Are you a book lover who likes reading romantic novels but hates the typical plot of the prince in shining armor saving the damsel in distress? If yes, then Rohit Sharma’s books are just the perfect choice for you! Meet this incredibly talented author from Faridabad, whose debut was nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize! In an exclusive interview with News Karnataka, the novelist spoke about his journey.
From a word to a book
In conversation about the beginning of his journey as a writer, Rohit Sharma asserted that it all began during his school days. He used to participate in various story writing competitions. In his leisure time, he used to and still does think about stories. “It was 2008 when I started working on my first book. I decided to mix romance and thriller genres to create a ‘Romantic-Thriller’ genre, which was not very common in the Indian market. Finally, by the end of 2009, I was ready with the script of my first book ‘Te Amo… I Love You,’ but it took me three years to find a publisher for it,” he said.
Rohit Sharma further revealed that his undying love for reading fiction books and passion for writing inspired him to script a novel himself. “Writers like Nicholas Sparks, Sydney Sheldon, Agatha Christie, Ashwin Sanghi, and David Baldacci are my inspirations,” he added.
The evergreen genre of young adult
Why did a young fresh talent like Rohit choose the genre of young adult and romance? Speaking on genres, the author affirmed that romance is the most trending genre in India. it has a vast spectrum of writing styles, but Rohit is more into romantic-thriller and contemporary romance, making his stories fictional yet relevant. “My third book, ‘Love of My Life,’ is a dark romantic thriller, so I am trying different genres. But even publishers indeed expect writers like me to focus on romantic fiction only. However, I also believe that every genre has a readership, and crime-thriller is my favorite genre,” the writer disclosed.
Hobby and career: parallel lines
We see so many budding writers who’d want to write their novels and publish them. But how far can one monetize the hobby of writing in India? Despite garnering much fame and accolades as an author, Rohit Sharma has continued to work as an IT professional. Nonetheless, he managed to transform his hobby of writing into a passion without sacrificing his job! Speaking on years of experience, the author said, “the process of writing a book doesn’t end at getting your book published. Once you get published, you realize that your book is one among the hundreds of similar books which are released every month!” He further informed that one needs to invest in marketing the book efficiently, which is a taxing task. Often, booksellers find it challenging to keep thousands of books released every year, and it’s understandable. So for a struggling author, it’s tough to make the book available across India. He maintained that although the average readership has grown in our country, it’s still relatively low. “Being a novelist doesn’t work out financially well for most of the authors. In my opinion, if you want to be an author, keep the financial aspect out of your brain. Just write good books!” he suggested.
The impact of the pandemic
The pandemic has increased the drop in sales of paperback books and has made it extremely tough for aspiring writers who are trying desperately to make it to the shelves. Rohit Sharma spoke about the effect on the pandemic and revealed that his latest book ‘Our Love Story’ was released a few weeks before the first lockdown! With everything getting closed and online stores not operating, it was hard to find readers who would order the book. “I had plans to do cross-country promotions, but everything got shelved due to Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.
Family: A backbone
It is not surprising to find Indian families restricting young writers from pursuing their passion due to the fickle industry in India. But this was not the case with Rohit Sharma. He maintained that his family is highly motivating. “My father was the biggest supporter of my books, but unfortunately, I lost him days before the release of my fourth book. He used to show my books to his friends proudly. My wife often helps me with her sincere feedback on my ideas. She is an expert in English and Hindi, so I often ask her to proofread my work. Even my father-in-law has read some of my books, and he is very supportive too,” he contended.
E-books vs. paperback
Why do you think E-books are currently flourishing? The easy access to E-books makes the medium a much more reliable method of reading prevailing in the country. Rohit Sharma agreed that ebooks allow readers to order and read their favorite book without worrying about delivery delays and location issues. “With eBook as an option, readers sitting in any part of the world can easily buy my books; it has certainly increased my readership. For writers, having an eBook version of their paperback is always an advantage, but I love the touch and feel of the paperbacks,” he said.
Recognition and responsibility
Rohit Sharma’s debut novel was nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize and was held as the national best-selling author. Speaking of fame, the writer candidly confessed that these tags made him happy but his ultimate goal has always been to write good books. “I felt truly honored when my first book was nominated for the prestigious ‘Commonwealth Book Prize,’ and getting a genuine National Bestseller Tag on my first two books was the icing on the cake. But with these tags comes greater responsibility to write even better books,” he mentioned.
Speaking of future endeavors, Rohit informed that he is currently translating his latest book, ‘Our Love Story,’ from English to Hindi. After this, he intends on working on a non-fiction book. “I have also started research work for a reality-based Crime-Thriller, hoping that I will get the support of some publisher. For the time being, I have taken a break from romance fiction,” the author signed off.