Chandrakant Bhonsle Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Chandrakant Bhonsle: I was born in a small hamlet of Central India in Raipur (Chhattisgarh). I went to high school and law university in my native city. At the turn of the last decade, I went to the UK to pursue higher education in Law.
I guess I was holidaying in Spain when I met my future wife. We got married in Copenhagen in the summer of 2019 in a beautiful intimate ceremony.
I have always harboured the dream of getting published since I was first introduced to the world of Robinson Crusoe by my junior school English teacher. I got further enamoured with writing after reading timeless Shakespearean classics such as “The Merchant of Venice.”
While most of my law school mates scurried for legal work experience during law school days, I was content to spend my holidays honing my writing skills and working under the tutelage of local editors.
While travelling with my wife, I was fortunate enough to visit some of the renowned forests on both hemispheres. After speaking to conservationists in these forests, I realized how clueless I was about the magnitude of struggle being faced by these amazing people. It was during this time period, that I and my wife came up with the idea of “The World Belongs to Animals.”
We thought about ways in which we can create an early consciousness among children regarding the importance of conservation on animals. We thought long and hard about various concepts with which we could speak to children. After much deliberation, we decided to talk about some of the popular animals through the medium of rhyme.
We opined that rhyme would allow us to appeal to children about the preservation of animals. Therefore, we developed rhymes about some of the popular animals and their key characteristics. We thought that, by doing so, we can reintroduce kids to the wildlife in the way that only kids can!
We sincerely hope that we have been able to get our message across. We remain determined to spreading the message of wildlife conservation and to make our little contribution in restoring the glory of wildlife.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to entice us to read your book(s). What would you say?
CB: My book aims to encourage kids to see animals in the way only kids can with unbridled wonder and joy.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
CB: Can be anywhere. I have written while waiting for flight connections in transit lounges as well as from the comforts of my house.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
CB: Pen and paper is a must have for me. For me, writing can come at any hour of the day. If an idea pops up in my head, I would often be in a hurry to make a note of it in a piece of paper.
I am often more comfortable writing in a piece of paper than typing my ideas on a computer or a laptop.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
CB: Writings of Sir P.G. Wodehouse has had the biggest influence on me, partly because I grew up in the same sort of environment that Sir Wodehouse used to write about.
I was fortunate to study in a school where I met some lovely people who continue to be my friends to this day. His books such as the Golden Bat is a tribute to high school friendship, something I am particularly fond of.
Apart from Sir Wodehouse, who is the greatest literary comic genius, in my opinion, I was heavily inspired by Sir John Galsworthy’s “Loyalties”. I read it for the first time at the beginning of this century. To this day, I vividly remember the dialogues and all the scenes from the play.
I still have a copy of it from my school days and I have revisited it several times. Every time I read it, it is like I am reading it for the first time.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
CB: I would say that criticism has helped me a lot in developing as an author. One has to have an open mind about criticism. It is a healthy part of any writing process. We all write our books with lots of love and personal emotions. We all tend to become attached to our books and our characters. Having a personal style of writing is very essential for putting thoughts to paper.
Hence, criticism enables us to gain perspective of our work as seen in the eyes of others. Most manuscripts need to be drafted several times before it can become a polished product. Writing query letters and receiving rejections from publishers is all part of the process which ultimately makes us better writers.
I have always told myself that critical feedback is crucial for improving my skills as a writer. In my opinion, critical feedback, no matter how tough it may be, should be welcomed in order to make the most out of our precious writing skills.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
CB: With writing, I hope to appeal to children that with love and care we can nurture our nature back to its erstwhile glory.
I wish to give wings to the imagination of every kid who loves wildlife and is intrigued and mesmerized by its existence.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
CB: Being a debut author, I hold all the reviews that I have received close to my heart. I am ecstatic about the fact that my book has been invited into the lives of kids and people who have enjoyed reading my work.
I thank each and every person who spent their valuable time reading my book. It has motivated me to carry forward with strength and certitude.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
CB: As most debut authors will agree, marketing a book can, at times, be more difficult than writing one. I was fortunate in the fact that some of the renowned wildlife organizations supported my work by including my book in their official reading lists.
However, marketing a book is one of the toughest challenges that I have come across. Reaching the target audience intended by the author requires a fair bit of persistence and patience. Especially in the present times, when thousands of books are published in a year.
It is easy to get submerged under the sheer volume of exceptional work penned by skilled and talented authors. Getting your voice heard is, and perhaps will always be, a tough task for authors to navigate through.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
CB: I have always relied on feedback to improve my writing. I am lucky to be surrounded by a support network that has never shied away from giving me their honest opinions.
I think it is extremely crucial that authors have someone around them who can be a voice of reason and coherence. It can work to every authors’ advantage to have someone who is both impartial and one of the biggest critics of their work. Having someone like that will only push authors to explore the depths of their potential.
It is very difficult to judge yourself and your own work(s). Time spent with harshest critics is golden in the sense that it can inspire authors to produce their best works.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
CB: I believe that trust is a key ingredient in any author-editor relationship. As authors, we hate our work being edited. But, we also need to trust the editing process because it is the part and parcel of the publishing game.
Editors have years of experience that has given them crucial insights about the market. They know prevailing market trends and how to package a book that is going to eventually sell.
Therefore, authors need to trust their editors with the publishing and production processes. In my experience, I have never hesitated for contacting editors whenever I had any doubts creeping into my mind.
The strength of an author-editor relationship is often symbolized by the clarity of communication between both parties. While editors need to be transparent about the whole process, authors need to show trust and patience during the editing process.
Editors should always remember to keep the communication channels open with the authors. It gives us authors the necessary peace of mind.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
CB: I would most probably thank them for taking the time to read my work. Everybody has the right to voice their opinions. I believe in taking all opinions about my work in their stride.
For me, criticism is just as important as appreciation of my work. It helps me in growing and developing as an author. While appreciation may be taken as validation of your work, it is criticism that spurs you on to make the most out of your abilities/talents/skills.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
CB: To any aspiring author, I would say never lose belief in your product. There are publishers out there who want to hear from a new voice and are ready to help them by providing them an ideal platform. Keep on trying and persevere.
I am completely aware of the uphill struggle authors have to endure to earn their publishing stripes. However, patience, perseverance and persistence are the three main pillars of a successful writing career.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
CB: I am currently working on two separate projects. The first project is another children’s picture book, which has already been picked up by a traditional publisher and the other one is my attempt at a full length novel about life in a residential school, which as is obvious by now, inspired by the books of Sir Wodehouse.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
CB: Actually, this is a part where I sign off and my wonderful illustrator takes over. My illustrator is extremely talented, creative and takes complete ownership of the project.
Working with such a talented individual has been wonderful to say the least. I hope that our partnership keeps growing by leaps and bounds and we are able to put quality work out there on a consistent basis.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
CB: I used to read every day for at least an hour. Nowadays, I get less time to read every single day. However, I try to squeeze in my weekly dose of reading every week.
I love reading middle grade early English literature. It takes me back to my school days which I dearly miss. With that being said, I am a fan of middle grade, young adult and adult fiction genres. I love reading espionage fiction and I am a massive admirer of Mr Le Carre’s books.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
CB: I recently had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with the book called “A Real Mother.” It is wonderfully written by Ms. Shelley Bernhard, who like me, is also a debut author.
Her take on motherhood is personal, special and unique. Coming from her belief that children are shaped by their parents, her book is practical and of great value for anyone embarking on the path of parenthood.
Apart from writing, she is doing amazing work in raising awareness about several challenges including the ones faced by children at a young age.
Her website is akin to a knowledge database about a variety of practical challenges that we humans encounter at different stages in our lives.
We definitely need more writers like her!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
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