I recently received a copy of the debut novel by the author Mayank Manohar – Shadow of the past. The book is about life choices. Life throws up tough choices that often control your life, forcing you to carry the baggage of your past. This is an author interview with Mayank. Read to know more about his journey as an author. Mayank is sharing his story through this interview.
What’s your background?
I was born in Bangalore and brought up in Patna. I finished my schooling from Patna Central School before moving to Hyderabad, where I completed my high school from Narayana Junior College. As an engineer-turned-journalist and I have worked with The Times of India as a senior correspondent. I have worked with an NGO Human Rights Law Network as a Communication Strategist and I am currently working with SEED CSR as a Communication Manager. This is a bit about my background. I am a dreamer and a keen observer. I spend most of my time travelling and observing people when I am not working.
You recently published this book called Shadow of the past. Tell us more about how the idea came up? What were the key factors for starting writing as a profession?
I was going through a similar phase while growing up and I know how messed up it is to deal with your past. Especially, when your past has a habit of surprising you every now and then. I know how important it is to accept certain things and move ahead with life. Even if people don’t tell you, everyone is raging a battle within their heads. Some choose to ignore it, some fight it and some get consumed by it. This was my attempt to connect with people, who are going through similar situations and tell them that it is okay if you have messed up as long as you know that you want to get better and move ahead with life. Life is too short to regret things we have no control over.
Shadow of the Past is technically my second book and officially my first. I wrote my first book “Life’s Unpredictable” in 2012 but it never got published. It received 19 rejections and now when I look back, I feel I was not ready to become a writer back then. I didn’t write for the next one and a half years as the rejections shattered me from within. It felt maybe people who told me I was wasting my time chasing impossible were right. Nobody believed me initially when I told them I wanted to become a writer. But when I was in the final year of engineering and during the placement drive, I realized that I am not meant to be an engineer.
It took me 20 back to back rejections to finally muster up the courage to tell my parents that I want to pursue journalism and not end up as an engineer. It was my passion that pushed me every day to write and it took me seven years to get my first book contract.
I started this book in 2015 and completed it in 2017. It took me two years to plot and complete this book and there is a major difference in the first and final draft. And now when I look back, I know why everything happened. It happened for a reason.
What is your inspiration or where do you get inspiration for all the work you do and What do you like writing the most?
I believe we live once and we have just one life to make a difference. To do everything you can. I don’t believe in the idea of doing just one thing for the rest of your lives and so, I have experienced a portion of many things. The source of my inspiration has always been my father and mother. Through their struggles and achievements, I learnt a lot about life. Both of them never gave up and kept trying to make things better. So, I never had to look outside my house to find inspiration.
I enjoy writing fiction mostly. I feel fiction gives us a chance we never had in life and also, it opens a different world for us. It is up to us what we want to do with it.
What is your writing routine and how much time do you take to write a book?
I started writing Shadow of the past in 2015 and completed it in 2017. It took me two years to plot and complete this book and there is a major difference in the first and final draft. While I was writing this book, I was working with The Times of India and my work timings were unrealistic. I used to come back late at night and read what I have written so far and used to write until the early hours of the morning.
What do you like doing besides writing?
I love watching movies, reading, listening to music and cooking. Cooking is like meditation for me. It helps me to distract my mind as it is constantly thinking all the time.
Any tips you want to share with other upcoming writers?
Just one thing, believe in yourself. Many people will say otherwise or will try to bring you down but as long as you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything in life. It took me seven years to get my first book contract. I had almost given up on my dreams but situations in life again compelled me to pick myself up and continue my journey. And this was the fight just to reach the starting line. Now the real journey begins.
What is your vision? Share any future plans you have.
First of all, I want to thank each one of them for reading Shadow of the Past and posting their unbiased reviews. It feels great to see when people say they could connect with the book or it was their story. That’s what matters to me more. A writer is incomplete without its readers. I am working on a sequel to Shadow of the Past and all I want to tell them is this is just the beginning of something new and hopefully, they are going to see me often.
To know more about Mayank and his journey, you can follow him –