Welcome to another exclusive author interview, where we dive into the fascinating minds behind some of today’s most compelling reads. Today, we have the pleasure of conversing with Aditya Banerjee, a seasoned author renowned for his masterful mystery and fiction novels. Aditya, the creative force behind the beloved detective Shankar Sen, has penned gripping titles like “Broken Dreams: A Callipur Murder Mystery,” “Stolen Legacies,” “Death in The Walled City,” and the intriguing “A Poet’s Ballad: A Crossword Mystery.” With a rich background that spans from his roots in India to his academic pursuits in Canada, Aditya’s storytelling is enriched by his extensive travels and deep historical knowledge. As a member of the Quebec Writer’s Federation, Immigrant Writer’s Association of Ontario, and Screenwriters Association of India, Aditya’s works are a testament to his diverse experiences and passion for unraveling mysteries.

Q1. What inspired you to create the character of Mahesh Pal?
Aditya: My protagonist in each novel is usually an amalgamation of characters that I have either come across or a product of my imagination. Mahesh’s character is a bit of both. He personifies a number of people who I met during my school years in India during the eighties and nineties who grappled with the struggles of moving abroad for higher studies. You can sense Mahesh’s conflicting emotions as he tries to overcome them.

Q2. How do you approach the process of writing a mystery novel?
Aditya: Every mystery has to start with an engaging plot and strong protagonists. The most important thing is that it should be intriguing enough to keep readers guessing and take them on a journey. They should feel that they are solving the puzzle with each clue as the mystery unfolds. The characters must be relatable and it is critical that the overall suspense does not waver as the story gathers pace.

Q3. Your novels often feature intricate puzzles and clues. How do you go about developing these elements?
Aditya: This is true of “A Poet’s Ballad”. I have always been a big fan of crosswords and it struck me that I could use elements of the puzzle to offer clues to protagonists in a story to solve a mystery. Once I had an outline of a plot, I decided to work on the clues and how they could, not only be part of the plot but also relate to the protagonists in the book who have their own conflicts and struggles.

Q4. Can you tell us about your journey from India to Canada and how it has influenced your writing?
Aditya: I think I find myself part of both worlds now. My storytelling in the first few books reflects the time I spent in India during my childhood. I am sure as I keep writing, it will include my experiences in various places. One thing I have noticed, based on what readers have told me, is that my perspective certainly is more varied. I can only guess that it may be because of my schooling in India and then moving abroad for higher studies. Apart from Canada and the U.S., I have spent time in Europe, South America, and the Far East. I am sure my writing will consciously or subconsciously create plot lines and characters that will encompass different solitudes.

Q5. How do you balance historical accuracy with fictional storytelling in your novels?
Aditya: It is crucial when you are describing real events, that they are accurate even for fiction. If the event itself is fictional, then it’s not much of an issue. What’s more significant, is that if you are writing a period piece, the descriptions match that era. Most of my books are set in the seventies and eighties in India and readers can easily pick up on inaccuracies. So, even in fiction, it’s important to keep things accurate and relatable.

Q6. What role does research play in your writing process?
Aditya: I am a history buff. My books tend to have significant historical elements. In that context, research is key to getting things right in terms of timelines, events, characters, and the plot itself. It’s heartening to see comments from readers who recognize that. My next book is a historical fiction. That in itself requires a lot of reading, research, and groundwork even before you start writing. Research is an integral and enjoyable part of storytelling. It’s fascinating to see how events unfolded in the past or learn something new about a subject as part of a book. Many elements of the research, in fact most, don’t make it into the book, but they are rewarding nevertheless.

Q7. Can you share any insights into the challenges and rewards of writing mysteries?
Aditya: As an author, it’s extremely important that you like your own story. The beauty of writing a mystery is that you constantly have to keep the suspense going. What is most rewarding is that although I have a plot outline, as I am writing, the story goes off on a different tangent. This adds more colours and dimensions to the overall plot. The challenge there, of course, is to make sure that you keep each character and subplot tied to the main story and that things keep moving forward. As a mystery author, it’s always great to hear how readers are trying to solve the puzzle or crime themselves or that they enjoyed the whodunit and sometimes got things right.

Q8. Your latest novel, “A Poet’s Ballad” combines elements of mystery and romance. What inspired this unique blend?
Aditya: All my stories have a mix of mystery, romance, and adventure. Most of us like to bucketize books into specific genres, but I think the best ones have a mix of a few genres. In the case of “A Poet’s Ballad,” I wanted the protagonists to have their own conflicts and that added another “mystery” to the overall story.

Q9. How do you think your background in engineering has influenced your approach to writing?
Aditya: I am not sure if it has done so explicitly. Maybe there is some method to the madness of solving a mystery that comes across subconsciously due to my engineering background – I don’t know. I’d like to think that my imagination and storytelling have little to do with my background of being an engineer and having an MBA. I guess there’s no way to tell for sure.

Q10. What advice do you have for aspiring writers, especially those interested in writing mysteries?
Aditya: I’d say keep writing. Write what you like and enjoy the process. It’s important that you like your own story. For those writing mysteries, I’d say the same thing. Let your imagination run wild while writing the first draft. Don’t rein yourself in and think about what may or may not work. Once the first draft is done, look at it to see how you can make it better. Writing is a solitary pursuit and often I have seen my fellow authors trying to get validation from others on what they are writing. My advice would be, that by all means, get feedback, but listen to yourself first and last!

We hope you enjoyed this fascinating conversation with Aditya Banerjee, whose passion for mystery and intricate storytelling continues to captivate readers worldwide. Through our discussion, we’ve uncovered the layers of creativity and meticulous research that go into crafting his novels. Aditya’s latest book, “A Poet’s Ballad,” not only challenges the mind with its puzzles but also tugs at the heartstrings with its evolving romance. His advice to aspiring writers—to write what you love and to trust your own voice—resonates deeply. Thank you for joining us today, and stay tuned for more exclusive interviews with the authors who bring our favorite stories to life.


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