Akash Verma weighs in on the challenges of penning a page-turner for the OTT generation
A writer can never clock out, and a whodunit writer may not ever want to if their web of mystery is delicious enough. Akash Verma, the author of the thriller Only The Good Die Young (sequel to You Never Know) echoes this observation. "I write every day once my ‘marination process’ is complete. The urge to write the story down is just crazy,” he shares. However the author agrees that writing a mystery thriller for the OTT generation is quite the task, especially if it's a sequel.
“To keep the nuances, chemistry and the nature of these relationships consistent and in line with the prequel was very challenging. It took me about four years to get both the books out (some time was lost because of the pandemic) but the outcome is deeply satisfying,” Verma tells us. The sequel follows the story of young professionals Dhruv and Anuradha who had embarked upon a tumultuous affair in the first novel and seem to have ended up in each other's lives once again, this time in murkier circumstances. So what entails being a millennial-approved mystery writer in 2021? Verma helps us understand:
The key to writing a good mystery novel?
A thriller writer first and foremost should read a lot to understand the territories that other writers of the genre are attempting to explore. You’d be surprised with the material coming out of the US, UK and Japan. A few thriller writers from Japan are simply outstanding. Apart from that, working a lot on your story, the characters, their backstories, the plotting, the emotional highs and lows. The reader should embark on a journey with you which ends only when they turn the last page. The first few pages should suck the reader in, and once they finish the book they should be left overwhelmed.
What are younger mystery readers looking for right now?
The younger audiences are hugely inclined to the content on their mobiles and OTT platforms. To pull them out of it and make them read a mystery book is a task for the author, as the book needs to be as or more exciting than what they would rather watch. The readers want a page turner, full of twists and turns, an unputdownable entertainer but also a story led by real emotions and conflicts
Can you tell us a little about the kind of research you do for your novels?
It depends on the kind of book I am writing. I did a lot of research in "disguise" for this book. I usually visit the places where my stories are based and spend a few days wandering around looking for places, references where I would set up chapters in my books.
What are you reading right now?
I read 3-4 books a month. Stephen King is my all-time favorite. Others include Rober Dugoni, Mark Edwards, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, Lisa Gardner, Belinda Bauer besides others. I am currently reading - Salvation of a saint by Keigo Higashino
Can you tell us what you're working on next?
Well, I have finished my next book which is again a psychological thriller. I am very excited about it's storyline.