While it is not unusual for corporate insiders to pen down the novels, revealing the murky insides of the corporate world, what in particular inspired you to write this novel?
The corporate world is a fertile ground for stories – both inspirational and fictional. It has a fascinating interplay of every emotion one can think of, and every kind of conflict. Fiction, after all, is about emotive conflict. I saw an untapped potential for crime fiction there, and decided to give it a go.
Has it been your deliberate attempt to expose and uncover the vicious and dark side of the corporate India, what with the elements of scams, treachery, corruption and crime intertwined together in a plot that leaves the reader flabbergasted?
Not at all. I set my novel in the corporate world simply because that is the world I know best.
Fraudster in entirely fiction, where I have taken great care to ensure that none of the characters or organisations reflect any real counterparts. I do not believe anything has been exposed or uncovered in the novel. None of the events in the book would be new to bankers, corporate executives or the finance profession.
Corporate India is no more vicious or dark than any other field of human endeavour – films, sports, politics, fine arts, the fourth estate – take your pick. But crime fiction, by its very nature, focusses on the dark side of humanity. 95% of the people in corporate India are good, honest folk who are busy making a living and building a better tomorrow for their children.
How handy has your experience in the corporate world been?
Very handy. I do not believe Fraudster could have been written without experience in the corporate world. Take the presentation Sanjay & Subbu make to Visht, for instance. It is grounded in a bank’s credit appraisal and risk management processes. Similarly, the modus operandi of the real estate scam is based on reality.
How did the Idea of writing Fraudster come to you?
Very simply, it was an experiment. I wanted to see if I could write something that the Indian reader would like. I had earlier experimented with epic fantasy, but soon realised that it was not popular in India. I decided to try crime fiction, and set it in an arena I knew well – corporate India. Rather than make it a plain murder mystery or a thriller, I wanted the story to revolve around banking and fraud.
When we think of banking fraud, what usually comes to mind are things like credit card fraud, phishing, account hacking, etc. But the real elephant in the room that few talk about is loan related fraud. I looked around and realised that nobody had written a novel about that.
Is there anything you would like to say about the book for those who have not yet read it?
If you like mysteries or thrillers, or are interested in speculating about how things can go wrong in the corporate world, consider reading Fraudster. Readers of all ages can read the novel; it is free of profanities and sleaze. Except for a couple of mild intensifiers, the language is clean.
What are you working on next?
I have signed up a 3-book deal with Hachette. 2016, 2017 & 2018 should see three corporate thrillers being published, with each one being set in a different industry. What is common between them is white-collar crime in the corporate world.
What's the story behind your latest book?
There are many different ways to profit from the stock market. Some are legitimate, and some are not. The book I am currently writing is about one of the illicit ways. And of course, there is murder along the way.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle 2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 3. Blandings Castle by PG Wodehouse 4. Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov 5. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Each of these are genre-defining authors, and matchless in their respective genres and sub-genres. These are the authors I grew up reading, and I hold them in very high esteem for different reasons -- Doyle and Christie for their plotting, Wodehouse for his language, Asimov for his concepts, and Tolkien for sheer imagination.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle and iPad. I download from Amazon and iBooks.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating. Creating something from nothing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading or teaching. I also try to go for long walks during which I observe human behavior.
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