Author Ravi Subramanian, who will be in the city for The Hindu Lit For Life, says writing thrillers is more complicated than regular fiction

For best-selling author Ravi Subramanian, a novel begins with an idea. And as he sits down and puts pen to paper with no inkling of where it will lead him, the story suddenly takes shape, becomes its own and is soon complete. Ravi, a financial services professional best known for his thriller mysteries set in the banking industry, talks about creating a new genre and keeping it fresh.

“Writing is never an easy job, irrespective of genre,” says Ravi. “Every author writes what he / she is comfortable with. But that said, writing a thriller is more complex than writing a regular fiction because those such as mine particularly, have multiple story lines and non-linear narration, and as a consequence, are a lot more complicated to pen down.”

But he believes that setting it in the banking industry is an interesting choice because it has all the ingredients that go into making a pot boiler — money, people, relationships, sleaze, fraud, crime and so on. “I think banking is a thriller writer’s delight. I have spent close to two decades working in this industry, watching it from close quarters. Banking and related stories come naturally to me. Hence it forms the backdrop for most of my books,” he says.

Inspired by reality

And so, six books (of which three were part of his banking trilogy) down, his books have sparked a debate among readers and professionals in the industry. “Some readers liked the honesty in the books, while others felt threatened and look at them as an expose (which they aren’t). Regulators have embraced my books. A number of them has, in fact, quoted from them and asked me whether it is really fiction.”

A genre such as banking thriller is new and out-of-the-box but Ravi says that Indian readers have evolved to appreciate all kinds of writing. “The new reader is very discerning and does not fall prey to trends. If you look at the market in the last five years, you will be able to see that every single author who has made his mark has written in a genre that is very different from the prevailing trend,” he explains.

That said, are parts of his book inspired from his life, given that he is in the industry himself? “My protagonists are all normal human beings. They are people who readers can relate to. Most writers model their characters on people they know. People I have seen and worked with too inspire characters in my books although I try to make sure that no character in my book mirrors them entirely,” says Ravi. “The books are not autobiographical, but the instances are inspired by real-life incidents I have witnessed or heard.” Ravi continues to pursue a career in banking, and is a writer by night. “I consider myself fortunate since I’m able to pursue a career and continue my passion for writing without compromising on either of them,” he says. “My endeavour is to entertain readers and give them an enjoyable story. I also make an attempt to give them something to brood over — the naxalite issue in Incredible Banker or the nuclear power plant protests in Bankster.”

The author himself reads crime fiction and thrillers and is currently working on his next book. “I don’t want to divulge much; it’s going to on a topic that has never been written about,” he smiles.

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