Interview with Aparna Sinha writer of Ashvamedha

Aparna takes readers on a thrilling ride with Ashwamedha. The action starts from first page with no slack moment. Action and thrill is unending and relentless. 

It is a welcome break to see a thriller from an Indian writer that too from a woman. The market is overflowing with mushy romance. It is said that Indian reader wants nothing but romance. So it is very courageous from Aparna to write a thriller mystery in English.
Author Introduction: Aparna Sinha wrote her first poem when she was seven, which she recited on All India Radio. Since then, her literary work and industry specific articles have been published in various media, including reputed business magazines across Asia. Equipped with a Master's in management, when she was forced to quit her lucrative job because of a chronic disease, she focused on her sole passion – writing.
1.               Please tell us something about yourself.
Born and raised in city of Allahabad, by academician father (his book has won the national award) and writer mother; I was always a dreamer and always a story teller.
The book happened when I was hit by chronic autoimmune disorder, which forced me to quit my job; while the world/society felt sorry for me for losing my perfect skin to a disease, which may or may not cure, I used the time to write the novel.  I recuperated as the book finished. Even though my body still carries marks of that illness, but it doesn’t remind me of pain and sleepless nights; it has made me strong and I thank god for that!
Now, I am a mother of an 1 year old boy and I love every bit of motherhood.
2.               I see there is an overdose of romance (third rate mostly) in Indian English writing. I assume its safe bet for writers and publishers. So why do you wrote a thriller?
I believe a writer should write whatever gives him/her personal satisfaction only then he/she could do justice to his/her thoughts. Thriller is a difficult genre as it comprises of drama, romance, adventure and a thrilling climax. It requires a lot of research, writing thriller needs validations before the final work. It is also time consuming; something which I could afford, considering I started writing the same after I quit the job and my illness restricted my movement.
Besides my idea of romance writing is slightly different from what is popular among young adult audience (which comprises the largest readership). I could not satiate the writer in me and entertain the readers reading the genre at the same time; hence I have decided to go for Thriller

3.               How could you get it right the first time? (Phenomenal achievement)
I knew whenever I will write I will put my heart and soul into it. Years of voracious reading helps. I guess readers were looking for a shift of genre (as there is an overdose of romance and pop fiction) also with rise of social media and 24*7 news channels younger generation is taking interest in politics. Book gives a glimpse of manipulation and lust of power that comes with politics.
4.               There is a reference to Schizophrenia (which is believe is different from the condition which you described). Do you have in depth knowledge of mental diseases or is it just a plot device?
The word schizophrenia was consciously referred in the book as it is a relatively popular term when it comes to mental disorders, the same popularized by Indian TV and cinema. I have second hand knowledge of mental disorders and deficiencies from reading and research.
5.               I can see influences of bestselling many pot boilers of Hindi as well as English? What are your influences for this book?
You will always find influences of one or more of my favourite authors Crichton, Ludlum, Dickens, Mclean, Gibran!
6.               Your book is a political thriller. There are many characters: a conniving industrialist, wily politician, honest civil servant, a political mentor, a very popular PM, an independent journalist etc. Do all or some of them are influenced by real life figures? If yes then who?
Every character is a mix of few real life people, my friends, political personalities, my relatives; however since I have the opportunity let me clarify that the protagonist and striking resemblance of his actions with present Prime Minister was a pleasant coincidence because the book was written before Mr. PM took the seat. Same applies for Canadian PM.
7.               Title of your book is very mythical. What does it signify?
Ashvamedha or Ashvamedha Yagna (horse sacrifice) was an ancient vedic ritual, performed by a king for the general prosperity of the kingdom and to establish sovereignty over neighboring provinces. In the ritual the king’s horse, along with his army, was made to wander in neighboring kingdoms, for one year. If the horse returns back after one year without being captured or killed by enemy kingdom, it  would be sacrificed and the king will be named undisputed ruler (The yagna in detail is mentioned in yajur veda)
In this novel, Ashwin Jamwal was made a powerful man only so he can be sacrificed in the end and Hades, the master manipulator, will claim the ultimate authority, hence the title
8.               What are your future plans? A sequel of Ashvamedha or independent book?
Currently I am working on one independent book, A sequel of Ashavmedha may also happen as the story has taken shape.
9.               Will you stick to thrillers or open to all genres?
I will stick to Thriller genre!

Interview by: Rajan Mogha

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