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What makes him one of India's highest selling authors

July 15, 2014 17:00 IST

What makes him one of India's highest selling authors

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Ashwin Sanghi gets candid with you, our dear readers! Read on!

Ashwin Sanghi is the author of three bestselling books -- The Rozabal LineChanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key -- and he is out with a new one -- Private India.

Co-authored with the American bestselling author James Patterson, Private India promises to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller and will hit the bookstores soon (but it can be pre-ordered here).

Sachin Nirhali: Sir,I have written An Appointment with Death (Sachin Nirhali) romantic thriller Novel which is on amazon and Flipkard the question is how do I market the book as have recently read that you too had to go through tough time when you self publish your first Novel Rosabela Line.Sahin Nirhali (Author)

Ashwin Sanghi: Become active on social media, blog regularly, use every connection and friendship to push another sale. You have to want it badly to make it happen.

satyaki-bhowmik: Is there any true relation between indus valley covilization and krishna?

Ashwin Sanghi: I assume that you are referring to 'The Krishna Key'. The discovery of the underwater ruins of Dwarka have made people like me much more convinced about the fact that Krishna could have been a historical figure in the post-Saraswati era.

Jignesh Kaisth: Could you describe the experience of collaborating with another author?

Ashwin Sanghi: You need more than one voice to create a harmony! My insider's perspective on India and its culture along with my passion for research and fast-moving plots were complementary to James Patterson's proven formula for creating larger-than-life characters and building conflict. Multiple voices work well in a choir as long as they sing the right notes. I hope we did!

Ashwin Sanghi: Working with James has been a refreshing experience. My focus has always been on research and plot while the Patterson formula is pace and character. This book has given us a chance to combine our respective strengths and present something that represents the best of both.

satyaki-bhowmik: Which of your books is closest to your heart?

Ashwin Sanghi: Which of your books is closest to your heart? One never forgets one's first love. My first book was 'The Rozabal Line' and it shall remain my favourite.

jinny: Could you explain your fascination with Indian mythology?

Ashwin Sanghi: I think that I am an ancient soul. I grew up listing to mythological stories from my grandmother, terrifying tales of ghosts/occult from my grandfather. I also was a voracious reader besides being an Amar Chitra Katha addict. Those elements in my growing years developed my fascination for the past and the extraordinary.

shenoy eeejee: I have written a book. currently in amazon kindle. how to get a publisher for the same?

Ashwin Sanghi: You should consider finding a literary agent. There are several good ones in India. An agent would be able to evaluate your work and decide which publishers are ideally suited for submissions.

Amal Sebastian: Will I be right in saying that your best is yet to come? Do you have a story that is probably like a "dream story" to tell?

Ashwin Sanghi: Oh absolutely. I have always viewed myself as work in progress! And yes, there is a dream story. It always tends to be the one that I am working on at that given moment!

Kashif Mashaikh: Do you think an author should self publish if he is not getting into print via the traditional route?

Ashwin Sanghi: Yes, I did that. But any such author must make sure that he/she does what a traditional publisher would do... engage a professional editor, invest time in typesetting and cover design, and most importantly -- market the book passionately.

tushar: What would your advice to young writers be?

Ashwin Sanghi: The bestselling authors of our times are not necessarily the best writers, they are simple the most persistent ones. Writing means rejection. Please don't get disheartened. Get up and knock on another door.

rakesh: did you have concerns collaborating with another author (considering you have never done this before)?

Ashwin Sanghi: Yes, I was concerned. But given the fact that JP was open to the idea of allowing me to develop the storyline from scratch, it eased my worries.

vijay: who are your favourite contemporary Indian authors?

Ashwin Sanghi: Probably Amitav Ghosh, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Hussain Zaidi...

romil: Chetan Bhagat has become a polarising figure in India. What do you make of this phenomenon?

Ashwin Sanghi: I think that we are seeing segmentation in the book industry. Rather than 'polarizing' I believe that multiple genres are complimentary to one another. Each genre has its own place. In the west, Gabriel Garcia Marquez could co-exist with Ian Fleming and Mills & Boons. To each his own, I say. :)

satyaki-bhowmik: We consider you as our reply to Dan Brown. What is your opinion about it?

Ashwin Sanghi: I am rather pleased by that tag line but I know that it is not true. I see myself as someone who simply has a story to tell. I have no great literary talent, simply a treasure chest of stories that need to be told. I do not benchmark myself against other writers. I am a speck in the ocean.

amit sharma: sir i want to know how does you get an idea of subject to write?

Ashwin Sanghi: I always maintain an 'idea bank'. It could be an interesting conversation, a picture that caught my attention, a newspaper article, an advertisement or a book that I read. I ensure that I make a note of it. As a result, I always have an abundance of ideas that I can pick from.

rabindranath Dubey: have you any plan to write for bollywood in future

Ashwin Sanghi: It's possible but at this stage I believe that I have many stories that lend themselves to books. I am more likely to involve myself in adapting one or more of my books to screenplays rather than writing a screenplay from scratch.

Renuka Butt: Will you ever write a love story?

Ashwin Sanghi: Haha! I am scared of writing love stories. I like to write stories about puzzles that need to be solved. Love is a puzzle that can never be solved. How would I ever find a fitting conclusion?

venkat hi ... would you be writing a non-fiction in near future which is based on your research? ( read rm. shawin, ... ih ... glyerae gtw. orf oyur txne kobo ... :) vneatk)

Ashwin Sanghi: I plan to publish a non-fiction title sometime later this year. At this stage the topic and the details are a state secret! :)

Sheetal: What has been the best piece of advice you've received and who gave it to you?

Ashwin Sanghi: It came from a literary agent. She told me that my first chapter needed to grab the reader and suck him/her into the story. The next piece of advice came from James Patterson: Less is more. Anything that does not advance the story is fluff. Junk it.

Manoj-Kumar Pati: who are ur favorite author who write book by giving new color to the mythological characters and reproduce them as anthropological characters.

Ashwin Sanghi: Probably Amish, Ashok Banker, Devdutt Pattanaik, Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee would be in that list.

om mehta: [SKB] Sir,Any Bollywood producer have contact you for Rights?

Ashwin Sanghi: I am currently discussing movie rights for Chanakya's Chant and TV serialization rights for The Krishna Key. I hope that both these discussions will be fruitful during this year.

mamata swamy: Hi Ashwin, Chanakya's chant was one of the best novels I have ever read. I really hope it gets turned into a movie. It would be awesome :) Please keep writing such wonderful ones.All the best.

Ashwin Sanghi: Many thanks for your kind words of appreciation Mamata. I am touched by your comments. It is comments like these that keep me motivated to write! Thanks!

kaustav mishra: Any thoughts on author Devdutt Pattanaik.

Ashwin Sanghi: One word: respect. He has a terrific ability to simplify the complex and to connect the dots.

kaustav mishra: Any chance of getting a signed copy of "Private India".

Ashwin Sanghi: There is a lucky offer at Flipkart where a select number of customers who preorder will get a signed copy (random draw). I shall also be doing book signing events in Mumbai and Delhi. You could always meet me at one of those. During the year I should be at a few Lit Fests too.

rabindranath Dubey: dear Mr. Ashwin,how you keep yourself positive always?

Ashwin Sanghi: One of the best questions today. Creative activity keeps me happy. As long as I am working on something new, I stay positive. I am most depressed when I complete a novel because I have to find something new to occupy myself with!

mamata swamy: Can you recommend some James Patterson books to read from? Which is your favorite JP book? I like Dan Brown Angels and Demons the best, also mythological :)

Ashwin Sanghi: I love the Alex Cross series of JP the most. Read "Kiss the Girls" or "Along Came a Spider". These were brilliant.

satyaki-bhowmik: Sir which writer has most influence on you?

Ashwin Sanghi: Paramahansa Yogananda. I realized that there are many things that I cannot explain but the mere absence of explanation does not imply that they are untrue.

mustafa: How do you encourage your children to read?

Ashwin Sanghi: A few simple rules. (1) Read to your kids when they are very young (2) Birthday presents should always be books (3) Get them to read aloud to you and encourage and reward good reading (4) Discuss what they have read recently at the dinner table.

dineshhassija: it should not be easy to author any book because our thoughts are guided/influenced by what we have read/ interacted in the past ...

Ashwin Sanghi: In fact it is experiences, thoughts, interactions and conversations that provide the fuel for my books!

Jeswal: Which authors did you read as a child?

Ashwin Sanghi: I was brought up on a diet of commercial fiction and thrillers for most of my growing years: Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Irving Wallace, Jack Higgins, Tom Clancy, Ayn Rand, Ken Follett, Arthur Hailey. In the past decade, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, Ian Rankin and countless others were added to my list of favourites.

dananjaypuri: What are the four or five books that are always at your desk/bedside?

Ashwin Sanghi: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.

mahendra brahmbhatt: never heard of him before!!!

Ashwin Sanghi: James Patterson? James Patterson is the world's highest selling author having sold more than 260 million copies of his books worldwide. In recent years his novels have sold more copies than those of Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown combined.

satya saka: fiction thriller mythological background. a comical mix with chandamamas fairy tales. It will be good if the original is not killed. as it is mythology has too many fictions, and your fition will only add to the confusion

Ashwin Sanghi: Indian mythology has been a process of repackaging and interpretation all along. Mahabharata started as Jaya (25,000 verses), developed into Bharata and then evolved into Mahabharata (100,000 verses). There are over 300 versions of the Ramayana, so will we undertake to pinpoint the 299 that do not meet our expectations or sensibilities?

ankita singhal: Hello Sir, First of all my best wishes for your upcoming book "Private India".My question is - The Indian writing style is differentfferet from that of American authors usually, was it challenging to collaborate with James Patterson in creating something that would engage readers thoughout, to find that balance?

Ashwin Sanghi: Thanks! My previous books have been thrillers, but with a historical, theological or mythological backdrop. This collaboration is an extension of what I have already been doing—writing thrillers—but with an entirely modern and contemporary backdrop. This book is a perfect blend of my style with that of Patterson. The DNA of a thriller remains unchanged even though the content may vary.

Jaykar Kajale: Have you faced a Writer's Block? How do you get over it?

Ashwin Sanghi: There is no ailment that a peg of whiskey cannot cure, just remember that! I never fight writer's block. Instead I use the time to read more, refine my research notes, tweak my plot outlines etc. By the time that I am done, the block has miraculously vanished.

nita nagpal: There is no mythological angle in your new book. Do you think this might alienate some of your readers?

Ashwin Sanghi: Actually there is. But it isn't the core. The mythological angle of the story is a key element in the Private India story. I think that my readers will appreciate the fact that I am experimenting with new formats and genres. Life would be so boring if all the chocolates in a chocolate box were identical!

anita nambair: You run a successful business. How do you divide your time between working and writing? Do you follow a schedule?

Ashwin Sanghi: I start my day at office rather late by 11 am. It is possible for me to do that because I own the business that I run. I'm usually at work for 6-7 hours but I do not attend office on weekends. I usually write in the mornings from 6am to 9am, which explains why I have to start my day late. My evenings are usually spent reading and researching.

ria dsouza: There has been a surge of books based on retelling of Indian myths. What do you see as the possible reasons for this popularity?

Ashwin Sanghi: If we see the slew of books that have been hitting the shelves recently, it seems that history, ancient culture, theology, and mythology are increasingly grabbing eyeballs. Tulsidas reinvented Valmiki's Ramayana when he wrote his version... the very same process is unfolding before your very eyes as newer authors are attempting to reinterpret Indian history and mythology.

Suneel Bonjani: What do you make of Amish Tripathi's books?

Ashwin Sanghi: Amish is one of my very best friends and I have enjoyed reading his trilogy. I believe that Amish is a terrific storyteller and he has the intrinsic ability to pull you into the plot. For me a good book is one in which I rarely need to make an effort to turn the pages. The pages should almost turn themselves. Amish succeeds in doing that.

shirish: How different is this new book from your previous ones?

Ashwin Sanghi: This is a contemporary crime thriller about a tormented serial killer in Mumbai. The story and pace is extremely different to my previous books. Much less reliance on history or mythology to produce a thrill. The length is also shorter, almost 25% less. Many more twists and turns along the way. I think that my readers will love it.

Satish Pulli: You are deeply into thrillers with a mythological twist to it. Will you return to it soon?

Ashwin Sanghi: If you read 'Private India' you will find that mythology is a key element of the storyline but it is incidental to the crime. But I see what you mean. I will definitely be writing much more in the field of mythology too. It is my first love!

neetu chaubey: What were the major challenges and the learnings with collaborating with another author?

Ashwin Sanghi: While the process of collaboration does imply some compromises it also means complementarity. James Patterson is the master of the thriller whereas I bring an intimate knowledge of India to the table. The combination of these two elements is perfect for an India-based thriller. But yes, two voices can only create a harmony provided that they coordinate among themselves. That is key.

Nitin Deshmukh: How does a collaboration of this nature work? How are the ideas bounced around and how does one agree upon the final draft?

Ashwin Sanghi: JP provided me with a guideline as well as an existing set of characters that needed to be developed in the story. Using his guideline, I wrote a fairly detailed plot outline. We discussed the plot outline at length and froze it after several mutually acceptable amendments. I then proceed to write the first draft. The second and third drafts were written by JP.

manisha satpute: How did the idea for the collaboration come about?

Ashwin Sanghi: A dear friend who has read all three of my books and works for Patterson's publisher suggested my name. Given the fact that all three of my previous titles have been thrillers with short chapters, compelling pace, and unexpected hooks every few pages—traits that are amply evident in James Patterson's writing, the fit seemed a natural one.


Image: Ashwin Sanghi, author of Private India

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