In Conversation with Shreyas Bhave – Author of ‘The Prince of Patliputra’

Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India. Apart from writing, his hobbies are songwriting, composing music, painting watercolors and sketching with pencils. He loves hiking in the hill forts of Maharashtra, is fond of blues & southern rock music, plays the guitar. He is currently working on a startup to provide quality services to the end users of Transformer and Switchgear products in the country. He is also presently working on the second part of this trilogy which shall be called The Scourge from Taxila.

Tell us something about yourself. IMG_20160124_102342897_HDR

Hi! I am Shreyas, currently studying electrical engineering at VNIT Nagpur. My debut novel, called ‘The prince of Patliputra’ has been published recently and is available in the market. Apart from writing, my hobbies revolve around songwriting, playing lead guitar and trekking in the hill forts of Maharashtra.

The theme you have chosen for your book is very unique and complex. How did you come up with the idea?

I am basically a fan of historical –political thrillers. Some examples would be HBO’s epic series ‘Rome’ or the famous ‘Boardwalk empire.’ Then, I realized that there were a lot of historical stories to draw from in our own country itself! India has a history of more than ten thousand years! That was when I decided that I wanted to write about ancient India.

How did you do the research to collect information about Asoka and other characters?

I tapped various resources for gathering information for my book. I went from reading the Ancient Buddhist text Asokavadana to ShahRukh Khan’s Asoka movie. I also read historical accounts on Ashoka written by foreign authors like Charles Allen. So basically I was open to exploring the times of the Mauryas as a traveller and wanted to paint a picture of how exactly the events of those days must have taken place. My main focus was to create a political thriller, based on those times. A book that was of great help to shape up the land of Bharathvarsha from those times is Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal. Finally, I let my imagination run its course and came up with fictious characters such as Kanakdatta, Avarak, Hardeo and Dileepa in the story. A brief note on the characters of the story is available at https://authorshreyas.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/the-characters/

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The hardest thing definitely was the amount of information I had to collect about the times of Ancient India. I realized that a lot of things that a writer tends to take for granted while writing didn’t exist in that period at all. It was a period of no glass, paper, artillery etc and had to write taking all that into account. I have detailed my experiences about writing this at https://authorshreyas.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/hello-world/

When did you first realize your passion for writing? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I have been writing stories even since I was a child. I think I was born with that passion. I actually decided to sit down and write something when I entered my engineering.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

It’s too hard to choose an individual person as my favorite author. There are so many great souls out there! (:p Yes souls! Because the top 10 on my favorite author list are deadL) I would choose Emil Ludwig here. He was a German author who has written some of the best biographies of great historical personalities like Napoleon, Hitler, Bismarck etc. The way he deals with these legends as humans with faults is wonderful. His writing makes us keep guessing what will happen next even though history has already told us that.

Tell us something about the next books in the series.

The next book of the Asoka trilogy shall be called The Scourge of Taxila. I have already uploaded sample chapters from this book at https://authorshreyas.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/the-scourge-of-taxila-coming-soon/ The second part will detail the great siege of Patliputra by Sushem in 270 BC as well as by Chandragupta 50 years ago and will end at Asoka’s coronation as Samrat. The third book then will venture into the times during and after the Kalinga war.

After getting your first book published, do you think you have evolved creatively and how?

Yes definitely I have evolved tremendously after writing my first one. I am confident that my next works will be better than this one. I have improved in writing style, in storytelling and have now evolved into new genres. My next one coming out, apart from the Asoka trilogy will be a thriller set in modern times with historical bylines.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

The ambitions are the same as that of every writer out there. To see your books become bestsellers! To be loved by all your readers for quality as well as quantity. To have TV series and movies be based on your books. But gradually, I want to branch out into nonfiction writing and write about stuff that really haunts our world, like environmental problems, economical disasters and social inequality.

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