Joygopal Podder Image Credit: Nilima Pathak/Gulf News

New Delhi: Publishers are finding it difficult to keep pace with Joygopal Podder. Even before they read and approve the manuscript he submits, the author is ready with his next.

Gurgaon-based Podder has made it to the Limca Book of Records as the fastest writer of crime fiction in India.

He has penned 11 books in 21 months, which means publishing one book every two months. And unlike most people who generally have one goal in life, Podder beats them with not one, but two missions.

“In the times to come, I want that a large portion in bookstores should display my books. And at least one book should always be there on the “new arrivals” stands,” he hopes.

Having grown up reading Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase, Eric Stanley Gardner, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and Harold Robbins, the plots come to him easy.

“My 11th book Merchants of Dreams has just been released and the 12th has been accepted by a publisher. I am already writing another.”

He speaks to Gulf News in an exclusive interview. 

JOYGOPAL PODDER: With your fast-paced writing, are you able to find publishers easily? 

GULF NEWS: It was difficult, when I began writing, as probably the publishers did not imagine someone would be writing so fast. After a publisher accepted my first book, within a short span I sent the second one to him. I presume he was horrified, as he went on to explain the nuances of the publishing industry. He said he would like to wait for 7-8 months to gauge the readers’ response to my first book before accepting the next. By then, I was already on my fourth book! I saw no reason to wait and out of necessity decided to deal with more than one publisher. And now I am juggling and dealing with 5-6 publishers. 

Wherefrom do you get ideas for your stories?

My stories reflect present time realities and I get ideas from news reports. The plots have taken place in Delhi or NCR and these places provide enough fodder for my fiction — murder, crime, conspiracies, gun battles and explosive situations. One just has to be observant to write. So, while I’m writing one book, the idea of the next one is already rolling in my mind. Earlier, my books were straightforward crime stories, but now because of my fascination for Hindi films, I am developing crime thrillers based on Bollywood characters. And desire to see my books made into movies. 

But how did a marketing man, working in the corporate sector, turn into a writer overnight?

Though I wrote short stories as a child, writing took a backseat, as 3-4 decades back it was not a lucrative profession. Having read several crime thrillers, a character inspired me to become a lawyer and I ended up excelling in it and became a gold medalist! But I decided to choose a profession that was more practical for me and joined the corporate sector working with Brooke Bond and Godrej. After that I joined an NGO Helpage India.

Sometime back, a group of Delhi Public School children landed at my place saying they wanted to meet the writer of the story printed in their Class 5 English Reader. Later, a friend informed that he had spotted my story in another collection. I also discovered that my stories were being appreciated in the blogs. That is when I realised I needed to live my dream. So along with working for NGO ActionAid, my journey as a fiction writer started. 

Don’t you think it is important for a writer churning out crime thrillers, to also pass on a social message to the society?

Yes, I believe, if children are taught about the consequences of the crimes, like being sent to prison and losing freedom to go anywhere at will, at a young age, it could prove helpful. Crimes are committed by people due to resentment and lack of certain ways of good life that they see in others. So, it is important for all of us to deal with this fact. I do feel such a message should come out more often as a social message in my writings. 

What gives you more satisfaction in life — writing or working in the social sector?

Writing has been a passion, but I have compartmentalised my life in such a manner that I also enjoy working in the social sector. I have learnt time management and at my age it is good to do what one likes. I may not socialise much or watch movies often, but then, that’s a choice I have made to be able to write more. 

Did you ever have the temptation to visit bookstores to check out your own books?

Oh, I do it many times! But I think no author does that. This could be because they do not have volumes of published books. And those who do have more than a dozen books to their credit are already so famous that they would be well placed in bookshops. I do not fall in either category. I have written many books, but have not yet developed that kind of reputation. So I do approach my publishers from time-to-time to ensure that my books are seen.

Because of my marketing background, I believe in three important P’s — product, price and placement. I am confident of what I write and the books are reasonably priced. The only thing I have to ensure is that they are strategically placed at bookstores to be available to the readers.