29 January, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Salil Desai, #Author of The Sane Psychopath



*** Special Feature - January 2019 ***




Quick Recap:



About the Book:

Are some crimes unpardonable? 
A young lawyer is about to find out. 
It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning. 
Until a man decided otherwise. 
And left an entire city horrified . . . scared . . . angry . . . baying for blood. 

This is the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured. 

In this case of Shanker Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident. 

Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande?

Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

Book Links:

An Interview:

Murder on a Side street was your debut novel. What do you remember the most from your first publishing experience?
Murder on a Side Street was my second novel. My debut novel was ‘The Body in the Back Seat’ (2011), which was later republished by Fingerprint as Killing Ashish Karve (2014), the first Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series novel.

What have you done differently since then?
Well, when I wrote my first novel, I was just eager to be published and read. I hadn’t even thought that the book would be successful enough to lead on to a series. I had already started work on my second novel, which was a light-hearted murder mystery aimed at the young crowd. It was completely different from my first novel which was very dark and intense. Also I was working on a book of short stories ‘Lost Libido and Other Gulp Fiction’. So I was experimenting a lot. Then encouraged by the response to the first Saralkar mystery, Killing Ashish Karve, I embarked on two back to back Inspector Saralkar novels – The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015) and 3 and a Half Murders (2017). It involved a lot of hard work, but I was in my element, because I loved my characters and knew exactly what to do with them and with my plot. It was like being a batsman in form. However, it also exhausted me and I then decided to write a different kind of thriller, ‘The Sane Psychopath’, based on a true incident that happened in Pune in 2012. Again, given my urge to always experiment, I am happy that my sixth novel ‘The Sane Psychopath’ (2018) breaks the mould in terms of narration, story-telling, subject and tone. I think the only way a writer can hope to surprise readers is by experimenting.

Lost Libido and other Gulp Fiction is a collection of short stories that is vastly different from your famed mystery series. What was your aim with it?
My aim was to simply test myself by writing stories from different genres. I like to read short stories myself and realized it’s the best vehicle to capture the chaotic, cultural flux of urban India today and people’s reactions to the myriad problems, temptations and tricky choices that life throws at them.

What is your writing process like? Do you out every detail first or just go with the flow after the outline?
Generally speaking, I etch out the plot and story outline and then begin writing. But it’s not as simple as that, because writing is both a creative and tedious process at the same time – you have to work to a broad plan, yet leave a lot of room for spontaneity and change.

What is the trickiest part of your artistic process? And which aspects do you enjoy the most?
Actually the trickiest part is to convert a story idea into a narrative that has something meaningful to say in a way that is exciting, interesting and insightful. An author and his writing share a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I enjoy every bit of it, sometimes I hate it, especially when I am unable to make headway.

How many drafts do you usually write?
It would be great to say several drafts, but I must confess, I generally am able to crack it in one draft, with a lot of re-writing along the way. That’s because I have this habit of writing, reading the next morning, scratching out the parts I don’t like and re-writing. And then of course, there are always some changes and re-writing when my editor starts editing the manuscript.

What are your personal reading preferences? Does what you read influence how you write?
I love reading a lot of non-fiction on varied topics, plenty of history and all fiction that can take me beyond the first 20 pages. Yes, what I read certainly influences what I write, but not in terms of my style or content, but in terms of deepening my understanding of human beings, human life and the world.

What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success to me is either popular or critical acclaim or if possible both. It means writing books that won’t be forgotten. It means leaving readers with at least one thought or even one sentence that lingers on in their minds long after they have finished reading my book. Literary success also means being able to earn a living by writing fiction.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Good question. Yes, I read each and every review of my books whether in newspapers, blogs or even those on Amazon and Goodreads and so on. I also read feedback sent directly to me by readers. Mercifully most reviews of all my books have been good, even great. It would be dishonest to say I don’t wince when I read a bad review, but it does not bother me unduly.

One advice for every aspiring author out there.
All I can say is that being an author is a heart-breaking ordeal and only if you can weather multiple rejections and disappointments, should you attempt to be a writer. 


About the Author:

Salil Desai is an author, columnist, and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015), and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and

Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book.
An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatized management training videos (www.relivingindia.
com) are much appreciated in the corporate world. He also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story
and scenario design, screenplay writing and film-making.
Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in
Denmark, hosted by the Danish Centre for Writers & Translators in June 2016.


Stalk the Author:
Website * Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series * Goodreads



Giveaway:
Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of The Sane Psychopath.