Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.
Today, we are featuring Debarshi Kanjilal, author of SuperBu: Homecoming, for our Author Interview feature.
About The Author
Debarshi Kanjilal (DK) is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. His debut novella, Based on Lies, was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.
His latest novella, SuperBu: Homecoming is an emotional journey of a family and their dog. Debarshi ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces.
He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has helped shape adult learning strategy for some of the most well-known organizations globally.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.
Hello to the readers of TRB! I am an urban fiction author based out of Bangalore, India. I published my first novella, Based on Lies, in 2017 and now I have a new story to share with the world. When I am not writing, you will find me lecturing people about the way adults learn, spending time with dogs, fiddling with my phone, or begrudgingly cooking a meal in the kitchen. Before the pandemic hit, you’d also have found me planning weekend road trips around the city.
Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?
I don’t think it will come as a surprise, but the story of SUPERBU is inspired by the life of Buzo, who was a part of our family until recently. When I had first started planning the story, it was meant to be a fantasy about a four-legged superhero. But with time, I realized that every dog is already a superhero for its family; I didn’t need to give Bully, the dog who this book is about, any additional superpowers to tell the story I wanted to tell.
As for Buzo, she will always be my superhero. And if this book does well, she will, hopefully, become a superhero for some other dogs. I plan to use most of the proceeds from this book to fund the Buzoland project, which will provide a real home for a few stray dogs. Being able to get the Buzoland project off the ground will mean much more to me than any accolades this book may or may not earn.
Who is your favourite character in this book and why?
In its essence, SUPERBU Homecoming is the story of a flawed family. I care deeply about each character in that family. Homecoming is the first novella in the SUPERBU series and it focuses heavily on Bully a.k.a. Bu, who the novella is named after and Barnali, the lady of the family. Homecoming is as much Barnali’s story as it is Bully’s.
What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?
I think I kind of answered this question earlier. I wanted to write a book to commemorate my dog, Buzo, who we lost a couple of years ago. This is, among other things, my attempt to do some good in her name.
How long did it take you to write this particular book?
Homecoming is the first of three novellas in the SUPERBU series. The idea to write a book like this came to me a couple of years ago, conceptualization happened a year ago, the actual writing took a month, perhaps, and editing took another month and a half. I work with a few amazing beta readers in my network who really help me refine my work after the first draft is done.
What are your writing ambitions? Are you working on any new projects presently?
I think the goal is to transition into being a full-time writer but right now I just want as many people to read the stories of SUPERBU as possible. I have a few too many projects in the pipeline, to be honest. The immediate focus will be on two of them:
- The next novella in the SUPERBU series – Becoming
- And a novelette I have in the works called Government
Why have you chosen this genre?
I find genres quite limiting. I tell people that I write urban fiction because it allows me to explore a variety of themes within an urban setting. I wrote SUPERBU because I love dogs and to commemorate my dog.
When did you decide to become a writer?
When I was eight, and every couple of years after that. But I think I have been serious about it for the past couple of years. I like the idea of being an indie author. I feel that it liberates me to write about the things I want to write about and in the manner that I want to write about them. I truly believe that novellas and novelettes are the future of books and yet traditional publishers often push these formats to the sidelines. If we are to capture the imagination of a new generation of readers, we cannot expect them to spend days or even months reading one book. As an indie author, I can cater to that modern reader who is reading on electronic devices and hopping from one interest to another every couple of days.
What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?
A lot of ideation without any actual writing for weeks, followed by panic and a few weeks of 3 or 4-hour writing sprints, and then editing like a madman. Personally, working with chapter outlines or scenes hasn’t really worked out for me. I like to write my stories in sequence.
How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
I write on my laptop but I am getting more savvy with mobile word processors. In time and with the advent of superior technology, I won’t mind writing books on my cellphone.
Your 5 favourite books?
I love answering this question, thanks.
- The book that got me interested in reading as a kid was Moby Dick.
- A favorite of mine in contemporary Indian literature – Ghachar Ghochar.
- Third, I’d say Lord of the Rings. I’d recommend anyone to pick LOTR over Harry Potter books, if you had to choose.
- Four, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Not many people have read this but it is such a fantastic, whimsical book.
- Lastly, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. I loved learning about a different side of Mahatma Gandhi.
If I may take the liberty of adding one more to the list, Maneaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett is a blast of a read.
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
By procrastinating until an idea hits me. 😊
No, but seriously, the answer is often care. If I care about a story, I am more likely to be able to write about it than if I don’t. I have realized that writer’s block often comes from an attempt to be inauthentic. I often found myself not being able to write something that I have not experienced in any way, shape, or form. Having had those experiences, I try to only tell stories that I can relate with on some level. Also, switching off for a bit of time helps – music, movies, a long drive, they all seem to work for me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Getting your work published is easier than ever now. But that also means that competition is stiffer than ever, post publication. Take your time. Invest in professional editing. Know that writing is 20% of the work but the good news is, no one’s stopping you from acing the other 80% either. Persevere and you will succeed.
Thank you, Debarshi, for all your insightful answers!
About The Book
This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.
So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together?
This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.
You can find SuperBu: Homecoming here:
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