Published: 28th January 2021
I wanted to try something more universal: Author Kevin Missal on retelling the Sinbad story and his foray into EdTech
Sinbad and the Trumpet of Israfil is the name of his latest book and it surely is a page-turner, take it from us. The young writer tells us all about what else can we look forward to from his side
We are ever-so-slightly miffed with Kevin Missal and we tell him that right away. The writer has been revelling in the genre of Indian mythology and regaling us with one series after another like Dharmayoddha Kalki and Satyayoddha Kalki. And when we heard he's moving on to global fantasy fiction with Sinbad and the Trumpet of Israfil, we just had to ask why! The answer was obvious — global domination, of course. To be honest, he did not choose those precise words, but that's the intention for sure. "I wanted to try something universal, something a lot more global. And there is a character in there that went to India," says the 24-year-old with delight!
Yup, he's got global domination right in his sights.
Sinbad is surely as universal as it gets. You'd be loath to find anyone who hasn't ever heard of the heroic sailor who sailed choppy waters and slayed mighty monsters. And from the two to three years of research that the Delhite poured into this book, he was able to lend a bit of gray to the character. "Like Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series," he says with a smirk. He also informs us that the original story of Sinbad could get real dark, he murders his own wife, after all. Gasp!
Apart from reading books like the Arabian Nights and doing an analysis of Middle Eastern heroes, his degree in History from St Stephen's College came in handy too. And it was only when he was on his fourth draft that he decided, 'This is it' and handed it over to Penguin.
Book cover | (Pic: Penguin)
After a hat-tip to American author Rick Riordan, the story opens with a flashback where we see a younger and tamer Sinbad and then fast forwards to four years. The book goes back and forth this way, juxtaposing Sinbad's past and present. The short crisp chapters keep egging us on to read just another page. You'll find that the book is quite the cliffhanger.
Another thing to note about this writer is that he is very social media savvy and enjoys engaging with his followers. "I take it all in good humour, to be frank. We all have our own prejudices and we should learn how to accept the opinion of others and if you can't, just ignore," he says matter-of-factly. So if you're following him and next time, you see him replying to comments heartily, don't be surprised.
Though Kevin wrote his first book at the age of 14, which was released by none other than the then Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit, he also has his own marketing agency HubHawks. And soon, he is going to have an EdTEch firm to his credit titled Hub of Edu. Before you start rolling your eyes, let us tell you that instead of populating it with several courses, this one is going to be solely about the art of writing. "It would be a school of writing, something that hasn't been done," says the author.
Writing mythology comes with its own pros and cons, but Kevin loves a good challenge and that's why he is keeping at it. His next book is going to be about Karan from the Mahabharata and will be out in June. Needless to say a lot of research was involved. "I went back to the Iron Age in India to get the details right," he informs. A different version of the Vikram-Betal stories are also in the work.
So overall, lots to look forward to from Kevin!