We had a great time interacting with the author of the book The Billionaire’s Funeral published by HarperCollins India Publishers. Please find below the excerpt from the interview.
1. Writing crime fiction that involves digital fraud as well, share in brief about your latest book ‘The Billionaire’s Funeral‘.
The premise is quite simple. What if you get digitally erased? How will you prove your identity? Gone are the days when we used to have money stored in safes and all, today everything is in our bank accounts, all stored in digital records. Chad Cohen is a billionaire and a hacker goes after him to settle scores.
2. Writing under a Psuedonym for this book, is this for building a sense of curiosity among your readers or for some other reason?
I’ve written many other books on completely unrelated topics, mostly non-fiction. I wanted to choose a name that’ll give me the freedom to express myself free from scratch because if I publish with my real name, my readers won’t be able to connect it with my other works as this is in a completely different genre.
3. Unlike this book, you have written more than ten books in your own name, will you reveal your identity in future?
I think even if I don’t, one day someone will find it out!
4. What all your book will cover besides the digital fraud and crime? Like there will be politics, corruption etc too?
It covers the clever working of the finance world which at times borders on unlawful. It also shows how our karma eventually catches up with us.
5. What kind of research have you been doing while authoring your latest book The Billionaire’s Funeral?
It is based on my years of experience in the finance and technology industry plus it’s based on a real-life demonstration given by a hacker at a conference in Las Vegas.
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6. Do you think few people may differ with you regarding some events that you have written? How do you deal with such situations?
I sure do hope they differ. Differences bring out beauty and color. It gives me a new perspective to think. Art is always subjective and everyone has the right to an opinion.
7. 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’ll be quite honest with you, I’m not familiar with this genre. I didn’t even know the book I was writing fell in this genre. I simply wrote because I had a story to tell.
8. Which genres you enjoy reading the most? Which you don’t enjoy at all?
I love reading literary fiction. I stay away from gruesome murders and steamy stuff.
9. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
I didn’t know I would love writing so much. In my corporate background, it was all very practical and 2+2=4 stuff. Writing is a different ballgame altogether.
10. Anything you would like to say to your readers?
You are a story, your life is a story. Have you ever considered telling yours? If not, give it a thought. When you write, it helps you discover a hidden treasure inside you.
11. What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time? And what about The Billionaire’s Funeral?
I have been particularly bad at promoting my work. In my heart, I’m just a writer so I just write. I lead a very frugal life so the pennies and cents trickling in take care of my bills.
12. What projects are you working on at the present? When can we expect a new crime fiction from you?
I haven’t really spelled it out in my head but I feel a story is brewing. Information warfare.
13. How the Psuedonym Elijah Brahms different from your real personality for this book The Billionaire’s Funeral?
Not much different, I’ll say. I stand for what this name stands for. If you do a bit more research, who knows you may even figure it out!
14. What do your plans for future projects include? Any plans for a motion picture/web series based on your book(s).
I may pen down another book but that’s about it. If anyone likes it and they want to make a movie out of it, sure, I’m not complaining. :)
15. How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
eBooks will one day overtake print books in sales and growth but print books will never go out of fashion completely. That feeling of holding a paper book in your hand, that smell of paper, with a nice cup of coffee, nothing can beat that. The fast-changing landscape of conventional publishing will look vastly different twenty or thirty years from now.
16. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
I haven’t read much fiction in my life but whatever little I’ve read, Herman Hesse and Albert Camus stand out for me. The art of telling a story that seems effortless. Writing is lifelong learning for me. I’m still learning how to write my stories better.
17. In your opinion, what is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, which they need to know?
It’s not all fiction. Companies worldwide lose billions of dollars in hacking and similar frauds. You can never be too careful about protecting your identity. The governments and corporations of today know everything about you, from what you wear, where you live, work and hang out to what you had for your breakfast in the last one week.
18. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I just wanted to tell a story that could happen to anyone. Whether I’ve achieved it? I guess that’s for the readers to tell me. As a writer, I tried with whatever little I know.
19. What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Read a lot and write a lot. As far as I know, this is the only way to improve your writing. One thing at the fore of my mind whenever I write is to ensure that I don’t use two words where I can do with one. I must respect my readers’ time and trust in me. Procrastination is most destructive.
One liner/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?
2. Do you believe in writer’s block? Did you have it anytime or not?
Yes. I have it all the time. I overcome it with self-discipline.
3. Your favorite place to write your book(s)?
4. Research and then write or research while writing? Which one you prefer?
A basic level of research beforehand and then research as I go along.
5. What do you do in your free time?
Reading and music playing.
6. How many hours a day do you write?
4-7 hours when I’m in my book-writing mode.
7. Do you Google yourself?
I don’t yet exist on Google. :) Well, kind of.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
9. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I would be retired. :)
This interview was first published in Storizen Magazine May 2019 issue.