Saturday, November 16, 2013

Author Interview: Daniel Nanavati: I Write So As To Change The World

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers
He is a down to earth human being with a solid purpose for writing. When I asked him for an interview on my blog, he very humbly tried to confirm if I was sure about it by replying back that he would be honored though but in his opinion there were far more important authors around him. He was eager to know what kind of things did I have in mind to know and if it could be done through email as he has two books coming out this month to design and he is pushed for free time.

And here we are interacting with Daniel Nanavati.

Hello, Daniel, a warm welcome to you on my blog. What is your real name and pen name?

Both are the same Daniel Nanavati

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Getting a new Enid Blyton book to read, riding on the back of our boxer/ labrador cross Cindy when I was 5. Clambering through hedgerows picking bluebells with my mother. Learning to swim in a small bay where the beach was crammed with colored seashells.

About your education

I graduated from Oxford in 1982 having studied Theology and Philosophy. I am, according to the Master of my college,  a lover of ideas. One of the most insightful comments ever made about my character.

What career did you plan during your education days

I knew I wanted to write for children when I was 14.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

The insights on the human condition by anyone who has one or more. Having read ancient history, I realized that everyone ever born has been modern and that our concept of time is really all about how long we live as individuals and wholly inadequate.

What hurts you most in this world

The lack of empathy so prevalent in all we do as a species and individuals.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? Were you able to overcome it? How?

My mother's illness meant I had to change my plans when I was 20. I suppose I overcame it by not betraying her needs for my wants.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Jesus of Nazareth because, perversely, I would like to know what it feels like to touch someone and heal them. The other stuff is boring.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy fiction, which is what I write, because it liberates the mind and teaches ideas in a wholly immediate way. To read, I like thinkers and wonderful prose which make use of ideas of language is such an innovative way one feels thrilled to have the pleasure of reading them. Lawrence Durrell's Alexandrian Quartet – the first 60 pages – comes to mind.

What is the purpose of your writing?

To change the world. To give children and growing minds ideas beyond their schools and their environments, to show despite the shallowness and sadness, honor  lives within us all or lives nowhere.

Which of your work published so far?

I wrote an essay  for adults A Brief History of  Lies with Calvin Innes in 2010 which needs to be an e-book. I have brought out The Exalted Gate a series of fairy tales with Annie Ovenden, Blueskin the Cat with Gabriela Sepulveda, Midrak Earthshaker with John-Thomas Pryor, all excellent artists.

I have also published The Love Poems of Daniel Nanavati with Jonathon Coudrille for adults only.

What are your forthcoming writings?

Ruzniel, an epic fantasy, is to be published next year with artwork by Jennika Bastian. This is a story about the titanic battle in the last three days of the universe between magicians to ensure the new Universe is not ruled by evil. A mix of magic with science, a love story and a lesson in sacrifice.

Mr Binks is about three children who get involved with an alchemist and end a three hundred year old curse. Being delightfully illustrated by Nia Ellis.

I also hope to bring out more Blueskin books and two stories like Midrak which introduce characters in Ruzniel in 2014/15.

What are your future plans?

I have a sequel to Ruzniel, and I have started a publishing house FootSteps Press to publish new and existing authors distributing through Ingrams. We have several important books coming along including Farmer Fisher's Russian Christmas this year and Loom of Crime by Shänne Sands next year. This November we are publishing The Goddess Club by Emily Alice Ovenden with a great cover by Gurdish Haugsdal about four women and their dalliance with the occult.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

Endless editing for flow.
Humour where I can find it
A sense that it is going well – I dislike being unhappy and will rewrite or throw away of it doesn't feel right.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Anywhere isolated where I can walk the dogs. If the sea is nearby all the better.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in England. I have visited and stayed in India, America, France, Ireland, Norway, Israel, Scotland and Wales.
I most enjoy staying with people and not doing any of the tourist trails.

Your favorite time of the day?

Changes with the seasons. Winter is the evening in front of a log fire. Summer is early morning listening to the birds. Autumn the first dark of night. Spring is mid-morning when the light is different to any other time of year. Living in the countryside, one can respond to the seasons.

Your zodiac/ sun sign?

Aquarius though you realize that is all nonsense?

Your favorite color and why?

Sky blue, because it's everywhere :)

Your favorite book and why?

I have always loved Don Quixote de la Mancha because I also feel out of sorts with my generation and a bit like an adventurer making it up as I go along but having the best of intentions. The Green Inheritance by Aldous Huxley has influenced my way of life since 1982 and made me aware that the monetary system is a bad way to try to create civilization.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

Baruch Spinoza.  Way ahead of his time with an absolute refusal to believe without proof or accept without thought. I should tell you that my mother's first poster boy, when she was a teenager, was Chopin so we don't do celebrity in the modern sense.

Your favorite food?

Bananas and fresh dates.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening,
Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or

Long Drive

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

The world is a comedy to those think, a tragedy to those who feel

Horace Walpole.
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