Pooja Salvi speaks to Ashwin Sanghi to find out more about his new book The Sialkot Saga and his writing process
A good book keeps you hooked till the very end and leaves you wanting more after the final chapter. Ashwin Sanghi is the talented author of best-selling books such as The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. With so many thrillers under his belt, it’s no surprise that his most recent book, The Sialkot Saga, published by Westland, is also a must-read. Read on to know more about the author’s writing process and how every book he writes is better than the last.
With six bestsellers out already, including one in collaboration with James Patterson, how do you feel about your work so far?
I feel great! When I wrote The Rozabal Line, my very first book, I had no idea that it would lead to Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, Private India, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck and now, The Sialkot Saga. With my sixth book, I am finally beginning to feel more confident about the fact that a segment of readers who appreciate my writing exists.
While writing crime fiction, how do you make sure that your audience is kept on the edge of their seats?
For me, a good book is one in which the pages turn themselves. My attention span is very low and I am easily bored. My wife is always upset with me for leaving a film midway because I have usually figured out the ending and simply do not have the patience to sit through the rest of it. I grew up reading fast-paced fiction by Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Irving Wallace, Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, Ken Follett, Wilbur Smith and several others. I love the adrenaline rush that is brought on by an unexpected twist in the tale. This is the only factor that I consider when I’m writing. Will this induce my reader to turn the page?
You were originally a businessman and began to write at a later stage. What advice do you have for writers who one day hope to do the same?
One: Don’t think about being a writer; simply start writing. Two: Don’t quit your day job, because it could be a while before royalties can sustain you. Three: Don’t think of yourself as a writer, but as a storyteller. Words become irrelevant if your story is great. Four: Become thick-skinned, because rejection and criticism are all part of the process of evolving as an author. Five: Learn to become persistent and to persevere.
Can you give us some insight into what your writing process is like?
I write every day from 5am to 9am. My evenings are devoted to research and reading. I devote Saturdays entirely to writing and Sunday entirely to family time. As you can imagine, besides work and writing, the only other thing that I have time for is my family. The key element in a thriller is to get the plot, pace and characters right. Because my previous novels have been thrillers, I am now quite used to spending months — even years — on plotting and research before sitting down to write a single word. That particular methodical approach helps me tremendously.
Tell us something about The Sialkot Saga. Why should readers pick it up off the rack?
The Sialkot Saga is about two men, Arbaaz and Arvind, who grow up in very different worlds. While Arvind grows up in Kolkata in the Marwari aristocracy, Arbaaz fends for himself in the underworld of Dongri. They do not realise it, but their lives are connected by an ancient secret. Their quest for that secret, unfortunately, will have repercussions for everyone else. If you like compelling fiction that forces you to turn the page, then you will probably enjoy this book.
About Ashwin Sanghi
Everyone loves a good crime story, especially one with strong, willful characters, fast-paced scenarios, an exciting conclusion and, hopefully, a sequel. Ashwin Sanghi is the bestselling author of various crime novels and has very recently collaborated with famous writer James Patterson to work on a New York Times bestselling crime thriller. Apart from writing fictional thriller stories, he has also written a non-fiction book called 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck.
You can read more about him and his writing career on his website: www.sanghi.in