Author  Interview

Gary Worthington

Author of India Fortunes and India Treasures

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

Q:  Why should someone want to read India Fortunes or India Treasures?

A:  Lots of reasons! But here are only a couple: 

First, I think they're entertaining. Above all, I tried to tell good stories, with characters the reader will care about. The characters face challenges in ways that are usually relevant to our own problems today. Each book is tied together by a search  for a Maharaja's legendary hidden treasure, and what could be more fun than a treasure hunt? 

Second, I think the books are a good introduction to a country we should all know more about. India is the world's most populous democracy. Although it has a huge population of poor people, its middle class of consumers is roughly the same size as that in the United States--an immense market. An influential minority in the U.S. and the U.K. has immigrated from there, including a large proportion of our software developers, medical doctors, and engineers (not to mention motel operators and taxi drivers). India is the major "power" in South Asia, with atomic weapons. And farther back in history, two major world religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, originated in the Indian subcontinent.  

 

Q: How do India Fortunes and India Treasures differ from other novels about India?  

A: Virtually all other English language novels set in India depict only one time period, usually during the British occupation (if the author is English), or in the twentieth century (if the author is Indian or American). 

India Fortunes and India Treasures  portray a large number of the historical persons and events that influenced the development of the culture and society. The format is similar to the one pioneered by James A. Michener, although my writing style differs from his in that I use less narrative description and more actual dramatic scenes, and I think my book works on more than one level. 

I wrote India Treasures and the sequel India Fortunes as a single mammoth book containing stories in major historical periods from ancient times to the present. After completing the writing, I decided that a single novel would be so huge as to be unwieldy, as well as quite expensive to produce, so I divided it in two. Each book is mostly self-contained, even though they're tied together by the two parts of the treasure hunt. And information from the stories in one book enhances the understanding and enjoyment of tales in the other book.  

Also, there are lots of maps in the books  and a number of illustrations. I think those help both the understanding and the enjoyment of the novels. 

 

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Q: At 640 pages, India Treasures is still a long book, as is India Fortunes at 576 pages. Aren't a lot of people too pressed for time to read such big works?

A: Not necessarily. Each book is divided into eight novellas of varying lengths. Although the stories are related to each other, each of them is self-contained. People can read them as time allows.

In fact, I'd argue that the books are huge bargains, since each can provide entertainment over a relatively long period of time. The reader gets eight "books" of varying lengths for the price of one, and all of it for less than the price of a dinner in a restaurant or a couple of movie tickets.

 

Q: Why did you decide to write novels about India?

A: I like to read big historical novels myself for entertainment and escape, as well as for learning about other times and cultures. Immersion in that type of book is probably the closest we can get to "time travel," except maybe for a well done movie, which doesn't last as long.

I've known since an early age that I'd like to write that type of novel myself. But it took decades before I felt I had enough experience of life to have a good grounding upon which to base writing with some depth, and before I found specific subject matter that compelled me to write.

I came across a short biography of the ancient Indian emperor Ashoka in Bradford Smith's book Men of Peace, and I found it incredible that almost no one in the West knows about such a major and unique figure in world history. I decided he'd make a good subject for a novel, but I had to learn about the setting in India first. My wife and I like to travel to places that are different from the America anyway, so visiting India was a natural.

I did do some writing featuring Ashoka (including the novella "Elephant Driver" in India Treasures), but in the process, I became more and more intrigued with India--the people, the landscape, the architecture, the religions, the society in general. I wanted to learn a lot more about it. And in my reading, I discovered that no one had yet written a work of fiction about India using a Michener-type framework. So I decided that was one of my missions in life.

 

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Copyright 2001 Gary Worthington.  All rights reserved.
Revised: February 21, 2016