Put yourself into the world you create: Veer Devgan

young author of india veer devgan
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A fourth-generation Army brat, 16-year-old Veer Devgan changed seven schools in his childhood before finally finding his roots at the Lawrence School, Sanawar, where he is a student of Class XII. His debut book, What to Do if There is a Murderer in Your Family?, is inspired by his love for soap operas and family humour.  

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Veer Devgan’s love for literature, particularly Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson comes through clearly in the book’s prose:

“You can judge people a lot by the sort of books they like reading. The people who read Jane Austen are fascinated by her allegories. The romanticists think that her stories are all about love and everything. But anyone with the slightest amount of sense knows that it’s an allegory to the privileged societies of most countries, and the dynamics of marriage and love involved with status and wealth. India is one of them.” 

In this exclusive interview, Veer Devgan talks to us among other things about the idea and inspiration behind his debut book, his biggest literary influences, and his word of advice to budding writers.

What was the idea and inspiration behind your debut book What to do if There is a Murderer in Your Family?

Veer Devgan: The inspiration behind the book was all the many, many Indian soap operas I’d ever seen. I have a very dramatic mind and all of it had to come out through some creative outlet. The idea as such was just me trying to find myself in all the characters I wrote, and how far I could delve into the human psyche. 

How long did it take you to write, and how did you manage to take time out to write it while pursuing school work?

Veer Devgan: It happened during the lockdowns when I didn’t have any exams. I took my very long two-and-a-half month winter break to write it and then spent almost a year brushing up on the finer details. 

Who or what are some of your biggest literary influences—all-time favourite books, authors, and films/series that helped inspire the story?

Veer Devgan: There’s Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and Anuja Chauhan’s Club You to Death. Anuja Chauhan is my biggest literary influence because she manages to combine entertainment and depth beautifully with wicked humour. 

Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies and interests?

Veer Devgan: Well, there’s reading obviously. And music. I play the piano. I also love theatre. I was the lead role in my school’s production of My Fair Lady. I also do MUN and debate. 

What is your advice to young budding writers like yourself?

Veer Devgan: Just write. That’s it. Think and write. Don’t be scared and write for fun. I, publishing my book, was just pure luck. I wrote my book as a challenge to myself. Just take everything from your own life and try to make it a part of your story in subtle ways. Put yourself into the world you create.

What are you working on next? More books in the pipeline?

Veer Devgan: Well, there are. But not as of now. School’s more important. 

Neha Kirpal

Neha Kirpal

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