ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aditya Joshi has written professionally for more than 20 years. His experience in the realm of spirituality led him to write the novella, The Alchemy of the Soul, in 2012 and The Last Alchemist, in 2017. He lives in Delhi NCR, India.
Q. Characterize yourself in one word?
I believe that the Universe is sentient and made of pure consciousness. The Universe is also described as Shiva - the physical body of the Lord of Pure Consciousness. I am very spiritual in the Sufi sense of the word, in that I find mundane reality to be infused with the divine—they are not different, they are two sides of one coin.
Q. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.
The Last Alchemist is about discovering your own inner spirituality.
More explicitly, the book is about discovering your inner spirituality through deep thinking and reflective action, in order to transcend human limitations. It is a story of mystical suspense interwoven with a Master's inspirational spiritual teachings. It is a story about crossing space and time and becoming divine.
It involves the reader in the story to the extent that instead of remaining merely a reader he or she is invited to become a participant in the process of self-discovery. Each and every reader has the full potential to be The Last Alchemist – you only have to burn off the dross.
Q. Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?
For about 20 years, prior to writing this book, I worked as a writer in the information technology domain.
Since childhood, I had harboured the dream of becoming a fiction writer. Finally, I realised that I would never achieve my dream of writing a book unless I became serious about it. So, I took a sabbatical from the industry and gave up my day job to pen this book.
I know other writers who have written books while keeping their day jobs, but somehow I could never do it that way. To me, it was important to follow my dream, and tread whatever path it required.
Q. What has been your biggest achievement?
Writing this book.
Writing a book is one of the toughest professions, the loneliness gets to you, the lack of inspiration gets to you, and all sort of negativity gets to you - but you still have to plough through all that and finish the work.
Q. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?
I read a lot in my childhood, voraciously, sometimes two books in one day. Later, I read the great English writers, such as Henry James, Mark Twain, and PG Wodehouse. I also developed my writing style over a 20-year long apprenticeship.
I would advise all new writers to read the famous novelists. If you do not read a lot of the good ones, you simply cannot write well.
Q. Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
No. I did not have a platform in place when I published this book. But I’m slowly and gradually building up the platform. I am asking readers for Amazon reviews. I have also published a Kindle version of The Last Alchemist, which is nominally priced and will hopefully be purchased by a wider audience in India and other foreign countries.
I also have a Twitter handle to which I tweet updates: I Aditya Joshi (@IAdityaJoshi)
Q. Favorite novel?
The Prophet wrote by Kahlil Gibran.
I have many favourite books and this one is definitely up there at the top and has inspired me a lot.
Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
The schools I studied in were generally average schools, and my schools lacked the library. But my younger sister studied in a Convent school. And so, to quench my thirst for books, I would ask her to bring me books from her school. Enid Blyton’s, Alistair Maclean’s, the Hardy Boys’, and Nancy Drew’s, among many others. And once all the stock from her school library was finished, I would send my sister to our acquaintances in the neighbourhood, requesting books or comics to read.
That’s how voracious a reader I was.
Q. What’s next?
I’m contemplating turning The Last Alchemist into a series. Now that the protagonist of the book is a master alchemist, and has transcended human limitations, I am thinking of taking him backward or forward in time or space. One instance could be where he intervenes and prevents Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
I am also working on a book of poems.
Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?
This is a magazine for the youth and ours is the most youthful democracy in the world. In my view, there is a good future for the magazine. My best wishes.