Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Release Date: 22nd April 2015
Publisher: Mysterious East Publishing
Publisher: Mysterious East Publishing
Genres: Crime / Thriller / Mytery
Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to have Ace Varkey visiting the blog for the first time! Thank you to Ace for this great interview!
Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?
I use a pen name, Ace Varkey. Rather conveniently, Ace happens to be a corruption of my real name and Varkey is an old family name.
Where are you from?
I’m bi-racial, multi-cultural, have studied numerous languages and currently live in the US.
Did you write as a child?
I was a rather peculiar child, or so I think, looking back. I always wanted to write, but never put pen to paper because I thought I ought to learn about writing first. There were no writing classes offered in the small town I was living in, so I put myself on a course of reading. Shakespeare at age 12 was a disaster because I didn’t understand much. Ditto Chaucer. But it got me started, and I read widely, mysteries, gothic novels, classics, and kept a notebook that I filled with new words. I would try and use those words (rheumy-eyed, I once said, when we were talking about an actress crying in a movie) but stopped when my friends made fun of me. All my friends remember hearing me say that I wanted to write when I grew up.
What was the first thing you ever had published?
As Ace Varkey, my mystery, “The Girl Who Went Missing,” is the first thing I have published.
Do you have a writing routine?
My routine involves the number of words I need to write every day. When I started “The Girl Who Went Missing,” it was a very doable 500 words. Sometimes, however, 500 words proved so difficult that I would constantly highlight and check the count.
I also always start by reading what I have already written, which means that there were days when I was fleshing out parts instead of embarking on new scenes.
The word count kept me steady and focused. It could take half an hour or four hours, but no matter what, I always felt I had accomplished something at the end.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I write in bed….and just found out that F. Scott Fitzgerald did the same. So now I don’t feel so weird. He had to have a special desk made; I balance my computer on my lap, look at the blank screen and tell myself that I am about to string together a set of words no one else has written or will write -- and that is both heady and sobering. My other ritual, if you call it that, is that I am always thinking about the novel. I might be having lunch with a friend and the way the sun falls on her hair will take me back to writing. The sudden call of a bird, interrupting the calm of the day; the compact way a cat sleeps, anything, really, can make me stop in my tracks and I put those moments in the TBUL (to be used later) part of my brain.
Do you have a current work in progress?
Yes, I just finished a draft of the next Commissioner Oscar D’Costa mystery, entitled “The Children Who Went Missing.” I’m not sure I will stick with the title; time will tell.
Where did the idea for your book come from?
I wanted to write a mystery because I have always enjoyed the genre and also because I wanted to teach myself plot. As you know, mysteries are plot driven; characters can also take center stage, but action, a missing person, a dead body, is what drives the story to unfold. One of my favorite writers is Helen MacInnes. She often wrote of ordinary people caught up in something extraordinary, the cold war, in her case. Since I have lived in America and India, two very different countries, I wondered what would happen if an American student went missing in Mumbai. How would her sister go about looking for her in a place that she did not know or understand? And since I wanted my novel to be more than entertainment, I decided to frame it against the very real and horrible background of human trafficking. I was not sure if the novel would be remotely successful, but I did know that anyone reading it would learn about what is essentially slavery, and I figured the more people who know, the more likely it is that human trafficking will come to an end.
Who was the first person you gave the book to read?
I gave it to a friend who told me I needed more red herrings. I had been so keen on the plot of missing-girl-who-finds-her that I quite forgot a good mystery requires many possibilities of whodunit.
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
I wish I had a magic formula to share, but I don’t. I would caution them that the road ahead is likely to be hard (there aren’t too many JK Rowling or EL James); but I would encourage them to follow their passion. It is important, I think, to write what one knows or has researched well, for otherwise the story might not read as true. As Aristotle wrote so long ago, drama is more probable than history. If a writer does not know the subject matter well, the reader will not be as pleased.
When June Warner arrives in India to visit her sister Thalia, a trip to take her mind off her jilted engagement, she is greeted by the bright hot chaos of Mumbai but not her sister. She goes to the YMCA where Thalia is staying, only to find that she is not there.
Convinced that Thalia’s no-show is a sign that she is in danger, June begins a desperate search for her younger sister.
Police Commissioner Oscar D'Costa, scarred by the tragedies of his past, swears he will never again ignore his gut instinct when it comes to a missing girl. And with more and more dead foreign women being found in his precinct, he becomes convinced a conspiracy is at play.
Through the two worlds of American naiveté and Indian chaos, they must find the girl who went missing.