|City of residence||Gurgaon|
|Bio||Rasleen Syal is a mystery addict. When she is not reading or writing whodunits, she is happily playing detective. She can’t resist seeking out intrigue in everyday domestic affairs, unwittingly landing in hilarious situations, much to the angst of her family. Her husband dreads the day she will finally pass on this bug to their baby daughter as well. An architect with a Masters degree in Business Administration, to make a living, she runs her business in Gurgaon.|
Fantastic Four – Four of my favourite books
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte The eternal love story of Heathcliff and Catherine. The thin line between love and hate is depicted beautifully in this book. By the time you turn the last page it becomes very difficult to decide if you hate the protagonists, love them or simply pity them.
Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie Christie is my favourite author and this nail biting mystery hooks you from the word go. What makes it even more interesting is the emotional entanglements of the characters. This adds another dimension to the book.
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold A heart wrenching tragedy of a young girl who is raped and murdered. This book has an emotional appeal like none other.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott A classic tale of a family, how they survive some testing times and their growth. This book strengthens your belief in family, friends and relationships.
Tell us about your earliest attempts at writing. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of writing?
My grandmother introduced me to mysteries as a child. Nancy Drew, Famous Five and Hardy Boys used to be my best friends at the time. Over the years, I shared her love for the works of authors like Earl Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Arthur Conan Doyle. For me, writing mysteries is just an extension of reading them. Even as a kid, I used to plot mysteries, think up characters and jot it all down in my diary. So, writing mysteries came naturally to me.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I think an author is inspired by many different things while conceiving the plot of a book. I can share the thought process behind my debut book.
I am a romantic at heart. I have grown up reading classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, which define love as pure, everlasting and all consuming. With time I realized that in this age of technology ‘the old world love’ has lost its charm. The invariable link-ups, break-ups, betrayals, crumbling marriages, is the truth of today. India has witnessed so many cases of love gone awry, resulting in acid attacks, rapes, murders and other such heinous crimes. My book reflects this techno-crazy society we live in and the sham world of romantic love it endorses. Today, love and passion can easily lead an emotionally susceptible person to commit a sinister crime. This is the inspiration behind my book.
What does your typical writing day look like?
I am not a full time writer. I juggle various responsibilities. Hence, for me there is no typical writing day. Sometimes I write for hours on end and at other times I can manage only a few minutes before work.
What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an author?
What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring author should do?
Read a lot.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?
I love to cook.
Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your writing process? If yes, can you tell us about them?
Technology is a boon for research.
Is there any other way in which technology can help you in your work as writer / illustrator?
In the age where social media is the basic promotion platform to reach a targeted audience, technology helps a writer for marketing her work.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others? (include websites, blogs or Twitter profiles, etc).
Arthur Conan Doyle, Emily Bronte, Ayn Rand, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Satyajit Ray and P D James are few of the writers I am extremely fond of and they have definitely influenced my writing.
Can you tell about what you are currently writing and other works in the pipeline?
A murder mystery, is all I can say!
Though Happily Murdered has an Indian setting – an Indian town and characters with Indian names, it is not very Indian. It is set in a palatial estate with wings and several rooms; Characters assemble in the study over tea and so on… Would you consider writing a murder mystery in a more common setting – say a one-room chawl in Mumbai shared by 10 people, or a 1000 sq.ft house shared by 6 people? What would be the challenges in doing that?
Of course, I would love to experiment with different settings. I can manage that without much difficulty. Talking about challenges, irrespective of the setting, mystery writers do face quite a few. Mysteries are plot driven books and everything hinges on the perfection of the fundamental nuances. The pace of the book, placement of red herrings, clues etc are paramount. The reader should instantly be sucked into participating in solving the riddle, the crime. To instigate that kind of engagement is the basic challenge of any mystery writer.
Architect, MBA and now Author. What do you enjoy doing most? Why?
Each role has its own merit. Though, I am passionate about reading and writing.
Is a Poirot or a Miss Marple in the making? If so, can we take a sneak peak at him/her?
Agatha Christie is a legend. No one can write mysteries like her. Also, there can be only one Hercule Poirot. Saying that, yes, I would like to introduce a detective/amateur sleuth in my coming book. I hope he/she would manage to garner the love of the readers.