A Thin Line Between Reality And Fiction: Exclusive Interview With Pratik Shah of 'The Pulwama Aftermath'

Pratik Shah on how he almost 'predicted' the Pulwama attack before it happened.

A Thin Line Between Reality And Fiction: Exclusive Interview With Pratik Shah of 'The Pulwama Aftermath'
The wounds of the Pulwama attack on Indian forces are still fresh in the country's mind. In a race against time, intelligence agencies are working to uncover the secrets behind the rogue operation before it’s too late. Any one of several terrorist organisations across the border could be involved. Or perhaps the truth is much closer to home.

Here's an exclusive interview with author Pratik Shah who almost 'predicted' the Pulwama aftermath before it actually occurred.

You published the book 'The Pulwama Aftermath' the same year the incident took place or rather just in few months. What is the secret sauce behind such a fast yet intriguing and quality writing? 

I'll let you in on a secret. The first 3 chapters of The Pulwama Aftermath were written in January, 2019 (prior to the real Pulwama) based on an imaginary incident. And by first week May, the first draft was available for select readers' feedback and download on Kindle. After 2 months of review exercise, the final book was launched sometime in August.
Having a full time job, every morning, all these 3-4 months, I used to wake up at 4 am sharp and wrote till I left for work. It was discipline and perseverance that helped me do a rather good job. A great editor, and yes, passion to keep going on. I knew I had a deadline.


What had been your first instinctive reaction after the news broke out about the Pulwama attack? 

You can imagine my consternation and  shock when an actual attack took place and events started unfolding. I used to tell me wife in jest that a part of my plot is being leaked out, and that it's not fair ;) I even felt that the book will lack 'newness' once it comes out as certain core events had the propensity  to be eerily similar to the plot of The Pulwama Aftermath. Of course, the book was smaller a concern than the that for the families that were affected in the dreadful event.

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 How is the self-publishing process be like? 

It's enjoyable and it is something that I'd like to strongly recommend to all new authors. I've made my mistakes though. For my first book 'Operation Jai Mata Di', I approached all the publishing houses. After a long time, as I was just about launching my own imprint, one of India's biggest publishing houses contacted me and confirmed that they had liked the manuscript. But then weeks of following up and I figured that the person who had confirmed had moved from the company. Well, so the story ended right there. I published the book myself and I moved on. For The Pulwama Aftermath, I didn't even consider any publisher.

The reasons to self-publish are multiple. I will list a few:

a)   Self publishing gives the author full control of their work.

b)   The royalties that the publishing houses give are a pittance. Not worth your effort.

c)   If you are a new author, you will end up marketing the book yourselves.

d)   The digital rights, or at least the majority share, is retained by the publisher which is not right. It can lead to issues if a streaming player gets interested in your book.

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The plot in the book is fictional, however, few or rather many facts, names of events, public offices, agencies and institutions are real, how did you get access to this information? What was the research process like? 

I researched extensively on defence related websites, articles and archives. Some connections from within the concerned agencies also helped.
I even had to devour on many of the  papers leaked by Julliane Assange!


Tell us something about your blog is a personal diary for me. It's a place where I pen my thoughts, often in the form of poetry. It also gives readers a peek into my mind - it's beyond than thriller and mysteries, I can tell you ;)

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