Saturday, June 19, 2010

India’s Parker Pyne? Saurbh Katyal promises many more adventures of Vishal Bajaj.

‘No Flying From Fate’ is a new detective fiction title which is doing quite well in our library.

In an upcoming Book Reading session, I shall be reading excerpts from Saurbh Katyal’s murder mystery, “No Flying From Fate,” as the author himself is in Bangalore and would not be able to come for the reading.

Having found the book very interesting—combining as it did my two favourite genres of detective fiction and humour, I decided that I must get to know Saurbh better.

I requested him to answer a few questions about himself and the book.

Here are some excerpts from the e-conversation we had

1. The book jacket says you worked in the corporate world before deciding to become a real-estate consultant in order to spend more time to write. This would have been a huge decision. Where was this, and was there any single moment/incident that made you decide to leave the job?

SAURBH: After my MBA, I worked for three and a half years in an international property consultancy. The decision to quit and start my own business was made to allow me more freedom in my life. Writing reflects a part of that freedom. The idea of being an entrepreneur had always appealed to me, but I guess one fine day I decided that I wanted to work for myself instead of someone else, and that was it.

2. What other fiction have you written?

SAURBH: I used to write fiction for US-based magazines and e-zines during my graduation and post graduation days. There was a four year hiatus once I started working. I resumed writing in December 2008 when I started No Flying from Fate.

3. How long did it take you to write 'No Flying from Fate"?

SAURBH: It took me more than nine months to complete No Flying From Fate.

4. What part of the novel do you like best?

SAURBH: There are a lot of parts in the novel that I enjoyed writing. If I have to pick one, then I guess it would be the turbulence caused in the protagonist’s mind when he meets his ex, Aditi.

5. How much of Vishal Bajaj is autobiographical? Have you ever harboured a wish to be a private detective?

SAURBH: I read somewhere that the first novel is always autobiographical and I agree with it. In fact, when I started writing, I knew there was this new bunch of Indian writers who had over exploited the misunderstood adolescence / nostalgic college days/ first job experiences setting. I didn’t want to write another novel like that. That’s why I chose a murder mystery with the main protagonist a private detective.
It would be hard to quantify just how much of Vishal Bajaj is autobiographical, but I will not deny that he has certain similarities to me.
I guess there must have been a subconscious desire to be a private detective lurking somewhere, or this novel wouldn’t have happened.

6. Will more adventures of Vishal Bajaj follow? Can we expect a series of adventures, with Bajaj as the hero?

SAURBH: Oh yes. I have already started working on the second book, with the same protagonist.

7. What sort of books do you like to read? Any favourite author you feel you have been influenced by?

SAURBH: I am very catholic when it comes to books. I can literally read anything under the sun. Some of my favourite authors are John Fowles, James Clavell and Graham Greene.

8. What made you choose Gyaana books as the vehicle for your debut in the literary world?

SAURBH: My introduction to Gyaana was serendipitous. I came into contact with Divya through a group she runs on linkedin. I was on the verge of completing my book, and she was on the verge of launching Gyaana Books. I sent the sample chapters to her, along with some other publishers. All of them replied in positive, asking for the complete manuscript, but what I liked about Divya’s response was that she was extremely meticulous in her initial feedback.
I was still undecided about Gyaana, since there were a number of publishers who had shown interest in publishing the novel. I think it was during my interaction with Divya that I became convinced that she was a perfectionist, and was putting much effort and dedication in building this brand. Her passion for Gyaana Books was evident, and I knew that although they were a new publisher, my manuscript was in safe hands. And I can safely say that my confidence has not been misplaced. I am delighted by their professionalism.

Thank you Saurbh for taking the time to answer my questions.
Here’s looking forward to many more adventures of Vishal Bajaj! If you would like to hear excerpts from the book, and even buy copies at great offers, please do drop by at the Akshara Theatre on the 26th of June 6pm onwards.

The publishers, Gyaana Books, will also be releasing their new title The Dollmakers’ Island, by Anuradha Kumar.

All Gyaana titles are available for sale to our readers at a special discount of 10%. Anuradha Kumar’s book shall be available at an inaugural 20% discount. Simply write to us with your queries. Of course all these books shall be available at the Book Reading as well.

Do come if you can make it

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