Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I live in Abu Dhabi and work as an investment professional at a sovereign wealth fund. I grew up in Calcutta, India, and have previously lived in London and New York. I recently completed an executive MBA program at the University of Oxford and am just getting used to having some free time again. I try and travel, train and explore new restaurants and cuisines in my spare time and am also a fan of live music and theatre. The God Gene Chronicles is the first book I have written.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The name of my book is “The God Gene Chronicles: The Secret of the Gods”. It is book one in the God Gene Chronicles series.
I have been a Marvel and DC fan for as long as I can remember (I literally have shelves of comics at home in India and now in Abu Dhabi) but have always wondered why there wasn’t any South Asian representation or why there weren’t world-class superhero stories coming out of India. I am also an avid fan of Indian mythology but have struggled with the fact that a lot of mythological content in India is a repackaging of a few Hindu epics (the Ramayana and Mahabharata – like the Odyssey and Iliad). Whilst there have been a few efforts to retell / reinterpret the stories recently, these efforts have focussed on a small section of the local market and the characters have not evolved to represent the modern consumer. There have been a few attempts to collaborate globally – Stan Lee (the co-creator of Spider Man, Hulk, X-Men etc.) is working with a team in India to create a superhero called Chakra for young children – but these examples are few and far between. In some ways, India’s main superhero characters were designed thousands of years ago in mythological texts and there has been limited innovation since.
I wanted to change this by reimagining the modern Indian superhero, grappling with issues in contemporary India, not just for fans in India but for readers around the world. To that end, I worked with an editor at a literary agency in New York to shape the book for a global audience. I also worked to develop a brand – Inkarnare – that will focus on developing superheroes based on cultures and mythologies of the East for fans around the world. My dream is to have these books inspire movies or TV/VOD shows someday so fans can experience the stories in an immersive, engaging format for entertainment.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure what usual writing habits are but suspect I have a few unusual ones. Instead of setting aside a few hours every day to work on a manuscript, I tend to set aside a few weeks or weekends at a time to try and get into my characters and the story line and push the story ahead. I then come back to it a few weeks later to see if I still like the writing and edit / rewrite the parts that I’m unhappy with. There are probably more efficient ways to write a novel.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I grew up reading a broad range of authors and I suppose some of it has stuck. My favourites include PG Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Tagore, Julian Barnes, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Lewis, Gerald Durrell, Ruskin Bond, Satyajit Ray etc. Living in four countries (India, USA, UK, UAE) has also helped broaden my horizons and provided helpful perspective and exposure that probably filters into my writing.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the second book in the series and hope to have it finished in another 12-15 months.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My only experience with marketing a book has been The God Gene Chronicles. I have focussed primarily on Social Media and found Facebook to be an effective and fairly low-cost way to reach out to potential fans. I think the marketing strategy depends on the genre of the book but book trailers and comic strips have worked quite well for The God Gene Chronicles so far, which is perhaps unsurprising given the superhero theme. The concept art on the website has also been getting some traction.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
It’s a long journey with plenty of twists and turns – don’t lose hope. Enlist the help of friends and family and stay invested in your manuscript. You will be proud of the outcome.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t give up.
What are you reading now?
Think like a Freak by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt and Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
What’s next for you as a writer?
Hopefully getting book two of the series out next year and then starting work on book three.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I don’t have a single favourite book – there are many books that I would gladly read again.