Author’s Background: Step into the world of Akshay Masurekar, affectionately known as Akki, in his debut book “The Will and Other Short Stories.” As the Founder & CEO of SAMAKSH Holistic Wellness, Akki has dedicated his life to guiding individuals towards their true potential. His expertise as a Transformational Catalyst, Motivational & Spiritual Speaker has made him a sought-after Coach & Mentor for Professionals, Entrepreneurs, and Students, helping them overcome obstacles and ignite the flames of success through Coaching, Talks, and Mentoring.
Speaker has made him a sought-after Coach & Mentor for Professionals, Entrepreneurs, and Students, helping them overcome obstacles and ignite the flames of success through Coaching, Talks, and Mentoring.
At the core of Akki’s philosophy is a deep-seated passion for understanding the profound influence of emotions on our overall quality of life. In “The Will and Other Short Stories,” he skillfully weaves together six captivating tales, each revolving around distinct emotions such as Greed, Love, Hope, Fear, Lust, Jealousy, and Faith, to showcase how these powerful forces can shape the course of our lives.
“The Will and Other Short Stories” is more than a collection of tales; it’s an intimate exploration of the human experience. Akshay Masurekar invites you to delve into these narratives with an open heart and an inquisitive mind, to reflect upon the intricate dance between our innermost feelings and the choices we make.
Prepare to be captivated, enlightened, and moved as you uncover the hidden truths of your own heart and soul through the lens of Akki’s storytelling. These stories will not only entertain but also inspire personal growth and self-discovery. “The Will and Other Short Stories” is a testament to Akki’s wisdom and storytelling prowess, leaving readers with a profound sense of reflection and the motivation to embrace their own emotional journeys.
Q. 01. Can you share the inspiration behind the title, ‘The Will and Other Short Stories’? What significance does it hold for the collection as a whole?
Akki: My book comprises six enthralling short stories. It opens with ‘The Will,’ a poignant tale portraying a deceased father’s unwavering love for his wayward son. I chose this title for the book for two significant reasons: firstly, as the inaugural story, its inclusion in the book’s title was paramount, and secondly, it symbolizes my sheer ‘will power’ in bringing my debut book to publication. The title embodies the determination to pursue one’s ambitions, illustrating that with the will to achieve, one will push boundaries to accomplish their goals.
Q. 02. In the book, you mention that the stories are set in a time before the era of social media. What motivated you to explore this particular timeframe, and how do you believe it enhances the reader’s experience?
Akki: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, offering abundant opportunities. However, it also stands as a significant distraction, often diverting us from our work and aspirations. Cultivating discipline in managing our screen time concerning social media is crucial. Despite this, I aim to transport my readers to an era devoid of social media interactions. In pre-social media times, we enjoyed ample personal time and engaged in meaningful conversations, savoring delicious food without the urge to document it on our social platforms. I wish to reintroduce audiences to the age of immersive and profound conversations.
Q. 03. Among the six stories in the collection, is there one that holds a special place in your heart? If so, could you tell us why it stands out for you personally?
Akki: Among the stories in my collection, ‘Known Devil, Unknown Ghost’ holds a special place as my personal favorite. Through my protagonist Neil Bhatawdekar, I’ve endeavored to reflect aspects of my life and personality. Instances in the story, whether portraying Neil’s playful character, his interactions with friends, parents, or Samira (the female lead), and the inclination to seek guidance from the universe, draw directly from my own experiences. This narrative particularly delves into the potency of faith and its ability to shape our true selves. To grasp the profound impact of faith, delving into this story is essential.
Q. 04. The story “Known Devil, Unknown Ghost” has an interesting title origin story involving your wife. Can you elaborate on how the title came about and its connection to the narrative?
Akki: That particular day remains vivid in my memory. I had crafted around 80% of the story and was recounting it to my wife, Samira. Originally titled ‘Love vs Arranged,’ as I narrated, she spontaneously coined the title ‘Known Devil, Unknown Ghost.’ Amusingly, she remarked that both of us ended up marrying an ‘Unknown Ghost,’ and our journey together has been an adventure. She found the original plot too serious and dull. I admired her spontaneity and embraced her suggestion as the story’s title. Inspired by her insight, I embarked on a complete rewrite, transforming the narrative into a comical romantic drama.
Q. 05. Your book explores the themes of love and affection through believable characters. How do you approach character development, and are any of the characters inspired by real-life individuals?
Akki: As a reader, I find a deep connection with stories that feature believable characters. Throughout my readings, authors like John Grisham, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, and Ravi Subramanian have captivated me through their narratives populated with characters that feel real, instantly drawing me into their stories.
During my writing process, I adopted a focused approach, dedicating my attention to one story at a time. This method allowed me to meticulously develop each character to be as authentic as possible. For ‘Das Babu,’ a fictional representation of a true story, maintaining the characters’ originality was crucial. ‘Akinova’s Akhil’ was inspired by a close friend renowned for his charisma and adeptness at managing multiple relationships. Neil Bhatawdekar, as previously mentioned, mirrors facets of my own personality. As for the other characters, I drew from my observations and interactions with various individuals to flesh them out.
Q. 06. The stories cover a range of emotions, from profound affection in “Das Babu” to dark comedy in “The Will.” How do you navigate the emotional spectrum when crafting your narratives?
Akki: My focused writing approach played a crucial role in fleshing out the characters, allowing the narrative to flow seamlessly as I continued to pen my stories. From the outset, when I started writing ‘The Will,’ I envisioned it as a dark comedy, with a clear understanding of who the protagonists and antagonists were. This clarity helped me maintain the right tone and direction.
‘Das Babu’ carried an emotional weight that needed to be preserved in its fictional portrayal. Initially, my book lacked a specific theme. However, upon completing the six stories, a recurring theme of Emotions and Relationships organically emerged. It felt as though I had subconsciously curated a collection brimming with emotional depth, humor, and dramatic arcs.
Q. 07. You’ve mentioned that the book wouldn’t have been possible without the support of two important women in your life—Samira Masurekar and Janet Quadras. Could you share how their contributions influenced the writing and completion of this collection?
Akki: Samira, my life partner, has been an unwavering source of support, consistently motivating me to write and share my work with the world. Her influence has been pivotal in shaping my confidence along this creative journey. Additionally, Janet, a dear friend, not only meticulously edited the manuscript but also offered valuable insights into some of the characters. Her dedication ensured the preservation of the genuine intentions and meanings behind every word. This book owes its existence to the invaluable help and support of both Samira and Janet.
Q. 08. Given your background in Emotional Intelligence and Holistic Wellness, how do these aspects influence your storytelling? Do you find a connection between emotional well-being and the stories you create?
Akki: As a Transformational Catalyst, Coach, and Mentor, I consistently urge individuals to center their attention on their personal narratives, encouraging them to reshape their patterns and embrace empowering thoughts and emotions. Life, in its entirety, comprises highs and lows, necessitating periodic reflections on our individual journeys, akin to stories unfolding. Each person we encounter plays a role, offering us opportunities to learn and grow from one another.
My keen ability to observe and absorb has been instrumental in giving life to this book. I firmly believe that ‘Emotion is Energy in Motion.’ It’s crucial to break free from stagnation, allowing ourselves to express and engage in the dynamic journey of life. I deeply connect my storytelling ability with my commitment to guiding individuals in charting their own paths in life.
Q. 09. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in the corporate environment, how did your transition to writing and holistic wellness impact your perspective on life and storytelling?
Akki: My journey into writing and content creation initially took root through blogging. As the Head of Learning and Development in my former company, I had the privilege of collaborating with and nurturing numerous individuals and leaders. This experience ignited a deep passion within me for aiding people in unlocking their potential.
Gradually, this passion propelled me towards entrepreneurship, where I honed in on holistic wellbeing through emotional enhancement. Writing played a pivotal role in my venture, as I shouldered the responsibility for content creation, including public relations. This intersection eventually culminated in the creation of these six compelling tales, woven intricately around emotions and the intricate web of relationships.
I’ve come to understand that everything in life is interconnected, and this realization has been a guiding force throughout my journey.
Q. 10. The story “Perfectly Planned Murder” involves a pursuit of justice for a friend. Can you discuss how real-life experiences or observations influenced the creation of this particular narrative?
Akki: It might sound unbelievable, but the plot of Perfectly Planned Murder came to me in a dream. Upon awakening, I started outlining the plot and sketching the characters, leaving it at that. Several months later, I revisited these notes, recalling the dream and the essence of its plot, and began to flesh out the story. It felt as though everything seamlessly fell into place, as if I were destined to be its creator.
Those who have read the book are captivated by this particular story, praising its unexpected twists and turns. Some of the characters in the tale are sketched from individuals I’ve known for quite some time. It was a fascinating journey for me to infuse these characters with personality traits based on the people I’ve encountered.
Q. 11. Your mantra in life is “Breathe. Reflect. Realign. Relax.” How does this mantra manifest in your writing process, and what advice would you give to aspiring authors on maintaining balance and wellness while pursuing their passion?
Akki: Life’s essence lies in our ‘Breath,’ where every journey begins and ends. When I emphasize ‘Breathe. Reflect. Realign. Relax,’ I advocate for focusing on the energy coursing within us. It’s about introspecting on our thoughts and emotions, allowing us to realign with our inner selves and fostering a sense of calm and relaxation.
To all aspiring authors, if you harbor a deep desire to write and share your work with the world, remember, all you need to do is BREATHE. Because ‘Breathing is Believing’—believe in your capabilities and unleash your magic onto the world. Never forget to Breathe, Reflect, Realign, and Relax along your creative journey.
Q. 12. In “Akinova,” you explore the story of a modern-day Casanova. What drew you to this character, and how do you approach tackling complex or morally ambiguous characters in your writing?
Akki: To be candid, this character is inspired by a close friend of mine. He possessed an undeniable charm, a flamboyant personality, and effortlessly juggled multiple relationships before eventually committing to one of his girlfriends. Today, he’s a devoted father of two and happily settled with his wife.
What intrigued me about this character was his capacity for introspection, acknowledging his past mistakes, and seeking forgiveness. I strongly believe in the power of second chances, and that’s what I aimed to convey through this character. This story, much like many others I’ve written, taught me that as humans, we exist in shades of grey—comprising both good and bad within us. It’s our choice to nurture the better aspects of ourselves.
Q. 13. Given your coaching and counseling background, how has your experience with helping others overcome their fears and anxieties influenced the themes and messages in your stories?
Akki: When I commenced writing these stories, I had recently embarked on my entrepreneurial journey in the realm of Holistic Wellbeing. Although I had prior experience in coaching and mentoring leaders, it didn’t directly influence these stories. They were solely crafted from my personal encounters and experiences with people across my life’s journey.
Looking ahead, I’m confident that my expertise as a Transformational Catalyst, Coach, and Mentor will contribute significant value to my forthcoming stories. These future narratives will be enriched by my insights and learnings from guiding individuals on their transformative paths.
Q. 14. What challenges did you face in your first attempt at publishing, and what advice do you have for new authors navigating the world of publishing and book promotion?
Akki: My greatest obstacle to overcome was battling my own self-limiting beliefs. Before embarking on the publishing journey, I had to confront my inner doubts and apprehensions. The ghosts of my past—my beliefs and self-criticism—constantly haunted me, demanding a deliberate effort to address and eventually release them. Finally, in July 2023, I made the resolute decision to publish my book. I consider myself fortunate to have found Astitva Prakashan, who graciously agreed to publish my work. My heartfelt gratitude to Astitva Prakashan for helping me bring this book into the world.
To all aspiring authors, I encourage you to confront and release your self-limiting beliefs. Have unwavering faith in your abilities and take that leap of faith. Trust that everything will align as it should. If you need guidance or support, feel free to reach out to me.
Q. 15. Looking ahead, do you have any upcoming projects or themes you are excited to explore in your future writing? Can you provide a glimpse into what readers can expect from your next works?
Akki: I’m currently brewing a plot for a novel that I’m excited about. While it’s too early to divulge specifics, I can hint that it revolves around a wealthy family. Expect a concoction of Mystery, Drama, Love, and a labyrinth of intricate Relationships.
I plan to offer a sneak peek into my story around March 2024. Stay tuned and keep an eye on this space for further updates!