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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Author Interview : Ravi Subramanian, author of ‘In the Name of God’

Ravi Subramanian
Read up, the Interview with Ravi Subramanian, author of ‘In the Name of God’. This interview consists of how the book actually came about, what the kind of research was it that went into it, what the core idea was, what made him take up a genre different from his usual books, today and much, much more, Folks...

How did ‘In the Name of God’ happen?  Could you describe the journey? 

Well, a few years back the story of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Kerala made newspaper headlines, when the wealth in the temple vaults made a subject of national debate. A lot of discussion centered around the temple being under private control and the wealth in the temple being in excess of the wealth of possibly even the Vatican

And of course, stories of pilferage of the wealth started doing rounds. I had been to the temple a few times and hence the subject intrigued me. That’s when my criminal mind got down to work. Temple, religion, wealth and murders is a potent combination. I added a few sub plots, and presto the story was ready!

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

Quite a bit. I visited the temple a couple of times, spoke to people in  Thiruvananthapuram, read books on the history of Kerala and the royal family and read up scores of articles on the temple and the stories behind it. A lot of help came in from the journalist fraternity.

A cab driver told me the story of the murder of an auto rickshaw driver whose body was found in the holy pond of the temple  a day before the devaprashnam (A ritual carried out to find the will of God). It was an exciting journey for me.

What according to you is different about your book and why?

The book is the first of its kind thriller set in the backdrop of a very popular temple. And for me this book is different from my earlier ones because this marks my foray into mainstream thrillers, away from the regular banking thrillers that I normally write.

There is much religion and history… How did you manage to separate the two of them?

Neither is my book about religion nor is it about history. Though, there are parts, where I make a reference to them. It is a thriller set in the backdrop of the temple. That’s it.

However, I feel the best way to deal with religion and history, if one were to write a story about it, is to deal with it respectfully. Religion is an emotive subject in our country and hence one needs to deal with it appropriately. There are people at every corner waiting to take offense.

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

Whenever I write stories, I write about topics which interest me. Be it the bitcoins in ‘God is a Gamer’, or the academia in ‘Bankerupt’ or the Maoists in ‘The Incredible Banker’. I don’t choose plots, I choose a backdrop and build a story in that backdrop.

It was the same with Padmanabha Swamy temple. When I read about the stories surrounding the temple, I knew it had to be the backdrop of my next book. Once that decision was made, the rest followed.

Dan Brown

Which book are you currently reading?

Origin’ by Dan Brown.

What made you take up a new genre, i.e. more of a thriller, as most of your earlier writing was based on banking, insurance and the like?

Well, I firmly believe that an author who doesn’t experiment and boxes himself in a genre is not doing justice to his craft. I write because I want to explore. And unless you move away from your comfort zone, you will never be able to do that.

In fact over the next few years, I will continue to experiment with new things in new areas. ‘Children’s books’ is one area that I want to explore. 

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

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