Shouvik Bhattacharya is author of India’s current best selling murder mystery novel Murder In A Minute. His debut novel explores the theme of unrequited love, jealousy and pain. He is a management graduate from S.P Jain, Mumbai and is currently working for General Electric in its leadership program. During the day, he designs analytical software which makes aircrafts fly and during the night he plots devious murder mysteries. He is a die-hard fan of Manchester United and you might easily find him reading, in a café or a bookstore in Bangalore. I had the opportunity to ask Shouvik a few questions. Here they are:
1. Tell us the story behind the story. How did you come up with the idea of Murder In A Minute?
Ans. Well, the plot of the story had a particular shape in my head since I was 19, but it had a few holes. When I was 26, my roommate and I planned to go for pandal hopping during Durga puja. But, he ditched the plan and kept sleeping which drove me nuts. I was thinking how can I murder this fat guy and run away undetected. Deja-Vu and then Eureka… plot was done.
2. Your story revolves around a successful female CEO. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Ans. I don’t think I had any specific problem writing about a female character. Murder in a Minute being my debut novel, the entire part of converting an idea into words, making coherent lines and structured paragraphs to meaningful pages was the main challenge. My next novel, which is going to be in first person in the voice of a woman is where I see a major challenge.
3. Which was the most challenging character you wrote for this book?
Ans. Pranav. Very deep and dark character who is fighting a constant pain. I don’t think I did justice. But, I am getting better. I am quirky in the sense that I always follow real-life characters, my friends, and twist them to make characters in my novel. Example: whenever my friends make some good comments, I have a habit of noting them down. Once, a couple, both good friends of mine were in a middle of an argument, and they had to research my notes to settle their argument. It was quite funny :P. In the end, fiction is a reflection of reality.
4. Do you identify with any of your characters?
Ans. Debut novels are often autobiographical. There are bits and pieces of me in Anubhav and in Rishabh.
5. Do you have a regular writing routine while working on a novel? Any particular writing habit you want to share?
Ans. I plan to write one page everyday. I rarely succeed but I do read forty pages everyday. MiaM was written in three months from twelve midnight to four in the morning. Every day in those three months. However, I wouldn’t suggest this schedule to any writer out there.
6. Do you have any hobbies other than writing?
Ans. I play badminton. But, I would say writing is my hobby. I have a day job which is quite handful and writing gives me the much needed balance in my life.
7. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Ans. Looking for Alaska, Crooked House and The Goal.
8. According to you what are some common traps for aspiring writers? Do you have any advice for them?
Ans. To think that this is easy and you won’t face challenges. The best advice I can give you is an analogy. The first omelette I prepared was the worst omelette made by any one in this entire universe. The first page I wrote was no different. But my second page was better and so was the second omelette. Currently, my omelettes are bestselling.
9. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Ans. Well self publishing industry has gone crazy, mind you crazy not unethical. It is putting a crazy price on an author’s dream and because it is so difficult to get your work published, most of them end up paying those crazy sums. If anyone asks for even 100 bucks for your work… explore other options.
10. Lastly, tell us little bit about your upcoming sequel.
Ans. I have stopped writing the sequel Murder on the Rocks die to a writers block. I am currently working on pure-play romantic novel “how long is forever.” And unedited chapter one is here for you and your readers