T F Carthick is a Bangalore-based writer and blogger who has been blogging since 2008. His blog posts covering zany themes written in humorous style have won him prizes in over a dozen blogger contests. He is an avid reader of Children’s Fiction, Science-fiction and Fantasy. Enid Blyton, J K Rowling, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams are some of his favorite authors. His paranormal thriller ‘Bellary’ was one of the three stories in the book Sirens Spell Danger, published in 2013. Six of his stories have featured in multi-author anthologies and literary magazines. He has written over 50 short stories, many of which can be read for free on his blog.
‘Carthick’s Unfairy tales’ is a retelling of seven of Grimm’s fairy tales from different perspectives bringing out some new facets in the tales as well as highlight themes of relevance in modern times. We will talk with Carthick about his book ‘Carthick’s Unfairy Tales’
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
As a blogger, I used to write humorous stories for contests that were parody of popular works. I had written at least 5-6 of them based on fairy tales. Then one day it occurred to me why not compile them as a book. But when I started writing I realized stories needed greater depth to figure in a novel and there needs to be coherent theme across the stories in a book. So, I rewrote all of them with the theme of various kinds of unfairness. By telling stories from different points of view, I wanted to highlight unfairness in the stories as well as use the stories as a vehicle to talk about unfairness of life in general. That is how the book came to be.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
I feel one of the biggest challenges for a writer is to know when he is ready to publish. Some people jump the gun and publish before the writing has matured enough. Others keep waiting till kingdom come and let the tide pass.
The other challenge is balancing writing with rest of life. Every writer has to hold on to his day job to earn his bread and there is family responsibilities. And there are also demands made by friends and relatives. Managing to hold on to one’s passion and finding time for it is another challenge.
What is your life mantra?
Strive for excellence in whatever I do.
What is your writing process like?
I can’t completely conceive of entire story beforehand. So, I have to write with the flow once and let the story take shape on its own. Once the contours are clear, I do a much more structure second draft. Then the next drafts are about adding further value, incorporating beta reader feedback, eliminating grammatical errors etc.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
The book was an attempt to show a different story can be told surrounding the same set of events depending on the characters from whose view point you are seeing the events. Also, addition of events before and after a story can change the entire perspective.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
An author or a person in any profession needs to continuously learn and hone his craft.
Author should focus on understanding what is unique that they bring in their writing and focus on developing and leveraging that in their writing.
Author should have ability to get into the shoes of their characters and feel the story before they pen it.
What are your plans for next book?
I am considering multiple ideas. One of them is a second volume of these unfairy tales. Others are full-fledged novel ideas. I am yet to decide which one to go with then.
What advice do you have for young writers?
I think the most important thing one should do before plunging into any field is to look deep into one’s soul and decide why one wants to do it. And once you find that core motivator, that should be your guide when faced with doubts and challenges.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. Let me quote just a single stanza here.
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: