As part of the Readomania Crime Writing Festival, Readomania brings to you readers and writers the opportunity to understand the workings of crime and thriller plots and how to craft better stories. Today, Sourabh Mukherjee, author of The Colours of Passion takes over to give us an insight into the darkness that exists within each one of us and how to tap into that side to bring out a relatable and believable ‘dark and twisted’ character.
“…murder is often the easiest resort for the weak. For the escapist. For people like me.” – Extract from ‘The Colours of Passion’
As an author of thrillers and more importantly, as a voracious reader of crime fiction, I believe that the single most difficult part about writing crime fiction is to be able to create relatable characters that resonate with readers, by appealing to the innermost recesses of the human psyche.
My stories are always about how our life experiences go on to shape our perspectives, and in certain extreme situations, to drive us down the murky path of crime, when our conviction in such perspectives is so strong that we become blind to logic and reason, to our belief in propriety and commonly accepted norms of the society.
My novels have dealt with a wide variety of social taboos that readers easily relate to.
The sexual exploitation of the male teen within the supposedly secure confines of the family which we don’t talk about a lot. Sexual harassment of the male worker at the workplace which again is a reality not just in India but across the world. The politics of sexual favours and associated benefits in the corporate. The proliferation of adulterous relationships in the modern urban society. How our souls get scarred for life when the society is quick to dismiss relationships it’s not comfortable with, branding them as ‘illicit / immoral / unnatural’ just because it struggles to give such relationships a name, because for most of us, every relationship ‘mandatorily’ needs to have a name and needs to fit into a socially acceptable construct.
Now, how these issues push my antagonists to the edge is what my thrillers are all about. As such, my characters are not entirely black or white. They are human, they are relatable. And I am never judgmental about their actions. There is evil lurking inside each one of us. The question is, how much provocation does one need to unleash the beast within, and to what extent does one go?
For an author, the biggest challenge lies in being able to convince the reader. Especially, in crime fiction, this is the single most important responsibility of the author. It is extremely important to develop strong justification for the actions of your characters. I personally believe that, there is a killer lurking inside each one of us. The limits of endurance – before the beast in unleashed – vary from person to person. After the ‘grand reveal’ in the finale, I want my readers to say, ‘Hey, that could very well have been me!’
Also, readers today are very smart. They read crime fiction from all over the world. They are hooked to quality content on the Internet. As such, writing modern crime fiction is less about holding on to the identity of the ‘villain’ of the piece till the last page, and more about the insights into the psyche of the individual. It’s less about the ‘who’ and more about the ‘why’.
As such, I heavily use the first-person narrative in the voice of the killer that brings to life that person’s past, ways of thinking, and how the ‘game plan’ evolves. It creates an instant connect with the reader who can see the person’s point of view.
I will end by quoting the following lines from ‘The Colours of Passion’, once again in the voice of the antagonist that essentially brings out the weakness and the vulnerability of the ‘monster’.
“The proof of our inner strength lies not in making unconventional choices, but in seeing them through. If we believe in the choices we make for ourselves, none of these resistances should really matter. I am a staunch believer in this philosophy. And going by this yardstick, I know I am definitely not strong. No doubt about that
Because my mind and my heart, if they can indeed be called apart, are always in conflict. There is a part of me that is ever willing to surrender everything at the altar of my love, my true selfless love… To fight traditions and customs that get in the way. To hold on to my love like it was my life itself and never let it go. And then, there is a part of me that fears ridicule, that cannot handle rejection, that seeks validation. And I realised early in my life that the only way to gain acceptance was to conform—to hackneyed customs, to outdated norms in what we proudly claim to be a progressive society. All these at the cost of my feelings, and the tears I shed in the solitude of my room every night.”
“Who killed Tollywood heart-throb Hiya Sen?
Within days of her fairy-tale wedding with Manav Chauhan, the dashing young entrepreneur, Hiya Sen, the reigning queen of Tollywood, is brutally raped and murdered by three men. As ACP Agni Mitra investigates into the high-profile murder, he meets Neha Awasthi, with whom Manav broke his engagement to marry Hiya, Neha’s father Deepak Awasthi, who was eyeing business benefits through the alliance, Mayank Kapoor, an alcoholic model, and Rituja Bose, the diva who had reigned over Tollywood over the past decade. When two more murders connected with the case make headlines, it’s time for Agni to find answers to perplexing questions and unveil shocking truths.
The Colours of Passion breezes through Kolkata’s glamorous world of industrialists, movie stars, models and fashion designers laced with drug addiction and illicit liaisons, with a heart-wrenching tragedy at its core.
About the Author:
Sourabh Mukherjee is the author of several psychological thrillers. His books have been highly appreciated by readers, bloggers, and the mainstream national media. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.