Bharat calls himself a professional storyteller and amateur cook. After 10 years of working in politics, he tried to explain how the country went from Barack Obama to Donald Trump by writing Confessions of a Campaign Manager. Then he wrote Oasis, a desert-fantasy novel that examined what makes a family and how refugees should be treated. Bharat is always looking to make a political statement with his writing because he knows politics seeps into every aspect of society and believes we can’t understand each other without a firm, constant understanding of how politics affects us in all ways.
CONNECT WITH BHARAT
Welcome to SPFM, Bharat! Since we already have your bio, describe yourself in three words.
Focused. Happy. Patient.
Summarize your book, Privilege, using one gif.
If you could recommend three self-published books, which would you choose and why?
- One Nation Under Gods – this is the first in a trilogy and it’s near perfection. It’s an SFF political thriller with an ensemble cast, just like Privilege. It’s also an SPFBO entrant.
- NACL: Eye of the Storm – I really loved this book’s pirate/anti-corporate themes, and the fact that the interludes are integral to the main plot. It is another SPFBO entrant.
- By the Light of Embers – a really beautiful inter-racial romance that takes place in 1950s Louisiana
What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part of self-publishing?
My favorite part of self-publishing is the fact that I can do anything I want. Write a 500-page SFF political thriller? Go for it! A 150-page memoir? Sure! A collection of Hindu mythology? Knock yourself out!
My least favorite part is that you have almost no institutional support. And in fact, there is still such a stigma among some buyers around self-published books.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I really love the fact that you can set your own release schedule, your own page lengths, you have so much flexibility and creative control over your works.
What’s your process for creating fully fleshed out characters?
Character sheets are key. I spend A LOT of time fleshing out my characters through extensive outlines (I’m a hardcore plotter). For my SPFBO entry this year, I put together an eighteen page document for character development.
I want to get a sense of not just their physical characteristics, but their emotional and psychological characteristics as well. Two other things I think are vital: a character should change through the course of a novel or series. They should have a narrative arc. The second thing is that your characters interact with other characters differently, and that should be made apparent through their daily routines. At work they might be meek, whereas with their significant other maybe they’re much more dominant. Highlighting those kinds of things will make your characters more relatable and dynamic, which in turn makes your story more compelling.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick and what would it be about?
I am actually doing this right now! Maadhini falls in love with the main female character in Privilege, and this book takes place seven years before those events to show her journey as a college sophomore at NYU as she comes out as a lesbian.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
My wife makes me a baked good! The last one was a chocolate pie that was divine.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Write the damn book. Just sit down and write it. It doesn’t matter if your first draft is total shit. Just write it. So many people tell me they have a great idea, but then they get in their heads and don’t want to put it down on paper because they’re afraid it won’t be perfect. But nothing is perfect. So just go ahead and do it anyways. Revisions always happen; take solace in that.
What’s the best way to market your books?
The best way to sell the book you just wrote is to go on and write another book. Having that backlist is key. If you’re looking to increase your NPV (net present value. Sorry, the MBA in me had to get a business term in there), having a good backlist will help you more than dishing out $50/month on Amazon ads.
Which one of your characters would win in a lightsaber fight?
Kaitlin Lungford is a West Point graduate who is currently the U.S. Secretary of Defense. She would demolish any opponent by using the Djem So lightsaber fighting style to seamlessly transition between aggressive offense and reflective defense.
About Privilege (The WP Trilogy #1)
In this epic saga about privilege and power, Rakshan Baliga will have to choose between the American Dream… and his own.
New York’s drug problem is Rakshan’s solution. Getting his hands on a super drug called WP could earn him glory, power, and a chance to win back his ex. But stealing it from the Top 1% is costly, and if Rakshan isn’t careful he’ll pay with his life.
Discover how Rakshan’s journey sets off a chain of events that changes his city, his country… and the world. This OwnVoices political thriller is perfect for fans of Ocean’s 11 and House of Cards.