Uday Satpathy is an Information Technology expert in the world of Healthcare and Life Sciences. He has a degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, one of the top B-schools of the country. Brutal, his first novel, was born out of his love for thrillers with intricate plots. He is a movie connoisseur, a cricket fanatic, a quizzing enthusiast and a travel freak. He has a special place in his heart for cooking as well. Contact him on facebook or twitter @authoruday or at udaysatpathy.com.
NAW- Please tell us about your book, Brutal. How did you get the idea for it?
Brutal is an action thriller which follows a few days in the lives of two broken individuals. They are brave reporters, but their investigation into a case leads them into a deathly spiral. Here is a summary of the book: “Death penalty looms over a schoolteacher who commits a heinous crime with absolutely no motive. The nation wants revenge, and an obscure vigilante group delivers it brutally, even before the trial could begin. Just when the world thinks that the bloody saga is over, two journalists dig deeper into the case. And so begins their nightmare. Treading over bodies of their leads and chased by assassins, they will soon realize that some mysteries should better be left untouched.”
I began writing Brutal when I came across a few facts and real life stories which underlie the shocking theme of my book. These incidents (without revealing any spoilers) are more real than you think.
NAW- Tell us about the characters of Prakash and Seema. They seem pretty ordinary reporters at first but this is what makes them highly relatable and their chemistry is also apparent. How did you develop the characters?
My intention was to make the characters of Seema and Prakash look as relatable as possible. Even their names have a person-next-door and an ’80s generation feel. This was essential, because my book is all about what happens when two common but persistent reporters find themselves against in a level of danger they haven’t ever imagined of.
NAW- While the book does open with a brutal sequence, we felt you were a bit restrained afterwards. Did you originally structure the book this way, opening with a shocking sequence and then building it gradually?
The human mind is a dirty place. All the grizzliest crimes of the world you can think of have been conceived there. Brutal’s prologue take off such a brutal and gruesome way because the story takes place from the point-of-view of a killer. If you go deep into the novel, many more such scenes await you. I deliberately made Brutal start that way so that my readers know what to expect.
NAW- You have experimented with a lot of action in Brutal. Along with the Islamic extremism angle, the book takes you to so many places. How did you research for the book?
To make my settings appear realistic, I went through a lot of Travelogues, Google Maps and other such sites. For research related to geopolitics and espionage, I read some acclaimed fiction and non-fiction works. Having said that, my inherent interest in such topics makes life easier for me.
NAW- Why did you go with a third person narration scheme for Brutal? It would have worked better if the story had been told through multiple characters as the pace slightly dampens in some chapters.
My story is indeed told through the eyes of 3-4 main POV characters. Being such a complex story, multiple first person narratives could have played havoc and created confusion, especially during the scenes towards the later part of the book when many of them are in the same frame. As far as pacing goes, honestly, I have got two kinds of reviews. A few readers have come back exhilarated saying it’s superfast. On the other hand, a few readers have remarked that they preferred the ‘slow burn’ part more.
NAW- Your book is unique since it brings about a breath of fresh air in Indian publishing, being crowd sourced and a crime thriller, a genre which is often neglected by contemporary Indian writers. So what made you dabble in crime thrillers when every Indian writer is busy writing about mythology or love?
It’s more about knowledge and interest. Personally, I believe an author can write more effectively in his/her area of interest, because their enthusiasm would definitely reflect in their writing. I am interested in crime thrillers, espionage, geopolitics, economics and sci-fi, and hence my novels will certainly have some component of each. There are authors whose area of strength is history and mythology. They do well there.
NAW- Tell us about the Bloody Good Book venture. Were you apprehensive when you first approached them since they rely on crowd opinion?
I came to know about BGB when I was in the process of submitting my manuscripts to different publishers. Rashmi Bansal is a renowned author and a sort of celebrity in the Indian publishing industry. So, a venture started by her had a trust factor which debutante authors like me always desire. Besides, the concept of getting my book reviewed by the readers, and not an editor in between, before publication appealed a lot to me. It was like talking to your own audience.
Was I scared the first time? Yes. Because a review from a reader could have gone either ways. Being a débutante, I was scarcely prepared to handle negative comments. But, eventually, things turned out well for me.
NAW- Are you a fan of crime thrillers? Who are your favourite authors in this genre?
Yes, I am a big fan of thrillers – not only crime thrillers, but legal thrillers, espionage thrillers and even sci-fi thrillers. My favorite authors are Steig Larsson, Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton and Michael Connelly.
NAW- What do you do when you are not writing?
My hobbies other than writing (and reading thrillers) are cooking and watching the game of cricket. I even watch a lot of movies.
NAW- Can you tell us a bit about your next project?
My next novel is a sequel to Brutal. It will again be a crime thriller which will give a peek into my characters’ past. In Brutal, I have not explored the history and families of my POV characters in detail. How did Seema’s husband die? How was Prakash’s childhood? What work did he do for the Sex and Crime magazine? These are some questions I plan to answer.
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