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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Author Interview: RV Raman, author of 'Fraudster'

RV Raman

When RV Raman wrote ‘Fraudster’, he was just telling a story that happens every other day, nowadays. One just had to read the news. To write, he did not require too much research. He had his own experience and ability to tell this story.


A character in the book had to deal with dilemmas that were similar to what senior people in the corporate world have to often deal with, he says. To understand the man, behind the 'Fraudster' was this interview’s attempt…


Please do check out My Review here and You could also Buy the book here, too.


How did ‘Fraudster’ happen?  


Corporate India is a fertile place for stories, both fictional and true. Unfortunately, few people who have the insight, have the time (or the inclination) to write.

Consequently, not many books faithfully depict what happens at the higher levels of corporate India. I thought I was in a positon to do so, and made an attempt. That became Fraudster.


What kind of research did you put into the writing of the book?


I didn’t have to do much research, as I have seen a lot of weaknesses in processes and cultures in financial institutions. Loan fraud risk, which is the book’s theme, has been a bugbear for banks and NBFC, for a while now.


Instead of research, I had to validate the authenticity of my plot elements, as I began constructing the plot.


What according to you is different about your book?


Two things. First, I have tried to make the events as authentic as possible, despite the dramatization that is required in fiction. A bank chairman or CEO reading my book should feel that it is authentic.


Second, I want readers of all ages and pursuits to read the book if they like the theme. I have therefore avoided expletives, sleaze and ‘masala’.


How did you come up with the core idea and develop it?


Having decided to write crime fiction set in corporate India, I picked up one of the main problems there – fraudulent loan. I then sat back and reflected on my related experience, only to find that there was no shortage of ideas.


The main challenge was to communicate the events in simple language and without jargon, so that a wide audience could enjoy it.


How would you relate the book and its characters to your day to day lives?


Most people in the financial sector would relate to it. One has to go no further than the recent Syndicate Bank scam to do so. That’s how topical it is.


Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?


RC Visht, the bank chairman. His dilemmas are similar to what senior people in the corporate world have to often deal with: What if my verbal instructions are misused? How hard do I come down on someone who has crossed the line?


Theoretical answers are easy. Practical responses when you personally know your juniors and their families are very different.


Could you tell the readers about your past experiences and how it was related to what you wrote?


I don’t want to go into any specific experience. Several small and big events that have contributed to the book.


What is the most fulfilling part of writing a book?


In a mystery/thriller, it is the tying up of multiple threads in the final denouncement, and ensuring that there are no logical gaps.


The biggest thrill is when you put all clues in plain sight and still prevent a reader from cracking the who-dun-it.


What is the next book that you have planned? When do you see it released?


The next book is on the stock market and its players – fortunes can be made or unmade there. I hope to see it released sometime in 2015.


Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?


Nobody. I don’t think writing is difficult; anyone can write a book. Writing a good book, however, is difficult.


One doesn’t know unless one makes an attempt. I started with writing epic fantasy (the Lord of the Rings variety) for my children. I publish that as Kindle books for a global audience under a nom de plume.


Any advice to writers that would like to be published today? How tough is it to be published?


Not really. It would be presumptuous of me to offer advice, so early. However, I do believe that one should write for the enjoyment of it, and not for fame or monetary gain.


Nor should one be too enamoured by seeing oneself in print. Publishing in India is easier than in the western markets, where the norms are different. In India, you can publish if you pick up a topic that enjoys a ‘connect’ with a large chunk of readers.


Who are your favourite authors and why?


Conan Doyle for his brilliant mysteries. Agatha Christie for her plot development. Isaac Asimov for his brilliant concepts. JRR Tolkien for his imagination. GK Chesterton for his articulation. And finally, PG Wodehouse for being Wodehouse!



Which book are you currently reading?

 Just finished 'The Billionaire’sApprentice' by Anita Raghavan.


What do you do on a daily basis?


I’ve given up fulltime corporate roles. I advise some organisations, mentor young entrepreneurs, teach business strategy at an IIM and write. 


PS: You could also get in touch with RV Raman at his website, http://rvraman.com/ or on Facebook or Twitter.

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