J. Alchem is voracious reader and a critically acclaimed author. He is the winner of story mirror- 2015 (a national wide writing competiton) NaNoWriMo-2015, and superhero story teller(2014). He has written in several magazines and newspaper and receives the appreciation for the same. His stories have been published in numerous anthologies such as Blank Space, Love Bytes, Mighty Thoughts and on various online channels.
He is actively involved in writing quotes and short write-ups which are often seen being circulated among the youth in Facebook, whatsapp and social networking sites, which is a reward to him by his readers.
Tell us about your book “A Road Not Traveled’? How did you come up with the name- ‘A Road Not Traveled’?
A Road Not Traveled is a story of three guys who on a fine day receive three unknown calls to work upon a mission, “Can the world be a single country?”
It is a roller coaster ride of their journey to accomplish this mission.
As the book talks about something about which no one has written so far, so I decided to give it this name. The title is different from those Indian books titles, so is the story. Previously it was titled as “worth falling in love” but then I decided to change the name as I did not want the readers to put it in pure romance genre.
How does an idea come for a story come to you?
It can come from a quote, from an article, from a conversation, or from a mid-night dream. I am usually up to neck with ideas, they are too many to handle. I usually ask them to fight for their survival and then I portray the winner one on a paper and it is how my unique stories come into existence.
At what age did you start writing?
Since childhood; I used to maintain a dairy but it took a new turn 6 years ago when I started taking my imaginary friends seriously. They were growing in numbers and I was having no escape but to show them to the real world.
Do you think there is any connection with your hat and you? Since your book’s cover page has a hat too? Tell us about that.
I love bowler hat so much. Many of my favorite characters from old Hollywood movies wore it. A person weaning ‘A hat’ is a sign of someone who is always thinking ahead and has capability to revolve the whole world around them.
When I was creating the character of Alborhmi, I was sure that he would be having a hat on his head and the whole world then will revolve around his hat, around his mind, and his stories. When the book cover was getting designed, I made sure that it has a hat, too. So, this hat was not only my love, but the requirement of the story, too.
Which is the favorite part of your book ‘A Road Not Traveled’?
There is no single favorite part; there are many. The relationship of Niorgast with his mother; how she despite being illiterate taught him difficult lessons of life. The character of Albormi (it took me months to live and then portray this character in the book) who let the whole world revolves around his hat. The blessing coffee, the character of Miss Hemi and Sidzy Merilym; there are many such favorite parts in this book which are very close to my heart.
What do you think is more important- the names of the character or the nature of the character?
Obviously the nature of the character, but most of the times name speaks for the character. In this book, all names are fictional because this book represents no country and no place, so it was the need to give fictional names to the characters. I know, it is a little hard to pronounce the fictional names of the characters, but again it is joyful to twist your tongue with tongue twister.
Which is your favourite book of another author? If the protagonist of your favorite book comes alive in front of you, what would you say?
It is really hard to choose one book when you do have so many in your favorite list. Still, The Alchemist and The Kite Runner are close to my heart. The character of Amir Jan is my favourite one. If he comes alive in front of me, I would say, “Hey Amir Jan, would you like to have a cup of coffee with my baby SidzyMerilym? I want you both to be great friends”
Is there a particular time of the day when you write your ideas? When?
No particular time. My imaginary friends visit me when they feel like. No matter how many times I call them, they jump on me only when they feel like playing.
Though I try to have a word with them while I am travelling in a metro or auto, or waiting for someone to arrive, but, yes, their favorite time is night; when the whole world is sleeping, they come and hug me so tight.
Are you interested in writing a love story or motivation is the only genre?
I believe in writing something ‘out of the box’. I don’t like writing pure love stories and the reason behind them is that they are illogical sometimes. Same stories, same twists, same suffering, and same kind of their fate. So, I always avoided writing pure love stories until I came across a story which shattered me to the core and I decided to write my first and perhaps the last pure love story, “It’s Forever”.
There is another reasons, too, behind writing a love story and it is the promise I made to the main character of this story. Yes, it is a true story.
When is your next book coming? Tell us something about that.
Within a month, I am releasing a kindle. Kindle will be having a few short stories that will connect the readers with my new book “It’s Forever” and its characters JihanZahir and Sidzy. Readers will get to read about JihanZahir and Sidzy and how much they love to each other, in the kindle, too.
Just like you are an inspiration to others, who is/are your inspiration?
The list is long, Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, Aamir Khan, GulzarSahab, Prasoon Joshi, Paulo Coelho, Nicholas Sparks, and KhaleedHossieini. These people highly inspire me. I learnt a lot from them.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
There are many like when I won Superhero Storyteller Award, when I won StoryMirror Season 1, when I won NaNoWriMo in 2015 and 2016, and when I was listed in a few GK magazines as an author. But the best and close to my heart was one was when someone very close to me hugged my book, jumped in the air, gave treat to everyone, asked them to pray for me and then dropped me a text saying, “J<3 itnikhushiiii… m pagal na ho jaun…”
What would you do if you weren’t into writing?
Minding my own business instead of poking my nose into the life of imaginary characters.
What is your biggest fear?
I don’t fear anymore. I have already lost what I feared and loved. I have loosened the grip on people and things. I am a free bird now, letting the air to take me wherever it wants me to take.
You are very active on Social Medias with your #KuchBhi posts. What is the motive behind it?
#KuchBhi is a part of my new book “It’s forever”. It is a dialogue of Sidzy that she loves speaking and Jihan loves hearing from her. I started this on social media just to give a little idea about my new book, but then I saw readers highly got connected with #KuchBhi. They started seeing their reflection in every #KuchBhi posts. My inbox started flooding, people asking me to post #KuchBhi pots more frequently and thanking me for it and in no time #KuchBhi was a brand in itself and I had no way, but to continue with it.
Tell us about “It’s Forever”? and your future projects.
I am working on a fiction, too, which is on Dr. A.P.J. Kalam. Yes, you have read it right; it is a fiction and on Kalam Sir. More information about the same will be revealed once “It’s Forever’ is out.
What is your message to other budding authors?
Read as much as you can. I don’t find any good piece of advice than this one.