Ravi Subramanian, whom I recently got a chance to meet in Delhi is a well known and established author. Known as the John Grisham of banking and with four best sellers in his bag, namely, If God Was A Banker, Devil In Pinstripes, I Bought The Monk’s Ferrari and the award winning The Incredible Banker, and a new book which has already made it to the bestsellers list “The Bankster”, he is definitely one of the popular Indian authors.
Readers love what he writes and they eagerly wait for his books. Over a 3 hour conversation, I asked him a few questions and here is what he answered.
Me : A banker and a writer, how does Ravi Subramanian balance everything?
Ravi : The best way to crack both is to merge them into one and that’s what I have done with my writing. I have seamlessly integrated Corporate life, Banking and writing into my work of fiction. All my books thus far have been based on the former two, making life a lot easier than what it seems like to the external world. However there are challenges. The time that one spends on writing has to come from the twenty four hours in a day. Hence it becomes that much more important to prioritise and pick and choose what you want to continue doing and what you need to drop from your routine.
Family support is of paramount importance, as their time gets compressed when you are writing. And I am lucky that both my wife and my daughter have been pillars of support for me.
Me : How did writing happen to you?
Ravi : I had always wanted to write. When I wrote If God was a Banker, all I wanted to do was to write one book which would have given me the right to brag about it to my grandchildren. I wanted to leave a legacy so that long after one is gone, a book in some nondescript library would remind people about an author called Ravi Subramanian, who walked this planet. That’s all I wanted to do. But the success of If God was a Banker changed everything. It won me an award, then Devil in Pinstripes got me critical acclaim, and finally the tremendous success of The Incredible Banker. The success of my books made me seriously contemplate about writing. What started, as just a hobby has now become a serious passion.
Me : You’ve recently won an award for your book “The Incredible Banker” that too a popular choice award. How does it feel?
Ravi : Any award makes one feel good. And what if the short list has all the big names in Indian and international literature, winning that award makes you feel even more special. I feel both elated and humbled by the award.
Me : Is there any peer pressure to keep up with the legacy of giving four best sellers?
Ravi : When you have four successful books under your belt, the pressure comes from the expectations that the readers have of you. And this pressure is what keeps you on your toes. Having built up a reputation you wouldn’t want to give it up.
Me : What kind of books do you read? Favourite author and favourite book and why?
Ravi : I like reading thrillers. My favourite authors are John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer. Clearly the former is my favourite because of the manner in which he created his own niche and now owns that space. I want to do that in the genre of corporate thrillers. Jeffrey Archer is a favourite because of his clarity of thought and simple writing. The way he keeps the reader engrossed is learning in itself.
Me : With publishing industry at its all time high, any advice for the aspiring writers who want to get their work published?
Ravi : This is probably the best time for any author to get published. Publishers are interested in Indian Authors more than they were ever before. There is an emerging set of readers who seem to prefer Indian authors to their international counterparts.
Hence if you have an idea, and the drive to write, do so right now. Finding a publisher and getting it published should be the last thing on your mind. Just make sure that you have the complete manuscript ready, and in a shape that it can be sent to publishers.
Me : Most of the people say, it’s extremely tough to get your first book published, how tough it was for you to get “If God Was A Banker” published?
Ravi : When I wrote If God was a Banker, I sent the completed manuscript to four publishers. Three didn’t even respond. Rupa did. That’s how the relationship began. Thereafter all my books have been with Rupa. I guess I got lucky. However things are much more positive these days. As I said earlier, publishers are waiting to lap up authors with a good story and who they feel, will be able to stand up and market their books well.
Me : What Ravi Subramanian prefers doing, when he is not in office and around books?
Ravi : I am a big cricket fan. I can watch Rahul Dravid bat through the day, and not get bored. Watching cricket, listening to music and spending time with spouse and daughter is what I do when I am not writing or working.
Me : Tell us more about your new book “The Bankster”.
Ravi : The Bankster is a very interesting and different book. It takes its readers to the heart of a baffling mystery at the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2), where a series of murders across the globe threaten to destroy the reputation the bank has built over the years.
When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications—a secret that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth.
It’s a furiously paced novel where in the path to unraveling the mystery, stranger than fiction characters emerge, faith gets shattered and ivory towers come crashing down. Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thought – till the day the truth within GB2 gets revealed. Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a Bankster? Or was he always one? I leave it to the readers to figure out after reading the book.
Here is the trailer of the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRSD7XBwaYc
Me : Can we expect you to write some other genres as well? A love story may be?
Ravi : Love story…. Not too sure! As of now, I have created a new genre in Indian writing. Corporate thrillers, as a genre did not exist till If God was a Banker came along. Having created the genre, I would like to cement my place before moving on. Also banking and financial services is an extremely exciting space and I have enough stories for the next few books. The challenge is to make sure that one does not get repetitive. The day I believe that I do not have a fresh story to tell the audience, I will move on to a different genre. What that will be, difficult for me to say right now.
Me : Who gets to read the first draft of your book?
Ravi : My wife reads the manuscript, as it is taking shape. And she is the most vocal and fiercest critic too.
Me : How do you deal with criticism?
Ravi : Criticism is a part and parcel of life as an author. You cannot write something, which pleases everyone. One must have the humility to accept praise at face value and use criticism for improvement. If someone has taken the time and effort to criticize you, then obviously he ahs felt strongly about what you wrote. I always think about it, consider the feedback seriously and then take a call if something needs to be done about it. In fact negative feedback has been extremely instrumental in me improving in my journey as an author.
So, that was Ravi Subramanian, who was candid and genuine with his answers as he could be.
Also, his latest book, “The Bankster” has been reviewed here on my blog. Here is the link.
If you wish to get in touch with Ravi, contact him on
Facebook : facebook.com/authorravisubramanian
Twitter : @subramanianravi
URL : ravisubramanian.in
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org