MayurDidolkar is the Author of The Dark Road, a detective suspense Whodunit and also a take on Modern Relationships. To read more about The Dark Road, click here.
Recently, I was able to talk to Mayur about his forthcoming book launch, his area of interests and everything under the sun. Excerpts of the conversation are below.
Happy Sunday and Pleasant Reading !
Pleasantreads: Hi, Mayur, please tell our readers about MayurDidolkar, the man. Who is he and what is his inspiration behind writing? What does he do in his Professional life? Give us the works. 😉
Mayur: I work as an independent investment professional in Pune, India. I have been a precocious reader. I could read a newspaper in Marathi at age 5 and was reading novels meant for adults by the time I was 8-9 year old. My love for writing has come from my love of reading, I think. My job requires me to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. This has always been ground zero for observing a range of human emotions for me. Most of my writing is a quest to answer the ‘what if’ question. What if this person jumped out of this window? What if this woman was having an affair with her boss and his wife knew about it?
Pleasantreads:Can we say that suspense is your favorite genre? If yes, why?
Mayur: As a reader I think supernatural and suspense have always been my favorites. Most of the authors I admire come from these genres. Crime/suspense/psychological thrillers have often been bundled up as a single genre but they still have room for writers ranging from James Hadley Chase to Dennis Lehane and from Agatha Christie to Michael Connelly. I think very often crime fictions examine human beings at their most resourceful best as well as their depraved worst. That fascinates me.
Pleasantreads :What is your process behind writing a book? Do you do any research or it is just a figment of your imagination [Mighty fecund Imagination, May I Say!]
Mayur:Writers in my line of work can be broadly categorized as ‘plotters’ and ‘not plotters’. I belong to the latter category. I like to rely on my instincts more than an intricately weaved plot to make the writing interesting. The fundamental premise of my story is always about a group of people who interact with each other due to a particular situation and how they extricate themselves out of the said situation. For the reader to invest emotionally, he/she needs to identify with at least a few of your characters and I feel spontaneous, non-plotted writing has a better chance to produce such characters.
Research is a separate beast altogether. Whether you plot the book or not, it will still require some research. While writing ‘The Dark Road’ I needed information about police procedures about murder investigation, how and where post-mortems are held etc. I also needed information about mountaineering as I have never been a trekker. And even though, I have run a few marathons, I still needed some expert inputs on long distance running and training associated with it. So what I did was to write the first draft using my imagination alone and then sought experts in each of the above areas and took their inputs. Based on their inputs I revised a few parts while doing a rewrite.
Pleasantreads: What is the typical time required to write your book?
Mayur:‘Kumbhpur Rising’, my first novel took 5 years to write, primarily because there were long periods of time when I didn’t write at all. The Dark Road, on the other hand, was written in exactly 30 days (first draft). My third novel, with the publishers at present, was written in about seven months, which I think is a more realistic target for finishing the first draft.
Pleasantreads:Do you hope to make a movie out of your book? Let me rephrase, do you already have any plans for making a movie? 🙂
Mayur:I have no contact with the film industry other than as a moviegoer. Also, Hindi film industry is not really known for adopting novels/stories etc. That being said, I am sure you agree, The Dark Road is good material for film/TV serial from the dramatization perspective. We will see.
Pleasantreads: There seems to be a lot of appreciation for the lead character of your book, Mrs. Prasanna Killedar. Is she based on a real person or imaginative? By, the way, compliments for writing a female character – in-spite of the handicap, Well played!
Mayur:As much as I would like to make things interesting by telling you otherwise, Prasanna Killedar, is a result of my imagination alone. As a reader, I have always been drawn to strong women characters in crime/psychological thriller fiction and that was the primary motivation to write Prasanna. The response so far has been beyond my wildest expectations. Thank you.
Pleasantreads:Which is MayurDidolkar’sfavourite book and favourite movie, and tell us why?
Mayur:Very difficult to mention one book and one movie so let me give a few names.
Books- I am a big Stephen King fan, especially his early works like Salem’s Lot and Shining and some of his late work like 11/22/63 and the recent Bill Hodges trilogy. Same with Michael Connelly. His books like The poet, Blood Work and The Concrete Blonde should rank among the best about the darker side of the human psyche. Very recently I was blown away by the powerful Gone Girl and Girl on the Train and Jillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins have a lifelong reader in me now I guess.
Favorite movie in no particular order would be The Dark Knight, Saving Private Ryan, A Few Good Men, Godfather, and The Untouchables in English. Hera Pheri, Satya and Sholay in Hindi.
Pleasantreads: Please tell our readers about your forthcoming books.
Mayur:My third novel, tentatively called ‘Tears for Strangers’ is in the contract negotiation process. It’s about a woman journalist investigating the death of another woman journalist. ‘When you die, who (if anyone) will cry?’ is the question I seek to answer through this book. This month Juggernaut released my first standalone short story ‘The call that changed Raunak’s life’. There are four more short stories in the pipeline, from August to November.
Right now, I am at work on the next Prasanna Killedar novel. In this novel, Prasanna is called to investigate the murders of four young women who went on a blind date and never returned. From dating sites to roleplaying communities and from pornography to BDSM, the novel takes on a fascinating if somewhat unsettling tour of modern day relationships that bloom under the glare of your laptop screen.
Pleasantreads: If you had to describe yourself in one word – which word would you choose?
Pleasantreads: Do you have any spare time and if yes, then what do you do in it? We also know that you are an avid marathoner. Give us some information on how your love for the long distance started.
Mayur:In my spare time I like to read. Last year I bought a kindle reader and things have been working out great between us. I also do a spot of stand-up comedy from time to time, though I have not really given it the kind of seriousness it needs to build even a part-time career out of it, so far it has been strictly amateur hour on that side.
I began running in 2013 as a way to challenge myself physically and mentally after a period of personal volatility. I have run two full marathons (42.195 kms) and several half marathons (21.095 kms). Running really helps me focus my creative energies. Training for a full marathon has also been a great training for me as a writer. Writing a novel is a lonely job that requires the writer to control the need for instant gratifications for a long period and soldier though even when the likelihood of your efforts giving results is not high. Training for a marathon helps you develop that mindset of giving efforts without thinking about results. I think every writer should train for one marathon at least.
Pleasantreads:Any advice which you would like to give to our readers – young and old?
Mayur:Honestly, I don’t think it is for the writer to give advice to his readers. A reader has far more power in the writer-reader relationship than one would think and I would rather aim to entertain than to preach my reader.
That said, I think as a reader myself, I think it is very important to broaden your reading whether it is in terms of genre or in terms of the writers you read. I think a very important part of my development as a reader happened because while picking up a new book to read, I never cared whether I agreed with the writer’s personal value system or indeed with the ideology (if any) espoused in the book. Someone said he who knows only his side of the argument does not know it well, and I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind while choosing what to read.
Pleasantreads: Any advice for young wannabe authors?
Mayur:Read a lot and write a lot. There is no other way to get better. Also, (this is my pet peeve), till the time the work is completed, resist the temptation of sharing excerpts etc on social media groups/ author’s forums etc. Creative writing is a process of building pressure on yourself with no outlet, and I think each time you publish unfinished work, you let a little bit of steam off yourself.
Lastly, if you are a fiction writer, please aim only to entertain. It is not our job to change the way people think or to enlighten them about a certain issue. Fiction produced with “message” in mind, is very often either preachy or dull or both.
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The Dark Road makes for great Drama/TV adaptation: In Conversation with Mayur Didolkar-Pleasantreads Bytes