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Sandhya Sridhar and Ravi Subramanian at The Book Talk. Photo: M. Vedhan  

Award-winning author and banker Ravi Subramanian has no plans to become a full-time writer. “I have a day job where I make money and satisfy my self-esteem. Writing is for fun, and I want to keep it that way,” he says. Nine years ago, when he had started spending volumes of time drafting his first book, If God Was A Banker, his wife had nervously asked him: “Are you going to quit your job?” Ravi’s answer was in the negative, and he said he would keep the home fires burning. “So, the transition to becoming a writer was smooth, and she told me I could do whatever I wanted!” he recalls with a laugh, even as the crowd — a few loaded with bulging shopping bags — around the stage swells, at Phoenix MarketCity.

“But how do you juggle the two worlds — writing and banking?” asks someone from the audience. “Well, I give up a lot of things. No TV, no parties, not much socialising either. I make sure I reach office at 8.15 a.m. (while the rest come in at 10 a.m.) and leave by 5.30 p.m. to avoid traffic. And I need no seclusion to write. I can write in my living room with my wife and kid around,” he says.

The eight-books-old writer talks to author and publisher Sandhya Sridhar about shifting genres from thriller to romance with his new book, The Bestseller She Wrote, at the Book Talk organised by The Hindu Lit for Life on Friday.

All your previous books are based on life around banks. What made you take up a new genre?

To me, a good storyteller should be able to tell stories across genres. So, I challenged myself, and moved out of my comfort zone. It was challenging, because thrillers are largely plot-driven, and romance is character-driven. I had to spend time and effort in building characters. I was nervous thinking that it might be an injustice to my readers, who are expecting murder, investigation or some banking scam. Thankfully, the response has been heartening. I will be experimenting a lot more. In fact, I will consider myself successful only if I am able to write a children’s book that’s gets appreciation.

In your story, the protagonist is a bestselling author like you. How much of the story is from your personal experience?

This is a story of an illicit adulterous relationship {between a superstar novelist Aditya Kapoor and an aspiring writer Shreya Kaushik}, and no man in his senses will write a personal account of it. Even if I have one, I won’t write a story about it. (laughs) Having said that, a lot of the instances in the book are taken from real-life incidents.

The book gives an insight into the publishing world. How has the journey been for you?

When my first book was published in 2007, there were not many books based on banking, and e-commerce was not the way it is today. So, we had a lot of book launches around the country. During my first book launch, a young lady pointed out a grammatical error in the title — it should have been ‘If God Were A Banker’ and not ‘God Was’. The point is, since there were not many Indian authors who wrote commercial fiction then, the concept of ‘good editing’ was rare. There is a huge change now; the quality is so much better.

Has a traditional book ceased to be the product it was, and now focusses more on entertainment?

Books should be both enlightening and entertaining. This book talks about the publishing industry. God Is A Gamer is the first bitcoin thriller in the world, and The Bankster explores how the academia and gun lobbies in the U.S. work. But how much information do you weave in without making it sound bookish? That’s the struggle.

Bestsellers are seamlessly morphing into film scripts. Is this happening to any of your books?

I am not sure about The Bestseller She Wrote yet, though it is written in a linear way and suited for Bollywood. But we have sold the film rights for God Is A Gamer. The scripting is going on right now, and the film might release in 2017.


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 4:31:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/on-the-same-page-with-ravi-subramanian/article8203124.ece

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