Sreyus Palliyani completed M.Sc in Transportation Systems & Management (National University of Singapore) and B.Tech in Civil Engineering (Government Engineering College, Trichur). Currently he is working as a Research Engineer with national University of Singapore & the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore. Let us know more about his writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’m very attached to my parents. My dad is my greatest hero and I have dedicated my first novel to my parents. As a young boy, I used to often listen to bedtime stories from my father, who still marvels me with his fantastic storytelling skills. That was probably one of the first instances of my life that drove me to telling my own stories. It would certainly be him, my dad, the greatest storyteller I know.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
As a young boy, I always preferred mythical literature. I’ve read works from the Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Norse, and even Iranian mythologies. The idea of a mythical champion above humanity, never blinded by power and always doing the right thing attracted me. As I grew older it gradually shifted to thrillers and conspiracy theories. This is one of the reasons why I think my novel is an amalgamation of both.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
I think it varies based on the kind of genre you’re into. For my genre of conspiracy fiction, the hardest part is that it’s BASED on fact. So when you do your research, the credibility of your facts is a huge deciding factor. When you put something into print, you have to be sure of the authenticity of your sources and facts.
Another aspect is getting too involved in your stories that you begin to empathize with your characters. Suddenly you find yourself part of the world you created. If you’re a romance novelist, this can be quite pleasant. But it isn’t as much fun when you’re writing mysteries and thrillers.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
The research for my latest novel lasted a good 2.5 years. I’ve gone weeks and sometimes months without even coming across a quantum of information. The most dangerous part is that under such frustrating circumstances, you would be inclined to include the first bit of information you come across without even confirming the credibility of your source. An author would be most tempted to write down a juicy piece of info even if it sounds too good to be true.
What motivated you to write the book “Gabriati Rise of the Preceptor”?
The concept of the ancient brotherhood was always something I researched on and I had decided long ago that my first novel would always be about it. The idea of the mythical champion, although it sounded ethereal, was always present in me. I wanted a mythical pragmatic champion to be my protagonist. And in the times that we live in now, surrounded by religious fanaticism and terrorism, I think this book is most relevant. There might have been instances in our lives when we must’ve felt the pain of existence because of religious extremism or any form of anti-social atrocities. We might’ve been unable to respond appropriately at the time. Through Gabriati, I wish to enable the readers toembrace that champion in them and live as the soldier of truth through his story.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Gabriati Rise of the Preceptor”?
Gabriati is a novel belonging to the genre of Conspiracy fiction. The thriller narrates the tale of an exceptional Priest(former commander of the Papal guard) belonging to the clandestine “Brotherhood”, a 3000 year old secret society. As the tale progresses, the protagonist upsets the world religious institutions by going on a rampant murder spree across the globe. His targets are highly revered and at times worshiped Holy men by masses. Throughout his journey, he is hunted relentlessly by half of the world’s Governments, the Interpol and his own men. The book promises to be a fast paced entertainer that revolves around the subject of institutionalized religious manipulation and extremism which is intricately woven into our contemporary lives.
How did you come up with the idea of writing crime fiction genre book?
As a teenager I was surrounded by conspiracy fiction novels and stories from Dan Brown and other novelists of the genre. These stories not only excited me, they devoured me. And during one of my random researches, I came across the 3000 year old ancient brotherhood. I searched and searched for more info, but I turned up with nothing. This search gradually turned into a relentless hunt, which 4 years later culminated into my first novel.
Who are your favourite authors?
It would be a 3 way tie between Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dan Brown and Keigo Higashino.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
I try follow a timetable which I learnt from Stephen King, where I dedicated 4 hours for reading/ research and 4 hours for writing. Sadly, although I always had this in my mind, some days I would end up not writing a single word and some days I would write so much that I would wake up awkwardly with my face over the keyboard. Not a pretty picture!
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
As a young boy, I always wanted to be a writer, but every person in my life pressured me into focussing on my academics and asked me to pursue my literature after the completion of my academics. I didn’t know what to believe back then, but I went ahead with their better judgement. Today, thanks to all those people and a lot lot lot of luck, I hold a master’s degree from the National University of Singapore and I work with some of the brightest minds on the planet breaking new paths in advancing public transport at the age of 24. I am a published author with a publishing contract with one of the country’s largest publishing houses.
My education did not destroy my dreams, but they enabled me to realize them with fervor. So I would urge all the aspiring writers to focus on attaining more knowledge in whichever form they can, but at the same time believe in your dream. One day, you’ll make it big!
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