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Bookchums Interviews Clark Prasad

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Bookchums recently got together with the author of India's first techno mythology thriller, Clark Prasad. After enjoying his first book, Baramulla Bomber, we had a lot of questions to ask him and Clark Prasad was also very forthcoming in helping us understand how one goes about writing a techno mythology thriller and being a Tintinologist.


1. We just put down your book and must say you have one of the most impressive storylines that we have come across in debutant authors in recent times. Could you elaborate upon how this book, this plot came into being?


Disappointment, failure and low self-esteem pushed me to the brink in 2009. At that moment of mental collapse, I saw the movie The Shawshank Redemption in which Andy had to travel 500 yards for his freedom. And after that something hit me! I needed to fight for my freedom, I needed to struggle for my survival. I needed to make myself victorious. I knew then, that these words from The Shawshank Redemption were true –“fear holds you prisoner, hope sets you free”. There was fear all around, fear of losing all, fear of not fulfilling my dreams and the dreams of my parents, sisters, teachers and all those who believed in me.

It was this fear that drove me to search for hope. The hope that I will fulfill the promise I showed as a kid. So I talked to myself about an idea that I had fostered in my mind for many years; an idea, which might not be big, but is certainly a bold one. An idea to bring peace in Kashmir. And “what if” I took this idea and made it into a book? That’s when I became “Mansur Haider”, the tormented soul with unfulfilled promises, wanting to set on a journey to get his freedom. That is how the book was born.

The plot had to be well manipulated, with politics all around. It cannot escape anyone. Personal manipulation is one thing, but manipulation on nations, history and human race is something we assume to be non-existent, although it is happening everywhere. Why do you think, there is no peace in Kashmir, Palestine, Tibet etc? It’s because there is a group out there. A secret government which is controlling our planet. And they don’t want peace in these lands, or any land. I know about them and this book was going to be an effort to unmask them. So, the plot for the greater part of Svastik trilogy is derived from these thoughts.

The ‘Techno’ part in the book is the Science. I wrote it to help understand how Ancient India played a part in contributing to the global advancement in the field of Science, and which we have forgotten now. In the first part, it is mostly about acoustics, the scientific study of sound in Physics. The ‘Mythology’ part in the book is about ancient mantras and its connection to sound and energy. Nikola Tesla said "If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration." This is why science and mythology are intertwined. Mansur Haider story is tied to this thriller along with Sweden’s super-agent Adolf Silfverskiold. These two protagonists are being following by the Indian Home Minister Agastya Rathore, and the bold Aahana Yajurvedi.

So Baramulla Bomber, is a book I have written, like a book I would have loved to read.


2. From being a healthcare management consultant to writing about sonic weapons is quite a leap. How did you go about researching for the book?


Just activated my 100 billion neurons! And the things from the past came blasting in front of me. Well something like that did happen, and not only did I rely on my past, but my present and potential future experiences too. I went to ground zero to many places for the story. These include – Kashmir, United Nations (New York), London and different places in India. Even for a scene from Delhi Cantonment railway station, I went there in the night to get an idea of the scene. Apart from the locations, a lot of books, website searches, discussion and interviews were involved. I talked to an administrator inside Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar for over an hour to understand cricket in Kashmir. Other research connections came from various religious teachings during my schooling, from my parents, and BBC radio, which I used to listen to as a kid, as my father tuned into the world news. 


3. If we look at Mansur's story individually, do you think someone like Mansur might be the answer to our questions in Kashmir?


I do not think I need to answer that. Fiction has become reality, with Parveez Rasool answering the question. For the readers, Mansur Haider’s story will go ahead and relate to a greater cause. 


4. At the end of this book, you give an interesting sneak-peak into your next book. Could you tell us more about where you are with it now and when we should expect it on the bookshelf?


I am about 40% through with the book, but it will be at least a year before I finish it. Post writing the first draft, I will re-read it and rework two more drafts before passing it on to my reading team. After incorporating their feedback, it will go for structural editing. Post the changes, it will go through a couple of readers and will finally be sent for editing – copy, line and proofreading later.

The second book looks into black money, a new world order and the connection to UFO’s.


5. Our readers would like to understand how Suraj Prasad became Clark Prasad.


As a kid, I tried to outrun a train (coal driven one), which used to start from Bapudham Motihari station and pass through my father’s house. And I used to win, at least for some distance. For people who have seen Christopher Reeve’s Superman, will be able to relate it to me. Clark was always there inside me, and I believe in everyone. This alter-ego needed its freedom and it came in form of writing Baramulla Bomber.


6. You say you are a Tintinologist. What does it take to be one?


Well Tintin was my companion, once I came from Nigeria to Delhi (India). From 1986 onwards, I read regularly and took in the stories. As a Tintinologist, not only does one need to know the story, but the story behind the story too. One of the strongest points in Herge’s stories on Tintin was his meticulous research; research on the story, background, customs, science, locations, costume and just about everything. For example, in Tintin in Tibet, he speaks about Saint Elmo’s fire, when Captain Haddock’s climbing axe started shining. It is not directly related to the plot, but it is educational and brings in the conflict in a different way. I have tried to use the same technique in Baramulla Bomber and hope to continue with it if readers enjoy it.


7. Other than techno mythological thrillers, what kind of books would you like to write in the years ahead?

In my head there are multiple stories of different genres. In fiction, I would like to try historical fiction, fantasy, romantic comedy, and a tragedy.

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