Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our new anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Rohit Sawant in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
No one thing in particular. It was something I knocked into shape for the submission call after a few days of brainstorming. One of the things I absolutely love about Transmundane Press’s themed anthologies is how it pushes you to be more creative and prod the idea in every dimension until you latch onto something you find fascinating and roll from there. In this case, it was the story of this guy who signs up as a food delivery rider for an elite service but soon discovers things to be very off.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
He’s this struggling artist named Suraj, who is just your average Joe between jobs, trying to make ends meet by scrounging freelance work, but a chance encounter with an old friend steers him down a certain path that initially seems like a pretty sweet deal; however, that changes quickly.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
In terms of locale, it mirrors places in my city and that was fun to play around with, taking things I’m familiar with and repurposing them as part of the story’s setting. I enjoyed blending it with a kind of sleepy sinisterness.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
I’d say it’s a story of quiet horror with ambiguous overtones.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
I’ve worked as a freelancer, and I’m all too familiar with the entailing push and pull of dealing with people and the resulting anxiety and a wishful-thinking aspect for something more reliable. That was something I drew on to better relate to my main character. Also, observational stuff, like seeing people in my surroundings grappling with the job market, societal expectations, and balancing their personal lives and passions. Although I don’t dwell as deeply on all those things in the story, they did inform my molding of the characters and the circumstances.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Hopefully be creeped out. And perhaps be more empathetic towards the people who deliver things to your doorstep and keep in mind that they’re more than just a marker on your app.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
Writing about the food delivery service’s various weird patrons was great. I’m intrigued by those characters, as well as some others who didn’t make it into the final draft, and still think about them sometimes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I owe a lot of my love for pop culture to two of my cousins. They introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock Presents when I was about eight, and while the details of the episode escape me, I remember being so blown away by it that I scrawled a silly little whodunit called “The Missing Brick” after watching it.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
Ideally, I like to write in the mornings with a cup of tea and swing between silence and rock and roll or movie soundtracks in the background. I like having that little ritual but neither of those things are a necessity per se and are becoming increasingly impossible owing to my day job so I carve out whatever time I can and just sit and get the words down when I’m working on something.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
It’s hard to whittle it down to any one thing. There’ve been a cluster of influences. I’m still a fledgling writer, but the ratio of imagination, experience, and imitation has changed a lot compared to when I’d just started writing. As is often the case, earlier on, I was more drawn towards capturing that buzz I got from reading by imitating my favorite writers whereas now I’m apt to approach it by being more and more of myself. And a lot of that is also a result of reading more diversely and being inspired by it.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Either Times New Roman or Courier New (Very basic, I know). Although I do switch it up occasionally if it’s a slow writing day.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
Chuck Wendig’s blog at terribleminds.com is a favorite of mine. Also, writing goodness shared on Twitter from time to time by C. Robert Cargill and V. E. Schwab.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
I have a few faves. One that comes to mind presently is “chiaroscuro,” which refers to the use of stark contrast in art. I love how the word rolls of my tongue and the technique as well. My least favorite would be “like,” which is like the dandelions of sentences.
Rohit Sawant’s fiction has appeared in the Shirley Jackson Award winning anthology The Twisted Book of Shadows, Transcendent, Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Edgar Allan Poe, Weirdbook, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India, and his favorite Batman is Kevin Conroy. You can find him at rohitsawantfiction.wordpress.com and @iamrohitsawant on Twitter.