The Author, Vikas Sinha decided one day that he would like to pen down the stories that he kept thinking about, that he kept dreaming about. He soon found that writing a story is quite difficult and that writing a novel is an arduous task. It took a lot of time to finally complete this story and it was very difficult to work on the novel while working on games development and meeting deadlines during the day. It is truly a labour of love and the author wishes its readers to enjoy the story.
Akhila Saroha: I would like to begin by congratulating you on the publication of “The Case of the Missing Brother.” How has the response to the book been so far?
Vikas Sinha: To be honest, the response has been mind boggling. People who read the book have loved it and that was kind of very surprising for me but I am very happy with their reactions.
Akhila Saroha: What led to the idea of writing about multiple issues in the framework of “The Case of the Missing Brother”? Were there any events that inspired the work?
Vikas Sinha: When I began working on this project, I wanted it to be a thriller, a simple story of a guy who has gone missing and a team hired by his sister to find him. Then I changed the story and brought in a detective. Then I changed the story again and added the bits about the fathers and grandfathers having their own secrets. I think on the fifth attempt I was able to get the story straight. It is all fiction but I must add here that I took inspirations from real world as well as from the fictional books.
Akhila Saroha: How was creating a fusion of mystery and gothic together in “The Case of the Missing Brother” as an experience for you?
Vikas Sinha: I wanted to create a world that was both creepy as well as mysterious. If you visit a small town and listen to the stories, the story tellers inevitably gravitate towards ghosts and demons. There are many things that don’t make sense to them and these things are demonized and amazing stories are crafted around them. When I set out to place the story in a far flung place that lay right next to a forest, I decided to color the story with gothic elements to make the story more believable, more colorful. Thankfully, it adds more vibrancy to the overall plot line and it was universally liked.
Akhila Saroha: What are your views about present-day writing? In light of “The Case of the Missing Brother,” do you think different genres in fiction writing are being explored fairly
Vikas Sinha: I think the advent of self publishing has dramatically changed the attitude of writers. So many people are taking plunge with their unique stories and most of the times these stories blur the artificial boundaries of genres. I truly believe that now, more than ever, writers will combine different genres in a bid to create something new, something unique.
Akhila Saroha: Your writing shows the influence of different writers. Are there any authors that you enjoy reading or any books which are your favorites?
Vikas Sinha: Hands down, Agatha Christie! She was a true master of throwing red herrings all along the story and then in the end she used to masterfully deceive the reader by spinning a yarn that is so far fetched and yet so believable. My favourite is ‘Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ and ‘Endless Night’. I am also a great fan of Haruki Murakami for the worlds that he creates in his novels and for the way he writes. I loved ‘Kafka on the shore’ and ‘1Q84’.
Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to construct the lives of different generations through the eyes of different narrators keeping in mind that the readers would perceive things from the eyes of Andy in “The Case of the Missing Brother”?
Vikas Sinha: Honestly it was very difficult. I had to write about the incidents that occurred long time ago but these stories have to be modified and updated and by the time Andy gets to listen to these accounts, the narrated account and the actual incident have become diametrically different. Andy has to traverse a fine line in accepting or rejecting the stories that he gets to hear. I just wanted to keep it simple so that the readers would not lose flow or interest in the story.
Akhila Saroha: “The Case of the Missing Brother” has given a powerful introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect more from you in the future? Please share about your future projects.
Vikas Sinha: Thank you for your kind words. I have been working on the next adventure of Andy and it is almost done. Other than that, I have been working on a book in fantasy genre.
Akhila Saroha: What is the story behind the title of your work, “The Case of the Missing Brother”?
Vikas Sinha: When I had finally finished with the second draft of this novel, I began to think about its title. I wanted to make people take notice of the book so I thought about its cover page and how it had to be something unique that captures the spirit of the book. Even though the title is pretty straight forward, I decided to keep it because it is how the story starts to unfold. That is the hook for the readers.
Akhila Saroha: You take your time in developing the narrative and developing the air in “The Case of the Missing Brother.” Do you think there could be any other way of writing a detective fiction?
Vikas Sinha: I wanted to present my story in a different manner than what is generally done in detective fictions. I think that pursuit of uniqueness made me work more on the development of the narrative and in setting up an eerie atmosphere. Readers have to sympathise with the characters and they have to accept the flaw of these characters who inhabit the newly created world. Some of the writers focus more on pacing while others focus more on the whodunit bit and there are many writers who focus on developing rock solid chacters. Any way is good as long as the readers love the end result.
Akhila Saroha: Do you believe detective fiction is a genre that is still to develop in Indian literature?
Vikas Sinha: There is ample scope for it. People love to read books where they get to sleuth along with the detective of the story, where they get to have a look at clues and where they try to unravel the mystery before the detective. We need more books in this genre.
Akhila Saroha: If you were to describe your book, “The Case of the Missing Brother” in a few words without giving any spoilers, what would those words be?
Vikas Sinha: It is a story of a girl whose brother Liam has disappeared without a trace and she seeks help from Andy, a detective, to find her brother. In the course of his investigation, Andy learns that Liam was searching for hidden treasure. Andy soon learns that Liam’s search had inadvertently got linked with the devious secrets of Liam’s forefathers that had been kept buried all these years.
Akhila Saroha: What advice would you give to budding writers who may be planning to write in the same genre as “The Case of the Missing Brother”?
Vikas Sinha: I will advise them to focus on both plot development and character development. When the first draft is ready, they should be very critical and remove all those bits that are either dragging the story down or that are extraneous to the plot. The pruning is very important but it is very difficult as you have to discard what you have yourself written. My advice would be to not go easy at all in discarding the bits which are not needed.
Akhila Saroha: Thank you very much for sparing your time. I look forward to reading more books from you in the future. All the best.
Vikas Sinha: Thank you very much for having me here. Your kind words about my book have given me encouragement to work harder on my second book. Thank you once again.
Author Name: Vikas Sinha
Book Title: The Case of the Missing Brother
Interviewed By: Akhila at Criticspace Journals