Of myths and murder: Ravi Subramanian on his latest novel

Author Ravi Subramanian opens up about his latest novel and moving away from banking thrillers

High-end corruption in banks, tales of financial embezzlement are the primary themes that run through most of banker and author Ravi Subramanian's earlier books. His latest book, In The Name Of God( Penguin Randomhouse, ₹299), is a contemporary mainstream thriller that is based on the hidden treasures of the Padmanabaswamy temple in Trivandrum.

Starting with a body being discovered in the temple pond, the novel sails across multiple cities and continents before concluding in Trivandrum.

In Bengaluru for the launch of the book, Ravi says, " This is a very different novel. It does not have any banking in it. It is a mainstream thriller with murders, investigations, cops and forensics, set mostly in a temple.”

The idea for the book , says Ravi, came about two years ago when he read about the court case involving the riches stored in the vaults of the temple in Trivandrum.

“I learnt that the temple relied on very basic security to safeguard the temple and its massive wealth. I was reading about a heist in Amsterdam at that juncture and wondered what would happen if a similar heist was attempted in this temple. The temple also had numerous myths attached to it. I felt that it was strange that the fear of divine retribution was bigger than the fear of the law.”

It took Ravi about two years to finish the book. “In the course of my research, I realised that many temples do not have any catalogues or documents about the statues present in the temple. This results in many of these rare pieces being smuggled out of the country. I have included that in the book too."

Ravi admits that this book was the toughest to write. " My earlier books mostly dealt with banking issues. I have been a banker for more than 20 years and know the industry and its workings like the back of my hand. In this book, I had to bring myself up to date with forensics, modern day murder investigation and other such issues. With the new age technology and advances in forensic sciences, murder investigations are very different now. I read up a lot."

Did he have the entire plot in mind, when he started out? “Not really. I just worked with a basic plot line of a body being found in the temple pond. I added elements and more characters as I went along. I occasionally rewrote some portions also. I enjoyed the writing process a lot ."

Keeping the reader hooked is key in writing thrillers. Ravi remarks, " I try to keep my chapters short so that the reader is never bored. I also leave a hook in the last paragraph that entices the reader to continue reading. "

Ravi reads a lot of contemporary thriller and feels that Indian and Western fiction writing is very different. " Indian writers set out complex plotlines in their novels. Western writers focus on a simple plot and build their story on that plot alone."

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 3:39:38 AM |

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