I am so so happy to see this post go live! It’s my very first published interview of an author. While I have interviewed lawyers and sports personalities before this, nothing compares to getting to know the mind of an author. I truly believe writers are special people. It’s the reason why @anshuwrites, @priyreflects and I got together to explore these creative minds. We reached out to newly published authors and asked them about their motivations, their favourites and some tips on writing, publishing and marketing an eBook. Around 40 authors responded. So many of the author interviews have blown our minds away. Hope you read all the interviews on Anshu’s, Priya’s and my blogs and find something to take away from each of them. 🙂
Time to meet our first author. Can we have some applause please, for …Arjun Gupta.
Arjun is a crusader for mental health and has explored it in great detail in his book. This 20-year-old author aims to increase awareness and make people more sensitive to issues of mental illnesses. He’s also a passionate blogger who has a patent pending method to fight writer’s block! Read more to find out!
Q1. In your book, you have highlighted several stark facts about mental illnesses, busted myths, shared dark personal stories and suggested ways to combat the demons in one’s head. Was the writing process a form of catharsis for you?
I wouldn’t say the whole book was cathartic. There were a few chapters like the one on depression, self-harm and repercussions of a suicide that I had written to release the emotions I had pent up inside. The rest of the book I had written out of an insatiable curiosity about the topic and the will to share it with my readers.
Q2. You rightly pointed out that people often use terms like depression and OCD very flippantly. Do you think though that even today, mentally healthy people can’t fathom what happens to a person dealing with depression or any other mental illness?
Indeed. People don’t completely understand the experience as yet. A lot of us end up either belittling the trauma of the sufferers or romanticising it and making it look desirable. There needs to be a balance between the two and if I know one thing about people id that we are not very good at balancing. Just ask Hrithik Roshan *idhar chala main udhar chala plays in background*
Q3. You mentioned that one should not go to the internet and check for symptoms and self-diagnose yourself to be depressed. What symptoms according to you then should prompt the sufferer to visit a psychiatrist?
I don’t think that visiting a psychiatrist should be a major point in one’s life. We don’t really worry a lot if going to a physician for a cough. We visit doctors to be certain that it isn’t something serious, not with the dread that we are somehow weaker. If you believe the problem isn’t improving and might need some professional inspection, you can visit a psychiatrist of a psychologist as per your wish.
Q4. You are 20 years old and are already recovering from mental illness. What do you think is the trigger for mental illness affecting the youth today?
This is actually another misconception about mental illnesses. There isn’t necessarily always a single trigger that causes mental illnesses. There are many factors that play a role right from bringing up a child to the genetics of an individual. It is not like something happens and *BOOM* you are mentally ill.
Q5. If you could ask a genie for three wishes, what would they be and why?
Well mythologically genies have been very conniving creatures who find a loophole in every wish so I would have to be very careful here. So,
- My first choice would be the ability to regulate and recognize my emotions and those of the people around me.
- My second choice would be for my pugs to speak a language I can understand and speak in and for them to understand the same language as well. The technical explanation is so that they don’t end up speaking Portuguese to me and,
- My third choice would be to get to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut with JunkieXL’s scoring because that is a hidden treasure that the world needs to see
Q6. What is it about writing that gives you the most joy?
Every once in a while I get a message from a reader. They talk about how they had struggled with depression as well and how happy they are to see me talking about it. It makes me feel good and convinces me that I’m on the right track. The appreciation of the people and the knowledge that I educate and learn through my blog puts a smile to my face.
Q7. You mentioned you would like to write more books in the future. Any aspects, in particular, you would like to explore in them? Would you like to explore other genres of writing? If yes, which ones?
Yes! I have been a big fan of fiction and actually wrote some Superhero stories last year as well. I like my fiction well tied with foreshadowing and Easter eggs galore. I really think I will write one of those in the future. I would also like to share personal anecdotes of people and how their lives have changed.
Q8. How do you overcome Writer’s Block?
Ten 30-second-long handstands and all the writer’s block is gone for at least 6 months! Or you could go for the simpler and more mainstream incubation period and take some time off. Incubation breeds creativity but handstands breed critical thinking. Patent pending
Q9. Describe your process for research while writing.
Research papers in Google scholars for the facts and blog articles to make them more reader-friendly. It usually works out well for me.
Q10. Share some valuable tips for publishing and marketing an eBook.
When publishing there will be a lot of thoughts in you to give up and do something else but don’t. There will be many edits you will have to do and it will get to your mind but you must keep going. It is the first step in your journey and a different experience in its own self. When it comes to marketing you will have to be a bit shameless. You might have to annoy some friends to share the posts and help you market but it will be worth it. When the report comes in that your first copy has been ordered, it is a feeling of fulfilment and relief.
Book Blurb: ‘A to Z of Mental Health’ tries to explore the various aspects of mental illnesses that are sometimes ignored.You will finish this book with richer and more meaningful knowledge about mental health and how it affects every person.
Here’s wishing Arjun Gupta all the best for the eBook and all his future endeavours. Wishing you lots of success!!
@_knightofsteel , do comment and let us know how this interview experience was for you. And do read, share and comment on your fellow author’s interviews as well.
Fellow authors and bloggers, did this interview surprise you? Did you enjoy it? Did you learn something from it? We would love to know. Do comment and share your thoughts.
Read Manas Mukul’s interview on Anshu’s blog today.
And head to Priya’s blog to read Paresh Godhwani’s interview.