Interview with Author Malay A. Upadhyay

My guest today is Malay A. Upadhyay.  Hello!  Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!  It’s great to meet you.  :)

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?

Kalki Evian: The Ring of Khaoriphea is a story told across time. It is the first in a tale that reconsiders some things about our universe, and our role in it, which we have come to take for granted. The first book is kind of an introductory, which is also why it centers heavily on the nitty-gritty of the technologies and systems in place. It begins to run on two timelines when Kalki Evian travels to the current time and saves a man who was otherwise going to die. That act spawns a different reality. From then on, we see a future that could have come to be, and a future that did as a result. 

The book released on February 12th, 2015. You can find it at the following sites:

Great! Is there anything that prompted your latest book?  Something that inspired you?


Well, the story itself inspired me in a way. There are thoughts you have that begin to grow on you and after a time, you are compelled to document them. Yet, the first book, in particular, is strongly influenced also by my dissertation at Bocconi University. It was received well and dealt with a techno-economic idea of evolution. It fit nicely in Kalki’s story to showcase the repercussions of what I had described in my thesis.



So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?


That’s a tough one. I used to write poetries as far back as in middle school for elocutions. That was for fun and I never gave writing a serious thought. In fact, I was hardly a reader even. All that changed and in 2009, while on a pan-India trip, I first felt a craving to record the experiences I was going through. And I ended up writing a book, though without any strong inclination to publish it. I don’t know if that’s normal, but that was perhaps the greatest evidence of my affinity for writing. Anyway, late in 2010, I decided to try getting it published and to see what happens. However, it was only in 2012 that I took the call - a rather tricky one - to write a proper tale and go all out with it.

Actually, I think it's completely natural to write for yourself first, then later you can think about who might read it. 


Do you have any favorite authors?


I consider any author who focuses on the story than on a tried-and-tested formula, to be good, now that I know the effort and thought that goes in. But in particular, I have to say Tolkien is right up there, simply for having created a world with its own share of ages, languages and lost truth. Mo Yan, for the way he fuses Earthiness with philosophy. And Richard Bach for having managed to excavate inspiration in such a short story as Jonathan Livingston Seagull.



So, do you write in a specific place? Time of day?


None as such, but it depends. Tea comes in handy. A craving for paper and pen over keyboard persists. But more than anything, I just ensure I don’t force myself to write at any time of the day. It is important to me to keep the process smooth and enjoyable, precisely because it is intended to refresh me. That way, I get more done in an hour than I could in the day. It’s the same when I blog as a Fly. 

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?


There is no specific rule or method to go about a story. It just needs diligence for as long as it takes to write, and a balance of thought - to ensure that you go with the flow without losing sight of where you are going. Also, keep in mind that selling a book is as slow, patient and strategic a process as writing it. 

That's great advice!
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit us today here at Writing in the Modern Age.  It was such a pleasure having you!  :) 
Readers, here is the blurb for Kalki Evian: The Ring of Khaoriphea.

Every choice we make leads to its own unique consequence. To change the consequence, therefore, one must travel back in time to change the choice. But what if such change, instead of altering our future, simply created another - one that came to exist simultaneously with our world? 

This is a story of how one such moment of love led to two parallel futures; a story of how your choices have an impact far beyond the world you know; a phenomenon that we had sensed, and wished for, all along. Set in Italy, while one timeline scales a city of the future where not just people but also things like money evolve, the other cradles itself in an amalgamation of contemporary Europe with ingredients of a new age. Step by step, the story embarks on a journey in a parallel world that we all live in but rarely see.

Here is an excerpt.

Thoughts remained hazy and many minutes passed until she heard a knock on the door. The prospect of moving felt like too much effort. So she simply used her own version of the mid-air frivolities to unlock the door. It was pushed open and Qin stood there, hesitantly peeking in.
“Umm,” he hesitated, “could you come with me for a second?”
“What is it?”
“Please, if it’s not too much trouble.”
She forced herself to get up and asked, walking up to him, “What did you do now?”
“Well, I tried,” Qin replied and led her to his room. He opened the door and bent forwards to check inside while she waited behind him. He then stepped back and signaled her to go in. She gave him a scrutinizing stare and walked in restlessly, only to have her feet stall at the door.
The room was as dark as darkness could allow without losing out on charm. There were just two distinct divisions in its ambience, physically divided midway through its height. The roof and the upper half of the walls seemed stretched out into an infinite space, showcasing a starry night, populated with little sparkles beyond count but not without meaning. There lay clear patterns of constellations and distant hints of planets and moving asteroids as if the room had lifted itself up into Earth’s exosphere. And yet, it could not possibly be as the lower half of the room was submerged in soft waves of water, lit up underneath with careful streaks of turquoise light. The projection lay complete with a glimpse of the waterbed superimposed on the floor while their bed lay risen inches above the surface, in between like a hammock. The three-dimensional theme had come alive with slight sounds of water hitting against the surfaces around even as they moved in little waves. As she stepped in, ripples began to radiate out from her legs. It was all very magical and yet, all very real.
Friuli stood in a trance, unmoving. She then turned towards Qin, her lips still parted but with eyes far more at ease than they had been. He took her hand in his as he led her to the bed. He moved along to the northern end of the room while she lay down. Both her legs bent backwards and her head rested on her palm which in turn rested on the pillow. She looked at the sky, wordlessly staring at the stars – static and shooting across – while the sounds of the water filled her senses. She then murmured as if to avoid disturbing the ambience that prevailed in the room, “Thank you.”
Qin looked at her and smiled. He followed it up with an equivalent counter, “Something happened to you back there.” Friuli looked at him and turned back towards the stars. She did not really wish to talk much but then, he deserved to be answered.
“What you said was absurd,” she joked, “but unfortunately, it carried traces of an inconvenient reality. The group of companies that came to nearly monopolize all digital space, through acquisitions and a very smart play of marketing that spanned many years, were led by a similarly ruthless drive of ambitions that marked perhaps the only emotion left in its bearer.”
“From what I see so far,” Qin said, pointing out at the theme at play in the room, “it is all quite beautiful.”
“It definitely is. People wouldn’t accept change if it did not appeal to them.”
“Yet, you speak of it as if it were decadent.”
“All that glitters, Qin,” she left the proverb hanging.
“Ah, I am surprised gold has retained its privileges even in this age,” he remarked but it took him a couple of seconds before his smile disappeared under the realization of its true significance: Gold or diamonds should have lost their status in such an age as this. He did not stretch the thought but let it implant itself well within him.
Friuli stammered, clearly acquainted to that realization only now and out of her comfort zone, “I . . . thought you would, umm, be able to identify with it.”
“And that would mean you are mindful of what would and would not affect me,” Qin quipped, now with some idea as to the source behind the appearance of the fly. He waited, she stared and the turning of tables ended soon after. Qin was careful not to damage a rare moment of an unexplained dominance he had stumbled upon. “Quite an exceptional and caring nurse you are,” he said on a lighter note, “So what was wrong with the changes? Short-sightedness?”
“Yes,” Friuli answered quickly, “A concoction of technology that no one could have imagined, and no one did, except perhaps one,” she said with some thought. “We were mostly oblivious to where it all headed as we became an unassuming part of another worldly evolution, this time more personal in effect.” She obstructed her own statement with an impatient expression and turned to lie on her back with both her palms held over her stomach and feet stretched out straight. “Let me soak in this place for now,” she exclaimed, “These are two of my favourite themes but it never occurred to me to try them together.”
It was easy for him to stop questioning. His mind was stuck on her discomfort. It was something personal to her and yet, he felt it clog his thoughts more than whatever had happened to the world itself. He fought off the urge to inquire further. She now lay deep within the projected space. He let a few moments pass before suggesting, “You should rest. I will sleep in your room. Just try to get the bitterness out of your system for now.” She turned to him and smiled. Qin’s reply was quick, “okay, so you won’t.”
He did not ask why, even though his eyes did. She continued to smile but did not answer. It slowly faded as he left the room. In her head there was just one sentence running across – one she whispered as if with hope that it would get lost in that dark sky, Cos it were the wild ambitions of a loveless woman that took away what once mattered the most to me. That was Friuli’s experience with a creamless Canneloni.

Author Bio

Malay A. Upadhyay grew up in the Eastern provinces of paradoxical India. Life in the industrial town of Jamshedpur was a quiet affair dotted with crossing social stereotypes at every step. After school, he shifted to Southern India to follow an almost preset career route of the generation - engineering. The shift saw his engagements evolve with it. Out went the Himlayan trips and backstage love affair, making way for managerial inclinations and well, love. It is also sometime during this phase that tragedy occurred as Cupid managed to conjure a pen-shaped arrow. He aimed it well.   
Malay's time at Bocconi University saw the inevitable extra-curricular engagements keep pace. He was one of 25 individuals selected globally to envisage the future of workplaces for the Board at Marzotto SpA. It shaped the dissertation that saw him undergo a frantic episode of multitasking routine virtually as a secluded robot in the winter of 2012-13. The decision to extend the work as fiction novel was its fallout. A brief stint with a consultancy followed in Dubai before he returned India to join his uncle in their entrepreneurial venture in hospitality, and to follow his authorial inclination. By the end of the second year, the book was ready to come out.
The story of Kalki Evian is inspired as much by legend and characters in real life as the places Malay has travelled to over the years. All three, in his opinion, hold a mystery - a story - worthy of narration. Malay blogs at as a Fly - a concept of humility that aims at the elusively effervescent, ephemeral connection among beings across space and time. That is after all, a belief that underlies every piece of literature ever written.






  1. Great experience answering the questions. Looking forward to so many other authors set to feature here!

  2. Hi Maria..
    I am impressed with the interview with Malay. I have just completed my first Work of Fiction, 'An Other Tale of Two Cities'. I am looking for some reviews of the book.. I will describe my work briefly..

    'An Other Tale of Two Cities'

    This is a story of two talented Indian Teenagers, Kula and Jay, who set out on their journey from a small town near Chennai, India to win Gold at the 'Citadel for Table Tennis Champions'; the 'Games' at Shanghai, China; against the toughest competition one could imagine; analogous to 'Taming the Dragon in its Lair'. On their journey they discover true and eternal friendship with a Chinese girl, Li Ling, a member of the Chinese TT team, who joins their magical journey, punctuated by Triangular love, sacrifice, humor and enormous will to win. Li Ling in turn discovers a mother and a family to call her own in far away India, thanks to her friends. In their quest for stardom, the trio face off repeatedly against Deng, who has been variously described as vicious, vindictive and vengeful. When Jay, whose winning ways was interrupted by a scheming Deng and his coterie, she reacts at the podium by laying her Bronze medal as a wreathe at the feet of her nemesis, who had won against her, assisted only by brazenly biased umpiring. Little did she realize that her act of foolishness would lead to a diplomatic conflict between her country and an unapologetic 'China in denial'. The series of events eventually trigger a fratricidal and internecine war between the Chinese Government headed by the President and a faction of the ruling elite, running a parallel Government at the behest of the 'God Father' and his protege. Li Ling, braves incarceration as a traitor and possible death sentence to save Kula from the clutches of the all powerful gang, before she goes missing. Did Li Ling survive? Did any of them eventually conquer the Dragon? Who among them attained stardom and and at what cost? Who sacrificed self in the final gambit?

    The reader would experience;
    * Strong Will to Win against huge constraints and endless conspiracies
    * Exciting Bonds of Friendship with a Chinese Girl for the Indian heroes
    * Story of Love, Friendship and Humor; beautifully told
    * If there's love; Triangular love; then ultimate sacrifice can't be far behind
    * Politics and Treachery; in China and in India
    * Lives and Freedom at stake in an alien country
    * International Intrigue and Diplomacy at its best
    * Family life and Culture - The Pride of India
    * Thrills and aplenty - A roller coaster ride to remember for life..
    * The Two Cities of Chennai in India and Shanghai in China

    This book is my first. Having taken a title 'An Other Tale of Two Cities', I feel I have taken up an onerous responsibility of having to do justice to the original 'A Tale of Two Cities' by the Legendary Charles Dickens. I believe I have done well. However, it is for my readers to approve.

    I have created a blog;

    to seed some thoughts on 'An Other Tale of Two Cities' among a small number of public and private readers and experts, whose feedback, I would cherish, before the book is published. I can also send to you a copy of the still to be published book, on your request..

    I am looking forward to your participation in the Review and for your valuable comments and feedback..

    Ravi Krish

    1. Thank you for your kind offer, Ravi! Congratulations on finishing your first book! I don't do official reviews on this blog. However, I can offer you a guest spot to try to promote your work. Email me at if you're interested.


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