My foray into the world of stories-Neil D'Silva
I developed my interest in reading quite early. My father was a huge bibliophile and had a vast collection of books. Horror fascinated me the most. I was in Grade 7 when I first read Frankenstein and Dracula.
My father was also a freelance translator for movies, from Hindi to English.
He worked on many movies, including the Ramsays’ movies and translated movies like Dak Bangla, Veerana, and Tahkhana. I would sit next to him when he worked and familiarized myself with scripts. At times, I’d assist him. I was just 12 then. That was my first foray into the world of stories, and specifically horror.
After my post-graduation, I set up a coaching class. I loved teaching, but life was pretty much monotonous. I remember thinking, “Will I be sitting in this classroom my entire life?” In 2014, when we were in Goa for a vacation, my wife Anita and I discussed the issue. She suggested that if writing was what I wanted to do, I should do that. I started writing my book then, borrowing whatever time I could between the teaching.
I didn’t double-shift for long. My first book, Maya’s New Husband, was a hit, and we decided to stop the classes. It meant taking a financial setback for a while. My wife took up a job as a teacher and brought in financial support while focusing on writing.
I first published on Amazon KDP as I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry then, and it seemed to be the easiest choice. My book was an instant #1 bestseller in the horror genre onAmazon India and made it to #1 on the Hot New Releases list. It was covered by 40-50 blogs and was even written about in some newspapers. It soon attracted the attention of literary agents, publishers, and producers. It was my first book to opt for a screen adaptation.
My blend of horror and Indian mythology had struck a chord with readers.
My book Yakshini was picked up by Rupa Publications. The book is now a major hit. Released at the same time was Haunted with Penguin Random House. This is a co-authored book with paranormal investigator, Jay Alani, and is my first nonfiction book. The Book Bakers’ literary agency represented both these books. They have now been signed up for screen adaptations. Haunted will be converted into a web series. Its rights have been taken by Juggernaut Productions of the IN10 Network, which also operates the Epic Channel.
Things eventually worked out for me. Starting as a self-published author on Amazon KDP, I am now published with Penguin Random House, Hachette India, and Rupa Publications, among others. I have three screen adaptations. I have also spoken at several major lit fests.
Having made a dramatic shift in my career at 39 to pursue writing was the boldest step I took in my life. I am thankful to my family and my readers for having brought me thus far.