Congratulations on your new book “The Inquisitive”. My first question will be what inspired you to write this book? And why did you choose a thriller?
As a writer, I believe there is always a story hidden in the womb of a smallest incident. We need to have the capacity and the imagination to develop the incident into a full-fledged story. Likewise, there was an acquaintance of mine in Mumbai, who told me how he was disturbed to see his neighbor’s daughter in a place of ill-repute. In a brothel, to be precise! Along with his wife, he spent two nights discussing, whether they should inform their neighbor about their daughter’s waywardness. And like “I care two hoots” common man, they kept quiet. But in this small episode, I saw a germ for a great, captivating story.
By nature I love thrills and adventures. Life without an adventure or a thrill is as insignificant and dull as the mere existence of plants and trees, I had read somewhere. It’s so true. I think that’s what drives me to write thrillers, which readers will enjoy with bated breaths.
The second question will be, even though you have shown your skills in the area of thriller, which genre of literature attracts/inspires you the most?
I love history and I enjoy reading about the great kings and their kingdoms. I love reading about our freedom fight. Reading about the great leaders, I believe enriches one’s personality. I enjoy reading about the depressing details of the Slave trade from Africa, and also about the stories of great explorers like Vasco da Gama, Columbus, and Captain Cook and so on.
There is this famous maxim “art for art’s sake?” Were you able to be as original as possible to your idea or did you have to sacrifice to meet the demands of the readers?
I always claim that originality is my forte. But again, without a dash of some spices, there is a risk of your dish tasting bland. I hope you know what I mean.
Why did you choose writing as a profession? Or what made you decide to take up pen as a medium to express yourself? How do you feel about writing?
I think, writing and poetry came as a God’s gift to me since my childhood. I wrote my first ever story, in my school magazine when I was in 8th standards. Since then, the ink in my pen has never dried. I think pen is mightier than a sword, at the same time it is sensitive enough to bring tears to your eyes. And talking about expressing love …less said the better.
Writing is my passion. Creating new characters and situations gives me a great high and it cannot match with any other addiction.
There is an increase in the adaptation of novels into movies, especially detective thrillers. What are your views about adaptation? Can another medium be true to the novels?
Sometimes, yes. A movie becomes more enjoyable than the parent book. But rarely. The soul of the story is lost many a time, when a book is adopted and translated into a movie or a drama or whatever. By the way, strange as it may sound, I need to quote here, that I wrote a movie script first, and converted it to a novel “The Inquisitive”. May be this is first time in the history of literature.
Do think that whether poetry is more powerful way of expression than prose? Or are you inclined towards the latter?
As for me, poetry and prose are like my two children. Impossible to judge one against the other. Many times it so happens that, while completing a chapter of my book, I halt and complete a poem or a ghazal and get back to the said chapter.
Poetry can tell a story or feelings in may be ten lines. Prose takes longer space and goes into more details. But both are enjoyable.
You have created characters like Monica, Shabboo, Nisha and Rucha. Was it difficult to capture the female perspective? How did you do it?
For a writer, the power of observation is of prime importance. Monica, Shabboo, Nisha and Rucha are all moving around us. One needs to keep eyes and ears open all the time. Then it’s a matter of capturing their uniqueness and absorb them into your story.
Please tell us about the author/authors who inspire you. What do you do when it gets difficult to write? What was the most challenging moment in this book?
The first names that come to my mind are Mario Puzo, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer and Sydney Sheldon. I love all their books.
Yes, indeed, sometimes there comes a stage during the writing of a story…you just face a wall that stops all the thinking process. At such times, I have learnt to throw the pen away and take a break. It doesn’t take too long, before fresh ideas start flashing upon your mind. And the story finds its way ahead.
As for this book, the conclusion, or the climax of the story was quite challenging. A lot of thinking process has gone into it, and that’s what will keep the readers guessing and guessing till the end.
What message do you want to give to aspiring authors? And whom they can look up to?
I think the aspiring writers should keep honing their writing skills, no matter what. They need to accept the fact that, more often than not, their initial work will be shown the dustbin by magazines and newspapers and the other publishers. One need to keep banging on the door till it opens.
Young and aspiring writers should look up to someone like J.K. Rowling, whose first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by at least a dozen publishers, before being accepted by a small publishing house. And the rest is history, as we all know.
Last but not the least, like your character Mohit Prajapati, are you an inquisitive person in real life?
I think you got me there! Yes, I am a bit of a nosy person and like to be curious and investigative about things around me. May be that’s how Mohit Prajapati was born. But looking at his story, think I should learn to mind my own business now.