ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Santhosh Gangadharan is a novelist hailing from the state of Kerala in India. He was born in Borneo and brought up in India and Kuwait. A chemical engineer by profession, his business development job takes him on long journeys to many corners of the world. His first novel in English, "Spinning Into Oblivion" was published in 2015 by Partridge India. This novel interweaves modern science and ancient mysticism with rich Middle Eastern history and Sufi culture.
In 2016, Leadstart Publications published his second novel "What Next?". This was also in English and deals with the theory of Voyage of the souls and is set in the 15th century Oman and Kerala.
Both books are available at Internet stores of Amazon, Flipkart, and Barnes and Nobles.
In 2020 he had published a crime thriller related to reincarnation in English (Drifting over a memory chest) and Malayalam (Innalekalude Velipadukal). Even though he had been writing in both English and Malayalam, it was the first time he could simultaneously publish a story in both languages.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your latest book "Drifting Over A Memory Chest"? What sparked this book and who should read it?
The essence of the story is friendship. The place, Kottayil Kovilakam where the story is set, is just about 15 minutes drive from my house. This place had always infatuated me due to its age-old legacy of secularism. When nobody had any thoughts of differentiating between different religions, this enchanting place had a temple, church, mosque, and a synagogue within a kilometer radius. These places of worship are more than four centuries old.
Seeing the ancient tombs in the Jewish graveyard and the sepulchral aura that enveloped the area which was almost like a jungle, with the bamboo trees making an eerie sound while swaying in the wind, generated the spark in me to start my story right from there. It sent me drifting over a story about a century and a half old.
Those who like thrillers, adventures, and reincarnation definitely will not be disappointed.
Q. What was it that attracted you to write a Crime Thriller?
The story revolves around a misunderstanding prevalent for more than a century about a crime that was committed or not committed. This is being solved through the visions being created by a reincarnated soul. A pair of present-day friends have to put their brains together to work out the possibilities since the reincarnated souls cannot actually become detectives.
The notion of a combination of crime, reincarnation, and history in an ancient setting, drove me forward to spin the web around an apparent crime thriller.
Q. What inspires you to keep writing/publishing books?
The enjoyment I derive from giving life to novel ideas that churn out in my mind and the ardent support and encouragement that I get from my dear and near ones, make me write. Seeing your efforts in the form of a book is like seeing your newborn child. Once published, my friends and relatives are able to enjoy them too.
Q. For the readers that enjoyed your previous books what can they expect in your latest crime thriller, “Drifting Over A Memory Chest”?
The story is fast-paced and moves to and fro from the present to the past. That thrill of being part of the ancient village and understanding the bygone era through a quartet who lived in the past is guaranteed for the readers. Those who had loved my previous thrillers like “Spinning into Oblivion” and “What Next?” are sure to enjoy while they are drifting over this memory chest.
To understand how people lived, the festivals and the entertainment they had, how they moved from place to place, and their food habits during the second half of the nineteenth century, I had to do a lot of research and it was definitely a pleasant enjoyable process. I am sure the reader also will get the same feeling of enjoyment while reading the book.
Many who had read the book commented that they felt as though they were living with the characters in the book.
Q. What was your writing process like for “Drifting Over A Memory Chest”?
I had started writing this book about three years back and then got stuck up after a few chapters. I didn’t know how to move ahead. It lay there abandoned while I concentrated on other areas of my writing.
Then came the lockdown during last year and I was confined to my house. I couldn’t go out for my morning walks since movements were restricted. That made me return to my novel and I promised myself that I have to do justice to this story.
I don’t know whether you will believe me – I completed the book within the next 15 days. The ideas started flowing in my head while I did my walking within the walls of my second-floor flat in Oman.
I had nurtured a dream to write a novel both in English and Malayalam, my mother tongue. This book was meant for that. After completing the novel in English, I had sent it to my sister, sister-in-law, and cousin sister who criticize and admire my works. While getting their feedback and incorporating the changes in my book, in the next fifteen days I managed to translate my book into Malayalam.
It was a happy moment for me to accomplish my dream.
Q. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
As is true with any exercise or medicine, what is relevant and good for one person need not work for another. For me, the best way to overcome writer’s block is walking alone in a peaceful atmosphere without carrying a phone. This gives me ample opportunity to think over my novel and churn the ideas in my mind.
While walking, the movement of your arms and legs keeps your body relaxed and mind vigilant. It has definitely helped me umpteen times to come out of my mind’s block.
Q. What’s the best book you have read this year so far?
In Malayalam, it is a novel called “Valli” which depicts the struggles of the people of Vayanad, a district in Kerala that has been blessed abundantly by the nature, written by Sheela Tomy. In English “Dracula the Un-dead” which is an official sequel to the famous Bram Stoker classic “Dracula”. This is written by Dacre Stoker, the grandnephew of Bram Stoker.
Q. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
I advise myself, “Always react positively with a smile and introspect to find my own mistakes”.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Mixing ideas to come to a conclusion with a twist in the tale.
Q. In short, what are your three best tips for young/new authors?
Make reading a habit and writing a hobby
Thirst for knowledge, quench by reading
Deposit the sparks you get, in a TIN before you forget – a small notebook to jot down immediately any new “Thoughts, Ideas, Notions”, that is TIN. It will be always useful later when you sit down to write.
Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?
I had seen, known, and interacted with Salismania since 2016. Have seen the enormous growth the website had made during these five years in terms of quantity and quality.
It has encouraged and spurred many new and young writers in different fields.
The number of authors who flock to be recognized through Salismania speaks volumes about the exposure that is ensured through this site.
Definitely, Salismania will be able to compete with several other sites of similar nature and rise to be one of the best. My best wishes to Salismania!
ABOUT THE BOOK
What had started out as a quiet vacation was fast turning into a mystery solving quest for Krish and Anand. With memories reverberating across the walls of a temple, a church, a mosque and a synagogue to reveal an unfinished story that only Krish could complete. A secret mission, a book of poems, a vintage printing press, a Sufi poet, a seminary of yore, a Jewish bakery in Turkey. The past and the present intertwine to slowly disentangle a mangled web of events as Krish and Anand try to trace the movements of the four friends. What had happened to them? Where had destiny led them to? Drifting Over A Memory Chest draws life from the potent triad of life, death and memories, linked and kept alive by innumerable wisps of time.