On his book 'My Magical Palace'
- Is this your first your novel, Kunal? Asked by: Rashmi Sahay
- Yes it is.
- What is My Magical Palace about? Asked by: Gunjan
- It is about the human experience of growing up different, regardless of what one's background, nationality or religion is. We all at some point realize that we do not fit society's expectations. This book is about how we learn to adapt, shut down, and pretend and the cost on those around us. And it is also about breaking the rules to follow one's heart.
- When did you pick up writing.. how long did you take to write this novel? Asked by: Anubhav Sharma
- I have been writing poetry and essays since I was a child. I never thought I would write a novel at some point but I did as a result of a writing class assignment when my teacher told me that my essay was my future novel. The essay was about a place I could never go back to, and I called it My Magical Palace. It took me about six years or so to write it, spread over a longer time.
- Set in Hyderabad and US. Two completely cultures. Is this an autobiography? Asked by: Charulata
- No it is not an autobiography. It is definitely a work of fiction. However, the experience of growing up in a palace is real. As is Rajesh Khanna. :-) I have used my experiences of growing up in an old palace rumoured to be built by the Nizam in Hyderabad, as well as living in the city of San Francisco, where I currently live, to situate the novel. Yes, I set the novel in two entirely different cultures, contrasted by time and location. I wanted anyone from these and other cultures to relate to the experience of the characters in it.
- Hi Kunal, what was the biggest challenge you faced while writing this book? Asked by: Manoj Pokkadan
- Hmmm.... The biggest challenge. The biggest challenge was writing about a place that I loved and grew up in and then weaving several layers and threads of story around the experience of loss while staying authentic and true to the depiction of my characters and keeping the story interesting. I had to learn to delete sections that did not move the plot forward and add sections that did. It was a challenge to do multiple rewrites.
- hi, how is this book different from any other queer book Asked by: Pratyush Singh
- This book deals with the human experience of growing up different. The protagonist is queer and is rejected by his peers. This is not a book about coming out as a teenager. This is a story about learning to lie, pretend and shut down. This is a story about what happens to an individual and those around, when he/she starts lying and pretending and is not true to his/her own true self. Ultimately several characters underscore the theme that to be true to oneself one has to follow break the rules sometimes and the resulting healing that comes about.
- Why have you chosen city Hyderabad in you Novel ? Asked by: Shweta
- I chose Hyderabad because I grew up in it, in an abandoned palace converted to government housing. It was rumoured to be built by the Nizam's.
- Hey.. who is your favourite author Kunal.. any novel/book you like to read again and again? Asked by: Siddhartha Mukherjee
- My favourite author is Daphne du Maurier. I love to read Rebecca over and over again. There are others I love too, but she was my inspiration since I was a teenager.
- Any suggestions for budding authors? I have been trying to write a novel.. but somehow unable to complete it Asked by: Akanksha Jain
- I would be glad to share what I know. Here are things that might help: 1. Have a writing routine, even if it is two days a week. 2. Create a list of characters and do a short sketch 3. Create a chapter by chapter outline 4. Follow the blueprint you created and then change 5. Join or form a writing group so you can read you work and have it critiqued and do the same for others in your group 6. Be ready to do revisions 7. Do not keep rewriting the first draft. Make notes and keep going till it is finished. Most novels are never finished because writers keep going back and editing. 8. Take a creative writing class Hope this helps!!
- Whats your writing routine? Asked by: Sneha
- I write about three times a week or more, depending on whether I have a regular day job. I love to write in public, specially in cafes since I am people watcher. I like to shut the world out and write and then let the world in again while I think about what I will write next. :-) I seldom write alone at home.
- Hi kunal, so whats your favourite part in the book! The most compelling? Or funny? Or touching? Or exciting? Asked by: Aparna
- Hi Aparna, It is very hard for me to have a sense of objectivity about my own writing since I have been so intimately related to it. The most compelling part is probably when Rahul as an adult sees Colonel Uncle's message to him and realizes that he will have to be authentic in his life and that he will be OK no matter what. The funniest part in the book for me, is the part where he, Mallika, Salim and all are in the South Indian cafe and Mrs. Khosla interrupts them. The most touching part for me is when he is leaving the palace which is why I never read it in public. :-) And the most exciting part is when Rahul discovers the world of monkeys in his magical palace, adding yet another dimension to that world.
- Hello Kunal, Are you planning to write a sequel to My Magical Palace? Asked by: Vivek Chauhan
- Yes, I am planning a sequel since several folks have asked me about it.
- Is it true that you are already working on a sequel to the existing "Magical Palace"? Asked by: Andy
- Hi Andy, I have started work on it creatively already and am working with different ideas.
- I have a story in my mind and have been wanting write it.. infact i have started to scribble it down .. but not sure how to give it a final shape.. any advice for budding writes like us? Asked by: Prerna Sehgal
- Hi Prerna, Please see the answer to Akanksha Jain's question. First write down and outline so you have a framework to fill.
- Are you trying to make your book into a movie? Asked by: Rasika Jha
- Yes, I wrote the book so it could be adapted to a screenplay. There has definitely been interest. Stay tuned. ;-)