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'I prefer to push the boundaries and experiment'

Author Ahmed Faiyaz has switched careers from chartered accountancy and management consultant to author. His recent book, The Graveyard Shift is soon to be made into a movie. Excerpts from an interview with the author:

The journey
Although I am from a business background, a part of me always wanted to write. I have been an avid reader from a very young age. I decided to finally sit down and give writing a shot. It was difficult to start as I had no formal training or background in journalism or communication.


The Graveyard Shift, author Ahmed Faiyaz, Greyoak Westland, `150. Available at all leading book stores.

But I guess reading as much as I did while growing up contributed greatly in helping ideate a plot and build interesting narratives. After the success of Love, Life & all that Jazz..., my second book Another Chance happened. This was followed by the breezy and light-hearted Scammed and now the latest book is Graveyard Shift. I have also written a number of short stories for the Urban Shots series and Down the Road.

Favourite authors and inspirations
I have a number of favourite authors, each of whom is a source of inspiration. I love the works of F Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Charles Dickens, Haruki Murakami, Hemingway, Paul Auster, Hanif Kureishi, Stephen King, John Grisham, Rohinton Mistry, Ruskin Bond and Amitav Ghosh.

I have been reading more of the recent and past works of Kazuo Ishiguro, Jo Nesbo, China Mievelle, Keigo Higashino, Junot Diaz and Michael Cunningham. It’s always good to expand one’s horizon and read more by different authors each of whom have a different style and focus on varied genres. Lately I have found some very good writing emerging from India from the likes of Anees Saleem, Manreet Sodhi, Chandrahas Choudhary, Jeet Thayil and Siddhartha Mukherjee.

About The Graveyard Shift
I initially wrote a 5,000 word short story called Pepper & Lime set in Mumbai about an estranged couple, the guy — a small time chef turned celebrity restaurateur, and the woman, a has-been Bollywood actress. The story was about how their lives change during the course of one night when different events take place in their life.

Movie adapatation
Apart from writing, filmmaking has also been my area of interest. I went to the Prague Film School for a course after a few interesting screenwriting workshops. Post this, we made a few short films with an interesting cast and crew. We were looking for a subject for an independent feature, and I got the creative director of the film, Gaurav Mathur and a few others to read the novella I had written. After they read the book they got excited about it, I went on to write the script and took it to an interesting bunch of actors we were acquainted with. Once they got on board, we got rolling.

The road ahead
I try to experiment with my writing. I notice that a lot of my contemporaries are sticking to genres that they have found initial success in. They tend to write different stories in the same setting, while I prefer to push the boundaries and be as experimental as my limited abilities allow me to. The title, The Graveyard Shift, comes from the title of a show which is hosted on radio by one of the main protagonists.

The novella does have a number of lighthearted moments; it is a mix of drama, intrigue, suspense, romance and dark humour rolled into one. Post The Graveyard Shift, I will be releasing Bestseller, which is a satire on the publishing industry. It’s lighthearted in its treatment and it should be an entertaining novel. Following this, the sequel to Scammed and a murder mystery I have been meaning to write for a while will follow. 

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