Rajat did an MBA from IMI (Delhi) while actively pursuing interests in theatre, acting, dance, short-films and martial arts. His first historical fiction novel Chandragupta : Path of a Fallen Demi-god (2011) about the first Mauryan emperor went on to become a national bestseller and was translated into Marathi in 2015. His next novel was a psychological thriller The Dead Woman Writing(2014) which topped the thriller and paranormal lists on major ecommerce websites. Rajat lives in Mumbai and is working as senior program manager in the technology division of a leading financial institution. In 2017, the motion picture and web-series rights for ‘Chandragupta’ was acquired by India’s top film production house.’
‘Yoddha; The Dynasty of Samudragupta’
‘Yoddha; The Dynasty of Samudragupta’ is a gripping historical fiction set during the period of the Gupta empire. The thrilling and complex situation faced by king Samudragupta and his son Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
We will talk with Rajat about his new book ‘Yoddha; The Dynasty of Samudragupta’
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
‘Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta’ had its genesis when I was reading various books and stories from ancient India history. I was always fascinated by the Gupta empire and kings. There was a certain episode in documented history which I believe was not explored much. I was a time when the empire, the royal family and allies were all in a state of turmoil. The difficult and complex situation Samudragupta and Chandragupta Vikramaditya were in was unprecedented. I felt that it was a thrilling tale full of twists that I wanted to write about. That is how this book was born.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
The challenge in this story was to maintain the philosophical depth, character nuances and relationship perspectives in a narrative which was free flowing and fast. There is so much happening in every page, in every paragraph, in every line that balance had to be maintained by concentrating on perspectives around the fast paced core plot. As an author, after the success of ‘Chandragupta’ and ‘The Dead Woman Writing’ the challenge was to write a book which matches the reader’s expectations and hopefully tries to surpass it.
What is your life mantra?
My purpose is to inspire people with tales from the past on leadership, strategic thinking, crisis management and patriotism. The larger objective being to make every Indian feel proud about our history, culture and heritage. My personal life mantra is that peace of mind is more valuable than anything else.
What is your writing process like?
All throughout the day when by myself, I am thinking about the subject matter of my manuscript. After office I am free only post dinner, so I write late into the night. Sometimes I take a late night walk to ideate and continue writing. I make use of as much time as is available during weekends to review and revise.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
When I read about the Gupta empire I stumbled about this episode during their reign which was not only a period of uncertainty and turmoil but had so many mind blowing perspectives. As I researched more and the story evolved, I could see that it was rare that one episode in history has so many elements like suspense, romance, horror, bromance, battle strategy, philosophy, leadership , treachery, thrill, conspiracies and sharp twists all in the narrative. It’s a complete package.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
The three qualities that are important for an author are:
a. Be sincere and honest with the subject matter, the readers are quick to catch anything that is not from the heart.
b. Work hard on your craft and constantly strive to improve it
c. Always move outside your comfort zone of the tried and tested, because that is where the learnings are.
What are your plans for next book?
I am obsessed with India history and for sure most of my upcoming books will be historical fiction inspired from episodes in Indian history. I will also write in the psychological thriller genre.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Some thoughts to ponder over for young writers:
a. Try not to do what everyone else is doing or safe choices which people advice you to pursue. Be true to yourself and your art.
b. Do take extra care on the editing and the quality of the manuscript.
c. Focus on selling and differentiating yourself in the marketplace when naming and branding the book.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
‘When life takes you to rock bottom then there is only one direction left to move and that is to move up.’ That is the theme of ‘Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta’.