Writing about murder, deceit and crime is no easy feat. Not only does the author need to get the crime right but ensure that the criminal looks convincing as does the investigator. I had enjoyed reading Vikram Rana Investigates and the two stories kept me hooked.
Today I welcome the author, Sharmistha Shenoy to #EloquentArticulation as we discuss writing, murders and a lot more!
Welcome to the blog, Sharmistha.
- When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?
I was once reading a murder mystery. I found it to be so bad that I thought that even I can write something better than this. That is how I started to write on an experimental basis. Norman Mailer once said: ‘writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.’ The metaphors about writing a book are usually to do with childbirth. And it’s a bit like that: a lot of screaming and tears – but oh such a wonderful miracle at the end of it all.
Writing is my passion and if I am good enough there is a good chance that I can make some money out of my passion. I have gained a lot of pleasure by reading the works of authors like Satyajit Ray, Arthur Conan Doyle, and numerous others. I fell in love with the authors. I wanted to give similar pleasure to other readers and hope to get similar love. This is the reason why I became an author.
Writing also allows me to release all my emotions. They prevent a toxic build-up of depression. I enjoy lavishing time on creating characters and worlds. It’s where I’m comfortable, and it’s what I know I’m good at. It doesn’t require a boss or an office other than me and my home.
2. The cover is worth a thousand words, how much of the cover designs for the books of Vikram Rana Investigates did you choose or were they designed by someone else?
It was designed by Manoj Vijayan though the idea was mine. He had given me three samples based on which I selected this.
3. How important are names of the characters in your books? Do you choose the names etc based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Sometimes I go by meaning. For example in the second episode, I have name two characters as Murali and Radha as I wanted to depict a romance brewing between them. Vikram Rana sounds dashing, manly and rugged – hence I selected that name .
4. What can your readers look forward to next? Share some details about your WIP?
Serial killings – why do serial killings happen? The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for example, defines serial killing as “a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone”
What causes a man to be so cruel. What is the psychology of a serial killer? Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer. He used his attractiveness and disarming smile to lure his victims to their deaths. He was described as “kind, solicitous, and empathetic,” utilizing those very traits to approach and win over attractive women in public places before luring them to secluded locations, where he would rape, kill, and sexually assault their dead bodies. Bundy decapitated at least twelve of his victims, keeping some of the severed heads in his apartment as mementoes of the crimes he had committed. All of this from an honor student who worked as a grocery bagger and shelf-stocker, and who volunteered at a suicide crisis hotline.
My next book will be on how Vikram Rana has to solve the case of a serial killer in the Vikram Rana Investigates Series.
5. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes – I do read all my reviews and respond to them. If I find a review to be bad, I do not respond. This is because literature is very subjective. One man’s meat can be another’s poison.
6. How do you think you have evolved creatively? If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I am evolving with each book and short story I write. I am still understanding the nuances of writing. What to focus on when writing short stories and what to focus on when writing murder mysteries. As an author of murder mystery, the challenge is to throw red herrings at the reader and confuse the readers. I hope that I will be able to keep the reader engaged. I have enjoyed reading novels like the Hound of Baskervilles or Ten Little Niggers and have thoroughly enjoyed the elements of surprise and suspense that I got from reading the books. I hope I am able to pass on similar pleasures to my prospective readers.
Answer to the second part:
Of course, Harry Potter books. But unfortunately, I do not think I can ever reach such great heights.It’s amazing because it combines a very rich imagination, certain psychological realities about childhood and adolescence that most other children’s books gloss over, an intricate plot and large cast of characters. She’s in the company of people like Rudyard Kipling and P.G. Wodehouse, and that’s no small feat.
7. Where do you see publishing going in the future? How do you think we can promote and increase diversity within the literary industry?
More and more people will self-publish. Traditional publishing will take a back seat. But having said that the traditional publishers will not be going out of business anytime soon.
But physical bookstores may go away as I find that Amazon is always cheaper than the books available in the book shops. That would be sad as I love going in bookshops and browsing. So if the bookshops have to survive they should price their books competitively with the online stores.
Quoting Saurav Mehta:
“With the latest spat between Amazon and publishers (Hachette and Bonnier), publishers are to give up more control and money when it comes to ebooks. So, if today’s set of publishers are to survive, they have to change their business model drastically.That future will be as a service with upside directly tied to a book’s success. Specifically:
- Authors will hire publishers from a competitive marketplace based on reputation, quality of service, and price
- Fees will likely be some sort of fixed price up-front, with a percentage of revenues
- Books will be published without DRM and marketed primarily by the authors themselves, likely at lower price points but with significant upside for breakthrough works
8. How can readers discover more about you and your work on the Vikram Rana Investigates Series?
Thank you for the insightful interview, Sharmistha. I look forward to reading many, many more investigations with Vikram Rana.