"It is important to create real, identifiable characters in a story" - Sourabh Mukherjee



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sourabh Mukherjee works in a senior leadership position in a leading consulting and technology services firm. He has several publications and blogs on emerging trends in business and technology and has spoken in a number of national and global conferences and technology summits. He has penned several short stories and was also the recipient of the Golden Pen Award in the Sulekha Monsoon Romance Contest 2014. Sourabh loves traveling, is an avid reader, and is passionate about photography, movies, and music.

INTERVIEW:

Q. Characterize yourself in one word?

Ambitious

Q. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.

In The Shadows of Death is a fast paced psychological thriller unfolding in the city of Kolkata, with Agni Mitra, Assistant Commissioner of Police, investigating a series of murders of adulterous women, even as he has to battle storms brewing in his personal life.

Q. Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?

I’ve 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. I started churning out technical white papers and non-fictional articles that got published in business and technology journals of repute.

However, as I traveled the world, I grew as a person getting to observe people from widely varying cultural backgrounds and to study their emotions, their thoughts, their behavior from various perspectives. And stories began to grow all over again.

I started my fiction writing career with the popular e-books Nargis Through my Summers and Loves Lost. Nargis Through my Summers and Loves Lost were released in one cover as Romance Shorts. My short stories in various genres were also published in international e-zines like Under the Bed and Romance. I won the Golden Pen Award in the Monsoon Romance Contest organized by Sulekha.com in 2014, which came as a huge motivation.

Q. What was the time frame for writing this book? Tell us an interesting detail or two, if applicable. For example, did you finish the first draft after one week?

I finished writing the first draft of the book in about a month. When my wife, Moumita, who is an avid reader of crime fiction herself read the draft version of the story, she shared her valuable feedback with me and also provided her creative inputs on some of the plot points. I am thankful to her for the same.

Q. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

I believe it is important to create real, identifiable characters in a story. Correct use of the language is essential, and so is the flow of the narrative. An author should ensure that a story progresses at a uniform pace – a story that slows down after an energetic start is a big let down. Finally, it is important to create an impactful storyline. I believe all these factors came together to appeal to my readers.

Q. Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?

As I mentioned earlier, I started my fiction writing career with the popular e-books Nargis Through my Summers and Loves Lost. They were published on the Kindle platform, and continue to receive accolades from readers. Nargis Through my Summers and Loves Lost were later released in one cover as Romance Shorts. My short stories in various genres were also published in international e-zines like Under the Bed and Romance. I won the Golden Pen Award in the Monsoon Romance Contest organized by Sulekha.com in 2014. I promoted my work through Kindle giveaways and Goodreads banner ads.

But, with e-books, promotion and marketing is always a challenge.

And then, I had the honor of being published by a mainstream publishing house like Srishti, who over the years, has produced bestsellers that have changed the course of Indian English writing. I am thankful to Jayanta Kumar Bose and Arup Bose for the break.

We have shared the book with eminent bloggers and reviewers including Salis Mania, as well as a number of media houses.

In less than a month of the book's release, the feedback I have received from readers and reviewers has been overwhelming. In The Shadows of Death has consistently been among the top sellers in various listings, including Amazon India's listing of 'Hot New Releases' in its category along with international titles and Salis' Bestseller Ranking, where it is among the top 3 for the month of January. An eminent writer and blogger have ranked it among 6 books that broke stereotypes in 2015. The book has been covered in publications like The Hindu, Hindustan Times, New Indian Express, The Free Press Journal and so on.

Readers and reviewers have loved the fluent narrative, the nonlinear storytelling, the characterizations, the several twists, and most importantly the tragedy at the core.

Q. Favorite novel?

Jeffrey Archer is an all-time favorite. I think he is an institution when it comes to storytelling – whether it’s his novels or his short stories.

I have been a big fan of Agatha Christie – mainly because of Poirot’s methods of investigation, the witty repartees, the human emotions at the core of the crimes. The Byomkesh Bakshi stories by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay have inspired my writing immensely.

Among more recent crime authors, I like the Alex Cross stories by James Patterson – not just for the thrills, but also for the underlying human emotions. I was floored by The Devotion of Suspect X and Malice by Keigo Higashino. I love the Cormoran Strike books by Rowling more because of her superior writing style and the characterization of Strike. I am also hooked to the works of Gillian Flynn.

Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

In fact, a number of my colleagues were surprised when I started writing fiction, in parallel with my busy and demanding profession. Writing is a passion that actually allows me to unwind. Sometimes, stories have grown from thoughts I pen down at airport lounges or on long flights during my business travels. I believe if you are really passionate about something, you end up finding time for chasing your dreams.

Q. What’s next?

I am currently working on the next Agni Mitra thriller 'The Colours of Passion' which would be released later this year.

Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?

I think you are doing a phenomenal job in promoting Literature. This is a great platform for upcoming authors and for readers to discover them and their works. Publishers are now willing to experiment with new talent, and these are great times for budding authors. And I see Salis Mania growing from strength to strength as you provide new authors with a platform to reach out to their readers and share their views and opinions. My best wishes to the team at Salis Mania!

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