• Tuesday, 19 March 2019

No substitute for great storytelling: Debutant novelist

New Delhi, Feb 23 : Publishing one's first novel is often more complicated than what the process may seem but Neel Mullick, whose "Dark Blossom" -- endorsed by veteran writer Ruskin Bond -- has just hit the stands, says that there is "no substitute for great storytelling".

"I do firmly believe that there is no substitute for a good story and great storytelling. In order to get there, you must find at least one person with ample experience and few prejudices to give you sincere advice.

"Subject your work to the their feedback, honestly, before putting your work out there. Once this critical ingredient is ready, come all the other aspects of publishing and marketing," he told IANS in an interview.

Mullick, who mentors women entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (UK), pointed out that several distractions are competing for people's attention these days.

"It bodes well for you to think through not only how your story and brand will reach your target readers, but also resonate with them. If you do this, first and foremost, you make the publisher's job easier.

"Second, even if success takes time, being true to this process will give you the confidence and belief to persevere," he said.

His novel revolves around two families. In first, Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's 13th birthday but his world is cruelly shattered in one fell sweep. He seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist who is herself trying to cope with a debilitating divorce, to regain his equipoise.

And therein hangs the gripping tale that Mullick has penned: What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat?

He said he began writing at a time when he was struggling with empathy and the characters started taking shape in his mind.

"I finally started writing 'Dark Blossom' only when I realised how different all these characters were from me. I found myself overwhelmed by the desire to crawl under their skins and describe the world the way they were seeing it. But I wanted to do it in a way that was entertaining for readers," he added.

Mullick said there was a degree of luck involved in landing a deal, that too with a mainstream publisher like Rupa, which has published some of the foremost authors in the country. He said the publisher "coached and pushed in every way possible" in order to give his novel its final shape.

Bond in his endorsement of the novel describes it as "unputdownable". Priced at Rs 295, the 214-page novel is available both in stores as well as online.


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No substitute for great storytelling: Debutant novelist

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