It was coffee and conversation with Durjoy Datta, who had to frequently oblige autograph hunters in between answering questions on his life, books and more
What makes your books sell and the youth crave more?
The predominant reason why my books sell, however little, is because the urban and the semi-urban youth connect to the story. Iím telling their stories and I guess they imagine my stories happening to them. Writing about things that have happened or might have happened to people around me makes the stories more believable.
You are such an youth icon, do you plan to write on other youth-related issues?
I donít know if Iím going to pick out an issue and write about it solely or purposefully write a book to deliver a social message since Iím not an authority on any of the prevailing social issues. But many of these are picked up in my book and tackled either successfully or unsuccessfully by the protagonists of my books. If my books drive a conversation on a social issue, thatís a welcome bonus!
You have often collaborated with other authors. How was the experience of working together?
Writing with a co-author does give you more confidence because you have a critic who also has a stake in the book so you know the book would read well after youíre done. But having said that, itís a long winding process and takes a lot of patience.
How long did you take to write When Only Love Remains? What inspired it?
It took me about eight months to write this book. The idea germinated from the whole fanboy-fangirl culture. When I love something, be it a book or a movie or an author, I do it passionately. So I have written to every author I have liked over the past many years. (Though I am yet to get even a single reply.) But I imagined a possibility of what if J.K. Rowling had replied... I wanted to write a story around this premise ó about a raging fangirl and struggling musician.
Who is your favourite author?
I think itís very clichťd to say that now, but I think itís John Green for the moment. In my last book, which came out last year, the male protagonist obsessed over an author called Jog Henner, which is an anagram of John Green.
Engineer, MBA and now a celebrity author. Is it a winning formula?
When all of us picked up engineering we were pretty young and we didnít know what to do with our lives and engineering seemed like a safe option. It was only later that I realised I could write and that I enjoy doing so. And by the time it became a viable career option I had already finished my MBA.
How interactive are you with your fans?
I think Iím pretty interactive. I read everything they have to say. I might not reply to a few messages but I try to reply to everyone at least once. I donít think I have met an idol of mine and I think itís on purpose. I donít want the aura around them in my head to break. I donít want them to sound or look or feel human.
If you were to turn one of your books into a film which one would it be?
It would be a toss-up between Till the Last Breath and If Itís Not Forever.
Looking back if you had not become an author, would you have been a successful and happy professional?
I think I would have been moderately happy and not successful at all. I would be average. Quite like my writing (being average being my superpower), but at least Iím happy writing.
When you are not writing what do you do?
I read a lot. I think Iím 20 years behind on my reading so thereís a lot of catching up to do.
Your message to budding writers?
To read a lot because thatís the only training you will get and have patience.
Describe Durjoy Datta in one word.
I think itís a word a lot of people have come to use about me. Durjoy? Heís okay. So yes, maybe itís okay.