There are three things I look for in a story - it has to be a thriller; I cannot see myself writing literary fiction or a saga! There has to be a historical connection; otherwise, the adrenalin will not flow. And I will try to bridge the gap between 'Rozabal' and 'Chanakya'.
The cleanest book on a dusty bookshelf is usually a dirty one.
We can't deny that films have a bigger reach. After the popularity of the 'Slumdog Millionaire,' a lot of people started reading Vikas Swarup's 'Q & A'. From a business sense, films are a good tool to increase the number of readers.
A western audience might not appreciate 'Chanakya's Chant' because of its dependence on history and ancient statecraft. My book is a modern-day thriller that draws on a bedrock of history. My primary object is to entertain, not educate.
The Egyptians saw the sun and called him Ra, the Sun God. He rode across the sky in his chariot until it was time to sleep. Copernicus and Galileo proved otherwise, and poor Ra lost his divinity.
Initial work is on period research where the historical markers are absolutely non-negotiable. Once that is established, a writer can take creative liberties in terms of chronology to suit the story.
Conspiracies fascinate me. When I visited the Rozabal shrine in Srinagar before writing my first book, I remember thinking that the person enshrined there was no ordinary mortal. History is rife with mysteries, and that visit ignited a fire to unveil some of them.
Writing was my route to creative expression, and I needed to write about the things that interested me.
That freedom of writing you don't get in other formats, I'd rather leave it to someone else to deal with the headache of drafting my book into a screenplay.
At thirty-five, having spent over twenty years running varied businesses for my family, I decided to sit down and write my first novel. I had never written anything longer than a couple of pages till then and was foolishly attempting to write a hundred-thousand words.
I was told that Ganesha sat between Lakshmi and Saraswati. My quest to attain the blessings of both goddesses explains my physique.
The average human attention span was 12 seconds in 2000 and 8 seconds in 2013. A drop of 33%. The scary part is that the attention span of a goldfish was 9 seconds, almost 13% more than us humans. That's why it's getting tougher by the day to get people to turn the page. Maybe we writers ought to try writing for goldfish!
Writing is incidental to my primary objective, which is spinning a good yarn. I view myself as a storyteller more than a writer. The story - and hence the extensive research that goes into each one of my books - is much more important than the words that I use to narrate it.
I don't start with the characters. I start with the series of events that will provide the conflict and how it can be resolved. Characters are incidental.
I must admit that i am fascinated by the glories of ancient India. But when will the purveyors of Indian culture realise that not everything about our past was glorious?
Writing a mystery is like drawing a picture and then cutting it into little pieces that you offer to your readers one piece at a time, thus allowing them the chance to put the jigsaw puzzle together by the end of the book.
It's foolish to call Chanakya an Indian Machiavelli. Rather, Machiavelli was possibly an Italian Chanakya.
Omniscient, omnipotent, omnivorous and omnipresent all begin with Om.
The relationship between critic and writer is similar to the one between the pigeon and the statue.
Master storytellers like Jeffrey Archer and Arthur Hailey use simple language. But they manage to grab the attention of the readers right from page one. I'll consider myself a good storyteller the day people believe it's OK to be late for work or postpone deadlines just to finish reading my book.