Interview with Jasveer Singh Dangi
Author of The Incredible Mr Sweets: The coming-of-age story of an ex-con who finds his calling in life through music
Jasveer is a training & development and health & safety professional. He was part of the team of trainers that trained volunteers of Commonwealth Games 2010. His first book; 'Version One and a Half (Version 1 1/2)' is available on Amazon Kindle and Notionpress.com. His second book; 'Diary from Heaven' is available on Amazon Kindle, Amazon.in, Flipkart.com & Notionpress.com. In 2018, he was awarded by IISSM for his contributions to the Health and Safety training domain. He loves the outdoors and is a big movie buff. He shares his thoughts on his blog https://abra-ca-dabra.blogspot.com/, his website; www.jasveersinghdangi.com & https://jasveersinghdangi-87442.medium.com/
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How would you describe The Incredible Mr Sweets to a new reader?
- Its about making the most of second chances in life. ‘The Incredible Mr Sweets’ is the coming-of-age story that chronicles an ex-con’s journey to becoming a singing star. ‘The Incredible Mr Sweets’ also highlights the identity crisis faced by immigrant’s children born in Canada.
What was the inspiration behind The Incredible Mr Sweets ?
- The effects of lockdown are not even closer to what a prisoner feels while being incarcerated for a long time in prison, but lockdown gave me the idea for this book. Though the never-ending lockdown for me, starting in India and then in Canada, has been uncomfortable, it is necessary to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The lockdown got me thinking about the psychology of a prisoner who has been in prison forever and the mix of emotions he would experience after being released. This ideation led me to ‘The Incredible Mr Sweets’.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- Chetan Bhagat & Roald Dahn. Before I started writing I had never read any books apart from textbooks. These 2 have been my motivation because I have only read their books till now. I use my everyday experiences to write books.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- I have recently moved to Canada and Toronto is where I plan to settle down. Its a vibrant city & I love every bit of it. The story is based in and around Toronto.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Take that first step. Most authors are scared about the reviews but remember, if you don't publish it you would never know. So, take the first step and get your story ready for publishing.
What's your writing process?
- My writing process is very erratic & I can get ideas anytime and anywhere. I don't have a particular area or office for writing. I can write anywhere. I observe my surroundings very closely & I use a lot of real life situations & characters in my stories.
Which character in The Incredible Mr Sweets has had the greatest impact on readers?
- The Incredible Mr Sweets is is all about Jasmeet John Sweets Russo & his determination to make something out of his second chance after he comes out of prison. When I visualize John, I see a determined old man who will never give up.
If The Incredible Mr Sweets were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- A seasoned actor of Indian or Pakistani origin actor who can speak English, Hindi & Punjabi
How have readers responded to The Incredible Mr Sweets?
- The title is yet to be released. It will be available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Boble, Kobo, Apple IBooks & The Suman Publication (India)
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I am working on a collection of short stories and essays titled, Ensemble
What goes through the mind of a hardened criminal when he is released from prison after thirty-four years?
A mix of emotions ranging from happiness and excitement of being free to confusion and maybe even fear of unwelcome society's wrath and people not accepting him. He might also feel lost because the world would've changed so much by the time he comes out of prison. This could all happen to anyone but not John Sweets Russo. He's a tough nut to crack, and thirty-four years in prison couldn't break his spirit. Though he came out of the prison burdened with guilt, he was ready to face the world head-on. He will not let his guilt bend him down and let the world break his spirit. He is not asking for a second chance from anyone. He is making a come-back.
John Sweets Russo was once the left-hand man of William Vallery, the head of the notorious Vallery gang of Toronto and now aspires to be a singer. He is looking for a chance to make the most of his life that is left, considering he is seventy-five now. As he got out of prison and joined a world he didn't recognize anymore, all he wanted to do was to sing.
‘The Incredible Mr Sweets’ is the coming-of-age story that chronicles an ex-con’s journey to becoming a singing star. ‘The Incredible Mr Sweets’ also highlights the identity crisis faced by immigrant’s children born in Canada.