Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Answer: Though my name is Akhil Sharma, but I am mostly known as the Failure Guy by others.
Recently, I had crossed a billion moments or secondsof my life. To put it simply, I am 35 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Answer: My parents despite having modest economic background gave me the best education possible. Though I was a fool to waste all of that including my engineering and management degree. I had also wasted (or perhaps invested) all of my parents saving into my two startups focusing on innovation and invention. When this was not enough, I got my book published which talks about failure only and certify me as a failure worldwide.
Now I keep talking to people about their failures and try to share their pain and make them failure warriors from a success hunter.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Answer: I am not sure why do people keep giving me awards for this stupidity of mine. In the past, I was awarded REX Karamveer Chakra and a fellowship by the United Nation and iCongo and recently I am appointed as a Mentor for Change by the Indian Government for their Atal Innovation Mission.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Answer: I guess destiny plays a major role here. I was a promising failure throughout my life and for some uncertain reasons, friends and strangers they do come up to me to share their story of failure. It was very relaxing for them to let out the steam.
Gradually, I started taking notes of their story and would write down their story after adding my perspective to it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Answer: Honestly, I would never consider myself as a writer. I had not created anything new. I am just a selfish collector of the stories which different people or destiny keeps telling me. My stories are the reflections of whatever is happening outside and around me and from my perspective.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Answer: There were two reasons behind me becoming a writer.
Firstly, I am always a fan of biographies. I for some reason always find them inspirational. And if you are regularly failing in life then I guess you would need tonnes and tonnes of it.
However, all the biographies were written when the people had become successful in life and their memoir becomes a reflection of their past struggles from the perspective of present successful mind. I was unable to find any biography which was written when that person was really struggling in his or her life.
Since, I was lucky to be a certified failure until now, I thought its better and easy to write a memoir myself which may gave hope and inspiration to others but especially to me as well to keep trying in life without the loss of any enthusiasm.
Secondly, I had always struggled with english communication in my life. I was often told that I cannot write one email properly so when I had shared this idea of writing a book about me and my failures of life. Objections started pouring in, about that it cannot be written and specially by me who is a sort of handicap in english communication and also no one would be interested to read about a failure who is a nobody.
So, enchanted with the certainty of failure here, I decided to undertake that challenge.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Answer: The title is often the trickiest part in any book and takes most of time. But in my case, it’s the title which comes first and then the story. The title is the true reflection of my spirit which I would shamelessly display it to others when being bullied by them for my failures. I would often tell them that yes, I am a failure and what’s the big deal about it. In fact, I am proud of it because it means that at least I had tried in my life.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Answer: Nopes. In fact, I wanted to play with the chances of failure here and to increase it by not putting names or fixed pattern in it.
It’s easy for the readers to connect with the facts or the names of the character in the story presented. I on the other hand had increased my chance of failure by removing the names or facts from the story and still have to make it easy for the readers to connect with it.
This was the toughest challenge which I undertook and how I have fared in it, that’s for the coming times and readers to decide.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Answer: Except for the couple of instances, every event in my book is either taken from my life or from other’s life whom had shared it with me but don’t want it to be named.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Answer: Yes, I have to travel often and meet many people to know their failure story of their life and understand how best I can write about it without making it sad or gloomy. Luckily, I was travelling because of my start-ups and sometimes awards or speaking sessions to which I am often invited.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Answer:I have specifically asked for the designer to read my novel first and then do the covers. Unfortunately, it turns out that my editor has to do the cover all by herself with me rejecting every possible prior art.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Answer: Failure is best and it is beautiful too.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Answer: Recently, Jay Bahadur caught my interest and I really loved his style of writing. I found his words simple but yet very powerful. His honesty is clearly reflected in his style of writing and he never shy away from stating the fact and reality.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Answer: My publisher, she does deserve a special mention here. She was the one who took the courage to publish this stupidity manual of failure and take that certain risk.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Answer: I am not sure what future and failure had in store for me. But I would keep trying as a writer, entrepreneur, innovator, inventor, teacher and maybe more.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Answer: I might add couple of interesting stories which had happened with me after the book is published. And now I have to write a whole new book for them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Answer: Yes, just keep writing. You can always edit a badly written page but you can never edit a page which was never written.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Answer: Since it is an autobiography, I guess hero would be more appropriate for me.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Answer: Two words: Start writing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Answer: Stay stupid and keep trying. Most of the times you would fail and sometimes you might fail to fail.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Answer: I am mostly into biographies and currently finishing all the books written by Walter Issacson.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Answer: Yes, Flight of Fantasy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Answer: When people keep fighting over the superiority of their ideologies, religion and beliefs. It makes me laugh as well as cry also, as to where we as a humanity are heading.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Answer: Steve Jobs, Einstein, Edison, Tesla, Galileo, Van Gogh, Alan Turing, the list is endless from the past and from the present, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, the list is increasing every day.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Answer: Just the normal hobbies of reading books, listening to music and swimming.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Answer: My watching rights for the TV were mercilessly taken away by my kids and now I have to watch cartoons with them. So, animation movies have become my favourite now.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Answer: Simple chutney and chapattis are my all-time favourite in food, but I do keep trying new local recipes’wherever I travel.
Royal blue colour takes precedence over the preference of other colours and soft rock, flamenco, classical Indian and old Bollywood music are my favourites.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Answer: I am actually a part time multi-preneur apart from being a writer. I also regularly take sessions on helping people and especially students to make them failure warriors in life.
So, I guess, I don’t have to imagine much and it’s the failure which had always kept me busy if not writing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Answer: Normally my family member would burn me up when I would die but yes if somehow, they would put up a stone somewhere in my memory, then I want below text to be written specifically:
“A proud failure”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Answer: Website: http://www.akhilsharma.com
Amazon author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Akhil-Sharma/e/B078TB31JD/
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37786258-i-am-a-failure
ISBN: 978-1981810413 (paperback)
Publication date: December 28, 2017
In 2016, the United Nations and iCongo chose him for the Rex Karmaveer Chakra award and Global fellowship, and he is often called upon to talk about it for free on various platforms in India.
My website is www.akhilsharma.com .
The book is currently for sale at Amazon only.