Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with Najeev Raj Nadarajah

I'd like to present to you Najeev Raj Nadarajah, author of the Dream Cycle series. Last week, I posted a review of the first book in the series, Dream Caster. Now, we have the author himself.

Please welcome our guest.

Najeev Raj Nadarajah was born in Sri Lanka in 1985. By the late ‘80s, his family fled the war-torn country and settled in Toronto, Canada where they would begin a new life far from the turmoil of the world they had left behind.

By the age of four, Nadarajah had taught himself to read, and within a few short years, he began tackling J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Hobbit.

It was while plowing through the pages of The Hobbit that his love for reading and writing began and blossomed into, what is now, an unwavering passion for the fantasy genre.

Dream Caster, being the first part of the Dream Cycle, is his debut novel

Nadarajah can be found on and on


Najeev Raj, It's wonderful to have you here today. You seem to have entered the publishing world out of nowhere, debuting with your first book in the Dream Cycle, Dream Caster. Would you like to tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey so far? 

Thank you, Cher. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

What can I say about my writing journey so far? Imagine climbing onto one of those kiddie roller coaster rides and then looking ahead only to find that you’re sitting atop a hundred foot drop. That’s kind of where my analogy ends. I began writing an epic fantasy novel when I was nineteen years of age. At the time, I was cruising along, writing a page a day or a chapter a month. It took me nearly four years to write that first manuscript. In the end, that door-stopper was tossed onto my shelf and forgotten. That was the beginning of my journey.

Fast forward three years. The idea for the Dream Cycle popped into my mind. I kept trying to tell myself that this was just another crazy idea that’d probably never materialize into anything. I tried to jot down a few points here and there in case I wanted to come back and work on this idea later on down the road. I wasn't all too sure if I was ready to commit myself to another large project like this. However, once I began jotting down a few words, I had no idea that those ideas would turn into two completed novels in less than a year, as well as breakdowns for two more.

That little roller coaster that I thought I was hopping onto wasn't all that little after all. So I guess for now, I’ll just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

Impressive. I’d describe my own journey more like climbing a mountain, one ledge at a time. The top seems so far away, but I continue to take one small step at a time.

I do love the focus of dreams, dream catchers and dream casting within your story. The characters are very vivid and your setting detailed. It’s always interesting to hear where a story sprouted from. I must ask. Where did Dream Caster begin? What was the first step in your story - a character, the world, or maybe the image of a dream catcher? 

When I was a kid, I was plagued by constant déjà vu. This naturally led to me having disturbing dreams that would often just turn into reality. I guess not much has changed since.

One night, during the summer of 2011, I snapped awake from one of my dreams. A single funneled cloud swooped down upon the CN Tower. People stood and watched, confused. Was it a tornado or just an ominously disfigured cloud? No one knew for sure. And then the funnel touched down. Thunder without sound rippled through the world, toppling buildings and upturning large plates of land. There was chaos everywhere. Screams of horror. Then utter blackness. That's all I'll tell you about that dream.

A week later, I began working at the University of Toronto and was struck by a series of déjà-vu. I was on duty, walking from one building to the next, when I looked up and saw the CN Tower looming high against the afternoon sun. I thought about the funneled cloud and the dream I'd had. Right then and there, the Dream Eater, the villain in the Dream Cycle, popped into my head. Before I'd reached my destination, I'd brought the Dream Eater's character to life. And then came the creation of the post-apocalyptic world, followed by my main characters. All in about 10 minutes, I'd created everything I needed to tell my story.

Now, as I said before, I wasn't sure if I could turn that idea into a story. So, I put it all away by jotting down these ideas, telling myself I might consider working on it sometime in the future. As you can tell, I didn't listen to my own advice, and boy, am I glad I didn't.

Thank you for sharing that story. I believe, as I’m sure many authors do, we have a special connection with our higher-self, and for some this bleeds into our creations, as with your dream, our inner voice and other sources of communications. 

I don’t want to introduce any spoilers here, but I have to ask – is there more to Abanel than revealed in Dream Caster? Will we discover more details of her story in the next book, Dream Weaver? She just seemed so mysterious, to a point where I kept waiting for her secrets to be revealed. I really hope to learn more about her in the series. 

There's more to her. She plays a vital role in the story, and it'll continue throughout all four books that I've got planned. But I can't say any more about her, because she along with one or two other characters, are filled with spoilers.

I can’t wait. 

You chose to self-publish. Could you share some of your reasons for taking this road? Did you consider traditional publishing? Any information you want to share with other writers considering the Indie avenue? 

To save everyone the trouble of having to read a long rant, I’ll say this in as few words as possible. I got tired of waiting.

Within a week of completing the final edit of Dream Caster, I sent out nearly fifty different proposal packages to fifty different agents with hopes of hearing back from at least one or two with some good news. That was nearly a year ago. I’ve yet to hear back from exactly forty-two of them. The ones I did hear back from all provided the same answer: I’m not the right representative, this not for me, we are currently not taking any submissions (despite their website stating otherwise).

At this point, I began looking into alternative solutions.

I had a background in English, a post-grad in Book and Magazine Publishing, basic knowledge of graphic design, and I’d spent a few years working sales.

My father’s always taught me and ingrained the thought into my head, that if I wanted something, I’ve got to go out and get it myself. I can’t just sit there and wait for others to get it for me. Two months into sending out my proposal packages, I threw aside that venture and began working on bringing Dream Caster to life.

Here’s my advice to all those who want to choose the Indie avenue. It’s worth it. You might not get the sales you dreamed of, but you’ll gain a lot of valuable experience, you’ll have fun and learn new things every step of the way, and when you finally start seeing reviews and selling copies of your novel, it’ll feel that much better because you’ll know this all came to be due to your hard work. You were the master of your own destiny. And if you keep working hard enough and gain enough exposure, you too could be the next E.L James, or Amanda Hocking.

Very inspiring words, I can’t think of a better way to end this interview. I look forward to reading Dream Weaver, and the rest of this gang’s story. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you hit the top of the charts with this series. Be sure to let us know if you grab a movie deal. I can totally see this on the big screen. Would you like to share anything else with the readers before we part? 

Although I know that this is something that I really won't have to tell those who're reading this. The only thing I'd like to say before we part is: No matter what happens in your lives. No matter how busy you may get, or how old you might one day be. Don't ever stop reading.

Thank you, so much, for stopping by and sharing a little of yourself with us. Good luck with your writing. We'll be reading you.



Terry W. Ervin II said...

It's interesting how events from the day and/or dreams can influence what an author writes.

Cher Green said...

Yes it is. I've had some of my best breakthroughs during that moment between awake and sleep.

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