Call it focused thinking, creative itch, following the herd or sheer talent, the result of each has led to a firm drift. One is in reference to the corporate world which, for some years, has been spawning authors in the cauldron of multiple genres. Infact, most of these ‘corporate-authors’ have been successful in getting noticed, and topping sales ledgers. Gurgaon-based IIM-Kolkata graduate Christopher C Doyle is the new hopeful in this regard.
In Panchkula to attend the literary festival, he speaks to Aneesha Bedi about his weakness for fantasy novels. Doyle debuted last year with ‘The Mahabharata Secret’, which was followed by his fresh roll-out ‘The Mahabharata Quest’.
Q. Both your novels have ‘Mahabharata’ in the title. Was there a specific reason that made you look at mythology as a subject?
A. Yes, that’s right. I was brought up on a steady diet of books ranging from classical literature to science fiction and fantasy to poetry and plays. My debut novel ‘The Mahabharat Secret’ actually began as a story written for my seven-year-old daughter. So, when I realised that I wanted to continue writing on this subject, I thought it would be interesting to look at legends and mythology through the tunnel of science.
Q. So, that would have called for extensive research besides a full-blown imagination. Considering you run your own consultancy firm, how did you go about this project?
A. It, most definitely, takes time and study to put in between the covers a cohesive and convincing panorama of Indian mythology, peppering the pages with secrets and conspiracies and eventually sewing them onto modern times. When I am not working, I am writing. Together it took me eight years, while the first book began as a story for my school-going daughter, who wanted something more than childish fantasy. I take longer to research than to write actually.
Q. Considering mythology is a factual domain, is there any specific person’s work that inspired you to shape your narrative?
A. Absolutely. This was while reading a 1917 book, ‘The Hindu History’, by Akshay Majumdar, in which he creates an alternate history of prehistoric India by looking at legends and mythology, religious books, etc. Also, ‘Mahabharata’ calls itself itihasa which literally means this is what happened. So one strong thread for me was what if these mythologies have a historical basis and be supported by science? Two other books contributed in completing my resolve. One was ‘Fingerprints of God’ which refers to a collective amnesia of mankind about an ancient civilisation spread across the world with superior technology. Then there was ‘Uriel’s Machine’, which culled out facts from the Book of Enoch and used science related to astronomy, seasons, etc, to interpret them.
Q. Besides working on the ‘Mahabharata’ series, you also write articles on management and business and are a vocalist for a band in Delhi. So, are any of these activities going to reflect in your next narrative?
A. I think our country still lacks quality novels for the young adult. We don’t have an Indian ‘Harry Potter’ kind of series. I would love to write something on those lines once I wind up my ‘Mahabharata’ series. And as you rightly pointed out, I am a vocalist for a band which is named Midlife Crisis (laughs). So, I feel I should be able to do a decent job to connect with readers from that age-group!
Q. Lastly, since becoming an author was always your dream, today you’re balancing a corporate life along with writing. Any plans to quit everything and become a full-time writer?
A. Not in the near future at least. Writing is a passion for me and I want it to stay so. I don’t want it to become a job as I have the luxury to write as and when I wish to.