Interview with Dom Cutrupi, author of The Caves of Kendalini

12 Jul 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, Caves of Kendalini?

Caves of Kendalini is the third book of The Abyss Series. It combines the thrill and exotic scenery of early 20th-century historical fantasy and sci-fi novels with modern themes, like diversity, family and the clash of cultures in a fast-paced Indiana-Jones-like adventure. The story is set in 1906 India, a country divided by the British Raj and in the midst of a conflict between two cultures. Jonathan, Melody and Twyla set off in search of the legacy of Arsha, a legendary woman who, centuries ago, learned and taught the ‘five ancient languages’, the same obscure jargon Melody is able to translate naturally. Our heroes hope that Arsha’s legacy might help shed light on Melody’s past and her enigmatic gift.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Movies did. In my teenage years, I became obsessed with movies and storytelling. I wanted to become a film director. I figured that in order to be one, I had to write a script first. I enjoyed the process of writing scripts so much, that transitioning into novels was an obvious choice.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

  • Martin Eden by Jack London
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft
  • Short Story Collection by Philip K. Dick
  • Stephen King’s On Writing


Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

My first guest would be William Gibson. Since we both live in Vancouver, Canada, I would ask him which is his favorite Italian restaurant in town and…if he wants to grab a bite together!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Beside playing with the English language, I love the sense of immersiveness it gives me. Sometimes, when the right words come out and the chapter you’re writing is a good one, you’re so immersed in the story that it feels like you’re inside the world you’re creating,
without the perception of time passing. It’s like a deep state of meditation.

What is a typical day like for you?

I like to write early in the morning, around 6:30-7:00am because it’s easy to maintain your routine that way (no one bothers you at that time of the day). Although, I won’t lie, I do find that when you write in the evening your brain is well-awake, so it takes way less time to fill up a page.

What scene in The Caves of Kendalini was your favorite to write?

I’m fond of dialogue and character building. There’s a conversation between Jonathan and a priest on a train heading to the South of India. I still consider it some of the best dialogue of the entire series. Another one, well, definitely the surgery scene where a doctor extracts a bullet from the leg of a character. It’s vivid, sensory, intimate and overall thrilling.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I’ve been questioning art since I started writing. I believe art, most of the time, is the product of conflict, whether an interior fight that consumes the artist or an exterior one caused by extrinsic factors. My favorite quote explains it pretty well, from the famous monologue by Orson Wells in The Third Man:
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

Dom Cutrupi is the author of the new book The Caves of Kendalini

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Chloe is a Professional Book Nerd. She loves big words, big books, big dogs, and big adventures.