Saurabh Garg has an MBA degree from MDI. He worked for a decade before turning to writing full time. He has worked in advertising, events and now social media. Been blogging for 11 odd years. The book, The Nidhi Kapoor Story, is his debut book. Visit him here or here.
NAW- Tell us about your debut work, how did you get the idea for it?
This happened to me by accident! Someday, in April of last year I think, I was bored at work. And i was thinking I ought to write something on my blog I started writing a short story and I realized I couldn’t just end it. It went on and on and before I knew I had written some 10K words And then I got thinking, why not make it into a full length book? So, I thought about it for a few weeks and I quit my job to work on it.
NAW- Did you hire an agent? Tell us about your publishing journey.
I spoke to a few agents. One was ready to represent me.
In terms of publishing, I was lucky. A very good friend had published a book with this publisher and he volunteered to introduce me to him. Once we got over the introduction rounds, I met the publisher and pitched the idea to him. He wanted to see the entire book before he took a call. So I sent him the manuscript and he called back in a week saying that they’d be happy to publish it!
NAW- Tell us about the research you carried out for your book?
In terms of research, I did extensive work. Read biographies, interviews of film stars to understand how they think. What makes them tick. What kind of things do they hide from the world. I had vague outlines of characters in my head. I then had to read about few psychological archetypes to understand more about characters. I did a lot of reading about Mumbai. I had to get locations, street names, places, timelines correct. created an extensive library of reference pictures. I gathered pictures of murder scenes, cops in action, actresses, behind-the-scenes etc.
NAW- How did you support yourself in the meantime? Do you have another job?
I had saved some money when I quit and I took a few freelance projects. I am a marketer by training and profession so I could take a few freelance marketing strategy assignments. That helped.
NAW- The book has many parallel stories and underlying themes. Did you imagine the original novel this way or did it develop as it progressed.
Oh it developed like that. The book in its original form was a simple story with a murder, a confession and a fast-paced chase but while I was writing, and all research piled up, I continued to add layers. To be honest I could’ve added more layers, if not for my publisher.
NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any you would like to name as inspiration?
It’s a long list! I want to start with Upamanyu Chatterjee. His book – English, August was what got me hooked onto reading and writing. He’s just come up with his latest. Looking forward to read it. Apart from him, I take a lot of inspiration from works of Alexandre Dumas. Someday I want to write a story as complex and as beautiful as The Count of Monte Cristo. I love Charles Bukowski. I am not great with poems but someday, I would love to write something like the postman. in terms of contemporaries, I look up to the works of Ashwin Sanghi in India and in the west, I love Lee Child, John Grisham and Sue Grafton.
NAW- What are you reading currently?
These days I am busy with three things. I am re-reading the Geeta. Primarily to research for my next book. I am also reading the Kurt Wallendar series by Henning Mankell. Then, I am reading an unpublished manuscript of an author from my writing group. It’s a young adult fiction. Very different from what I typically read but I try and help other writer friends.
Can you tell us about your next project?
While I have a definite story in my mind that I want to tell, a lot of readers have asked me to retain characters from the first book. However, I am very keen on the story idea that I have. So right now, I am exploring the option of marrying the two. If it works out, it would be great.