“For anyone who is familiar with the author’s previous works, the book meets all expectations, for Amish bends it better than Beckham” – scroll.in
”Overall, Scion of Ikshvaku is a fast-paced, action-packed retelling of the Ramayana. I look forward to the next volume in the series” – Daily O
Like the Shiva trilogy, this again is not a retelling, but rather a complete re-imagining of the original story using the same characters but with fresh perspectives and modern sensibilities” – New Indian Express
About the Author
Amish is a 1974-born, IIM (Kolkata)-educated, boring banker turned happy author. The success of his debut book, The Immortals of Meluha (Book 1 of the Shiva Trilogy), encouraged him to give up a fourteen-year-old career in financial services to focus on writing. He is passionate about history, mythology and philosophy, finding beauty and meaning in all world religions. Amish’s books have sold more than 5.5 million copies and have been translated into over 19 languages.
From the Publisher
A Conversation with Amish
On the 1st Anniversary of Scion of Ikshvaku, we caught up with author Amish Tripathi to know more about his journey with the book, the first installment in his epic Ram Chandra series. An excerpt from an interview with the author.
Q. How has the last one year been for you?
A: Amish: It has been fantastic. The journey of the Ram Chandra Series began at a LitFest in Mumbai in late 2013. I couldn’t make up my mind on which of the subjects in my mind would be the one I’d write my next book series on. Then at this LitFest, someone came up to me and said very rude things about Lord Ram. That upset me a great deal. And I decided to start writing the Ram Chandra Series; I began writing the next day itself. In fact, I had even written an article at that time in Hindustan Times about the incident. And it is good to see that the first step of that journey, Scion of Ikshvaku, which released on June 22 last year, has been well received by readers.
Q. In the book you chronicle Ram’s journey, from a tortured prince to a great king and then a God. You interpret this timeless tale in your own unique manner and style, how did you arrive at the idea?
A: Amish: I believe that all my books are the blessings of Lord Shiva. My interpretation of Lord Ram’s journey is based on various different versions of the Ramayan that I have read, mixed with my own imagination and interpretation.
All the books that I have written till now and what I will write in the next 20-25 years are linked to each other. There are clues for all these books in the Shiva Trilogy. In fact, many readers have already decoded many of the clues that were in the Shiva Trilogy and tied up in Scion of Ikshvaku. Many more clues will get tied up in subsequent books.
Q. In your previous series, you have interpreted Shiva a ‘rock star god’, one who appealing to youth because of his daredevil ways and rebellious attitude. Ram on the other hand is quite the opposite, he obedient and dutiful. Why did you pick Ram for this series?
A: Amish: Firstly, I didn’t pick Lord Ram. Who am I to do that? As I said earlier, an incident happened which troubled me so much that I decided to write on Lord Ram. Also, I think both Lord Shiva and Lord Ram are cool in their own ways. Lord Shiva is of course a God of the rebels. But even Lord Ram can be seen as a rebel in his own right. For if we live in a society where nobody follows laws and a God comes in saying that we should follow laws, then He too is a rebel in his own way, right?
Q. How is your interpretation of Ram different from that of other writers?
A: Amish: It’ll be difficult for me to answer that. I think it’s best if you read my books and come to your own conclusion!
Q. Your books essentially humanize Hindu gods, why did you adopt this approach?
A: Amish: I’d love to say that I am being new in doing this. It may make me sound cool. But I am not the first one to write with this approach. This has been a rich tradition in India since ancient times. My books are only a very, very small contribution to this rich tradition.
Q. Looking back, is there something that you would now do differently in the first book?
A: Amish: There are always things that can be improved in whatever one does. So one should have an attitude of listening honestly to feedback and if one agrees with the criticism, then applying the lessons to the next work. But there is no point thinking too much about what could have been done better in something that’s already released earlier. One can’t turn back time!
Q. You have been lauded for the marketing strategies that you implement to promote your books. What were some of the things that you did differently with Sion of Ishvaku?
A: Amish: We did some very innovative things. The cover of the book was released by Akshay Kumar. We made a very professional trailer film for the book that was launched by Karan Johar and released in cinemas. Amazon worked very well with us to push pre-bookings of the book, along with which special bookmarks were also given. I personally delivered some books on the midnight of the launch. That was fun!
Q. How important are translations in your overall strategy to reach out to a wider audience?
A: Amish: Very important. Of the 3.5 million copies of my 4 books that have been sold, a good 5 lakh of them have been sold in editions of Indian language translations. So I strongly believe that there is a huge market for Indian language translations too. Publishers must translate well, market properly and distribute deeply to tap this market.
Q. Do you have a favorite ‘road story’ from your travels with the book in the last one year?
A: Amish: A funny incident happened in Hyderabad. I had just finished my event. And I was signing copies bought by readers and taking photographs with them. Since the event was reasonably well attended (there were probably 600 to 700 people there), the line for the book-signing was quite long. So one teenager boy went up to my wife, Preeti, who was sitting at a distance, to ask her for an autograph on his copy of Scion of Ikshvaku and a photograph with her. Preeti was obviously surprised. She asked why he want her autograph. So the teenager replied that the line of those waiting for my signature and photos was too long and he had a movie to go for! So he decided that since he can’t get an autograph from the author, he’d rather get one from the wife and move on!
Q. What next for you? What will the second book in the series focus on?
A: Amish: I’m writing the second book of the Ram Chandra Series right now. I’m sorry I can’t tell you too much about it though!
Q. Who are your literary forbearers, your mentors?
A: Amish: I read a lot; at least 4-5 books per month. And I have been reading at that pace for decades. So there are too many authors I’ve admired to be able to fit them into this answer. Also, I mainly read non-fiction. So most of the authors I like cannot be mentors in the fiction genre I write in.
Q. Any advice for first time writers?
A: Amish: I would suggest 3 things. First, when you write, write with your heart. Don’t care about what critics, publishers or even readers will think of your writing. You can’t do market research and write. That corrupts the book.
Second, once you have finished writing and the book is complete, then you need to put your pragmatic hat on and market the book properly. Nothing sells by itself in today’s atmosphere.
Lastly, it’s always wise to hold down a job and write in your free time. It allows you to pay your bills. And you will not be forced to compromise on your writing for the sake of money.