The author of Chanakya's Chant, Ashwin Sanghi is a director of the well-known M.K. Sanghi Group of Companies. Even though he is qualified as a businessman, he is a writer as well. His first novel, The Rozabal Line, was published under the pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. It was later published under his real name and went on to become a bestselling novel in India. The author is currently pursuing his PhD in Creative writing from Bangalore University, Wales. He currently resides in Mumbai, with his wife and son.
I’m not a great writer, but I’m a decent rewriter
Interview/ Ashwin Sanghi, Writer
By Anjuly Mathai, June 24, 2018 15:26 IST
The New York Times bestselling author Ashwin Sanghi says that his latest book, Keepers of the Kalachakra, was perhaps the most intense of them all. Like all Sanghi books, Keepers of the Kalachakra takes you on a labyrinthine journey, from the Oval Office to the ruins of Nalanda to the birthplace of Buddhism. Excerpts from an interview:
What kind of research did you do to write Keepers of the Kalachakra?
Keepers of the Kalachakra was probably my most intense book. The primary challenge was that I had very little idea of quantum theory, not having been a student of science. The other challenge was understanding the overlap between quantum theory and the Upanishads. I ended up reading more than 40 books in a year, just to get my head around the material. There were also many interviews and discussions with engineers and spiritualists.
Your novels lie at the confluence of science, myth and history. How fascinated are you by these subjects?
“Fascinated” is an understatement. Take myth, philosophy, history, science, religion and geopolitics, and you have pretty much defined the zone that excites me most. In most of my previous novels, the focus had been on myth and history, but in this one, it was mostly about the confluence of philosophy and science—the fact that our ancient seers were peering into the same phenomena that quantum scientists are exploring now.
You interweave elements of fiction and non-fiction in your stories. How easy is it to do this?
It is always a challenge, because striking the right balance between a fictional story and research is confusing at times. I have always loved fiction that sounds like fact (and fact that sounds like fiction).
Most writers are solitary creatures, and, yet, you seem to welcome collaborations. You’ve co-written books with James Patterson, Ashok Rajani and Sunil Dalal.
Collaborations work provided that each partner knows his role exactly and that both are working off a well-developed plan. I always try to play off the strengths of my writing collaborators and complement their skills. For example, James Patterson is a master of suspense, but I am great at research.
Tell us a little about your writing process.
I spend several months on research. I then spend around three months on the plot. The plot will usually have every twist and turn in the story planned chapter-wise. It is only after these two stages that I start writing. Detailed plotting ensures that I do not allow the pace to slacken, except of my own choosing. I am not a great writer, but I am a decent rewriter, so I rewrite the manuscript several times before it goes in for editing.
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