Interview with Vijay Shertukde

Where do you get your ideas?
The daily news provides many opportunities. I use my imagination to put them together.
When did you start writing?
In the past, I read various books including religious scriptures and books on comparative religion. I was also a passionate reader of spy and mystery stories and came across books on terrorism and war in the Middle East and began writing a non-fiction book. Then I heard the news about the blast in Mumbai, which was my hometown, and other terrorist attacks in the divided Secular Indian subcontinent. That inspired the idea of putting the concept of the non-fiction book into a spy-fiction form. As a result, I began writing this novel by putting together my technical know-how and combining that with my understanding and feelings about the political and the social environment.
What are your writing habits?
Talk to the computer screen. The answer may sound funny but it is true. Whenever, I come across some interesting facts or ideas while reading those books, or reading an e-mail sent to me through my social and political networking group, I jotted them down in my computer. Being lazy, sometimes I used the programs like Naturally Speaking Dragon. I never learned typing. I just use two fingers to type. By nature, I am opinionated. I did not want my writing to be one sided. I wanted to be honest and frank to my readers. Therefore, I would ask a question to computer screen about where I jotted down those thoughts. I am not a computer savvy, and it took long time to search through. I'll be honest, I feel someone should spoon-feed me on how to handle laptop efficiently. This is what I meant by talking to the computer and that happened countless times during writing.
What are you working on now?
Twenty years back I wrote two books I AM HINDU and SEED. I really got a good review for the book I AM HINDU from the Baton Rouge Metro News paper "Advocate." I am working on revising them. Some of the ideas discussed in this spy fiction will be elaborated, based on the various scriptures I read in last twenty years, my interaction with social media, the conferences I attended as a speaker or as a participant and the discussions.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Computer
Can you give us some idea about your upcoming books?
My focus will be to delineate Hindu as a religion, Hindu as a way of life that include culture and traditions, and Hindu as a science. These will be short books, less than 300 pages. I will use simple spelling that is invariably absent from many books on Hinduism and are true to Sanskrut (many Hindus and Oxford Dictionary spell it as Sanskrit) Language
What inspired you to write the book?
I wrote this mystery novel as an expression about clash of neocolonialism and terrorism on the backdrop of secularity with philosophy of Non-tolerance.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Mumbai India in close proximity to the neighborhood library which fostered my love for detective stories at an early age. Agatha Christie was a huge inspiration and her books, translated into native language, opened a world of intrigue and mystery. This passion coupled with childhood stories of mythological lore recited by Hindu priests added to my interests in the mystery and philosophy. From a young age, I traveled extensively with my family throughout India. These excursions fueled my interest and love for travel, history, and spiritual studies.
So would you call your book an epic?
It is like an epic where character comes in between as needed. Kiran is the main character with many supporting characters as protagonists and the organizations with supporting characters like mafia, manipulative political operative, illegal industrial complexes, and terrorists are the antagonist. This is a non-fiction turned into fiction. The characters are important like protagonist and antagonist but the locale (reference to a particular event or setting of novel) is prominent and act as protagonist and antagonist. The prologue talks about the ‘Clan of Wolf Head’ this is the apparition of the antagonist. It surfaces now and then, it is apparent but we as a society never see it. This apparition comes back to haunt in the later chapter. They are the puppeteers for the antagonists. Nevertheless, as a puppeteer reader never see them. The spies are the protagonists and the act of sabotage, theft, terrorism, mafia, industrial complexes, and the characters associated with them are antagonists.
What motivated you to enter into political arena in the middle of spy fiction?
The political background is caught in the middle with no idea which way to sway. The hypocrisy of politicians with greed and corruption is the backdrop for this spy fiction.
Published 2014-01-08.
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