I am the author of the English novel When Strangers Meet. I am also a two time International award nominated Photographer. Having born in to a Tulu family in Tripunithara, I grew up in the thick suburbs of the Millennium city, Gurgaon. I received my schooling from DAV Public School, Gurgaon. After completing my engineering in 2011, I left for my hometown in Trichur, Kerala. Since then I have been assisting a couple of ad-filmmakers from Cochin and has ghost-written dozens of conceptual screenplays for TVCs of reputed brands. Storytelling is my passion and I am working on my second novel. I wish to assist mainstream filmmakers and eventually make Feature films in future. My earliest attempt ‘The Man who loved me’ was selected for the prelims at ‘IFF Melbourne’ in the year 2011. The film had me in the seats of Lead Protagonist, Screenwriter, editor & Director. It was made with a digicam. I have directed 4 short films and a cinematic documentary till date. I chose not to act in my 4th short film ‘The Visitor’ which is a horror short film shot entirely in Black and white, as an ode to classic Noir of the 50s. My greatest fascination is tales about the supernatural and I am an ardent lover of Hitchcock movies. My blog ‘Strangeronmyshelf.in’ is an innovative concept where upcoming short-filmmakers, writers, poets, photographers, musicians etc are given a free of cost platform to portray their works of creative art. The blog now boasts of a small family but I wish to extend it to a large family of Strangers who shall help others to showcase their dreams on the world wide web thereby promoting mutual cooperation as well. The blog has over eight lakh hits already. I am currently travelling across the major metros of India, promoting his novel to the farthest possible extent.
Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
My novel is about three strangers who are stranded in a metro station an how one Stranger's tale changes the lives of the other two. A chance meeting with a stranger in a train was the inspiration.
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?
I love to read Thrillers. Dan Brown, EV Lucas, Camus, David Baldacci, Khalid Hosseini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Roald Dahl and Paulo Coelho being my favorite authors. The effect of Black and White horror movies has been profound, therefore I prefer writing thrillers, satire and maybe sci-fi fantasy in future.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
Typographical errors have put down few readers, however, the narration and easy readability has won hearts all over the country. I have a descriptive style of narration, which makes it easy for the reader to picture each and every sentence into cinematic frames.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other?
I do both, depending on the mood as well as on the availability. The prefer writing with my fountain pen over typing on a computer. However I like thematic music around while writing.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you pick up some from you to be read pile?
I make short films or assist directors to make television commercials.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
Yes, I got the determination to sit through an entire story. ;)
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
Completing the story and then seeing my book in stores. Marketing the debut novel is a full time job in itself, tougher than writing or getting published. But at the end of the day, the results pour down as sweet honey.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head to first? Why?
Thrillers. However, nowadays, I simply rush to the New Arrivals (to check out my book, of course ;))
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?
Storytelling is my passion. I completed my first novel 'WHEN STRANGERS MEET..' back in college. I also write screenplays and assist in Film direction.
What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?
There was this girl in my college who asked me 'Who wrote your novel?' , I told her, 'Dan Brown wrote my book!' :P
What is your favorite junk food vice?
Crisps, Cutlet, Dosa and Burger! Vegetarian though :)
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
Yes, there were. Especially my English teacher from High School... She was the only person to have asked me to pursue my passion for writing at a time when everyone around me dismissed it as mere waste of time. I have credited her at the end of the book.
We all have our little things when it comes to reading, is there anything that bugs you when you read a novel? What is it?
Too much of unwanted description, especially when the protagonist is narrating the story. It's done to sound sarcastic and funny, but sometimes an overdose kills the enthusiasm to move further.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?
Like I mentioned before, I always need music while I write. November rain was the theme song for 'When Strangers meet..' for such was the mood of the entire story. Mostly alternative rock make up my playlist.
On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
Pondering, watching some movie, reading a book, helping my mom in the kitchen or playing with my cats.
What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
Sci-fi and Commercial Fiction
Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
My novel 'When Strangers meet..' is a dedication to my father... to all fathers on this planet. It's a tale about that touches the sensitive and common issue of generation gap. As a son, I might have pissed off my dear old man on several occasions. But at the end of the day one must realize that our fathers work their sweat off to raise their families. To make us what we are today... I wanted to acknowledge his efforts.
What are you currently reading?
I was reading Life of Pi, however, I have put it down for the moment.
Who are your favorite authors?
Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho, David Baldacci, Khalid Hosseini, Camus, Doyle, Dahl and MEEEEE! :P
What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? Why?
Dan Brown's descriptive narration and Coelho's method of planting seeds of positivism into seemingly difficult plots were my early inspirations for the book. Khalid Hosseini was the last one to creep into this set and that's how the third stranger was born in my story.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself.
I just need one word: Simple :)
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
The Stranger called Iyer is my favorite character because he is someone who doesn't give damn to the world, he makes others laugh and above all... is an Inspiration! Second one being Pathan, I love him coz of his dedication to his faith and belief in God despite being in the most miserable plight ever imagined.
Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
Yes, please do buy my book and I wish the Stranger finds a way into your hearts... forever... (that's what I have been signing on every copy that I have given away)
When Strangers Meet by K. Hari Kumar
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Softcover (216 pages)
Purchase the book here: Amazon | Alibris
What happens when an irritating but lovable wise-cracking 'Stranger' called Iyer meets a frustrated and arrogant teenager, Jay, on a fateful day in a congested room at the metro station? Catastrophe!!!
Meanwhile, Pathan never had the pleasure of happiness in his life yet he thanked Allah for every second of it...
Abandoned by fate and friends, surrounded by responsibilities and poverty... This hard-coated man from the city of Delhi knew only thing and that was to keep faith in Allah... Now he is set on a journey to turn around his fate...
The tale from the Iyer's past will change Pathan's present and Jay's future... And trust me...
Sometimes all it takes is a stranger's tale to change the track of your life...
Three Men... One fateful day... and a Story of a Lifetime...
The Stranger has arrived at your doorstep... are you ready to receive him? ;)