With the adaptation of his "Q&A" achieving cinematic heights, career diplomat Vikas Swarup's new novel "The Accidental Apprentice", a 21st century take on the old Cinderella story, has already evinced interest among filmmakers.
Managing time is, however, quite difficult for Swarup, now the consul-general of India at Osaka-Kobe, Japan.
"Unlike other writers with day jobs who are able to write in the crevices of the day, I can only write when I have a clear horizon in front of me, meaning several hours without any interruptions. So I usually write on weekends and holidays. I try to strike a balance between my life as a writer and my role as a diplomat, a husband and a father," he told PTI in an interview.
"The Accidental Apprentice", according to him, is about discovering oneself.
"It is a universal story of life, played out against the backdrop of the daily struggles of the middle class. Only when we undergo a trial by fire do we realize what we are capable of, what we really want from life. It is about discovering who we are and who we want to be."
He even calls his new book, published by Simon & Schuster, "a 21st century take on the old Cinderella story, except Cinderella is now being offered the CEO-ship of a USD 10 billion company rather than Prince Charming".
He says there have been suggestions that "The Accidental Apprentice" would make a great movie. "A well-known Bollywood director has also shown interest. Let's see how it develops," he says, without divulging details.
"The Accidental Apprentice" is about an offer made to Sapna Sinha, an ordinary salesgirl in an electronics boutique in downtown Delhi by a billionaire Vinay Mohan Acharya. He promises to make her the CEO of his company if she manages to pass seven tests from the "textbook of life".
Thus begins the most challenging journey of Sapna's life, one that will test her character, her courage and her capabilities. Along the way she encounters a host of memorable personalities, from a vain Bollywood superstar to a kleptomaniac Gandhian. At stake is a business empire worth ten billion dollars, and the future she has always dreamt of.
Though the writer says he is lucky that both his previous books ("Q&A" and "Six Suspects") were snapped up for film adaptations, that is not something he consciously aims for.
"When I am writing a novel I am trying to write the best novel I can. I do not give any consideration to the possibility that it might get turned into a film one day. The fact that my writing is very 'visual' perhaps makes it easier to adapt for the screen," says Swarup, who was born in Allahabad into a family of lawyers.