Age is no impediment to creativity and those who have the ingenuity and imagination to fulfil their dreams, usually march ahead. This is quite true of the talented little boy Akhil Gokul, who at the age of 10 years has already written a book of fiction and is on the lookout for new adventures.
A 5th standard student of Vaels International High school, Akhil resides with his parents in Chennai. His detective novel, The Double Loop was published by Notion Press and launched in June last year. So, when other children of his age were busy enjoying their holidays and thinking about the next toy gadget they can get their hands on, Akhil had already charted his course for doing something different and inspiring.
In the summer of 2016, lounging at home in the holidays, the idea struck him -- why not attempt to write a book? And that is how he got started. “This thought did not come suddenly; I had been wanting to write because both my parents have written books. I was truly inspired by them and the recognition they got for their work. I also wanted to emulate them and get recognition as an author,” says Akhil.
Considering there was abundant inspiration for the young author right at home, it is not a surprise that he came out triumphant. Akhil’s mother Viji Hari is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kelp HR, a human resources consultancy firm and has done a lot of work in the area of sexual harassment at the workplace. She has authored a book on this topic, Behind Closed Cubicles and has conducted many workshops on gender sensitisation. Akhil’s father has also authored a book, Management Lessons from Movies. Moreover, encouragement also came from Akhil's grandfather who has drawn the eye-catching illustrations for the novel.
The support of his family helped the 10-year-old develop his interest in writing and just like his parents, he too got the recognition he deserved. In fact, he is elated that his friends and teachers were eager to attend the launch and were genuinely happy about his success.
“My friends were really surprised and excited to know that I had written a book while my dean and teachers were proud of my effort. I got a lot of positive feedback from my friends. My school has feted me and appreciated my talent. I feel proud when the children recognise me in the school because I’m an author. Also, it is a great thing that inspired by me, one of my friends has decided to write a book,” says an elated Akhil.
So, how did he prepare for his role as an author? Akhil says he was sure that he wanted to write a mystery or detective novel because at his age, these are the kind of books that interested him. “Earlier on, I was not an avid reader and would read few books like the Geronimo Stilton and Captain Underpants series. I love reading books with illustrations. To do research for my book and get a better understanding, I started reading mystery and detective novels. This helped me get my own ideas for shaping my novel,” says the enthusiastic boy.
As Akhil explains, reading also had everlasting benefits. “Reading is a great tool for building one’s vocabulary and pronunciation skills. It really expanded my imagination. Every child should take up reading as it will help them in language skills and make them more creative,” believes Akhil.
His mother adds that after penning a few pages initially, Akhil seemed to have lost interest in writing and took a break. An important measure Viji took to rekindle his interest in writing was to limit screen time. He could watch television only in the weekends. During the weekdays, she encouraged her son to continue writing the novel, after he finished with his school assignments. To his credit, Akhil finished the project in four months.
And it is not all work and no play for this bright young child. When he is not converting words to detective novels, Akhil loves travelling with his parents and dabbling with robotics. He also plays football and badminton.
Here are some tips from Akhil for children who want to write a book:
- Shape the characters well and give names to all of them. This will help in starting with the story
- Reading is important. If you plan to write a mystery or detective novel, make sure that you read books in that genre for inspiration
- Have a solid story and plot. For a detective novel, a plot with lots of twists and turns is necessary to keep the reader engaged.
- Add drama and an element of surprise, when writing a mystery novel.
- Never lose patience