Saurabh Garg was probably unprepared for the turn his life would take before he decided to quit his job and pursue writing. But then, as I personally believe, life is a serendipitous affair. His debut novel ‘The Nidhi Kapoor Story’ promises the votaries of crime fiction their fair share of page-turning nights. Backed by the reputed publishing house Grapevine India, Garg is caught up between hope and ambition. An interview by someone seated on the other side of the screen may appear impersonal but the author lets out a deluge of words and lets his keyboard do the talking……again
Q1] Hi Saurabh. How does it feel to hold your first novel? Has the feeling sunk in?
Saurabh: Incredible! To say the least. I had this huge lump, the size of a football in my throat when I saw the book.
Of course I could not cry because I had to deliver the first few copies to friends and mentors who made it happen.
And it hasn’t sunk in to be honest. When I look at the book even now and wonder how did I manage it! Odds were stacked against it and there were tons of impediments on the way. But I did it.
Q2] The title of the book ‘The Nidhi Kapoor Story’ seems to have a biographical element to it. Is it a pure fiction or have you borrowed from real life somewhere?
Saurabh: Pure fiction.
Of course real-life people have inspired the characters. But the storyline, plot, events and everything else is my imagination. Oh and I do believe that noting is original. All we do is recycle our experiences, our life-view of things and things that we’ve read (or heard or seen or experienced).
And yes, it’s a biographical narrative. Of three key characters – Nidhi, Prakash and Rujuta.
Q3] Every writer goes through several ups and downs during the process of penning a book, especially a debut novel. What was one major obstacle you faced while writing this book?
To be honest, when I took a break from work to write, I thought I had saved enough. I thought I would be comfortable. I thought I’d be able to pay my rent, manage my lifestyle, travel and yet have some left to be comfortable.
But I was wrong. So very wrong. The money got over faster than I could imagine. I had to take up part-time assignments to pay my bills but the part-time work ate a lot of time. It’s one thing I wish I could undo about the entire writing process.
So yeah, if I had enough money, I would’ve been happier.
Oh, I am back to working now. And I am writing my second already. Money is still a challenge. Hope some day, some rich uncle dies somewhere and bequeaths me with a few millions. Pray for me :)
Q4] Being an unknown name in the larger Indian market, a casual reader may not be willing to pick your book. Why do you think they should read you? What message do you wish to impart to that unknown person who is in two minds whether to invest his money on your book or not?
Saurabh: I am actually struggling with this one. Since I am a Joe Nobody, no retailer is willing to stock my book, no distributor is willing to buy stock and no media outlet wants to feature my book. I don’t claim to be the best author there is, but I need a chance. I need an opportunity to reach out and talk about my work. Once people pick it up, they can decide to read, dismiss, ridicule, love, share, spread my work. But I need a chance for that.
That chance is what I get if people read my books.
In the ancient times, all the kings and rulers doled out generous support to new artiste helping them focus on their craft. I need such patrons. Who would buy my books and encourage me and allow me to pursue my craft!
In terms of a message, all I can say is that I have put in a lot of hard work in the book. I have not left any stone unturned to give my readers a story that they’d enjoy reading.
Q5. Talk about your personal life. Is there any inspiration behind your decision to take up the pen? What triggered your interest in writing?
I just loved it when I wrote. And I got addicted to it. Like that rush that you get when you are high on something, I got addicted to that high of seeing my thoughts appear on my laptop screen. Or on those scraps of paper where I often take notes.
From there on, I guess it was a logical leap to work on a book.
Q6. My interviews are usually brief but I never let go before asking a completely out-of-the-blue question. So, tell us, who is your latest author crush xP
Saurabh: Oh, I am all for crushes. I have a lot of them. The latest author crush is this lady called Gillian Flynn. She wrote ‘Gone Girl’. Closer home, I really want to take this Pakistani author Shandana Minhas for a coffee some day.
Apart from that, can I also talk about my celeb crush please? Sonam Kapoor. If not her, Deepika Padukone!
(as told to Ritesh Agarwal)
More About the book:
Nidhi Kapoor is a famous Bollywood actress. One day, she comes home to find the deadbodies of her beloved pets in her study. Along with the mangled remains of her two dogs and a cat, there is a letter threatening Nidhi and her family.
Scared for her life, she calls up the police for help. The case lands on the desk of ACP Prakash Mohile who is the most decorated policeman in Mumbai. A photo-journalist, Rujuta Singh is tailing Prakash for a story and inadvertently gets embroiled in the chase.
Despite intervention by Prakash and Rujuta, unwarranted incidents continue to happen happening around Nidhi. With each incident, the attacks get more vicious and dangerous. It's only a matter of time before Nidhi would get seriously hurt. Or even get killed!
The question thus is, can Prakash and Rujuta solve the mystery and save Nidhi?
Links for the book