Book Review Blog

Interview with author Sourabh Mukherjee

I recently interviewed Sourabh Mukherjee, author of the book In The Shadows Of Death. The story of the book is a psychological crime thriller right from the word go till the last page. To read the complete review of the book visit Book Review : In The Shadows Of Death - Sourabh Mukherjee. Below is the interview with the author.
-- Interview with author Sourabh Mukherjee --

Q: “In The Shadows Of Death” made you a published author, how does it feel holding the book?

A: It is a wonderful feeling. It was an emotional moment when I first walked into a bookstore, the Starmark outlet in the South City Mall in Kolkata to be precise, and saw my book displayed next to the works of authors I have idolized. The book was launched by noted poet and educationist Sahitya Academy Award winner Dr. Subodh Sarkar in Kolkata, who had highly motivating words of praise for the book. Within months of its release, the book found shelf space in leading chains like Starmark and Crosswords along with global bestsellers. Esteemed reviewers from mainstream dailies like The Hindu (twice), The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Business Standard, The Free Press Journal, Absolute India, Zee News, Tahalka News, Yahoo India News, Punjab Tribune etc. profiled my book (http://mukherjeesourabh.blogspot.in/2016/05/what-does-indian-media-have-to-say.html). The blogger community had great things to say about the book. The reader response has been overwhelming with extremely gratifying reviews on sites like Amazon, Flipkart. In the Shadows of Death has consistently been among the top sellers in various listings in Amazon India in its category along with international titles. An eminent writer and blogger has ranked it among 6 books that broke stereotypes in 2015. Readers and reviewers have loved the fluent narrative, the non-linear storytelling, the characterizations, the several twists, and most importantly the tragedy at the core. Writing a book and then publishing it is akin to bringing up a child who imbibes a part of you and then letting it venture into the world beyond the confines of its home. What can be more blissful for a parent than to see the world embrace that child with love and affection?

Q: You always wanted to be a writer? Did it just happened or something inspired you to take it up?

A: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have never really written for a purpose – it is just something I love to do. In my early childhood, I would spend hours writing, as well as making illustrations for my own stories. A number of my poems were published in children’s magazines back in the day. I continued to write through my teenage and later in college. I kept writing in office magazines for a couple of years, but the demands of my career as an Information Technology professional and my travels across the world soon left me with very little time and creative energy to write fiction. However, as I travelled across the world, I grew as a person getting to observe people from widely varying cultural backgrounds and to study their emotions, their thoughts, their behaviour from various perspectives. And stories began to grow all over again. I started publishing my work with the popular e-books Nargis Through my Summers and Loves Lost. My short stories in various genres were also published in international e-zines like Romance, Under the Bed and eFiction. In the Shadows of Death is my debut novel. A psychological thriller, set in the city of Kolkata, the story is a whodunit with an emotional core, which was published by Srishti Publishers and Distributors in December 2015.

Q: Tell us something about your experience of getting “In The Shadows Of Death” published?

A: My earliest books were published on the Kindle platform. With e-publishing, there is obviously no fear of rejection. However, with e-books there is the daunting challenge of promotion and marketing. As for my debut novel, I am thankful to Jayanta Kumar Bose and Arup Bose  from Srishti Publishers for the immense support and encouragement they extended to me at every step of the publishing process. It was a pleasure working with Srishti's editorial team. They continue to be hugely supportive even after the book release, helping in branding and promotional activities. What I cherish about the whole process of producing a book is the collaboration among all the involved parties. Writing, by itself, can be a lonely and private process. An author spends days and nights pouring his / her heart out on paper, sharing dreams, fantasies, opinions and his / her view of the world and the society. And then, one fine day, that dream becomes a shared dream. You have an editor who comes in with his / her views. A cover designer creates wonderful layouts that echo your dreams. The marketing team starts working on how best the key themes and messages of your work are conveyed to the world. I find this socialization of an author’s vision extremely fascinating.

Q: Tell us something about the cover of the book?

A: Irrespective of what wise men suggest, we usually end up judging a book by its cover. We wanted a cover that should convey the spirit of the book. We wanted an impactful artwork that should have the right elements to create an air of mystery, without being too 'busy'. We wanted a cover that was almost noir, and I am happy with the final result. I hope readers love it too.

Q: Other than writing, what else do you do professional?

A: An Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer, in my day job, I work in a senior leadership position in a leading global technology firm. With several publications on emerging trends in business and technology, I have been a speaker in various national and global conferences and technology summits.
Interview with author Sourabh Mukherjee
Interview with Sourabh Mukherjee author of the book In The Shadows of Death
Q: What can we expect from you in the near future?
A: I am currently working on the next Agni Mitra thriller 'The Colours of Passion'.

Q: The story of “In The Shadows Of Death” is an interesting take on the modern day relationships, love, complexities and the corporate world, how did you think of the story and build the characters?

A: The characters drive the story. When I look at my city today, I see a Kolkata in the cusp of change. Contemporary Kolkatans are from a generation that is ambitious and ready to embrace 'the good life'. It is a generation which has seen its parents struggle, yet has barely gone through that struggle itself. And for many, there  is a singular focus on fulfilling their own desires and ambitions at any cost. In the process, Kolkata today is experiencing a significant change in its societal structure and core ethics of its people. This has been a key motivation behind my story. As for the central characters, the investigating officer, ACP Agni Mitra comes across as an emotional human being dealing with his own personal crisis and not as an infallible, larger-than-life law enforcement machinery, as the protagonists are often depicted in stories of this genre. The character of the serial-killer has several layers and a parallel track throughout the novel in the form of the voice of the killer provides insights into the dark recesses of his mind. The novel creates situations where the paths of the investigating officer and the serial killer cross – not only as a consequence of the murder investigation, but also at an emotional level.

Q: Is the story of “In The Shadows Of Death” inspired from real life events, is it completely real or completely fictional?

A: The story explores the dark recesses of the human mind and the stark realities of urban life in contemporary India. The depiction of unpredictability of human behaviour, and the complexity of human relationships in the novel has roots in my keen interest in psychology. My characters are not all black and white, and I am never judgmental. I offer reasons for their actions, which primarily have their roots in past experiences. The insecurities and vulnerabilities my characters suffer from, and the inner devils they battle are all very real. The setting also reflects my own experiences in the corporate world, thanks to my association with the industry for almost two decades.

Q: How much time did you take to complete the book, did you ever face a writer’s block? How did you come out of it?
A: I completed writing the first draft of the book in around three months, and then there were a couple of iterations on some of the finer aspects of the police investigation to ensure there are no loose ends in the story. Thankfully, I was spared the much-dreaded writer’s block during the process of writing this book. The stories demanded to be told and the words flowed.

Q: If “In The Shadows Of Death” is made into a Bollywood movie, which actors/actresses would you want to be a part of it?

A: I haven’t given a lot of thought to this. However, I feel Irrfan Khan would do justice to the character of Agni Mitra, bringing out his soft and at times vulnerable personality under a tough exterior.

Q: Do you read as much as you write? Which are your favorite books and authors?

A: Jeffrey Archer is an all-time favourite. I think he is an institution when it comes to storytelling – whether it’s his novels or his short stories. I have been a big fan of Agatha Christie – mainly because of Poirot’s methods of investigation, the witty repartees, the human emotions at the core of the crimes. The Byomkesh Bakshi stories by Saradindu Bandopadhyay have inspired my writing immensely. Among more recent crime authors, I like the Alex Cross stories by James Patterson – not just for the thrills, but also for the underlying human emotions. I was floored by The Devotion of Suspect X and Malice by Keigo Higashino. I am also hooked to the works of Gillian Flynn.

Q: You prefer reading e-books or the traditional paper/hard back book?

A: I find it extremely convenient to carry my collection of e-books as I travel extensively. But I am devoted to the fragrance of the pages of traditional paper / hard back books – new and old.

Q: Two things that you like and dislike about “Thrillers”? 
A: I love a thriller that never loses pace, and where the storyline goes beyond the obvious elements of thrill and suspense to get into the psyche of its characters. There is absolutely nothing that I dislike about a well-written thriller.

Q: If you have to give one reason to our readers to get hold of your book, “In The Shadows Of Death”, what would the reason be?

A: My unbiased opinion is that “In The Shadows Of Death” is a thriller with a great human story at its core, which every reader will relate to and identify with at some level. In fact, I talk about this aspect of the book in my blog Why In the Shadows of Death is much more than a thriller.

Q: Any message you would want to share with our readers?

A: It does not make me too happy to note that, whenever we speak of popular detectives in English fiction, we end up naming characters created by foreign authors. With so much of quality fiction being written in India in the English language, where is that one pan-Indian character that is a brand by her or his own right and has instant recall? I am very happy that readers across the country cutting across barriers of age, gender, and region have embraced Agni, and I would want my readers to continue to be as loving and as supportive in days to come.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?

A: I can be reached at Facebook, On email (thestoryteller1974@gmail.com) and you can also read my blog Mukherjee Musings.

-- End of Interview with author Sourabh Mukherjee --
You can order a copy of the book from Amazon.

2 comments:

  1. Nice interview, liked the questions and the answers, equally.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I am glad that you liked the interview.

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