Author Interview

Mayur Sarfare

The author of The Tonic

Mayur Sarfare is an Indian author. He is a Professor of Mass Media with a keen interest in creative writing. His range of subjects include Understanding Cinema, Content Writing and Media laws. He teaches at Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Mumbai. He began his career in Public Relations at India’s largest independent PR machinery – Adfactors PR, but a love for media subjects and cinema drove him towards academics. However, the childhood passion for writing continued blossoming, finally fueling the idea for his first novel.

He is an ardent consumer of metaphysics and philosophy. A man of powerful words, Mayur Sarfare is much sought after for the multitude of thoughts that spring from an ever curious mind, which he shares on Social Media platforms, urging people to sit up and think.

His growing popularity stems from the way he perceives things objectively, without being judgemental. He also enjoys hosting events and plays moderator during panel discussions. The Tonic, is his debut novel published by Leadstart Publishing.


TBE: Tell us a little about your story and the story world you’ve created in The Tonic.

Mayur Sarfare: The Tonic is a tale about an unlikely camaraderie between two misfits and what became of them with the arrival of a magical Tonic that turned their lives upside down. The narrative world is set in two parallel timelines, 1992 (with the Hindu-Muslim riots brewing) and 2017 (twenty-five years since the riots broke out), as we alternate between the lives of these young outcasts and that of a media tycoon cum militant atheist.


TBE: Given the complexity of the story, can you remember what your starting point was when plotting The Tonic? How this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?

Mayur Sarfare: I vividly remember that the core idea of the novel came to me in a bus ride. It came to me primarily through a feeling of unfettered mental ecstasy that I experienced after having consumed certain food items, the subsequent realization of how it could be a force that could transform us and help us shed our greatest inhibitions kindled my imagination. I was fascinated by the conception that certain external stimulants could alter our consciousness to a point where it could embolden us in ways we could not imagine.


TBE: I found the atmosphere in the book deliciously dark. How conscious do you have to be of language to create such an effect?

Mayur Sarfare: Language played a very crucial role; the words are the medium through which one can reach the minds of the readers. Language is what gives form to the idea, the plot. For me, the language and the story are inextricably related. And choosing the words that stood apart from the usual vocabulary was very important in this novel because the words had to leave a mark, a distinct impression of the unique mental phenomenon that the characters experienced. I had the grand yet difficult job to make the reader picture it and feel it.


TBE: Your book, The Tonic, has the kind of plot where tiny details at the start lead to huge revelations by the end. How hard is it when writing a story like this to keep back secrets from your readers?

Mayur Sarfare: Well, having the chronology of events clearly jotted down helped me with the construction of the plot, and the back secrets are essentially revelations, transpiration of certain events that take place as the narrative advances. It was all about having the chronology of events in the story drawn in front of you and it being twisted at times to give rise to a sense of mystery and thrill.


TBE: Who’s your favorite character from the book and why?

Mayur Sarfare: The character of Maher is my most favorite one; I have molded him through my childhood experiences and can always sense his pain, his mental battles, his despair, his burgeoning iconoclasm. I share many of his inhibitions to date. And as an adolescent, the protracted journey I made from being a hardcore theist to an agnostic and then to an atheist is something that could be compared to that of Masher’s character.


TBE: When did you decide to try your hand at writing fiction? And what do you put down to as the inspiration?

Mayur Sarfare: I have been into short story writing since childhood days. But writing a full-fledged novel was something I began attempting during my adolescence. I had even written 20 odd pages of a novel titled -The Smudge of Blood, but it never took off. It was during the final year of my Masters that an idea powerful enough to be turned into a script entered my head, but after writing 40 odd pages, I realized that it deserves to be turned into a novel. And that’s how the journey of The Tonic began.


TBE: Can you tell us how you got your first novel into print?

Mayur Sarfare: Well, I had mailed the sample chapters and the synopsis to various publishing houses. Leadstart was quite prompt in expressing its interest in my work, so, I had subsequently sent the entire manuscript. Once they liked what they read, I had the contract signed. And rest is as they say history…(chuckles).


TBE: Have you ever learned anything thing from a negative review and incorporated it in your writing?

Mayur Sarfare: These are early days as this is my first novel. And till now, there hasn’t been a single negative review. But whatever little feedback I may have received, I have paid heed to it while writing the second novel.


TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about any book?

Mayur Sarfare: According to me, the characters are the most important element of a book. They are the ones who drive the narrative, and it shouldn’t ever be the other way round.


TBE: What are some must-read titles in your genre?

Mayur Sarfare: The Tonic is a unique blend of certain genres: Low-Fantasy, History, Mystery and Drama, there aren’t many books that could boast of such a bend. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, I believe are the books that must be read and are closer to the genres of my novel.


TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Mayur Sarfare: Yes, I am working on my second novel, it is half done, thanks to the lockdown and the excess of time I enjoyed having in my hands. The novel can be best described as “romantic knot”, a romantic mystery with a powerful backdrop.

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