The recent winner of the National Debut Youth Fiction Award and also the recipient of the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing apart from being the first Indian author to win the coveted ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ title at the international Goodreads choice awards, Faraaz Kazi has been tagged as the ‘Nicholas Sparks of India’ by many and is rated amongst the top male romance writers in the country. A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India’s first exclusive promotional agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as ‘The Young Marketer’ and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.
Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed ‘Film Writers Association of India.’ Truly Madly Deeply, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to have seven category nominations in the Goodreads annual readers’ choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the ‘Top 100 YA Global Fiction’ list. Kazi is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love.
1. Let me first share how delightful I am at this opportunity to know you better and to help your fans get to know you even better too. Let’s start this interview with the most important question: How writing, why writing?
I guess as kids we all conjure up dreams- I want to be this, I want to be that when I grow up. I seriously don’t remember whether I wanted to be an author (I remember acting, medicine and cricket in my list of career choices though) but I did start writing at the age of seven. It was a silly adventurous novel about six friends who somehow reach a forest full of cannibals and dangerous animals. I remember it was a novel and not a short-story as most people would expect, because I filled an entire diary scribbling about it. Next, there were a few more fantasy fiction type novels, stemming from watching too many movies and reading too much of young adult fiction.
It was not until two years back, when I had taken a break from academics and had time on my hands, so I decided to enrol for a creative writing course. It opened a dormant side within me and I realised somewhere I always wanted to be a writer (not quite a full-time one though. You don’t make much of a living that way unless you end up writing about someone’s points and spending nights in call centres and then make three mistakes in a couple of states) as I found my romantic short-stories to be applauded by the other 30 odd students around me. And then, that was motivation enough to try my hands on a novel. Luckily, for me I had a readymade plot.
2. Your debut is a romance novel. What does love mean to you? If you don’t mind us prying (because that’s what it is!) has there ever been someone in your life you’ve truly, madly, deeply fallen for?
Well, there is always that special someone in everybody’s life, isn’t it? It depends how you define your relationship with them, love transforms and so does its definition over time. However, it will always remain the purest form of emotion that a human heart is incapable of holding because true love is boundless and stretches till infinity.
3. Can your readers look forward to your next book? Is there any project which you are working on?
My second books is currently lying with my agent and we expect to sign up with a leading publication soon if all goes well, before that I may not be able to divulge any more details about the project but trust me, this one will work on a far greater emotion than my first. The project would be a sort of first attempt in the Indian literary segment on such a large scale. And I’m sure people will like it!
Apart from that I’m slowly making headway on the third which would be more serious in nature and a unique love story.
4. I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we’re looking forward to them. Would you mind sharing with us your inspirations in the writing world?
I love JK Rowling, not just for her creation of such an imaginary world but also the struggle she underwent, both personally and professionally, to publish her first book. Khalid Hosseini and Jean Sassoon awed me by displaying the turbulent middle-eastern areas in their writings. Cecilia Ahern and Nicholas Sparks touched my heart with their romantic works and I drew a lot of inspiration from them.
5. You have completely established yourself in the writing industry with TMD (the only Indian novel to make it to the Goodreads Best Romance Novels category) and your booming book publicizing agency, ‘Digi Imprint Solutions’. What have your experiences been like? Any regrets? Any tips?
One learns with time. Back when I was new, I wouldn’t have been half aware about things I am today (related to the industry). Let me just suffice by saying once bitten, twice shy. I have had quite some experiences (not at all pleasant) in dealing with some kind of people for my first book and that only makes me wise enough so as not to soak my hands by the fire again.
6. What do you love the most about reading and writing?
The best thing about books is that they take us to an almost illusion-like world, far away from the happenings of life. Mostly, when I’m in the doldrums, you’ll find me with a copy in hand, lying on the bed and soaking in the words. Writing is therapeutic, cathartic and you end up discovering more and more about yourself in the process- sometimes making you question your own self-awareness. There’s no feeling in this world which can replace the joy of reading a good book on a rainy evening with some hot pakoras for company.
7. Any advice for wanna-be writers looking to get published?
Most important thing is they should pursue writing only if they are confident about their work and are capable of handling criticism. Today, I see so many writers with poor writing skills, coming out with their own autobiographical fiction set in some engineering college or management institute. Small publishers lap it up because the market (read nouveau readers as India is seeing a growth in habitual readership) demands so. Some who have good financial backup even go to the extent of starting their own publication houses that just produce their own title and no one hears about them again.
Second most important thing is too approach publishers directly as much as possible. It doesn’t make sense for new writers to trust strangers and I learnt it the hard way. Yes, it does get irritating while you await replies of the publishers but that also teaches you perseverance and patience, two of the most important qualities for a successful writer. Also avoid people who ask for money even if they are literary agents. At the end of the day, they will return you the manuscript with some changes that a tenth grader could have picked up and you’ll end up losing your wallet in the bargain. In short, be cautious and active at the same time.
Thank you! Let’s conclude with a rapid fire:
Hobbies: Reading and singing
Favourite food: Yakhni Pulao
Favourite Movie: DDLJ
Favourite Book: Kite Runner
Favourite Quote: “I wish there was a word more than ‘love’ itself to convey what I feel for you”- From Truly Madly Deeply.
Describe love in one word: Life.
8. And finally to conclude with, any message you would like to share with your readers?
You have one life, one chance so do what you love rather than loving what you do. God bless!
Thank you for your time, Mr. Kazi! We wish you good luck for the journey ahead.
There are some who love and conquer…
There are some who love and forget…
… and then there is RAHUL KAPOOR!A pompous Rahul is head over heels in love with Seema, his beautiful female equivalent from the same school. After a whirlwind of innocent encounters, their teenage romance blossoms yet both of them never confess their love to each other. A series of misunderstandings and ego clashes cause them to drift apart. Rahul loses his sanity and ultimately his love. By the time he realises the magnitude of his loss, it appears to be too late. Will Rahul get back his Seema? Or will Seema never realise the depth of Rahuls feelings?
This teenage love story seeks answers to all these and more as it alternates between the past and the present and makes you wonder; do all love stories have a happy ending? Or do all love stories end, ever? TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY promises to be an emotional saga that will captivate the readers heart and fascinate his mind and leave him pondering – Does Love Truly Conquer All Odds?
Leave your answers as a comment below or email us at [email protected] and the best three answers will take home a copy! Contest ends 25th March, Midnight ISP. Open only for residents of India.