My friends and coworkers, acquainted with my spiritual life are aware of my association with Kriyayoga. And it was Yogiraj Lahiree Mahasaya, the fountainhead, who first interpreted Guru Nanak’s teachings in the light of Kriyayoga. As an ardent devotee of Yogiraj it is but usual that I hold some affinity towards the followers of Nanak Sahib. Until now I have had interviewed the poets, editors, activists, etc. This was the first time I got a fiction-writer at my desk, and I was a bit nervous. The only thing we had in common was our first Gurus who were related!
Kiriti Sengupta: Sat Shri Akal. Harpreet, it is exciting indeed to have you at my interview desk. How are you doing these days?
Harpreet Makkar: Namaste. Sir, pleasure is totally mine. I am doing great. So far everything seems so pretty, just wonderful.
Kiriti: You must be extremely excited about your first book The Justified Sin. Tell us something about your book. The title reads interesting. Did you try to justify any sin that you committed in your personal life?
Harpreet: Indeed, I am quite excited for my book. This feeling, the excitement; it’s unbeatable and with every passing second it’s getting bigger. As far as The Justified Sin is concerned I would like to put up this way: What do you call it when three beautiful women come in your life, but you are still single? What if they all, at some point, tried to entice you, but you feel like committing suicide because of loneliness? What do you call it when you made no mistake, but still, you feel guilty as sin? Having so many people around, still you are alone. Always thinking n caring for your friends and not getting anything in return, forced to live with guilt of a crime you never did. This is what my book is about; story of a guy having everything yet nothing, he did everything to keep people happy yet he was accused, he was betrayed and what not. Let’s keep something for our readers to read and let’s keep the excitement.
Kiriti: You have been writing romantic poems since long. What made you write this novel?
Harpreet: Not only poems, I write poems along with short stories but all of them were based upon romance. A bit of emotions, romance, that defines my writing. Only for this reason, I don’t count myself an author. An author is one, who can write about anything to everything but for me it’s only romance. Writing a novel was never my goal, I started it long back. It was only a short story though but making it a novel was a dream, a dream which is a reality now.
Kiriti: Did you keep any space for your poems in this book?
Harpreet: Not exactly, I included a couple of poems though but those were more off related to the story and I would say they were required. The situation demanded and I was forced to write few words. Moreover those are not exactly poems, as they are more of simple words, made up in such a format as of making it a poem.
Kiriti: You were born, and have been brought up in Ludhiana, Punjab. Does The Justified Sin bear the regional flavour?
Harpreet: Of course I am a typical Punjabi, but nothing as such in my book. I wanted to add some of it, but as they say emotions are better without flavors.
Kiriti: You left your job of a Senior Design Engineer in a topnotch M.N.C, and joined your father’s business. Has this been in lieu of pursuing your dream of becoming an author?
Harpreet: It was never my dream, infact I never knew that I would be an author. The only thing I knew about writing was, that it keeps me composed. I am more off a person living in present. May be that’s a reason I never plan, and even if I plan something I don’t go with that. That was the reason I left my job, as the situation demanded. My duty towards my family and my presence at home were more important to me or I thought so. And same was reason for me becoming an author. There was a time when I got confused about my profession n my carrier and during that it was my passion for writing and support from family and friends made me what I am today.
Kiriti: Why did you opt for this particular genre, termed fiction? Hopefully you are aware that nonfictions, including poetry anthology have limited readership.
Harpreet: That’s what I like and that’s what I am good at. See, we all know how important readership is for any book. But the thing is we should try to write irrespective of this fact. Instead of doing something you don’t like or something you are not good at, it will be better to go with your heart. If your work is good, readership will always be there, no matter what it is. And that’s what I did.
Kiriti: I strongly believe that authors play a pivotal role towards the society. What message did you try to convey through The Justified Sin?
Harpreet: Indeed, firstly I tried to convey my feelings through my words. And secondly there was a clear message. It’s not always what we think and sometimes situation is way beyond our imagination. We should stand up and try to see the things which are not visible. Always be kind enough to forget n forgive.
Kiriti: What made you write in English? I think you could have managed it better in your native language.
Harpreet: As I said, that’s what I like and that’s what I am good at. Firstly I am not so good in my native language and secondly at times I find it difficult to plot my thoughts in that.
Kiriti: Nowadays marketing extremely helps the authors to get wider acceptance. What is your take on it? Do you believe in self promotion?
Harpreet: Of course it helps, the main reason for that is the wide range of books available in the market which makes it difficult for the readers to choose. Self promotion is not a bad thing to do, but up to a certain extent. Keep it simple and easy.
Kiriti: Since this is your first book, and being a romantic thriller chances are high that your readers consider you the protagonist, Jay. Did you ever consider this aspect?
Harpreet: I will count myself one lucky guy if my readers consider me the protagonist. As if they do, that means my attempt of conveying my feelings to them got successful. And moreover that’s the only achievement I am looking for.
Kiriti: Fiction titles are generally considered for varied awards. What is your goal?
Harpreet: That’s not me. I don’t do anything for awards or any prizes. Of course they are good, but I don’t aim at that. My goal will be to reach every corner of the country with my book, and make my readers feel what I want them to.
Kiriti: Who are your favorite novelists from India and overseas?
Harpreet: I don’t think I will be able to name one, but yes I read a lot. Not only novels, I just need a coffee and a good work to keep me occupied. I can name few, starting from Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon to Khaled Hossaini, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amrita Pritam and Chetan Bhagat.
Kiriti: What is your equation with your publisher?
Harpreet: I won’t call it an equation, as he is not only a publisher for me, a friend & a brother and of course a mentor to support and guide me whenever required. I would say my friendship with him is quite good.
Kiriti: Thank you so much, Harpreet for giving me your valuable time. I wish you all the best towards your future enterprises. I hope The Justified Sin brings you much success and recognition.
Harpreet: Thanks a lot. That means a lot to me, and it was wonderful sharing my experiences with you.