Let us know about Mr. Ravi Bedi in his own words: I did Chemical Engineering from BHU, (1962), and joined the Indian Air Force more for the lure of its blue uniform than any patriotic fervour. (Don’t ask me how a chemical engineer fit in the Air Force!). But my heart was in the creative world. I was too much into music, and later painting, which I took rather seriously after I retired in 1989. When my basement started filling up with all the crap (read paintings), I decided to try my hand at writing. With my first book “Lovers’ Rock”, I suppose I can claim to be a published author, though not a successful one. Apart from a good story, one needs a pretty face to get some notice.
I live in Jodhpur with my wife of 50 years. (Our 50th arrives quietly on the 18th November). I run a hotel in the town to put meat on the table. I love my solitude, my digital piano, and enjoy my golf.
What inspired you to start writing?
After I retired from service, I found a whole lot of old leather-bound classics, gathering dust in a cabinet, bearing signatures of my elders long gone out of my life. I dusted them and started reading. And I instantly fell in love with the language I didn’t have the opportunity to learn in my younger days. I admired their style, though a lot of it has gone out of fashion in modern times. For reasons best known to the pundits.
Then I read some of the current books and realized I could also tell interesting stories. I was getting tired of painting anyway, which is why I took to writing, and learned what it takes to be a writer. I hardly ever took more than a day or two to finish a painting. But it took me a whole day sometimes to write a page, not to mention numerous revisions that followed. The main inspiration came from a strange plot about which I’d tell later.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
I learned more abuses in school than English prose. Books or comics didn’t interest me at all. I was more into cricket and music than anything printed on paper. I was mad about cinema, and dreamed of making a film with Madhubala, and composing the background scores for it. (I still do on my piano…without an audience).
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
The greatest challenge is to create something that should entertain, surprise, and keep the readers guessing till the very end. The narrative should be crisp, with economy uppermost in mind, and the plot original. If a book is short on any of the above, it is fit for the garbage dump. You don’t have to use any hifi language; leave that for M J Akbar.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I didn’t need to do any research as such for writing “Lovers’ Rock”. It was in my head all along. Of course, the internet helped in shaping it up to a presentable form.
The main research source, for a new writer, is Google. One can learn a lot about principles of good writing. Exchanging notes with fellow writers is also very helpful in refining the final product. Hard work is what it takes, unless you want to dish out a lot of money to a dubious publisher.
What motivated you to write the book “Lovers’ rock”?
The idea of this outrageous plot hit me during a picnic we had at Digha beach way back in 1966. (The story actually begins there). Over the years, the plot grew in my mind. I picked up the pen long after I retired in 1989. The process was speeded up after I invested in a computer, which made things a lot easier. The main motivation was the unique plot, which didn’t fail to excite the very few who read the book. (I’ll refund the money to anyone who is disappointed with this book…and no questions asked).
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Lovers’ rock”?
That would ruin the fun of reading the story. Better have a peep on the back cover, if you have a minute. Select excerpts are available on my timeline on facebook if you have the inclination.
How did you come up with the idea of writing romantic fiction genre book?
I’m a dreamer, and a romantic person at heart. Mystery and suspense, with a generous dose of romance interest me a lot. I like twists in a tale, and that’s what I like to do.
Who are your favourite authors?
Lots of them, but more of the older variety than the new ones (me included). I certainly do not go by the hype created by the media. I read negative reviews first before buying any book. I was a fan of Jeffrey Archer and Frederic Forsyth at one time, but they’ve become too repetitive and stale over the years. I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie. I’m not too impressed by ‘big names’, especially when their books are the size of a dictionary.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
Anything from four to ten hours! There’s no fixed schedule. But an average of four to five hours would be a good guess. I work on the plot changes before leaving the bed in the mornings—that’s when some of the best ideas enter your mind, and get refined on the potty!
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
If you’re not too desperate to see your name on a book cover, don’t fall for publishers who demand money. They will print any crap you produce, using your money, and go laughing to the bank. And you will be left with hundreds of your own books to make a coffee table out of it.
Read a lot. Get inspired by other writers, but be original and do your own thing. No point serving old wine in a new bottle. And be prepared to face multiple rejections before you see your name in print. There’s no shortcut to happiness. Above all, you’ve got to be a good salesman to market your product (which I am not).
You can buy his book now: