After writing a successful first thriller, A Forgotten Affair, Kanchana Banerjee has another feather in her cap with her new release Nobody’s Child. A Thriller Writer at heart, how Kanchana ventured into writing and how her love for thriller genre germinated, Kanchana tells Pria.

  1. How was the transition from writing about Domestic Drama to Psychological thriller? 

I think I’m a thriller writer at heart. Have always enjoyed reading & watching thrillers. The genre fascinates me. Even my first book, though not a thriller, had some thrilling aspects to it. I always knew in my heart that I will pen a thriller.

2. Was it easier to adapt to the new genre? Tips for budding authors to switch genres?

One needs to read a lot. I devoured bestselling thrillers – by Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica & many others. Writing isn’t easy. No genre is easy. As a writer, you need to immerse yourself into the story, the character, and the plot. Read a lot and teach yourself. That’s what I do.

3. Your book talks about various hypocrisies of our society. Do you think it’s the hypocrisy that makes one evil?

Hypocrisy is natural to humans, as is evil. The good and the bad co-exist in us. Some people allow the bad and the evil to be their guiding compass like the characters in Nobody’s Child. Kamini Pratap can only see her goal and her ambition. She wants to win at any cost and anyone who stands in her path is just collateral damage. Avniel is in a professional rut and uses Asavri to benefit himself. But in the second half of the book, he realizes the wrong he did and feels bad about it. 

4. With reference to your storyline, If one is always disowned by parents, relatives, friends and loved ones, how do you think it affects one’s thought process? 

I think it’s a betrayal of the worst and the most traumatic kind. To be shunned and thrown out by the people you have loved. It can completely destroy a person.

5. Your book has an amazing script while using a Reality TV show as a backdrop. Any plans of making it into a web series or movie or a daily soap? 

Most readers after reading Nobody’s Child have this remark but honestly while writing I didn’t think about anything else other than writing a good story. My only aim was to write a story that would make an interesting read. I hope I have been able to achieve that.

6. Your characters seldom narrate their own stories. What do you keep in mind while choosing your characters?

That they are interesting, intriguing, come alive and carry the plot ahead. I try to get into the skin of every character. You’ll be surprised to know that Kamini, in spite of being such an evil character, most readers enjoyed her story.

7. Do you believe that in Reality Shows, One man’s failure is Ticket to Other Man’s success?

I think as human beings we are extremely curious about other people. We are nosy and inquisitive. Reality TV is a peep into other people’s lives. What would a group do if locked up in a house for 30 days? What would happen if couples are made to face challenges..etc?

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8. What do you have to say about the dark side of the TRP game? Is content important in that game?

These are just tactics to sell and make money. Just like newspapers and magazines sell pictures and news about celebs… to make more money. TV channels use gimmicks to spike up the TRP and make money. It’s a money game. Who am I to comment on this?

9. The genre like Crime/Thriller has picked up pace in India compared to other genres. In your opinion, what has led to this increased interest?

I think the crime/thriller genre has always been popular. Agatha Christie was a huge hit decades ago. Sherlock Holmes and his exploits have been a favorite since years. So I don’t think fascination for this genre is new. Crime is fascinating, as long as it doesn’t involve or affect us. We like to know about the darker side of human beings. What we know little about, we are drawn to it. Why does someone do something nasty? Is evil born or does evil arise out of circumstances?

10. Which genres do you enjoy reading the most? Which you don’t enjoy at all?

Thriller is my favorite genre and I don’t read love stories. I get bored unless it’s a beautiful saga like Thorn Birds, The Far Pavillion, Gone with the Wind.

11. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

That people think I have an opinion on everything from politics to relationships. I’m not an expert on anything, least of all relationships. It’s very strange when people ask me to comment on social norms as an author.

12. Anything you would like to say to your readers?

I hope you buy and read Nobody’s Child. That’s all an author wants.

13. What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

By being invited to talk about my book in a magazine like yours. I’m so thankful and delighted that you think I and my book worthy of being featured.

14. What projects are you working on at the present? When can we expect a new crime fiction from you?

On Book 3. Yes, of course, it is a thriller. I am going to be writing in this genre for some time.

15. What do your plans for future projects include? Any plans for a motion picture/web series based on your book(s).

I just want to write. Learn to be a better writer. If a movie happens…great. If not..it’s not meant to be. I want to focus on my writing craft. I want to enroll for a really good thriller writing course. I enjoy learning and love to learn and grow.

16. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica, and Martha Alderson – she has written this amazing book Plot Whisperer. It is my writing Bible.

17. In your opinion, what is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, which they need to know?

I really don’t want to comment on this. I’m just 2 books old and hardly an expert to answer this question. So I will pass.

18. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  

I wanted to write a book that the reader is unable to put down. A thriller that has been reading page after page without stopping. I think I have been able to do that. Many people have written to me saying they stayed up all night reading the book. So I feel happy that I have been able to do that.

One-liners/One word-based answer questions

Please respond to these questions in one line or one word wherever possible –

  1. Your all-time favorite author/writer? Jeffrey Archer
  2. Do you believe in writer’s block? Did you have it anytime or not? NO, I don’t believe. It’s just an unwillingness to work at it.
  3. Your favorite place to write your book(s)? My writing table in my study.
  4. Research and then write or research while writing? Which one do you prefer? First research and then start writing
  5. What do you do in your free time? Read, play with my dogs, do some gardening, watch TV. I am a huge Netflix addict.
  6. How many hours a day do you write? 4-5 hours a day
  7. Do you Google yourself? No, I don’t. I have better things to do.
  8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Oh yes. Only my closest of close friends spot it and then they call me. Yes, I do this.
  9. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? I honestly don’t know. I have never thought of wanting to do anything other than write. I have always wanted to write and that’s what I have done all my life…till now. If not writing. I don’t know what else.

This featured interview first appeared in Storizen Magazine October 2019 Issue.

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