Saturday, November 19, 2011

20 Questions With TGC Prasad

Today I bring you thoughts from author, management consultant and international speaker Mr. TGC Prasad, who has already authored books like Unusual People Do Things Differently and talks to us about writing in general and his new book 'Along The Way' as we ask him 20 questions.

When do you write?
I usually write either early in the mornings or late in the night. I need uninterrupted and quiet time to focus and write. I don’t take calls, I don’t prefer doing any chores, I don’t like getting up from my seat when I start writing.

Where do you usually write? What is your favourite setting to write in?
I usually write in my study room on my desk. That is my favourite setting. 

Do you have any rituals/superstitions as a writer? Something you like to do before you start writing? A favourite pen?
No, I don’t have a superstition as a writer. I pray for couple of minutes before I start work. It helps focus.

Typing or writing on paper? What do you prefer and why?
I prefer typing on my Mac. It is easier, and I’m faster on the Mac than on paper.

What was your first piece of work ever? Do you still have it?
I don’t quite remember, may be some report. I don’t have it. Actually, I haven’t written before that fine day when I started to write ‘Unusual People Do Things Differently’…

Who are your inspirations as far as writing is concerned? Any writers you would highly recommend to readers?
The simplicity in the writings of R K Narayan and the detailing of C Rajagopalachari are fantastic. I recommend these two Indian writers. On the business side, books of Peter Drucker, CK Prahalad, Michael Porter, Gary Hamel, James Champy are fantastic.

What inspired ‘Along The Way’?
I wanted to affirm that I could write fiction. Secondly I wanted to write something hilarious which people could read and laugh, especially software engineers who lead quite a stressful life with all their deadlines and late nights…

We all know that while the author is solely responsible for an idea, the execution of the idea is impossible without the support of people who believe in the idea and the author. So who are the people behind ‘Along The Way’, other than yourself?
I must thank Rupa Publications for agreeing to publish the book.

Did the story of ‘Along The Way’ come to you easily or did you find yourself stuck with a writer’s block sometimes?
The story of ‘Along the Way’, came very easily. I didn’t have any author’s block. 

What is your personal most effective way of getting over a writer’s block, if it ever strikes you?
Sometimes, if I do get stuck, I start working on flow-charting of the story and then it gets going again. But I don’t stress myself hard over it. I take it easy and relax for a while and let the mind heal. I probably read, watch movies, go on drives, eat good food, enjoy my walks and all that. Why push yourself when you are stuck? The mind is a reservoir, you need to know how to tap it and at times give it enough rest so that it can connect the dots perfectly.

Do you agree that there are always autobiographical portions in any writing? Are there any in ‘Along The Way’?
I don’t agree with that. Fiction is about imagining something and writing about it. Many times authors take inspiration from certain events, places, people, scenes and what have you. ‘Along the Way’ is inspired by my long innings as a management expert in software and consulting domains.

Can you describe the journey of ‘Along The Way’ in short? How do you feel now when you look back on the entire creative process?
It has been immensely rewarding to write fiction. In retrospect, I know the improvements I could make in the book. There is always a next time.

How easy or difficult was it to get the book published?
I wrote a hundred pages of the manuscript, sent it to Rupa and they sent a contract. It was as simple as that…

Do you agree that any author also has to be a good marketer? Or are there mechanisms that can take care of the marketing bit, allowing the author to concentrate solely on content?
An author has to be a great marketer too; otherwise people will not know the existence of the book. I believe it is a joint effort between authors and publishers, and they have to work hand in glove. But only marketing without content doesn’t help. With great content and smart marketing, the book is bound to take off. So, it is a combination.

What is your advice to writers out there who might be looking at getting published? Any helpful pointers?
  • Choose a topic, which interests publishers.
  • Keep your book short, not too long.
  • Write in simple language that everybody can understand.
  • Go to book launches and meet potential publishers and take cues from them.
  • Be networked. It is important to do that, as much as writing good content.

What is your message to anyone who is considering picking up the book for a read? What can he/she expect?
If anybody picks up ‘Along the Way’, they can expect a breezy romance told in the most hilarious way in the software industry setting.

Who is ‘Along The Way’ dedicated to?
To my son and wife.

Do you have more stories to tell us already that we can expect in the form of books soon? Are you working on something?
I am working on ‘the case of the missing wedding ring’, a wonderful story in the first person narrative of a 19 year old autistic girl.

Apart from writing, what else keeps you busy? What are your passions/interests?
I do management consulting and I am an inspirational speaker. In the last quarter, I must have spoken to employees and senior management of atleast 25 companies like TCS, Goldman Sachs, SAP, Aricent, Macmillan, TESCO…

What is the one thought you would like to leave people with when they think of TGC Prasad, the writer?
The books which I write will be on various topics…business, entrepreneurship, hilarious fiction, romance, autism…I don’t stick to a genre, I write from the heart on subjects which interest me.


I hope you enjoyed the interview and are looking forward to reading the book. Copies of 'Along The Way' can be ordered here. Keep reading!