Sid Kapdi’s short story is part of the upcoming anthology City of Screams. We got in touch with the author to find out what the story is all about and to be part of his journey as a published author. Here’s the interview:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an IT professional working with a global MNC, leading a team that enables winning strategic deals. Since childhood, I have been fond of using my observation and imagination skills in crafting stories. Being a movie buff and an avid reader since college days helped fill the attic in my mind with ideas and possibilities. Since my day job requires a strong focus on articulation and creativity, I decided to extend it to fiction writing.
How did you become a part of this anthology?
I saw a post on one of the Facebook groups which said that Half Baked Beans was inviting entries for an urban horror anthology. Further when I noticed that it was being compiled by Neil D’Silva, an author whose work I really admire, I decided to give it a go. I was thrilled to hear that my story was among the dozen that ultimately got selected via a rigorous process.
What is your story about?
My story is centred around a spa, which gets inaugurated at one of the malls in Mumbai. On its opening day itself, the owner witnesses pampering of its initial customers in an unbelievable and horrifying way.
How did you come up with the story? Were you inspired by events?
I knew I wanted to base the story in a mall. I thought of a few alternatives such as a super-store, food court, spa and so on. Our family business is partially related to wellness and spa products, and hence I had some inclination towards a spa or salon setting. Once the setting was decided, it was easy to think and choose on ways to unleash horror.
How long did you take to come up with the final draft of the story?
It took me about a week to create the outline, another week to reach the second draft stage, and about 3-4 more days to finalise and submit the copy.
Anthologies aren’t as popular in India as abroad. Any apprehensions signing up?
No apprehensions at all. In fact when I signed up, I never had the popularity or sales of the book in mind. I went in with the sole purpose of challenging myself and learning, rather than anything else.
Having said that, I think anthologies deserve their due spot in the Indian market and it would take just a couple of bestsellers to start the trend. City of Screams has tales with the right recipe and thrill factor, and looking at the curiosity it has already garnered, this might be ‘the one’.
What other genres interests you?
Besides horror, I love crime and comedy. In future, I may experiment with a blend of these.
Any plans to write a full-fledged novel?
Yes, one of my books in the horror genre, based on a unique concept is presently being pitched to publishers. I have also started writing a novel which is crime-based and has a horror backdrop.
The author market is choc-a-bloc today. What’s your take on that?
Yes, there seem to be more authors as compared to readers! I think in the long run, authors who bring differentiation in their stories backed by a strong marketing strategy will succeed.
What would you tell a budding writer?
Read, Read and Read. Write for the sheer passion of writing. Have perseverance and work not just hard but also smart. When the time comes, you will succeed.
What authors do you like reading?
From my teenage I grew up reading books mainly by Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Robin Cook. Of late I read books by Stephen King, Neil D’Silva and new authors.
Which particular novel would you recommend to others?
Kane & Abel, The Client and Doomsday Conspiracy.
Any writer you’d like to see succeed?
I’d like to see all writers succeed.
What’s your favourite horror film?
Bandh Darwaza and The Shining.