|Author, Prem Rao|
1. Tell us something about your novels, “It Can’t Be You”, “He Sees Everything” and “Lucky For Some 13”.
“It Can’t Be You” was my debut novel published by Cedar in November 2010. It is a psychological thriller about the life and times of an officer in the Indian Army, Colonel Belliappa who is found dead one night. It takes the reader back to events in his past and how they triggered a spiral of vengeance.
“He Sees Everything & Other Short Stories” was my first attempt to publish an ebook. It is an anthology of short stories set in contemporary India. Wherever there are people, there is greed, there is sacrifice; ingratitude and indebtedness; hatred and love; humor and poignancy. Woven around these emotions are these seven short stories set in contemporary India.
My second thriller was “Lucky For Some, 13” which was published by Mahaveer in December 2012. It’s again set in contemporary India and covers a terror plot which brings out various dimensions of terror as we face it now and in the future. It has for its main character, a lady officer in the Indian Army, Major Mohini Nair and is her story of battling the odds culminating in a three day climax where she has to rescue hostages including the man she loves.
2. How and where did you hit upon the subjects for these unique titles?
Most of my books sit at the intersection of two major interests, human psychology and the military. It is not unexpected therefore that both the novels had large elements of these in them. I loved thrillers as a kid and this abiding interest led me to write them myself, many years later.
3. What prompted you into writing novels so late? How has your journey been so far? What are your future plans as regards literary world?
For over 35 years, after my MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur where I specialized in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour, I led a professional life specializing in these subjects. I was a corporate executive for nearly 30 years and an independent consultant/entrepreneur of the next decade. I didn’t have the time to write when I was in this profession.
In 2010, I was on the verge of retiring from a full time occupation so made the switch to become a full time writer, to return to a childhood passion I could not fulfill earlier. In fact, as a young man, I was very keen on becoming a journalist but that profession was not as popular then as it is now and I missed the opportunity in a sense. My plan is to keep writing, focusing largely on thrillers, as well as short stories capturing vignettes of life in contemporary India.
4. Which book was the toughest and which was the easiest to write?
All were tough and all were easy. I shall speak of some cardinal differences. In my debut novel, I write largely using the first person narrative. This enabled me to burrow deep into the minds of my characters as it were and this helped bring out the best (or worst) in them. In “Lucky For Some, 13” the climax comes in the space of 36 hours, so the writing style had to be very different. In both novels, I have made extensive use of flash backs and back stories to build my characters and describe them as best I could.
5. Any special connections with any of the characters of either of the books?
No special link, really. I have already explained my interest in psychology and military history and this is reflected in my writing. As a kid growing up in the 1960s, I was exposed to a lot of writing on the Second World War and this influenced me to a large extent.
6. What do you do when you are not a writer?
I have a strong presence in social media with four active blogs and a Twitter account. Apart from my on-going writing projects, I spend a lot of time researching for my future writing. I am currently on the verge of completing my third novel, again a thriller, called, ‘ Let The Dead Stay Dead.”