For India’s romance-writing sensation Durjoy Datta, it’s a labour of love
Durjoy Datta’s fans are mostly female, and have a tendency to blow kisses at him during book launches. The 28-year-old, India’s hottest new romance author, has written 11 novels (including If It’s Not Forever, It’s Not Love, 2012; World’s Best Boyfriend, 2015) in seven years and founded a publishing house that encourages young, untapped talent. Ahead of his UAE debut at the Sharjah International Book Fair, the New Delhi-based writer talks to The National about his amazing success rate and dealing with fandom.
You released your 11th novel this year. What makes you such a prolific writer?
I enjoy the process of writing too much to not to do it. I do it every day, all the time and so by the time I get to bed, I have a few thousand words to play around with. I usually end up editing a lot out but they do make up a novel in six or eight months. I used to be more prolific when I started out, but I have slowed down now.
You have a degree in engineering and worked for companies such as American Express. What made you quit and become a full-time author?
I really enjoy it and would pick it a million times over anything else. There was always the question of whether I will be able to eke out a living ... but as soon as I realised I wouldn’t starve writing for a living, I made the shift. Luckily it worked out and I’m doing something I really enjoy.
At the core of all your novels is a love story. Why?
I wanted to write stories that I could relate with. Although I’ve always loved books across a wide range of genres, I knew writing about young people and what they go through is something I will be most adept at. I have tried writing in other genres, but haven’t been satisfied with the results. Also, I never wrote books thinking of a target audience. It was the other way around. The audience found my books and, fortunately, latched on.
How is your latest book World’s Best Boyfriend different from your earlier books? Also, you have said that you borrowed a leaf out of your own life in this story?
The book is about a girl who has been struggling with self-image issues. It’s a coming-of-age story. It’s about her beginning to love herself. I was an obese kid for about five years and I know what a person can go through when you look at the mirror and you don’t like what’s staring back at you. The struggle is real and I know of quite a few people who have gone through the same.
What motivated you to co-found publishing house Grapevine India in 2011? How is it different?
I didn’t face much of a struggle while getting my first book published, but I knew of many young authors – good ones – who did and we wanted to do something for them. Grapevine India was the answer. Our unique selling point is the stress on young writers, the short turnaround time, and the accessibility of the set-up. The author is at the centre the ecosystem.
You’ve also written for popular Indian TV shows such as Sadda Haq and Ek Veer Ki Ardaas...Veera.
It was an impulsive decision that turned out to be really fruitful. Writing for a broadcast network and production house is quite different from writing for publishers. The writer works with a big team and the script has to satisfy a lot of parameters. It’s an open-ended medium unlike books or movies ... It’s dynamic and I liked the challenge.
Talking about your huge fan following, you have girls blowing kisses at you during book launches and commenting on your dimples on your Facebook page. How do you handle the fandom?
I enjoy comments on my books a lot more than anything else. But being loved like that is also quite humbling.
You’re an avid user of social media. How important is it to you?
It’s not essential but, that said, it’s also important to let your readers know about new books and launches so that you can spread the word around.
What do you like most about coming to the UAE?
I have been to the UAE a few times before but never had a book event. So I’m probably more excited than they are. I like the fact that the UAE almost feels like home [Delhi], but with wider roads and taller buildings.
• Interact with Durjoy Datta at the Sharjah International Book Fair on November 10 at 8pm
Updated: November 7, 2015 04:00 AM