Teaming up with James Patterson this year, the writer comes clean on myths and famous people who matter
After multiple rejections, with publishers citing a�?a convoluted storylinea�?, the self-published The Rozabal Line by Shawn Haigins (anagram of Ashwin Sanghi) finally hit bookstores in 2006. The book, along with Amish Tripathia��s series, was soon to lead the wave of historical fiction in the country after being picked up by Tata-Westland. Three bestselling novels later, Sanghia��s much-awaited collaboration with acclaimed author James Patterson, Private India, follows the adage of less is more.
a�?There are some chapters in this book that are just about a paragraph long. It stems from the Patterson style of saying absolutely nothing that does not advance the plot,a�? he says. Collaborations between artistes can have their exhausting moments and creative differences, but Sanghi assures it was a seamless process. a�?James provided a guideline as well as an existing set of international characters that need to be woven into the story. Using his guideline, I developed the plot outline and we divided the drafts between us,a�? he explains. Even as Sanghi considers self-publishing a boon, he cautions, a�?Not all books sell, and not all sell the same volume. If you get published, advances and royalties vary wildly.
Plus, book pricesA�are very low and the vast majority of books sell fewer than 5,000 copies. Do the math. Ita��s rather depressing. Dona��t quit your day job,a�?A�he advises, before sharing his views on the mythologies that need retelling, his favourite eras in history and possible reincarnated forms of famous people (see right).
A�Favourite eras in history
? Tudor England: Simply because Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were probably the most fascinating monarchs ever
? Second World War: The rise and fall of Hitler is probably the most gripping story ever told
? Indus Valley: To me, the Indus Valley (or Saraswati) civilization represents the genesis of India
? Roman Empire: Nobody ran an empire the way the Romans did. The period also coincides with the life of Jesus
? Rise of Islam: The advent of Mohammed and the subsequent period of conquest, learning and enlightenment fascinates me
Mythologies thatA� need retelling
? The story of the Persian god Mithras: to understand how much it influenced the story of Jesus
? The story of Vaivasvata Manu: He saved humanity from the great flood and it would be interesting to see the links to other flood myths
?A� The creation of the world as recounted in the Srimad Bhagavata Maha Purana: It would be exciting to correlate this to the big bang theory
? Platoa��s criterion: Simply because the myth of Atlantis is far too enduring
? The Chinese myth of Yinglong: It would be fascinating to know what caused the Chinese dragon to become so famous
Famous people and reincarnated forms
? Queen Elizabeth I asA�Margaret Thatcher
? Mahatma Gandhi as Nelson Mandela
? Howard Hughes as Steve Jobs
? Babe Ruth asA�Sachin Tendulkar
? Franz Joseph Haydn asA�A R Rahman