Friday, November 28, 2014

Interview with RV Raman : Author of Fraudster

          Author RV Raman, author of the crime thriller, Fraudster, opens up to Readers’ Muse in this interview. We @ Readers’ Muse thank the author for his candid answers that tells us a little more about the man who created such memorable characters. We thank you for your insightful answers, sir!
1. Please tell us a little about yourself (preferably something that is not in your goodreads Profile!)
There is so little to say …
I used to be an ardent follower of cricket, with India and the West Indies being my favourites. A minor dream was fulfilled when I watched test cricket at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica (I went on to watch many more matches there).
I’ve had the good fortune to have travelled widely and seen different cultures. I’ve also had the ill fortune to have had my car hijacked, not once, but twice.
2. What was the basis for writing Fraudster? Was there a specific event or a group of events that was your inspiration?
Fraudster was an experiment with two objectives:
First, I wanted to see if I could come up with something that would go down well with Indian readers. My earlier attempt at another genre (epic fantasy) had found favour with some global readers. I then wanted to write something very Indian.
Second, I saw a gap in the crime fiction genre – few people write novels with the core in corporate India. And those who do are a generation younger than me. In my writing, I wanted to offer a more tenured perspective of the temptations and challenges in the corporate world.
No, Fraudster was not inspired by any specific group or event. I chose banking for my first novel as it is perhaps the easiest arena to showcase varied motivations, and to construct a white-collar crime. On the one hand, you have upright, incorruptible people like Visht and Subbu. And on the other, you have opportunistic men driven by greed.
3. Of the characters of Fraudster, who is your favourite and why?
Varsha. Had I had a daughter, I would have liked her to be something like Varsha.
4. Which character was the most difficult to frame/ create?
Ranade. For one, I don’t know any police detectives, and my perspective of these guys is entirely based on novels set in the western world. All the other characters are quite common in the corporate world – the kind, upright Visht; the caring but no-nonsense Subbu; the helpful IT support geek in Ashwin, the lecherous middle-manager in Vincent Shain; and a bright, vivacious girl in Varsha.
5. For someone with your experience in this field, how easy or difficult was writing Fraudster?
While the basic elements of content were not new, assembling them into a credible crime and an industry-wide scam took some doing. I found that writing crime fiction requires a lot more rigour and care than epic fantasy does. Multiple components and several causal chains of events have to fit seamlessly and credibly. I didn’t want an informed banker or corporate executive discovering logical flaws.
6. I had a really good time reading the book. For a computer enthusiast who is interested in reading fast paced thrillers, Fraudster was a really engaging read. But I couldn’t really classify it in one genre. It was too realistic to be fiction (of course it was fiction, this is a compliment!) How would you classify your book, and why?
I see it as a combination of a mystery and a thriller. The first murder is a classic locked room mystery, and the rest of it is a thriller. The blurb focusses on the thriller element.
7. What is your writing habit? In calm and silent environments or even the hustle and bustle of traffic?
I need a good measure of calm to write and edit, and the mind must be free of cares. But formulating scenes and events can be done anywhere. I find that walking promotes imagination and non-linear thinking. I tend to do a lot of my thinking on my feet.
8. Are there any plans for a future book? What more can we expect from you, sir? We’re eager in that regard.
I am in the midst of the next novel, which is set in the Indian stock market. As a computer enthusiast, you will find the core crime a little more IT driven (more than just Blackberry and email).

Now a set of short rapid fire questions for you, sir!
Favourite classic book: The Three Musketeers
Favourite authors: Isaac Asimov, Arthur Conan Doyle, JRR Tolkien, PG Wodehouse
Books that influenced you: The Foundation Trilogy, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Lord of the Rings, The Four Just Men
Top five books on your bookshelf (it might even be related to your profession!):
1.    The Golf Omnibus by PG Wodehouse
2.    The Complete Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
3.    The Complete Sherlock Holmes
4.    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
5.    The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Classics or modern literature? Either, depending on the mood.
What is your opinion on the books that come out these days as compared to classics? I read to get away from the misery that surrounds me, not contemplate it further. I find that modern literary fiction depresses me. But I still do read some of it.
What do you do to unwind (other hobbies): An evening out with friends, or I read.
Something that ticks off your nerves immediately: Duplicity.
Your advice to young authors? I am a rookie myself. I can’t advise others. What I tell myself is to write for the pleasure of it, not for fame or fortune.

 About the Author:

Over a career spanning three decades and four continents, RV Raman advised several banks, financial institutions and corporates on various matters. He has now turned to writing fiction set in corporate India, based on his insights and observations.

Having moved away from full-time roles, he now teaches business strategy at an IIM, mentors young entrepreneurs, advises select clients and writes.
Tired of extensive physical travel around the world, he now prefers less punishing mental excursions into fictional worlds of his own creation. He lives in Chennai.
Fraudster is his first corporate thriller, and is available in most book stores including Flipkart & Amazon.

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