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Friday, August 05, 2016

Author Interview : Sreyus Palliyani, author of 'Gabriati : Rise of the Preceptor' (Part 1)

Sreyus Palliyani

Read up, the first part of the Interview with Sreyus Palliyani, author of 'Gabriati : Rise of the Perceptor'. The book was a brilliant telling of a story, which we have heard before, but the essence lies with everyone's perspective. In this Interview, he tells us how the Gabriati's characterisation came about, what the kind of research was put into this book, how the book is different from the others, what the challenges, that went into its writing and much more, Folks...

How did ‘Gabriati : Rise of the Perceptor’ happen? What is the research that has gone into it?

It probably dates back to the time when I was a kid, when my dad used to tell me about fables from across the globe. I remember he would not spare any details. He wouldn’t make it an after school special. He taught me that morality cannot be defined in black and white. A character of a man of God, a saviour, a monk, a priest-it was always my fascination. A man who is above the law and does what he thinks is right and sets things right. All of us have wanted to be this man at some point. I wished to emulate him in my own words.

These days you see even the most educated people doing downright crazy things when it comes to faith. And that’s not what faith is meant to be in the first place. So much blood, so much hate, so many rules yet so many violations. I wanted to tell the world my perspective of God and religion. One that doesn’t involve dogmas in books or scriptures. Just plain human morality.

Gabriati is a product of extensive research that nearly got me into trouble so many times. As I wanted my facts to be authentic as much as I could, the research lasted a good 2.5 years. It ranged from readings, interviews and even simulations.

Alexandre Dumas
I am sure; you have probably taken inspiration from a few other books? Is there any particular one, you were most fascinated by and why?

I wouldn’t know inspiration as such. But there have been a few books that have haunted me over the years. The top of the list would be Alexandre Dumas’s ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. Edmond Dantes is the epitome of hope. 

A few others would be Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and of course, 'The Mahabharata', where I find something new each time I pick it up.

How do you think your book, ‘Gabriati : Rise of the Perceptor’ is different from everyone else’s?

I guess it would be the superimposition of the themes of religion, strategy, violence, sex, history, military, espionage and family. This juxtaposition is something, which hasn’t been experimented with much before.

How would you relate the life of Gabriarti to the lives today? Any similarities?

I believe Gabriati exists in all of us. We have thought like him, we have wanted to act like him at some point of time in our lives. It is his clarity of all things that primarily draws us. His enigmatic charm is of course a bonus.

But when was the last time, we did something with a feeling that what we are doing is 100% right? I think it is at that point that we relate to the Preceptor. He would slit a man’s throat in cold blood without even a tiny bit of remorse if he feels it’s the right thing to do (wink wink!).

Any challenges you had to face, while writing this particular book?

My greatest challenge was the research, as sometimes even for months I would go without writing a single word due to unavailability of authentic data. The ending was another challenge, which took me nearly three months.

The story is set over 8 countries and as such the conveyance of the culture and beauty of each location was a literal challenge to me. Many a time, I questioned my capabilities as a writer.

One of the things I feel is most important for a good protagonist is an even better antagonist. Constructing a villain, whom the readers fear and secretly admire, took some work. After all a hero is only as strong as his villain.

I had to interview quite a few experts and others for this book, and many of them would turn you down once you told them the purpose of the research because it was such a controversial topic.

I faced a similar challenge during the time I was searching for a publisher as most publishing houses or agents would openly tell me that they would publish my work only if I edited it enough to cut out the controversial stuff because religion is something that’s too sensitive, and I don’t think there’s a single page in my book that won’t classify as controversial. But luckily, my Acquisition Editor Malini Nair, was ready to take up my work the way it was. I am eternally grateful to her for that.

Finally, the name! Somehow, a reader’s perception of a character changes with his name. And my protagonist’s name was very important to me, ANGELUS GABRIATI.

You can Read the Review, right here and Buy the Book, right here, as well.

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