Thursday, September 8, 2016

Guest Blogger: Som Nandivada

Coming Soon!

Please tell us about your latest book.
The title is State/Craft: Vision of the Seeker. It is an epic science fiction book, set in the far future. It spans across a sizeable portion of the universe. There is an empire whose domain includes millions of planets, and trillions of living beings. In the universe of this story, there are other non-empire worlds as well. The eternal tale of the fight between good and evil plays out in this context. As a backdrop to this, there is a Hard SF layer (denoted as The Book of Light for Humans in the context of State/Craft) that is referenced throughout the book, wherein there are detailed references such as chronology protection, that apply to concepts such as time travel. My web site has a link to The Book of Light for Humans.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on another book, which also builds on the elements of the State/Craft universe. While this next one does have some shared contexts with Vision of the Seeker, the characters are different to the most part, with just some glancing overlaps.

Vision of the Seeker starts out at a remote asteroid in the solar system about a thousand or so years in the future, and from there, pretty much immediately the story moves out to utterly exotic and fantastic settings in the far future and millions of light years away. In contrast, the next book I’m working on is set about a hundred years or so in the future and much of the plot unravels in California, both in the US and in Mexico. Hence, while it still taps into the State/Craft universe and all the fantastic elements from there, it is way more familiar and relatable in terms of contexts since it is only a few decades away from our current reality, just around the corner essentially. Just think of California in the 22nd Century, and the possibilities!

The concepts of time travel which I am developing in these stories are based on current science, such as Einstein’s relativity theory leading on up to Stephen Hawking’s work on quantum gravity. I expect to release multiple books in the State/Craft series, which will all build on the structure, the key to it all being The Book of Light for Humans.

How do we find out about you and your books?
My information is as below:
Web Site:

Why did you decide to write science fiction novels?
My educational background is physics and mathematics. Complementary to that, my primary animus is right brain oriented, creative. Hence, science fiction is a natural domain for me to evolve in.
I am also a songwriter / drummer (classic rock / blues), and the songs I have written are accessible via my social media links. My lyrics tend to gravitate towards a darker edge, whereas my science fiction work is tech focused with a lesser touch of dread and carrying more of a renaissance spirit, or at least I’d like to think so!

Thus, science fiction in conjunction with songwriting helps me achieve inner balance.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Every writer and every artist bestows their personality and character to whatever they create, and I am no exception to that. My background and experiences definitely play into what I write. That said, the focus in my books is far-future science fiction, therefore my personal experiences are at most indirect influences rather than immediately noticeable references.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I can’t quite trace back to the seed thoughts, but I can remember writing with intent to publish in some way, and the process of generating written works from raw material to finished goods from back while I was in elementary school. Not that any of it made it anywhere other than the recycle bin for a long whileJ. I can recollect my first official submission to a national magazine when I was in Grade 8, never heard back from them of course.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
I would project it at a year or so - give or take a few months.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
Go with the flow.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
My family supports me to the hilt. My father believed in me ever since I was a kid and encouraged my trial-and-error attempts at various creative efforts even though it was frowned upon by various ‘village elders’ who expected every kid to conform to established societal patterns. My wife made the conscious decision to scale and ramp down her career to allow me the room to ‘moonlight and/or moonshine’ along on my creative directions in parallel to my day job. She also takes care of all the routine aspects of life whether it is the administrative matters such as banking and tax filing et cetera, or the operational activities such as the handy work and maintenance and stuff. This gives me room and freedom in the mind. My kids support and inspire my efforts as well. I am truly blessed in this respect.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I take the dog for long walks into the woods, along the trails. Adjacent to my house is a pathway that connects into the Trans Canada Trail, via the Bruce Trail. Not that I’ve gone in real deep as yet, but the adjacency of the wilderness provides me with the umbilical recharge.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
Conatus drives me.

Where do your ideas come from?
In IT terms, data definition and data manipulation occurs and sustains in my head throughout, all the time, any given time. On top of that, I capture snippets of thoughts, concepts, notions et al whenever and wherever they occur. Further to that, database reorganization kicks in every now and then. That is to say, when I get large enough chunks of time, I sit down and process all such snippets into a narrative and/or a song, or whatever other form might evolve from there.

Do you feel humour is important in science fiction and why?
Of course, humor matters for science fiction in the same way as how it does for any other genre of fiction. When the readers laugh along with you, they connect with your story and become invested in it.

What kind of research do you do?
Every input received in life is a research stream. I have learnt much as an academia fringe dweller and on the road alongside of Kerouac et al, to name just a couple of the streams. Research takes new shape each day.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
Psychological Thrillers would be nice …

What does your wife think of your writing?
She is not much into Science Fiction, but she believes in me.

Do you ever ask her for advice?
For areas where her strengths are, yes of course.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
My childhood occurred in multiple locations all over India, but my roots are from Southern India. My hometown is Hyderabad which is where I spent much of my time growing up (my ancestry is from a nearby fertile coastal region). When I was a kid I used to have hobbies such as philately and
numismatics. These days, my energies are fully allocated between my day job and the passions that I pursue, so no room left for hobbies, but who knows what tomorrow holds! My educational background is MSc Mathematics with minor credits in Physics and Space Studies.

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?

There are so many! I have lived through books, during the formative years of my life. During those days I used to voraciously plow through whatever came my way, from Thucydides and Herodotus, to pulp, to African to Latin American und so Weiter. I overdid it, basically.
Then, as I was approaching my thirties, I had a bout of withdrawal (on account of the prior overdose), and read pretty much nothing at all for more than a decade or so from then on.
Recently I have re-commenced reading but it is a rough restart. I am finding it hard to get in the moment, with most of what I try, whether new material or re-reads. The one book I would vouch for as having grabbed me back onto the other side of the Proscenium Arch - is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I have been on two road trips through Montana and vicinities, in the years between the first time I read it and the second time. And it is a continuum, the experience from the first read of Pirsig’s book, the actual feel of the road when I was there in person, and the second read. In fact, one of my characters in my next book is from Montana; the region has touched me deeply.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
For Science Fiction and associated domains, I would cite Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Douglas Adams. If you ask me the same thing tomorrow I might have a slightly different mix, a different answer possibly. But right at this moment, these gentlemen come to mind.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Doing road shows, talk shows etc. and negotiating with Hollywood for my books.
It may sound audacious, considering that I am a novice writer and still have a long way to go even in terms of acquiring the necessary storytelling and writing skills. But with that said, what I have faith in, is in the structure of The Book of Light for Humans which underpins all my State/Craft books, starting with Vision of the Seeker. The Book of Light for Humans will be a game changer. The scientific premises contained therein for which I have started to put a storytelling structure around, are deeply connected to and inextricably intertwined with the core fabric of human destiny. It will drive itself. It is just a matter of time.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?
I have released a couple of self-published books in the past but I myself would totally discount them off as trial-and-error efforts. State/Craft: Vision of the Seeker with Solstice Publishing is my first well rounded book.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
For the books under the State/Craft aegis, starting with Vision of the Seeker, I definitely intend to do so, since the overall property is meant to grow from the initial seeds. Reading and re-reading will be very much a part of the process.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
The first thing that emerges for me is a world view of the story which includes prototype frames of both settings as well as characters. Gradually that distils its way towards draft takes of the book in its entirety.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
Research is easy. Evolving relatable characters is hard.
Finding epic arcs in storytelling is easy, and defining skeletal structures for the arcs is easy as well. Bestowing flesh and blood to the narratives that build up the arcs is hard, but improving that skill is an aspirational goal so hopefully the next time you ask me this, the answer will be better!
Showing is hard and telling is easy, but again this is a key skill which all writers including me continue to learn all the way along.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Yes. When it occurs, I switch focus to a different activity, and come back to writing when I feel the juices flowing again.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
For us earth based living beings, fathers play a subordinate role for childbirth, riding shotgun at the side of the mother. Creative efforts such as writing give us males a chance at experiencing that joy of being in the driving seat for works of creation.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
I will quote a poem by Mirza Ghalib in this context:

Na tha kuchch to KHuda tha, kuchch na hota to KHuda hota
Duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota maiN to kya hota ?
Rough translation:
Were there to be Nothing; there yet would be God.
Were Nothing to ever be, there would yet be God.
That said, Here I am drowned in Being ... so what of it, were I not to be?

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Keep at it, and keep improving your skill by being responsive to critiques and feedbacks. One fine day the door just opens.


  1. Congrautlations Som !! Did not knew your this aspect of life . Really impressed


  2. Som great to hear about you and best wishes remember the fundamental truth matter is never destroyed it sits on the edges of event horizon waiting to intersect with us in a different dimension .

  3. Great Som to hear about you and your walks into the unknown remember the very important truth as revealed in the holy scriptures matter is never destroyed it sits at the edge of event horizon leaking into new dimensions and waiting for us to arrive

  4. Congratulations Somu.Felt extremely good while reading ur replies in the interview as they demonstrated ur deep committment to writing on issues close to ur heart quite effectively.All the gd luck to u in all ur future attempts endeavours.Trust u all r doing great-Ravi Veluvali

  5. Congratulations Som. Never knew about your creativity side. Very happy for you. Keep it up. Bhabana


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.