CHAT Author Ravi Subramaniam talks about his latest book, The Bankster, and the thrills of writing about the banking industry
Banking is an industry with its influx of big money, shady deals, onus on maximising profits that could well be the setting of many thrillers. However, most authors have stayed away from the plot.
Ravi Subramaniam, whose previous novels also deal with human relationships and power games in the highly volatile banking sector, has launched his latest book, The Bankster, a tale that shifts across continents, touching elements of corporate espionage, the conflict between development and use of technology, conflicts relating to the commissioning of a nuclear power plant etc. “I made an effort to bring in contemporary issues into this book. My earlier books were set entirely in banks and did not showcase much of the world outside. This book showcases the manner in which financial fraud happens and affects the lives of a large number of people across the world.”
On being a pioneer as far as writing stories based on banks are concerned, Ravi says, “Thrillers or stories based in banks simply did not exist when I started to write. I had to be very careful to ensure that people are able to understand fairly complex financial terms and ensure that they are not bored by it. Managing to simplify banking jargon and making it understandable to the readers was the tough part. If you start to talk about complex terms like derivatives, the reader would just switch off.”
He adds, “I made an effort to ensure that the novels would be easily understandable to the layman. I set my stories in banks because banking is full of exciting stories. It has a mix of love, sleaze, loads of money, frauds, crime, investigations. There are many more stories waiting to be told.”
Ravi says that issues of following norms and ethical banking are very close to his heart. “The issues I talk about in the book are very common, though the scale of such breaches may be smaller. The stress that many relationship managers face to deliver targets also adds to the pressure. These issues must be addressed soon.”
How did writing books happen, one wonders? “My experience in the banking industry for almost 15 years gave me enough material to write 50 books. I started writing books to leave behind a legacy of sorts. My decision to write was partly philosophical.”
Ravi says that though he draws inspiration from the industry, all his characters are fictitious. “Such a disclaimer does not dissuade my friends from drawing similarities between certain characters in books and real life.”