Citadel - - CONTENTS -

Pune man Ameet Singh scales Vin­son Mas­sif, the high­est peak in Antarc­tica

have t o over­come nu­mer­ous ob­sta­cles to thwart the evil de­signs of the ‘ He­fi­gans’, crea­tures of Sceadu, in or­der to save their own world from an­ni­hi­la­tion. It is there­fore a story of self-be­lief, of courage, of loy­alty, and of sacrice. It is a story that pitches the forces of good against those of evil, a theme com­monly ex­plored in the fan­tasy genre. And so we see the four pro­tag­o­nists over­com­ing their per­sonal demons dur­ing the course of the story, an as­pect that ul­ti­mately also brings them closer to each other. The book also touches upon the im­por­tance of bal­ance and har­mony, not only in life but also on a uni­ver­sal level.

What made you de­cide upon the cho­sen sub­ject? All along, I have al­ways been fas­ci­nated by shad­ows, th­ese sup­pos­edly docile grey shapes! In physics, shad­ows are formed when an ob­ject blocks light. In psy­chol­ogy, their treat­ment is some­what dif­fer­ent. Re­gard­less of this, shad­ows are rarely given a sec­ond thought! Nev­er­the­less, if we think of it oth­er­wise, shad­ows never leave our side, quiet com­pan­ions, pop­ping about on walls and dif­fer­ent sur­faces al­ways. But what if th­ese ne­glected en­ti­ties held a land re­plete with danger­ous crea­tures bid­ding their time to es­cape into our world and cause de­struc­tion? It was this ques­tion that in­spired me to write Sceadu!

How has the process of writ­ing the book been? The en­tire process of writ­ing Sceadu in­volved ex­ten­sive re­search in psy­chol­ogy and mythol­ogy. In a way, it was com­pletely dif­fer­ent from my pre­vi­ous works. I wanted peo­ple to look at their shad­ows and ask ‘what if’ and to bring that ef­fect out; it needed a lot of ef­fort! The difcult part was to weave the two sub­jects to­gether in such a way that fan­tasy be­came be­liev­able. I had to par­tic­u­larly work hard on the de­tails so as to not leave any loose ends when it came to ty­ing all the el­e­ments of the plot to­gether. I am a be­liever of the fact that it is the char­ac­ters that bring any story to­gether, so I spent quite a lot of time in de­vel­op­ing my prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters to en­sure they were in­ter­est­ing and mem­o­rable. To be hon­est, it was ac­tu­ally quite a lot of fun to de­velop the char­ac­ters, es­pe­cially the man­ner­isms and dia­logue! It was also chal­leng­ing to cre­ate a fan­tasy land from scratch, com­plete with its own rules and a map for the benet of the reader. While the prepa­ra­tion phase went on for some time, it prob­a­bly took me about three months to pen the com­plete novel the rst time around. How­ever, it did go through its share of ed­its and rewrites be­fore it took on its cur­rent form, a process that stretched on for a few years.

How is the au­di­ence feed­back on the book? Any par­tic­u­lar re­sponse that struck you? Feed­back from the au­di­ence, both young and adult read­ers, have been thor­oughly phe­nom­e­nal! Per­son­ally, I be­lieve that this is a tes­ti­mony to Sceadu’s in­ter­est­ing plot and unique con­cept along with some great char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, and to its uni­ver­sal ap­peal. To quote two of the re­sponses that have made me proud to have au­thored Sceadu – ‘Well-crafted and ex­e­cuted, this is a book that is wor­thy of be­long­ing to the time-hon­oured fan­tasy genre.’ Hi­man­jali Sankar, Edi­tor at Blooms­bury In­dia ‘ Sceadu is such a worth­while and in­vig­o­rat­ing read that it is quite likely to spawn a cult fol­low­ing, who will soon be ask­ing for more sto­ries in the same vein.’ Lois Hen­der­son, BookPlea­sures.com

Tell us about the projects you are cur­rently work­ing on? Cur­rently, I am work­ing on a ro­man­tic com­edy. It also is my very rst in this genre. Quiet a de­par­ture from my usual style of writ­ing and sto­ry­telling; I am thor­oughly en­joy­ing the process! This would be fol­lowed by a work of ction for chil­dren. More­over, I am also do­ing re­search for a his­tor­i­cal ction novel.

On a con­clud­ing note, tell us one rea­son why the read­ers should pick up Sceadu? If I were to think of one rea­son as to why the read­ers should pick up Sceadu, it would be the log­i­cal ba­sis of this en­tire fan­tasy, which makes it a thrilling yet plau­si­ble adventure! And if I were per­mit­ted to of­fer just one more rea­son, well, they ab­so­lutely must if they want to un­lock the se­crets of the shadow!

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