Kevin Missal: A young fantastical fictioneer

Kevin Missal   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

In 2011, when most kids were enjoying their summer break from school, Kevin Missal, then 14, was busy writing a book, a fantasy fiction, based on Greek mythology. Damien Black: The Battle of Lost Ages, his debut novel, was published by Diamond Books, and released by Sheila Dikshit, the then-Chief Minister of Delhi.

Today, the Delhi-based author is 22, and has three national bestsellers under his name.

His latest release, in July, was the first part of The Narasimha Trilogy, published by Harper Collins. He’s been working on another trilogy in parallel, the first part of which came out in 2017. Named The Kalki Trilogy, it was published by Fingerprint.

His interest in mythology was fueled by reading books such as the Pendragon series by D.J. Machale and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, when he was younger. He then started exploring Hindu mythology, and connecting it to fantasy.

“Many people don’t know that mythology is a form of history, but with exaggeration — there is always a little bit of fantasy involved in it,” he says, adding that he “always wanted to write a fantasy ” but thought that it might not sell in India. “So, I went for mythology, a genre far more prevalent in India, and added my own fantasy to it.”

Missal was influenced by reading classic English literature by authors like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson, from a very young age. He was enamored, he says, by the craft of writing: “If Charles Dickens can write, why can’t I?”

  • Even as he is currently working on multiple books, Missal says he might venture into creating a web series based on urban fantasies

However, the task of finding a publisher for his book at the age of fourteen was difficult. “The book was rejected by a number of publishing houses in the beginning,” he recalls. “Our search ended with Diamond Books, who were interested in publishing it because the owner gave the manuscript to his younger son and daughter, who really liked it and asked him to publish it.”

Through his time writing, Kevin received support from his parents and teachers. But, it wasn’t till his first book of the Kalki trilogy, Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu became a bestseller, that he was sure of pursuing writing as a profession. This was just after he completed his B.A. (Hons.) in History from the St. Stephen’s, Delhi University.

Missal’s readers range between the ages of thirteen and twenty eight. One reason behind choosing the character of Kalki, he says, was to create an Indian superhero for people of this demographic to look up to. He describes Kalki as an innocent boy born in the quiet village of Shambala, who goes on to defeat evil in the midst of betrayals and politics, thus making his story “India’s own Star Wars or Game of Thrones.”

Another character who intrigued Missal from a mythological stand point, was Narasimha. He knew that he could add a lot of value to the character along with creating awareness about his story and context. “Initially people are only looking for a good story. It is later that they go and actually research about it,” he stresses.

Now, the third part of Missal’s Kalki series is set to release in September. But in the meantime, he’s also working on another set of books called The Sindbad Series. Based on The Arabian Nights, it was recently acquired by Penguin Random House India, while Simon and Schuster India will publish his Fall Of An Heir-Ravanputra Indrajith, next year.

The Kalki Trilogy parts 1&2, and The Narasimha Trilogy part 1; each ₹250; available in stores and online

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 12:05:44 AM |

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