea about a secret society guarding an ancient treasure, and then nothing could stop me. I wrote it in about two months, and that is how Secret of the Himalayan Treasure was born.
Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you create characters and plot?
My writing style is evolving day by day. I used to write purely on a hunch in my early days and then tried plotting the entire thing first before writing and wasn’t satisfied with both of them. So I have a mixed approach where I plot things which will happen in the next 2-3 chapters and move where the story takes me. For characters, I create a basic profile in my mind, and then their flavour truly comes along with the story. I am not a big fan of detailing everything to the minutest of factors as that derives me from the pleasure of the unknown… of where that story will take me or what my character might do.
How often do you relate your real and personal life with your work of fiction?
I believe that there’s a singular truth from which I start, which is my own self, and I add layers onto it till the point that it becomes fiction. Both the protagonists of my novels (Aarav from Secret of the Himalayan Treasure and Sherlock from Gangs of Bombay) are exaggerated versions of my selves. There are chapters later in that book where I deliberately peel off those layers so that it is just me talking to the readers… and yet… they will never know.
As we know, we write to communicate. Whom do you speak to? Who is your target?
Anyone who is in to enjoy good stories. I have no agenda, no motives, no philosophy that I want others to swallow. I write for the fun of creating these amazing tales, and anyone who enjoys them is my target.
Do you think there is any writer who has influenced you the most?
Sir AC Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, I am the biggest Sherlock fanboy in the world. The earliest of works which I read– Sir AC Doyle, Agatha Christie, CS Lewis, Dan Brown, Stephen King… they all influence my writings in one way or the other.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My upcoming book Viral Stories I Wrote on the Internet and other Strange Shorts is a collection of short-stories… many of which have gone viral on the internet and many of which no one has read yet. I am an author who was born out of the internet. I have over 35 Million views for my writings and about 80k followers. These people read my stories, liked them, shared them, made them go viral, and thus I am coming out with a collection of them which have been the most loved stories of mine. They have horror stories, time-travel, alternate-reality, and every strange story you could imagine. It is a fun book, and every story will definitely make my reader go– “Holy trap! I didn’t see that coming.”
How would you like to encourage the budding writers? Any piece of advice for them?
We are living in the 21st century and have an advantage at our hands that we possibly didn’t have 15-20 years ago. I advise people not to be guarded about their work. Share your stories online, build a following, get feedback from your readers, and improve. Seek platforms where written words matter. Be consistent. Create a strategy and pour out great stories. It’s the biggest asset you can have at your hands.
Would you like to read/mention your favourite line(s) from any of your works?
This quote from Gangs of Bombay is really close to my heart– “Lions don’t concern themselves with bits and pieces, they wait to seize an empire.”
One from Secret of the Himalayan Treasure— “I don’t care about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I seek thrill in the journey behind reaching there.”
INTERVIEWED AND WRITTEN BY TUSHANT BARANWAL and YOGITA MALHOTRA