Saturday, July 11, 2015

Interview with Anil Goel

Another interview on my blog *broad smile*. I got a chance to interview Mr.Anil Goel author of Exit Point and I asked him a variety of questions. He has answered them in an interesting way. You can read the complete review of the book here - Book Review : Exit Point - Anil Goel

--- Interview with Anil Goel ---

Q: How and when did you decide that you wanted to write the book “Exit Point”?

A: I wrote Exit Point after I couldn’t stop thinking about a chance Facebook chat with a complete stranger.  She was ostensibly a girl living in London and had messaged me some thoughts after my first novel Release 2.0 had been published. I didn’t know her at all and yet I found myself paying more attention to our conversations on Facebook than most conversations I was having at that time with people I knew in flesh and blood. That really got me thinking. We all wonder at some time or the other about our purpose. Who am I? Why am I here? In this life? Where did I come from? Where will I go? Strangely enough, the Facebook encounter made me start thinking about all these things and that introspection sowed the seeds for what would eventually become Exit Point.

Q: Is the story inspired from real life events or is it completely fictional?

A: The story is completely fictional. It’s set in the future! I have however traversed everything from the origin of life on Earth to the birth, and evolution of the internet. I am a student of Computer Engineering. Even as a bad student, never attending class, I could not escape a lasting fascination with Alan Turing’s Universal Computer. All these many of my life’s mysterious came together fascinatingly to help me plot Exit Point.

Q: Which other books have you written in the past and what can we expect in the near future from you?
A: Exit Point is my second novel. I “became” a writer with “Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative” which was a wake up call back in 2007 to the Indian IT industry to pull up its innovative socks or perish! Its an out an out fast paced espionage thriller in a sense but it predicted things that are now playing out almost ten years later. If you see how Vishal Sikka is reimagining Infosys so drastically today, it’s not very different from Sudarshan Rao’s vision for Infinity in Release 2.0. As regards thrillers in the pipeline, I am working on two technology concepts that are again incredible and I realize once again that I am almost half a decade ahead of time with those thoughts. Technology however is advancing very fast and what I imagined three years back all alone may not appear so innovative even today, and more likely tomorrow so I need to get them out fast. One is going to make you think about search in way I am sure you have never imagined. The other – well I don’t want to give away too much and “inspire” someone else to start writing – but I can tell you it will reveal the future of a past we know too well

Q: What are your thoughts about the future of internet?
A: Ubiquitous, invisible, free, just like air. And if you read Exit Point you will realize I worry that’s all that may remain. The internet. Nothing else. Just the internet. Stretching over Earth like a skin.

Q: Any interesting feedback, you would like to share with our readers that you have received from people who have read your book?
A: I have created a fictitious service called that allows you to share your last living moments over the internet with a soulmate. A seventy five year old woman told me she loved the chapter on the service. I was moved but I wasn’t sure she really got it so I tested her gingerly. I asked her to describe it to me and she played it back exactly the way I had intended it to be understood. That stunned me. I was so moved I asked her to talk about it a book event and she made it a point to attend and spoke about it. She spoke about how the internet is impacting her life for the better and I was grinning from ear to ear. A much younger woman told me Exit Point had helped her conclude some intense debates that were going on in her head for a very long time. It almost helped her find closure for many internal conflicts in her life. That is so touching. A ten year kid claimed he had read Exit Point in under two days. I asked him what it was about and he promptly replied it is about a new civilization. Clearly he had digested it. That range of readership has stunned me. I wish I had the courage to give up the security of my monthly paycheck and travel around the country plugging Exit Point and getting people to read it. I think it could change society almost. I am that confident now. But it’s just impossible to be that selfish and just give up everything and go after something you love.

Q: Do you read as much as you write? Which are your favorite books?
A: I was a voracious reader till tenth grade, thanks to my brother who devoured one novel a night from the age of about seven or eight. Then I grew up too quickly I think and started reading non-fiction in whatever spare time I could find.  So no, I don’t read much. People call me “padhalikha” and I joke  I am mostly “likha” and not that much “padha”. I have been tremendously impacted by “The Strangers” by Stephen King, “The Voice of the Night” by Dean Koontz and “When The Lion Feeds” by Wilbur Smith.
Q: Which other writers inspire you?
A: No one to be honest. I have almost completely stopped reading fiction after I started writing it. All successful writers I have met, and every article out there about writing, are pretty clear that a writer should read a lot. I just don’t do it and don’t want to do it. Writing fiction has become a way for me to explore all of existence and its mysteries. I am fortunate that I can indulge myself at 40 with doing all of that. I feel like a kid in a candy store. I don’t want that to take away that childlike pleasure and fascination by taking writing too seriously. After I have written twenty thirty books and imagined and explored a hell of a lot of technological possibilities through my writing, maybe I will stop and take stock and see how I am doing with my writing and then take a call. Till then I just want to explore.

Q: Two things that you like and dislike the most about Internet?
A: The internet is a form of technology. And technology itself is neither good nor bad. It has no agenda. Its impact and the way it influences people can be good or bad. I love the fact that technology is connecting people to people and ideas to ideas. I hate the fact that it is making people mentally lazy.

Q: If your book, Exit Point, is made into a Bollywood film, which actors/actresses would you want to be a part of it?
A: I am not sure if I have been asked this question before but I definitely know I haven’t answered honestly till now. Let me tell you. I kept a passport size photo of Ranbir Kapoor by my side all through writing Exit Point. Remember it took me seven years to write Exit Point. I took him not because I was thinking of casting but because I needed a reference for someone tall, young, extremely intelligent and good looking in a casual, warm way. Ranbir is the only guy I could think of in the world though he is far better looking than I have portrayed Alok. An actress would be tough. . Exit Point also weaves through an intense relationship between two youngsters so there is a female protagonist but I don’t know which actress could play it.

Q: You prefer reading e-books or you love the traditional paper/hard back books?
A: Paperback any day. Torn covers, crumpled pages, dog ears. Wow.

Q: Other than writing, what are your other interests?
A: I love playing tennis. I like meeting new people. I like sitting in an inconspicuous place and watching the world go by. I like jogging by the sea. It allows me to be inside my head, observe the world, and also work out at the same time.  Remember these are my interests. It doesn’t mean I do any of it. I don’t have the time. I am too busy working hard to fund my writing.

Q: Which gadgets do you personally use?
A: An iPhone. Do you really need anything else? I own a few things like wireless speakers, hand held scanners but I don’t end up using them that much. It has to be the phone.

Q: During the course of writing this book, did you ever face a writer's Block? How long did it take for you to complete the book?
A: I must confess Writer's Block is a bit overrated.It's almost sexy.Actually "imagination block" is probably a better term.You don't imagine and write at the same time.The imagination is active all the time and it's terrible when it stops.There were definitely times I had such blocks but a lot of it was emotional.Exit Point is an intense story. It scared me at times.

Q: One message that you would want to convey to our readers?
A: Don’t just look for stuff that is easy to read and that provides easy entertainment. Read things that will open up your mind. That will engage you. That will require you to have a perspective, to think, question and debate. Things that will make you uncomfortable at first but happier and richer when you face the discomfort and arrive at answers. Read Exit Point, in short. It will open up your mind and make your head pain for a long time.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?
A: If by connect you mean get in touch then the best thing is to send me a friend request and follow it up with a private message. If by connect you mean something far deeper, like strike a chord, then I think you need to demonstrate to me that you are spending a significant amount of your time challenging yourself with different things in the attempt to discover what is that one thing that you were really meant to do.

-- End of Interview with Anil Goel --

Mr. Anil Goel will be at The Bagel Shop, Bandra on the 14th of July to interact with aspiring authors and readers. He has invited entries from budding authors and based on their sample, he will be selecting one person who he will mentor and support throughout their journey - from tips on writing a novel, knacks on managing time, drafts of the book, how to deal with creative blocks, contacts for publishers and even a recommendation letter.

To know more about the event visit
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