We reviewed Douglas Misquita‘s ‘Haunted‘ here on BTL. To complete the cycle, we have Douglas today for a short interview on his book, and his future projects.
Biography: Douglas Misquita, Jr lives in Bombay City and has a Bachelor in Electronics Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration in Informaton Technology and Systems. Though he pursues a profession in telecom, music, books and movies remain an ever-strong and a dominant part of his life.
The urge to write stemmed from the confluence of two passions: movies and reading. The movie and the book in question being Jurassic Park. In 1993, shortly after reading the book, Douglas Misquita picked up a 200 page single-ruled exercise book and hand-wrote a short story on an “El Dorado-themed” park drawing heavily from the plot of Jurassic Park. Other short, “hobby-stories” followed until, between 1998 and 2002 he put together the scenes and action sequences that would eventually be strung together as “Haunted”.
Q1. Congratulations Douglas for your first book ‘Haunted’. What prompted you to start writing this book?
Thanks Bastab for having me on Between the Lines. Hello everyone! Well, I’m a big fan of fast-paced action movies with over-the-top stunts and effects. I wanted to create a very visual book in which I could string together a lot of action sequences I had visualized over the years. It had to be a fast, high-octane action book that anyone could pick up and feel that they were in a movie. That’s what prompted me to write Haunted.
Q2. Your first book has won much acclaim apart from being a national bestseller. What is your favourite thing about the book?
Thanks for the compliments. You know, when I initially began telling people I’d written an action-thriller, they were like ‘oh, but that may not work in India’. Well, what I love about Haunted is that it’s proved the nay-sayers wrong. The book has the goods, it delivers thrills – and not only in India but abroad – and I’m just very happy that people love what I put out. That’s my favourite thing about Haunted: that it has entertainment value.
Q3. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Well, there’s no ‘one’ hardest part. It’s like the traffic situation in India. You can never predict where you’ll get stuck and stuck so bad it all seems to fall apart. In fact this held me up many times when I was trying to write stories in school and junior college. And I’d think to myself, ‘how the hell does Michael Crichton write so much.’ But now, I realize it’s an art. It’s like a job; you get better at it as you write, you learn when to let go, when to switch story lines, how to let your imagination go wild.
If I was talking specifically about Haunted, the hardest part was re-writing the entire book. I actually did that in about a month because the original draft didn’t seem to have the punch I was looking for. And that was a mammoth task – because I’d written Haunted in 2002 and published it in 2010 and so much had changed since then!
Q4. What books have most influenced your life most? You’re also an avid blogger. Which do you prefer: Blogging or writing books?
I love thrillers. My favourite authors are Michael Crichton, Matthew Reilly, Steve Berry, James Rollins. The books that have influenced me the most are The Adventures of Tintin (loved the movie), and Jurassic Park.
I like to use my blog to spread awareness and write about peculiarities and my books for big-time collectible entertainment. So there’s no preference; I either do one or the other. But all authors should blog; it helps their audience get snippets in the period between books.
Q5. Do you believe that the success of a book depends much on the publicity that goes behind it? How did you choose to publicize your book in these days of social media networking?
Definitely! Publicity is the most important part of the entire process. You can have the best story but if you don’t have the most publicity, it just won’t move. For indie authors, since we finance the promotion on our own, its tough. You need connections, influence and all that jazz. But online marketing tools are now proving to be a very very economical and direct-to-market approach. You have to have an open mind and realize that you have to spend and you will do it if you believe in your book. I used online reviews, book trailers, a facebook page, joined forums on Linked In, put up adverts on goodreads.com, hosted giveaways on goodreads.com (in fact one closes on the 27th of January 2012), subscribed to a review in the US and undertook a virtual tour which was very satisfying.
Q6. What do you feel about the impact of English fiction on the youth of today?
I couldn’t say much about the impact because I really don’t know how various books influence people in their lives. I think youth today have very varied tastes and read across genres and are eager to lap up interesting fiction – I do hope they take positives out of what they read. What I do know is that contrary to popular belief there are still many who read but at some point people say they ‘don’t have time to read’ and I get concerned when I hear that maybe because I’m such an avid reader and hope it doesn’t happen to me J. After all reading is meant to provide you with an escape from routine.
Q7. Did you do character studies before writing your book? Or did you pattern any of your characters after people you know?
No, I don’t really do character studies. I have a very high-level view of the traits my heroes and villains need to have and then I just push them into the action and let them evolve with the story. I’ve recently started basing characters on people I know and use that mental image to tell me what the character is capable of.
Q8. Are you presently working on anything? What can you tell us about it?
Yes, my second instalment of literary entertainment is in production. It’s not a sequel; it’s an adventure thriller and I feel it is a kick-ass book and is sure to take people on a ride. It’s due out in May 2012 and it’s called SECRET OF THE SCRIBE.
Q9. According to you, what is the biggest problem that writers face in the industry?
No organized literary agent organization (at least I’m unaware of it) and only when you enter the publishing industry do you realise you’re biggest problem: there are so many, many, many hundreds of authors that you’re just a drop in the ocean and that’s when you understand that you have to scream like mad to be heard above all the others.
Q10. What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Write because you want to entertain, and not because you want to make money. Mark Twain said that. Everything else will follow.
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