Ayushman Jamwal, author of Chameleon Lights, is a 27-year-old journalist, a Senior News Editor at CNN-News18 based in New Delhi. He graduated from the Cardiff School of Journalism, United Kingdom and started writing poetry when he was a student at The Doon School in Dehradun. He lives with his parents, younger brother, grandmother, and dog Leo. Here is small excerpt of my conversation with him-
- Tell us something about your recently published book Chameleon Lights.
Everyone goes through a unique journey, well lit paths, and dark corners to come face to face with their identity, their spirit. Chameleon Lights is one such journey wrapped in 20 poems. Love, despair, enlightenment, and struggle, these emotions vividly dance on the pages of the book. Everyone can find a part of themselves between the lines.
- When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was 15 years old, studying at the Doon School in Dehradun. I used to publish short stories and poems in the renowned Doon School Weekly and went on to become Chief of Production of the publication in Class XII.
- Interesting! What is the purpose of your writing?
Ever since I saw my name in print in the Doon School Weekly, I have been hooked to writing. The joy of creating something worth publishing has been eternal. Beyond that, writing poems has always been a therapeutic way to express myself, even connect with myself. I have learned that the Universe rewards those who live with an open heart. Poetry is a way I express my devotion to the Universe.
- What inspired you to bring forth this idea of Chameleon Lights as a book?
As a senior news editor of a national channel, ‘negative news’ is my business. Demonetization, dirty politics, and terror, there are seldom uplifting stories that I put on the air. Poetry is my release switch from that world, where I can capture a fleeting sentiment, emotion, and thought in words. The rat race of life made me feel I may lose connection with those words, so I gathered them in a book, to share and keep them alive around me, maintain the link with all those moments — the emotional turbulence, the eye opening enlightenment and power of expression.
- Is Chameleon Lights inspired from real life?
All literature is inspired from real life, especially poetry. Growing pains, moral struggles, the ecstasy of love, the pain of despair and defeat all have been immortalized in Chameleon Lights
- What importance do you think love, family, and relationships hold in an individual’s life?
Love binds it all, making family and relationships the greatest of strengths and the most terrible of weaknesses. Yet there is enlightenment, awe, and hope at every turn, under the bright lights and in the dark moments. Relationships rooted in love make us all feel immortal, closer to the divine.
- Which of your works have been published so far?
Chameleon Lights is my first book.
- So how was this journey of becoming a published author?
It was exciting. All publishers had guidelines for sample poems and book descriptions, and it didn’t take me long to prepare them both. I sent my proposal to all publishers, and I got a call back from Authorspress. Moreover, the publisher, Sudarshan Kcherry, is very passionate about poetry. He liked my work and encouraged me to keep writing, and network with other editors, poets and poetry lovers. I was lucky to get a publisher who not only is encouraging and passionate about his job, but who helped me expand my horizons and guide me to new and exciting opportunities.
- Have you self-published your book or followed the traditional approach?
- Which approach is better according to you: traditional or self-publishing, and why?
No matter what approach, every author, namely new authors, need a support structure and intellectual investment from their families and peers, especially their publisher. It helps any author flourish beyond the pages of a book.
- What should the beginners do today?
If you have an idea, get the bare bones ready. Book description, sample chapters, or poems should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Once the framework is ready, shoot it to publishers in every direction, but keep working to complete the product. Persistence is key to become an author. Do not fear or dismiss rejection and criticism. Keep working to fine tune your product by reading and re-reading. What you come up in multiple readings will surprise you. At the end, you have to enjoy and savour different hues of life to be a good writer. Always live with an open heart and mind.
- That is a very useful piece of advice! What is your take on book publishing as you see the current scenario?
I feel there are not many opportunities for poets to publish their work as many feel it is no longer a popular form of literature. Like I said I am lucky to have encountered Authorspress, which is one of the few publishers actively publishing poetry. I feel poetry is still a popular art form, but the market is directing the majority of publishers, publishers are not guiding the market. I believe with poetry, they have a unique opportunity.
- True. What are your forthcoming writings?
I am working on a novel, a slasher thriller involving a war veteran based in New Delhi.
- Sounds intriguing. What are the four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
- Emotional punch
- Simple language, yet emotive terms
- What is your favorite genre and why?
No favourite genre. If any story can weave a vivid world and a moving human tapestry, then I am a fan.
- What / Who is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Love. The greatest of strengths and most terrible of weaknesses.
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have ever faced is not being able to express myself. Writing poetry really helped me achieve peace with my restless spirit, become confident to face the world.
- If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
Lord Tennyson when he was composing the poem Ulysses, so I can find out what was going through his mind when he was writing that masterpiece.
- And finally, any message for the readers?
Live life with an open heart and the universe will reward you with inspiration and strength.
So that was Ayushman for you, author of “Chameleon Lights“.
You can get in touch with Ayushman directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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