It gives me immense pleasure to present you the eminent author – Mr. Joygopal Podder. There is a lot that can be said and written about him. I will not dare to put forth much, today rather, I will straightaway share with you with what all respected sir has to share with us.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
Marketing) I shifted to the social sector as Director Fundraising of a NGO working for disadvantaged elderly. I now work for an international INGO which is trying to improve the quality of lives of the most marginalised sections of our society.
BNI: So, what all you have written / published till date?
JP: 13 crime fiction novels, 1 humorous romantic fiction novel, 1 non-fiction book, many children’s short stories for magazines and book collections and I also maintain 6 blogs. The Limca Book of Records has been featuring me as the fastest crime fiction author of India for three consecutive years.
BNI: What inspired you to write your first book?
JP:I was struggling for many months and years in my late forties to find a story for my first novel. I first thought of writing teenage detective fiction on the lines of a popular series I used to write for ‘Target’ magazine three decades ago when I was in college. Then, at age 50, I went for an office conference in Austria and discovered that my professional world was full stories of struggle and triumph and human drama. So I based my first book on the NGO sector, where I have been a Director for 14 years now.
I love reading thrillers and crime fiction, so that’s the genre I chose to start off with. What emerged was a thriller featuring a social sector activist. I called my first book: “Deceivers”.
BNI: What are the plots of each for your new books – your two latest releases? I believe they are your 14th and 15th books?
JP: “3 MIXED UP MEN” is a light-hearted look at how men bond and how men think, their take on love, and how they behave and misbehave. This is my first romantic fiction and humour novel.
When his best friend Govind announces he’s getting married, Raghu is genuinely shocked. Raghu is convinced Anamika is marrying his closest friend only for his money, and that love had nothing to do with her attraction for him.
Raghu’s subtle – and not so subtle – attempts to derail Govind’s wedding plans will have hilarious and unintended consequences. But amidst the comedy of errors, confusion and carnage which ensues in the run-up to the big day, the ‘single-till-I-die’ Casanova Raghu himself meets a girl called Nisha, who will change his notions of love – in fact his entire life – in ways he could never have expected.
“DYNASTY” is a complete crime thriller. A hotel tycoon and several members of his family are stalked, attacked and warned, but nobody knows why and by whom. Are complicated family relationships behind this? Or is the mysterious stalker a result of business partnerships gone wrong? Or is the truth a bit of both? I know I’m beating my own drum, but I think the climax is horrific, nail-biting, and well worth the ride.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
JP: I am fortunate to have a large fan base. These lovely people are of all age groups and from both genders. They communicate with me on facebook and by email. The common feedback is that my stories move fast and my readers like the unexpected twists and turns in the plots and the detailed characterisations. Some have commented on the way I am able to make my readers visualise scenes and events and actions as if they are happening in front of them.
I value all the feedback I receive and am grateful to my readers for sharing their reading experiences with me.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer?
JP: I started writing stories as a child growing up in London. My parents actively encouraged it and shared my stories with friends and relatives. I continued writing after shifting to India and had my first story published in the then popular magazine “Children’s World” at age 12.
I earned my first payment at age 14 from the “Junior Statesman” magazine and then became a prolific freelancer, during my school and college days, for the “Hindustan Times”, “Youth Times” and “Target”, among other publications. The money I earned helped pay for my dates with girlfriends and so that was an added motivation! I got involved in a full-time corporate career after age 23, but kept seeing my previously published stories re-produced in school textbooks and story book collections over the years. This inspired me to start blogging in my mid-forties.
Then my wife fell desperately ill and I realised the impermanence of life and the need to realise one’s passions while one still had the time and ability. So I started writing my first novel at age 50, and I have written 15 books since then, in the last 4 years, and have managed to feature in the Limca Book of Records as the fastest published Indian crime fiction author for three consecutive years.
But this was not my aim; the records are only a by-product of my passion. Writing books is what I enjoy doing the most and reaching out to more and more readers is my primary goal in life now.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
JP: Every writer inspires me. I learn from each book I read. I am as much a fan of John Grisham as I am of P G Wodehouse. I grew up reading Agatha Christie and Earl Stanley Gardner and I now also like reading Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat and historical fiction from any writer. Laugh-a-minute books are great favourites, but not many writers have mastered that art, unfortunately.
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
JP: Writing is like playing a musical instrument; the more you do it the better you become. So keep writing – every day. And do not analyse what is ‘marketable’ and write accordingly – if you do so, you will never complete projects. Write what your heart wants and on subjects and themes you are comfortable with. And persevere….Read and read and read; then write and write and write.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
JP: The struggle to become a published author was brief – but intense. Twenty publishers rejected my first two books before I found a taker. What kept me going was my family’s conviction that I had written bestsellers. So, even as my manuscripts kept getting rejected, I kept on writing more. Today I work with six publishers, and all have published two or more books of mine. I am grateful for their belief in me and I hope they will make good business from my books.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
From 3 MIXED UP MEN:
At thirty-three years of age, it seemed too remarkable, too unexpected and too frightening. And yet, somehow, it was only NOW that THE perfect moment with the perfect girl seemed to have sidled up into his life, like a sweet little kid cousin asking for money to buy ice-cream.
As they sat together on the ledge, side by side, it just happened.
He asked her.
What he said was this:
“Would you marry me?”
He waited. Nisha was staring at him. She was smiling. Gratified,
Raghu sat back. He’d done it. He had committed himself. He had made that commitment he had been fearing all his life, yet wanting all his life.
He had finally committed himself. And it felt GOOD.
He noticed that Nisha was still smiling. Then she said:
Raghu was taken aback by this. He knew there were a small number of possible answers you could expect to receive when you asked a girl to marry you. But “What?” wasn’t one of the answers he was expecting.
Nisha shook her head, then she noticed his frown and said: “Sorry, Raghu – couldn’t hear you.” Her head tilted back, indicating the air-conditioning units strewn all over the terrace. They were loudly buzzing, as they went into overdrive. It was a warm night, and most apartments in the building had their split ACs on.
She grinned. “Anyway. What did you say, again?”
OK. To hell with it. He’d done it once. He could do it again.
“Nisha….what I was saying was….was….how do you feel….you know….about….” he closed his eyes and then he opened them again, “….about marriage?”
There. He’d said it again. Asked THE question.
Nisha looked at him and nodded and said:
“Well, I’ve always wanted to get married. I suppose. But nobody’s ever asked me. Ah well!”
She lifted her glass of champagne and clinked his half-filled glass with it. And then it struck him. Oh God. She hadn’t understood. He’d screwed it up again! He hadn’t asked her properly! “What do you feel about marriage?” What kind of question was that? What was he thinking of?
Right. He had one last bash left in him. So he gave it all he had.
“No, Nisha, what I mean is: Would you marry me?” He paused, and then for emphasis added: “What I’m saying is: Will you marry me?” He spelt it out further: “Will….you….marry….me?”
Silence ensued. Even the air-conditioning units seemed to go into a respectful hush.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
JP: I remember that, before writing my first novel, I used to visit bookstores and pick up random books from the shelves and hold them and feel them and flip through the pages and remember with a warm feeling all the good times that I’ve had reading through innumerable books in a park, while travelling, or curled up on a sofa alone in a room or sitting quietly in a corner of a crowded coffee shop. That’s the inspiration that got me going with my own book. Even the smell of a printed book can send me into raptures. My choice is definitely a printed book, hard cover or soft cover, it doesn’t matter.
I thank Joy sir for taking out time from his schedule and answering my questions. Coincidently, this interview is being published at a time when two of his latest releases are being released. I am feeling blessed.
On behalf of the blog readers, I wish you luck sir.