When you hear the name ‘Rajat Gandy’ and the word ‘assassination’ in the same breath, you are prone to thinking that this could be something political. And well-known author Anurag Anand, in his latest book, The Assassination of Rajat Gandy, takes an inspired name and brings forth a plot that will pique and hold the interest of the reader.
In this candid interview with Writers Melon, Anurag Anand dishes on everything that goes on with his writing and his latest book. Be it research, the book itself, or the process of bringing a book to fruition, Anurag Anand bares all.
Anurag Anand – The Balancing Act:
Gaining success as a corporate professional as well as an author is a huge achievement unto itself. To keep this as an achievement, what is important is maintaining the balance between the two. Anurag Anand talks to us about how he does this:
“I am blessed to be working for an organization and with a set of colleagues who have only encouraged me in my journey as an author thus far. Of course, the demands of the workplace can sometimes become unrelenting, but then the solution lies in prioritizing rightly and finding the optimal balance.
Writing to me is almost therapeutic. Just like an intense workout would be to a fitness enthusiast, writing serves as an escape from the rigors of life for me. As such, it becomes complementary to my grueling corporate job rather than something that interferes with it.”
The Assassination of Rajat Gandy – The Inspiration:
Every author takes inspiration from something they’ve encountered in their lives. What matters is how they channel their inspiration. Authors like Anurag Anand take a concept and turn it into bestselling novels that are inspiring in their own stead.
Here, Anurag talks about what inspired his latest book, The Assassination of Rajat Gandy:
“Politics, like films and cricket, is one of the things that binds a country of 1.3 billion people together. It is also home to myriad characters who the average reader can relate with. And not to mention the basal human motivations – lust for power and authority – that it embodies.
When I was looking for the right setting for my next thriller, politics had an obvious advantage, but it was the upcoming general elections that helped me make up my mind. The highly charged and polarized political environment that we are faced with today makes for an interesting setting for a crime thriller, and I hope I have managed to do justice to it through The Assassination of Rajat Gandy.”
The ‘Assassination’ of ‘Rajat Gandy’ – Controversial?
If you are familiar with Indian history, then just reading the title will remind you of events that happened just under a couple of months ago. The name is a play on a historical figure of India – if you could call him that – and low-key threatens to explode with controversy.
But author Anurag Anand takes us through what went through his mind as he chose the title of the book, and the name of the protagonist:
“It would be untrue if I said that protagonist’s name was the outcome of a completely random selection process. The name as well as some of the happenings that move the story forward are certainly inspired by people who have and are shaping the political discourse within the country. However, this is an artistic liberty I have taken purely for the purpose of making the plot more interesting for my readers. The story is a work of fiction and its characters or their actions are not reflective of any particular politician or political ideology. The book is meant to be an entertaining crime thriller, and that is what it should be read as. Nothing else!
I wouldn’t say I was worried, but my publisher and I certainly wanted to ensure that we don’t end up unintentionally hurting someone or calling any undesired controversy upon ourselves. Hence, we did seek opinions and inputs from subject matter experts before arriving at the final draft of the story.”
Anurag Anand and the Research Process:
For a crime thriller such as The Assassination of Rajat Gandy that is set in a political scenario, the research involved would be humongous. Author Anurag Anand takes us through his process of doing research and what went into his latest novel:
“Research, I believe, is integral to writing, irrespective of the genre that the work falls in. A story which is able to combine both informational and entertainment value for its readers is definitely going to find greater fervor than one that doesn’t. Of course, political thrillers require a greater amount of research than, say, a contemporary love story, but then that’s just a part of the exciting journey called writing.
Every writer has his or own unique style of researching for a story. In my case, once I have put the broad contours of a story in place, I give myself time to consume any and everything – articles, books, posts, documentaries, movies – related to the subject that I can lay my hands on. I try not to limit myself during this phase as one never knows what gathered insight might come in handy where. Including the research, it took about twelve months to complete the first draft of The Assassination of Rajat Gandy.”
Anurag Anand – Favorite Genres:
Anurag Anand has successfully dabbled in multiple genres. And we put forth a rather unfair, or should we say, tough question to the author – “What is your favorite genre to write in?” To which he replied:
“An author puts his heart and soul into everything he writes. And to that effect, yes, it is slightly tough for me to pick a favorite genre. However, I will go with the recency bias on this one and opt for crime thrillers. My two recent books – To Hell and Back and The Assassination of Rajat Gandy – are thrillers and they have been appreciated by readers across all segments. I hope to continue dabbling with this genre until something else catches my fancy and the pull proves too strong to resist.”
Deciding the Next Genre to Write In:
For a writer who has his fingers in so many pies, one would expect that the task of picking the next genre to write in would be simple, even though we all know it isn’t. But Anurag Anand gives us an explanation that makes it sound so simple.
“As a writer I try to pick subjects rather than genres. When I came across Amrapali, the yesteryear courtesan, I just knew that I had to write her story. The result was my maiden historical fiction venture – The Legend of Amrapali. Similarly, in case of The Assassination of Rajat Gandy, when I decided to write a story around politics, it simply had to be a thriller.
While I cherish the flexibility of choosing a subject I wish to write about, I am also cognizant of the expectations that my readers have from me. Hence, I try not to oscillate between genres at a frequency that might leave them baffled. Once I have written something, I back it up with a few more offerings in the same space before moving on. And if, in the interim, I come across a subject that seems exciting, I park it in my repository for later use.”
Writing the Next Novel:
When asked about whether he has started writing his next work, this is what Anurag Anand had to say: “I am in process of shaping the skeletal framework of the story as of now. The details are yet to be populated, and all I can tell you at this point is that it’s going to be yet another crime thriller.”
Advice for Aspiring Authors:
“My advice to young authors would be for them to find the methodology for research that works best for them, while not falling into the trap of looking for an easy way out. You can surely complete your story sans any research, but the value you are able to deliver to your readers might end up being compromised in the bargain.
Writing is a form of art and not a commercial incursion. Write only if you feel that it is your calling. And once you start, immerse yourself completely into the process and churn out a piece that you are satisfied with.
I see many first-time authors worrying about finding a publisher or marketing their books even before they have started working on their stories. This is a trap and needs to be steered clear of. As an author your job is to write, and if you do a bloody good job of it, everything else – including the accolades – shall follow.”
Author(s): Anurag Anand
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