BTL welcomes Abhay Nagarajan, the author of ‘Corporate Atyaachaar’ for a short discussion on life, books, writing, etc.
Biography: Abhay did his schooling in Mumbai & Bangalore. He graduated from SRCC and followed that up with a Masters degree in finance (MFC) from University of Delhi. Abhay worked as a financial advisor for a little over two years. Besides working or writing, he enjoys reading up on cricket statistics – his first love since class five. ‘Corporate Atyaachaar’ is his debut novel.
Q1. Who or what inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas from?
On the family front, my maternal grandfather Mr. Malayatoor Ramakrishnan was a prolific writer of repute in Malayalam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayatoor_Ramakrishnan). So seeing him write, during my formative years definitely had a positive influence on me.
Regarding ideas- I begin with a rough outline that catches my fancy and then keep writing. The initial idea could come from a newspaper article, something I have read online, something mentioned to me in passing in an informal setting etc.
Q2. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing for me is to sustain the motivational levels while writing the first draft which on an average for me is completed in a time frame of 6-9 months.
Q3. Who is your favourite author and what strikes you most about their work? Have they influenced you in any way?
More specific to my writing, I would say, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Satyajit Ray are two that immediately spring to mind. I quite like the Boswellian relationship which Dr. Watson shares with the Sherlock Holmes in their various adventures. He is a chronicler of sorts. The same goes for the Feluda series in which Topshe is a companion to Pradosh Mitter (Feluda). This is a template which I have tried to use in my writing as well, in which the protagonist is a companion of sorts to record the boss’s actions, observations, histrionics and explanations.
Q4. Your first book “Corporate Atyaachaar” has won much acclaim apart from being a national bestseller. What is your favourite thing about the book?
While writing it, I felt excited by the possibility of blending in various facets of investment advice within an overall ‘superior-subordinate’ office framework. Going by the readers’ response, at some level, I have been successful in meeting this objective.
Q5. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not really. I think my writing style is fairly simple and easy to read. I am quite clear that my writing is meant for a reader on the move who wants an overall ‘time pass experience’ and not for a reader in search of a high quality literary experience. For such an experience, there are far superior writers competing for a reader’s time, attention and money.
Q6. What is your current project? What can you tell us about it?
‘The Off-Site Tamasha’ is my second novel. It is a sequel of sorts to ‘Corporate Atyaachaar’. Readers who haven’t read book 1 needn’t worry as chapter 1 brings them up to date with the happenings in the life of the protagonist and the boss. The story then moves to an off-site location where the advisors during the official company trip encounter two women and some incidents, some time pass humour (both decent and not so decent) follows.
Q7. How did you originally conceive the story?
Right from my formative years onwards, I have been to adventure, wildlife camps (during my school, college, Masters, internship days etc) which has given me a sense of setting which I needed while drafting this story.
Q8. How many drafts of your story did you have before the final version was complete?
Once I finished my first draft in 8 months, the story underwent an additional four revisions.
Q9. Did you do any kind of research for this book?
Yes. I did a fair bit of research (mostly online) to understand the kind of team building games that take place in an informal company off-site setting. Hence the tag line of the book-…a comical tale of team building.
Q10. Do you believe that the success of a book depends much on the publicity that goes behind it? How did you choose to publicize your book in these days of social media networking?
At some level, yes…. The success does depend on the kind of publicity and aggressive pre sales promotion. Having said that, despite the best publicity efforts, if a reader does not find value (in terms of content/story blurb/ entertainment value among other criterion), the book may not reach the expected sales numbers. If a book is good, strong word of mouth will help boost sales and could enable a book to go into multiple reprints.
My marketing efforts at best can be summed up as being modest. I am depending largely on word of mouth+ book reviews by bloggers (for a wider reader reach)+ FB updates (at my end)+ possibly a book launch to mobilize city based readers (at my end) + some newspaper coverage (if possible).
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here:
This interview has been conducted by Hamsini Hariharan. She’s working at BTL because she says that she likes Indian fiction but her true intentions are world domination through flower power.
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