Sunday, 27 July 2014

Kim's Review : Divergent Trilogy - Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

You might think that Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy is just another fantasy trilogy aimed at Young Adults. But Divergent is host to much more "human" characters. The characters themselves aren't superhuman / werewolves / vampires / ghosts or zombies. Think Hunger Games rather than Infernal Devices.

This world (of Divergent) is confined to a fenced-in semi fantasy dystopian Chicago, where the lake has dried up, but the EL still zips across town. The town itself is crumbling in places. This world is divided into 5 factions. Each faction has its own manifesto, values, beliefs, demeanour and dress code. They are mostly grouped along the lines of what they think is the cause for errors in human nature and this decides their values, vocations and faction.

The factions are :
Abnegation - Blame selfishness and hence promote selflessness. Volunteer to help the city and individuals and always place others above themselves. Because of this selflessness, they are thought to be morally incorruptible and hence most of the City Leaders are chosen from this faction.

Dauntless - Blame cowardice and prize bravery. Their responsibilities to the city, center around security, so they work at protecting the borders, weapons manufacturing, tattoo artists and the like. 

Erudite - Blame ignorance for the ills in society and pursue learning and wisdom, prizing intelligence. They form the city's librarians, doctors, scientists, and teachers.

Amity - Blame conflict and value democracy and peace. They take care of the farms which produce the food for the city.

Candor - Blame dishonesty and prize truthfulness over everything else. They see the world in black and white and mostly work as lawyers.

This whole world seems self contained and no one knows what exists (if anything does) outside the city fences.

While children live with their parents until 16, once they attain this age there is a ceremony every year in which the 16 year olds can choose which faction they want to belong to, in a public ceremony.

Once they choose their factions, there is a series of training and tests depending on the faction and whoever fails is deemed factionless condemned to live in slum like areas and get jobs like garbage disposal. If they clear all the training, they are initiated into their faction and become part of the faction family. If they choose a different faction than that of their parents, very often the parents cut of ties with their children or the new faction discourages their holding on to old ties, because they firmly believe "Faction before blood"

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Interview with Vikrant Khanna, Author of Love Lasts Forever

A sailor by profession and a writer by passion, Vikrant has penned two novels before this.

How did your life as a writer begin?
Being a sailor, I have all the time in the world, both literally and metaphorically. Once during a long voyage crossing the Pacific, I thought of giving a shot at writing, since I have always admired the art of good storytelling. The first draft of my first book was completed in that one month voyage. That’s the amount of time we have on the ship.

What makes you feel inspired to write?
A great story in my head. These ideas keeping coming to me from time to time as perhaps I’m an obsessive thinker.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
Before even beginning to write I like to know the story from beginning to end. For me a good, sound plot is very important. Then I think about the characters. Again I like to be very thorough about my characters. I have a rough questionnaire that I fill about my main characters before beginning the book. Then I take a plunge into the story. After that I do nothing, the characters drive the story themselves.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
There is a scene in the book inspired by true events. The Somalian pirates are torturing the crew members. In this particular scene a pirate smashes the jaw and breaks the teeth of a crewmember and then sets another one ablaze to demonstrate to the ship Captain what they can do if they don’t get their ransom. Now, this is my favourite scene because it was narrated to me in my maritime college by someone who had actually experienced something similar happen on his hijacked ship. When the same person read my book, he was completely enamoured by the way I’d described that and said he actually felt goose bumps because he relived the scene.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
My most interesting writing quirk is that when I write a scene sometimes my characters look back at me and say, “Hey Mr. Author, I’m not that stupid. I’ll never do that. Kindly change this scene.”

What is your usual writing routine?
One writing shift anytime in the day for a couple of hours.

Who is the one author that you would love to meet someday and why?
Agatha Christie for her sheer brilliance in writing extraordinary stories in the most ordinary way.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
My advice would be to not get into this field if you do not completely love writing and if you cannot dedicate 3-4 hours every day to reading and writing.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
My next book would be something not done by many Indian authors these days. I’m writing a YA paranormal romance.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I’d like to tell my readers I love a great story and I promise you’ll get one in every book of mine. I always look forward to stimulate all your senses while reading my books.