A conversation with the Author of ‘My Little Infinity‘, Karanbir Singh.
1. What prompted you to write this book on something that is so personal to your family and you?
One day, I came across one of my dad’s files and in that he had written about his experience after he got diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and then cancer. Alternatively, I was writing entries in my journal about the experiences that I underwent. Dad really wanted to get his experiences published, so I amalgamated the two and we got this beautiful book “My Little Infinity”
2. You must be pretty stressed while writing this book, what did you do to de-stress yourself while writing the book?
I took breaks. It took me approximately two and a half years to three years to complete it. Major reason being, sometimes it went really hard on me so I would stop writing it for a while and then pick up the flow once I felt rejuvenated.
3. What were the challenges you faced while writing this book?
The story itself was a challenge. To relive them while writing and still trying hard not to let it affect you. And also the story is very close to me and it’s through this story that I open my father to the world. My only goal was to bring the story in such a way that I could strike the balance between the atrocities we went through and happy memories of the past so that the reader could get the real picture of the characters and have more than just a story to take away.
4. Did the thought to give up writing this book ever occur to you?
No. I wanted to do this for my dad. So that was the main goal. It just kept me going.
5. What is your motivation for writing more?
Expression! We all want to express the relative worlds that are within us. I have my own blog, called backbencher.co; I started writing just for fun or what I usually call it as the hereditary defect. In the beginning, it was my way of letting things out and slowly as my experience started to blend in with it, it became something more.
6. What is your special nook or writing place where you prefer writing?
Coffee shops, especially the ones which are sea-facing.
7. How long did it take you to write this book?
Approximately two and a half to three years.
8. Any plans on writing the second novel?
Yes, I have started; I am halfway through it we are also planning to make something on it. Let’s see it’s a long process.
9. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I prefer to write at the weekends. I usually go to a coffee house find my corner and then sit for straight 6 to 7 hours. Or sometimes if I write when I am home then it’s usually around midnight, I go for a walk, watch a movie get all my ideas in one place and then I sit till the sunrise.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing the book?
Characterization. Sometimes you have very limited time for one character and in that limited period, you have to try to express them in such a way that they sometimes stand out on the page.
11. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to do a lot of things, but for a long period of time, I wanted to join the army.
12. How often do you write?
I try to give an hour to ‘writing‘ each day. But sometimes it’s not possible, but I make sure that I get my hands on it over the weekend.
13. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing?
For this book, it was hard, because the loss was real. Also, people usually find it hard to find a start, I was looking for a good closure, but I guess once you get on with it everything falls into place.
14. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
I guess that differs from person to person. For me, it’s to find the rhythm that plays along. Every character is working towards its end goal. And sometimes you feel there is so much extra to add but that takes away the rhythm of the story.
15. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, that’s another gift I got from my father. We have a huge library at home and now I have got one in Mumbai. My favorite author is ElifShafak and Paulo Coelho.
16. If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, which one would it be and why?
I guess my first one, ‘My little infinity‘, at a micro level it’s about me and my dad, but at a macro level, it consists of every member of the family. And few episodes had to be edited because people didn’t want to share them. Which kind of still stuck to me and I tried to cover it up by adding most of them to my second and third novels.
17. What would you like to say to your readers?
Well, I have said this in all my interviews, try and make life poetry not a class of theory. Cause no matter what you do in the end, not all of us can have a happy ending but at least we can have a happy story.