29 November, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with @sourabhm_ofcl, #Author of The Sinners

*** Special Feature - November 2019 ***

Quick Recap
22nd November - The Modern Thriller

About the Author:

Sourabh is the author of two psychological thriller novels The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight (Readomania) and  In the Shadows of Death: A Detective Agni Mitra Thriller (Srishti Publishers and Distributors); Romance Shorts, a collection of dark-romance short stories; a 2-part series Beyond 22 Yards (Srishti Publishers and Distributors) on stories of Love and Crime from the world of cricket and a 7-part series of short stories titled It’s All About Love (Srishti Publishers and Distributors). The titles in the series are The Gift, The Cookery Show and a Love Story, A Special Day, Masks, An Autumn Turmoil, The Hunt, The Death Wish.

A keen observer of human behaviour and cultural diversities, Sourabh loves travelling and has travelled widely across five continents. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.

Contact the Author:

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have never really written for a purpose – it is just something I love to do. In my early childhood, I would spend hours writing, as well as making illustrations for my own stories. A number of my poems were published in children’s magazines back in the day. I continued to write through my teenage and later in college. 
I kept writing in office magazines for a couple of years, but the demands of my career as an Information Technology professional and my travels across the world soon left me with very little time and creative energy to write fiction. 
However, as I travelled across the world, I grew as a person getting to observe people from widely varying cultural backgrounds and to study their emotions, their thoughts, their behaviour from various perspectives. And stories began to grow all over again. 
I won the Golden Pen Award in the Monsoon Romance Contest 2014, conducted by Sulekha.com and judged by an eminent panel of literary luminaries. That was when I decided to take my writing career more seriously. 
My debut novel In the Shadows of Death was published by Srishti Publishers in the winter of 2015.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
When I am in the process of writing, I actually let the sights and the sounds in my mind take over. It, therefore, becomes extremely important for me to be in the ‘appropriate’ frame of mind to write, irrespective of the time of the day or my surroundings. I need to be in those situations myself.

How has your experience been different this time around from The Agni Mitra Series?
This time, the story is set in Mumbai, instead of Kolkata. Also because this story is not an investigative thriller, unlike the Agni Mitra thrillers, I do not talk about police procedurals. There is, of course, a detective, but this gentleman is rather quirky and a sharp contrast to Agni Mitra.

What do you hope for the readers to take away from The Sinner?
The storyline of The Sinners is inspired by the thought that, we are busy developing technology for the future, but at the end of the day, we are human beings with primal, caveman instincts. This contradiction is a very interesting subject. 
The story unfolds in a technology company in Mumbai, that is in the business of manufacturing next generation smart devices, and in a short time, has emerged as a force to reckon with in the global market. With this setting, “The Sinners” is a fast-paced corporate thriller that regales readers with accounts of how battles are fought in the corporate with internal, as well as external enemies, why security of information and ideas is indispensable, and the extent to which rival firms can go for business gains. 
Finally, as in my previous thrillers, “The Sinners” is primarily about human psychology and goes into the psyche of its characters. It deals with the complicated dynamics of human relationships, and reflects the society and the times we live in.

Please tell us about the characters in your book.
I will present a high-level sketch of the characters in The Sinners. The handsome and charismatic protagonist Vikram Oberoi, who is a ruthless go-getter and notorious for his dalliances outside his marriage; the disgruntled wife who believes that her family would be saved if Vikram were not drunk on power; the new intern who falls for Vikram’s charms; the jilted lover who vows revenge; the ambitious boss who would not let Vikram’s bohemian lifestyle get in the way of the company’s success; a colleague who was once a classmate and who now eyes Vikram’s chair; the Head of a rival firm all set to destroy Vikram; a mysterious woman laying out honeytraps to sabotage Vikram’s plans; and a quirky detective form an eclectic mix of characters that keep the reader hooked to the story.

What is the cardinal rule of writing a mystery/thriller?
Thrillers these days are rarely about stolen antique or rare jewels. Thrillers today are more about human psychology. They are about the complicated dynamics of human relationships. They reflect the society and the times we live in. And that is what draws me to a thriller as a reader.
Today, we are consuming crime stories from all quarters – TV, news, movies, the internet. And it is probably getting harder and harder for the mystery writer to conjure an unexpected ending. There is so much of true crime we are reading about and watching around us that it is often difficult to deliver jaw-dropping twists. Also, readers like me who read lots of crime books every year get used to spotting hints and clues in the narrative as they read along.
Therefore, for me, when I read a thriller today, whether I was kept guessing about the identity of the antagonist till the last page, is no longer the most important thing. What I look for in a modern thriller is how we get there, how deep we go into the psyche of the characters. I want the narrative to be intriguing and satisfying to the extent where I feel it is all real, where I can relate to the characters and everything that is happening to them.

What kind of research goes into your book?
I am an instinctive author. However, the amount of research one needs to do before writing a book depends largely on the subject.
For instance, when I am writing about homicide investigation, I do a fair amount of research into areas like forensics, autopsy procedures, DNA studies, cyber forensics and so on.
These, of course, are always supplemented by my own studies on criminal psychology, which is a subject of personal interest.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Always. There’s a bit of me in every story I write, and the one who knows, knows.

What did you do with your first check from your books?
I invested in marketing my books.

What are the most unethical practices in the publishing industry?
I believe a number of unethical practices in the publishing industry stem from the rather unreasonable desire of authors and publishers to meet numbers and targets they set for themselves, instead of focusing on developing a platform and creating a following of readers, organically. Instead of boosting sales numbers by buying back copies, influencing sales figures in stores or ratings and reviews in online platforms, authors should focus on reading, creating quality content, engaging with readers, and working on feedback.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
It is important to create real, identifiable characters in a story – unless of course one is writing a fantasy or a superhero story. Correct use of the language is essential. An author should ensure that a story progresses at a uniform pace – a story that slows down after an energetic start is a big letdown. Finally, it is not about the length but always about the impact of a story. I have read 1-page stories that have left me thinking for days.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently planning the third Agni Mitra novel!

About the Book:

Vikram Oberoi is found dead in his penthouse. A few hours ago, his involvement in a sex scandal in NexGen Technologies made headlines across the world.

Who is behind the sinister conspiracy that destroyed Vikram Oberoi, the philandering India Head of NexGen? Rivals within and outside the firm? One of his many jilted lovers or the miffed wife? A mysterious conspirator laying out honey traps to sabotage his plans? Or, is it the ghost of a sinful past that continues to haunt the Oberois? 

The Sinners is a fast-paced thriller with a shocking twist that unravels against the backdrop of corporate warfare, illicit relationships and ruthless seduction games.

Book Links:

1 Paperback Copy of The Sinners
1 Paperback Copy of The Colours of Passion

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