It was while studying in Plus-Two that Swathi Nair wrote her first fantasy fiction, inspired by Harry Potter. Though a lot of writers have unsuccessfully tried to recreate the magic of Harry Potter, Swathi became that rare one who managed to pull it off. The book, which was started during the lockdown has been turned into a book now. Titled Argans: The Dream Knights, published by Amazon, has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and has also been nominated for the Amazon fiction competition. It has been featured as the best seller among the Amazon fantasy category and has got top ratings and rave critical reviews. Swati Nair talks about the book.
Swathi hails from Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam and studies BA Economics (First year) at Mannanam, KE College. Besides writing, she loves travelling and reading.
The story of a dream
Argan is the story of 12-year-old Ivan. The orphaned Ivan largely lived an unhappy life. He wanted to flee from this world which gave him so much sorrow. One night as he sleeps, he wakes up in a vastly different world – Dandelion, the Kingdom of Dreams. The kingdom invites young boys and girls to be a part of their army and be an Argan to fight against their venomous rivals, Zagans, the dark Knights.
However, Ivan and his friends at Dandelion stumble across an ancient secret, hidden for millenniums. And when destiny takes a different turn, the group of seven twelve-year-olds, end up doing something unexpected for their kingdom. This is what you will discover in this tale filled with adventures, fantasy, magic, mystery, and above all, the essence of friendship.
8 years with Ivan’s Dandelion dream world
The initial thread of the story simple revolved around 8 years with Ivan’s Dandelion dream world. That’s when she thought it was better to bring it out as 8 editions instead of cramming them all inside one book. That’s how the series became so extensive. "I love fantasy fiction. The ability of a writer to come up with fantasy characters and bring them to life has always fascinated me. And that’s exactly why I chose to write fantasy fiction. I can’t distinctly remember how this story first came to my mind. I simply wrote it as a reminder, something like tiny notes but soon it evolved into a story," she says.
It was during the middle of lockdown that Swathi started writing the story. Though her family knew I was scribbling something daily, they hadn’t the faintest idea what I was up to. But they were delighted when she expressed an interest in publishing it
"My younger brother was a constant source of encouragement. In fact, he has played a key role in coming up with various peculiar names and places in the book. He was the one who read out the story while I typed it. My friends also helped with their invaluable feedback" she adds.
Argans was self-published. Through Amazon Kindle’s direct publishing it came out as an e-book, which is available at all the Amazon websites and is also available as a book in UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Spain.
"I have been more influenced by books than the authors. The Harry Potter series (JK Rowling) and The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis) are my absolute favourites and played an important role in augmenting my interest in the fantasy fiction genre. Am also in awe of Amish Tripathi who has managed to find a space for himself in this field, despite his very Indian flavoured themes" she says.
Some of Amish's famous works include The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas, The Scion of Ikshvaku.
Stories are in the mind
The second part of the series is almost midway, and she hopes to release it this year. It will first come in the form of an e-book. The first book, which ended with the rival nations stepping back from declaring war will have a closure in the second series. Then of course a lot of interesting incidents revolving around Ivan and friends and their daring escapades. Though she has the story already in mind regarding the upcoming series, she plans on writing once I finish the second series.
Why English and not Malayalam?
Since writing in Malayalam would have restricted it to Kerala readers, she felt the need to write it in English. Besides, she found it easier to write in English.