(Image Courtesy: Readomania)
Popular publishing house, Readomania, is hosting a Crime Writing Festival which will go on for the month of May. Throughout the month, every Tuesday and Thursday, Readomania’s thriller authors will feature in live Twitter discussions at 8 PM and answer your questions on everything ‘thrilling’.
The Readomania Crime Writing Festival will also hold a contest on the best ‘original short crime fiction’, the winner of which will receive an ebook publishing deal with their digital imprint, ReadoShots. There will also be book giveaways to the best question asked twice every week. Featured authors: Anurag Anand, Archana Sarat, Ayan Pal, Deepti Menon, Maitrayee Sanyal De, Manjiri Prabhu, Tanushree Podder, Sourabh Mukherjee, Sutapa Basu.
I am one of the blogging partners for this festival. You can learn more about the festival here: Readomania Crime Writing Festival 2019.
The fifth session of the #ReadomaniaCrimeWritingFestival on @TwitterBooks was held by author Archana Sarat (@archanasarat) on May 16th. Archana Sarat is the bestselling author of two psychological thriller novels, of Birds Of Prey and Tit for Tat.
(Image Courtesy: The Author’s Website)
In this interview, Archana has kindly answered some of the questions that I asked her about crime writing. Read on to know more about the genre and to get some helpful writing tips if you too aspire to become a successful crime fiction writer.
- What attracted you to write in the crime fiction genre?
I did not have an attraction to write in crime. I had a story to tell and after I had told it, it was the publisher who decided that this fits in the crime genre.
- What according to you makes for great crime fiction? Could you elaborate on this with the help of your own books?
A great crime fiction novel should have characters that are multi-dimensional. This is how it works in real life too. Your mother, who is a kind and helpful person, might not bat an eyelid about throwing trash out of a passing car window. No person is good always. In my novel, Birds of Prey, and in my other stories, my characters, both heroes and villains, have both positive and negative traits.
- How much of focus do you give to each of the aspects of a novel such as plot, settings, characters, theme, the use of imageries, conflict, and action? Which are the aspects out of this list that are most important for the crime fiction genre?
Every story requires two things – believable characters and a unique plot. Personally, I concentrate more on character building in the beginning while working on my first draft. In the second draft onwards, I work on the plot.
- How do you create believable characters who are capable of horrific crimes?
While I do not give conscious thought to the process when I’m working on my story, thinking back in retrospect, I can see a pattern to my storytelling. It starts with research, followed by writing out the story in longhand and discovering the characters. Finally, it ends with multiple drafts and edits wherein I work on the plot, individual scenes, theme, conflict and setting.
- Are you an avid reader? Who are your favorite crime fiction writers? Which writers inspire you?
I love reading and so does everyone in my family. We have bookshelves in every room except the kitchen. I enjoy reading contemporary literary fiction, classics, translations, crime fiction and thrillers.
My all-time favourite crime fiction author is Agatha Christie. Recently, I’ve been reading many new crime fiction authors and enjoyed their writing immensely. Some of them are Karin Slaughter, Gillian Flynn, JP Delaney, Paula Hawkins, etc.
The writers who have inspired me and goad me to work harder on my craft are Rohinton Mistry, Anuradha Roy, Neel Mukherjee, Elena Ferrante, Mary Oliver, K. R. Meera, Perumal Murugan, Sarita Mandana – to name a few.
- Do you think it is important to study the writing craft in order to become a better writer? If yes, then what are the ways in which you do it?
There are only two ways to study the writing craft – read a lot and write a lot. Read like a writer. See what stands out and grabs you in the popular books. Learn from them.
- Do you think it is important to follow popular trends in the pursuit of a career in writing?
No. Not at all. You can never write to follow a trend and expect to be successful.
- What would be your advice to aspiring writers?
We live in an era of instant gratification. Writing does not work that way. It is hard work that requires tremendous amount of patience and perseverance. The good part is that, if you put in the effort, your success is guaranteed. Unlike other professions, it is not affected by market vagaries or election results! 😉