In conversation with Anmol Rawat: Author of the hugely successful ABCs of Horror.
It’s been more than two months since the release of ABCs of Horror. Huge congratulations!! How has the ride been so far?
Thank you for the wishes! The journey has been good so far. The book still ranks under top 10 list of Amazon’s bestselling horror books, which is definitely something you can proudly tell the world. I was quite skeptic because it’s not my genre and I was not sure how people will receive the book. However, to my surprise, the reviews have been good so far in general. Even one of the top 100 reviewers on Goodreads – Sheetal Maurya find the stories ‘creepy’.
Tell us a little bit about the writing experience and how different it was from a conventional book writing pattern in terms of time and effort consumption.
Since ABCs of Horror is a product of the A to Z Challenge, I had to write a story every day, excluding the Sundays in the month of April. I boarded the journey thinking that I’ll try to go on for as long as feasible for me and in the beginning, I had no idea that I will actually be able to pen down 26 stories in a month.
For obvious reasons, this was quite different from the conventional book writing. I do have a job for which I have to travel 3-4 hours daily. Adding it to a 9 hours’ job eliminates 13 hours of a day, leaving me 11 hours for everything.
If I tell you in a nutshell, I was sleep deprived when I thought about the concept of a story, which happened anywhere around 3am to 4am. I would roam around on my terrace thinking about a concept for the next story, splashing water on my face every now and then to stay awake. I would then pen down the story on the following night. I was literally hung over on caffeine while writing down the stories and didn’t sleep for more than 3-4 hours a day for the whole month.
Some stories did require research like Voodoo and I utilized the time I spent in the metro for that.
That’s entirely opposite of how I write or blog. It’s usually a very comfortable and relieving thing. I just let the emotions flow and take my time to weave the words. Sometimes, I might spend days on a single section of a story. So yeah, the experience was starkly opposite.
People know me as a romance writer. I have been writing the same genre since forever on my blog and have worked on even a couple of anthologies now. I needed a change. Also, I think, I was writing too much ‘me’ in the stories I was penning. I definitely needed a break from that.
I’ve grown up watching horror movies, but I never knew even words can scare people until I read The Shining by Stephen King. I had made my decision. I needed to write horror as well.
Given how ABCs of Horror has turned out, in hindsight, would you have gone for writing a book if you would have had more time to think about the stories, plots and characters??
I’m satisfied with the first edition of the book. Some stories have turned out really well and I’ve noticed that many reviews have a few stories in common as their favorites. If I would have had a bit more time, I might have developed the characters more and added more to the scene setting. However, when I read reviews, people are actually liking the sharp twisted climaxes. Extending the stories in length might have ruined that factor. Since you can never know until it happens, I’ve learnt to be satisfied with what I have. I made my best efforts and I’m glad with how the book is performing.
Tell us all a little bit about your experiences of working with the people in your team associated with this book’s publication. Would you recommend them to struggling authors out there?
ABCs of Horror was edited by Pikakshi Manchanda. It was a nerve wrecking experience to be truthful. I can’t tell you how many times I had to change stuff in my stories, sometimes to make them crispier and sometimes to make them more hard hitting. That was my way of saying that she put in a lot of efforts and made me do a lot of hard work in turn before I could publish the book and I’m quite satisfied with her contribution.
I would definitely recommend her because she does take the pain and work hard to refine your stories. You may contact me to reach her so I can keep my commission. *greedy grin*
Jokes apart, she’s reachable at email@example.com.
The cover of the book is designed by Rajesh Rathore, a colleague of mine, who I believe, is an excellent artist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any new works in progress that we all should be on the lookout for?
I had started writing a blog series – In a World Without You last year. A few people do want me to pick it up because they have been waiting to know what happens next. Although I can’t say for sure, but I might start working on it. No definite plans and I don’t know whether this will be a blog series only or I will opt to publish it. But yeah, it’s there on the plate of procrastination 😉
Finally, any word of advice for new and upcoming authors trying to make a name for themselves?
Do not pay excess attention on how you are going to make a name. I think the most important part is to live your passion of writing. If you are happy with what you are writing, you have achieved half of the battle because it’s a blissful feeling to see your book published. If you have done your job well, people will definitely like it. Do not be hurt by negative reviews or opinions. Every reader has a different perspective and even the most renowned authors experience their fair share of criticism. Try to take the positive from that criticism and keep working hard.