welcomes as our guest Nihar Suthar, author of Win No Matter What and The Corridor of Uncertainty.

Nihar graduated cum laude from Cornell University, where he studied applied economics and management, with concentrations in finance and strategy.

Norm: Good day Nihar and thanks for participating in our interview.

Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background as well as where you were born and grew up?

Nihar: Good day Norm! Thanks for inviting me to participate in this interview with I’m truly excited and honored.

My parents moved to the US in the 1980s from India. I was born and raised in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, USA. It’s a very small town. I have one older brother and one older sister. I love to go back and visit India whenever I can.

In terms of my professional background, I just graduated from Cornell University in December 2015. I’m still a fairly young author (20 years old), but I’ll also be starting a day job as a business strategy consultant in Boston around August 2016. I find having studied business and economics is quite useful, because it helps me think of the book industry and writing books as one big business.

Norm: How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Nihar: The story of how I got started writing is interesting to say the least. When I was in high school, I absolutely HATED reading and writing. I never could have envisioned myself being a writer. Something completely changed for me though when I went to university.

Coming from a small town like Lewistown to suddenly being in New York was a huge change. I was completely culture shocked. Throughout my first year in university, I ultimately made two “profound” observations:

  1. There is a lot of negative information in the world! It’s all over the news, internet, and really wherever you look. I realized this as I was exposed to so many different experiences in New York.

  2. Everybody in New York has a unique way of expressing themselves, whether it’s through how they dress, a special talent, or outstanding achievement.

Reflecting on these two observations, I realized that I wanted to express myself in a unique way while simultaneously solving the problem of negative information in the world. At the time, the first idea that popped into my head was to write a book. I have no idea why that was the first idea into my head, especially when I had always hated writing. Yet, I decided to try it anyways.

After class, I would go back to my dorm and just write on my computer. To my surprise, I found that I actually enjoyed writing. Ever since those days, I have continued to write positive and inspirational stories. It’s truly become a way for me to express myself.

At the end of the day, what really keeps me going is just knowing that I’m making a meaningful change in the world through my work. Many people who have read my books have come back to me and said that the content changed their lives. Hearing something like that is the greatest feeling an author can ever have.

Norm: Could you tell us a little about your two books, Win No Matter and The Corridor of Uncertainty?

Nihar: Absolutely! Win No Matter What was the first book that I released in May 2013. It is a compilation of short, inspirational stories (from people I interviewed around the world) with lessons on how to improve our daily mood, attitude, and the perception of others.

The Corridor of Uncertainty is a book that just came out on February 1, 2016! That book narrates the miraculous rise of the Afghan cricket team from being the worst team in the world to one of the top ten; it also details the journey of the team against the violence, poverty, and lack of resources in Afghanistan. It’s truly an incredible, heart-warming story.

Norm: What were your goals and intentions in these books, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 

Nihar: My intentions in Win No Matter What were to show readers that no matter what happens in their lives, either good or bad, there is always a way to come out with a victory. The mind is the biggest challenge – and I provide techniques on how to conquer the mind. I’ve backed up my writing with extremely touching stories.

Meanwhile, my intentions in The Corridor of Uncertainty were to just break as many boundaries as possible, while also still narrating an incredible story.

I wrote about religion, politics, and even the Taliban. These are all subjects that most people are not completely comfortable talking about. Yet, in the end, the main moral of The Corridor of Uncertainty is that we should not be influenced by stereotypes.

Afghanistan is always portrayed by the media as being a corrupt and violent country. While there certainly may be corruption and violence, it’s refreshing to see that there a group of cricketers are giving the entire country a beacon of hope.

I think I did a good job achieving those objectives in my writing. Of course, some readers may disagree…but at the end of the day, I know I released my best work, and that to me is very gratifying.

Norm: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching these books?

Nihar: I could ramble on and on about the people I met while researching both of my books! Without going into too much detail, the two people I wrote about in my books who had the greatest impacts on me were Myshkin Ingawale and Hamid Hassan.

I wrote about Myshkin Ingawale in Win No Matter What. Essentially, he quit his top paying job at McKinsey (one of the top consulting firms in the world) and decided to solve the major problem of Anemia (Iron deficiency that causes death of adults and newborns) in India.

He invented an affordable, innovative product that immediately detects whether a person is anemic or not. It was featured in the World Health Organization’s most innovative technologies. The moral from Myshkin’s story was that the reason behind why you are doing something is most important. Myshkin’s purpose drove him to do extraordinary things.

Secondly, I wrote about Hamid Hassan, one of the main characters in The Corridor of Uncertainty. He is one of my favorite players on the Afghan cricket team. He was one of the players to grow up in a refugee camp with little food, water, or money. He was also extremely out of physical shape. Yet, he managed to become one of the best cricket players in the world. The moral from his story is that anything in the world is possible if you put your mind to it.

Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing these books?

Nihar: Definitely the research. Tracking down some of the people I wanted to interview for Win No Matter What or just learning about Afghan culture and languages for The Corridor of Uncertainty was time consuming and tough.

Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing these books? 

Nihar: For me, that feeling at the very end when my book is about to be released is most enjoyable. It’s a time where I can reflect on the work I did and also be happy that I fulfilled my goal of getting a positive story into the world.

I must say though, one of my other favorite parts from writing The Corridor of Uncertainty was the fact that I got to go to the United Arab Emirates and travel with the Afghan cricket team for a few weeks. It was an absolutely amazing experience to be with them and write about them.

Norm: What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about the subject of your books, that isn't so? As a follow up, what is the most important thing that people DON'T know about them that they need to know? 

Nihar: Well, I think there is a reputation for inspirational or motivational books out there to be filled with “fluff” and not much actual content. Many people may think that my books are the same way…but let me say that my books are straight to the point. I don’t write fluff.

Also, what people may not know about my books is that you don’t have to know anything about the subject matter to read them. For example, even though The Corridor of Uncertainty is a story about cricket, it’s written in such a way that the reader does not need to know a single rule of cricket to understand and enjoy the narrative.

Norm: What makes your books stand out from the crowd?

Nihar: Honestly, it’s the fact that I’m a young author who can relate to a younger audience. Most of the inspirational, motivational, or self-help authors you see out there today are older in age. It becomes difficult for them to relate to the younger generation. However, I’m a part of the younger generation, so that is a huge advantage.

Norm: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?  Summarize your writing process.

Nihar: I would have to say it’s a combination of both. First, before even writing, I think about the vision for my book. This is more intuition and daydreaming. Then, I make an outline based on what I think would logically make the most sense in the book.

Finally, I go through my first round of writing. In this round, I just write and get down as much content as I can, without worrying about grammatical or language errors. From there, I go onto multiple rounds of edits.

Norm: What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time? 

Nihar: I promote my work in many ways. I am active on all forms of social media, I have a blog on my website where I sometimes refer back to my work, I run book giveaways on GoodReads, I reach out to various schools and community groups to give talks (with messages from my works built into the talk), and much more.

Promoting my work certainly detracts from my writing time. I think most authors would agree with me there. However, promotion is something that is necessary in today’s saturated book industry. It helps me build a personal brand. Authors just have to figure out how to be efficient in their promotion efforts and work smart.

Norm: What projects are you working on at the present? 

Nihar: Currently, I’m on a book tour to promote the recent release of The Corridor of Uncertainty. I’ll also be negotiating movie rights for that book in the near future. Other than that, I haven’t thought about what my next big project will be!

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?

Nihar: You can find me on my PERSONAL WEBSITE. All my books are listed there, along with my personal information. If you want to order a copy of my newest book, you can check it out at THE CORRIDOR OF UNCERTAINTY

Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your books, but nobody has?

Nihar: I honestly can’t think of a question that hasn’t already been asked.

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors