Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills

Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills - Praveen Venkiteswara Annu

Deep within us, we all long for adventure. Whether we appease these cravings by traveling or reading, the desire is ever present. 

In Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills, Praveen Venkiteswara Annu introduces us to one man's desire for adventure and the journey that he and a few friends embark on. 

Complete with breathtaking images that will leave you a bit in awe, this account leaves no detail out. 

The writing is straight to the point and the images are a wonderful addition, helping to fully bring to life exactly what the author is describing and making you a part of the story. 


Some Bio Information

I am Praveen Venkiteswara Annu, from God’s Own Country, Kerala in India. 
Although I am a mechanical engineer by qualification, I switched streams after studies and picked up software development. I work as a Software Architect in a multi-national company and live in Trivandrum, Kerala with my wife and 3 year-old daughter.

I enjoy travelling, photography and spending time with my family. My daughter loves the beach and the outdoors in general and that is where we normally spend our weekends.
Having been a sportsperson in my school days, I follow cricket closely and I am interested in basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer. I have tried my hand at various sports whenever I had the opportunity.

I never thought I would become a published author until I returned from a trip to Ladakh, a high altitude cold desert in the Indian Himalayas. I had an encounter with Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and had to return halfway through the trip. I decided to jot down my experiences. Once I was done, I shared it with my friends to get some feedback and the feedback was positive. It was then that I decided that it was probably a good idea to try my hand at self-publishing.

I thought it would be a good idea to include some pictures that I had clicked during the journey, in the book. So, after completing a couple of drafts, editing and formatting, I was ready to self-publish. I also designed the cover art myself, with some help from the Amazon Cover Designer, of course. Do let me know what you think about it.

Thus, my first book “Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills” was published. I also put together a collection of photographs from the trip in a picture book titled “Ladakh in Pictures”. 

Though this was my first attempt at publishing a book, I had started writing about my experiences of travelling in Europe, while working in the United Kingdom. That was never completed. Now that I have discovered the art of self-publishing, I hope to pick up from where I left off, complete the book and publish it sooner than later.

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to me at Praveen.annu@gmail.com.


Q&A

1. What made you decide to share your story? 

never really planned to become a writer. After returning from a life changing trip to Ladakh, I jotted down my experience. I shared it with my friends and I received positive feedback from them. So, I thought of publishing it since I had written it anyway! 'Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills' became my first book. A selection of photographs from the trip was compiled into the book 'Ladakh in Pictures'.

2. How long did it take you to write this? 

This is a short book. I took around three weeks from the first draft to reviewers copy. The book was ready for publication in another two weeks after I designed the cover and incorporated feedback from my beta readers.

3. How would you describe your writing process?

I prefer to write only when I am in the mood. I cannot force myself to write. So, there is no set schedule. But, when I do write, I like to write as long as I find the flow.

4. What is your favorite memory from that time? 

That would have to be the time spent on the banks of river Indus, near the Stakna Monastery. It was around midday and the sun was bright enough and the breeze mild enough to be enjoyed. The only sounds were of chirping birds and the rippling water. The view had everything on offer; snowcapped mountains, lush greenery, turquoise blue water of the Indus, a clear blue sky and the Stakna Monastery perched on a hill. It was a spiritual and heavenly experience.

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I use simple English and try not to elaborate too much. I want the readers to use their imagination to paint a picture for themselves with the basic description that I provide. Some people have given me specific advice to be more descriptive in my writing – probably not my style.

6. What piece of advice would you give to your readers? 

My books are all related to travel and are based on real life experiences. As in real life, not all such experiences can have a fairytale ending. Most times it is a mix of both, good and bad. I have had some one star reviews with comments stating that it is a story of an unsuccessful road trip. My take on that is, unless others know what went wrong when I went on my trip, how will they avoid such mistakes when they undertake similar trips? There is no point just writing about success stories. Sometimes, sharing failures is also helpful and equally important.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To share the memories from the various trips that I undertake with my readers and hopefully enrich their lives with experiences of my travel. And, possibly to inspire some people to actually embark on a journey inspired by the places I travel to