Fans had been eagerly awaiting the “The Dance Towards Death,” Tejas Desai’s final book in the wildly popular The Brotherhood Chronicle series, so much so it hit the top of the bestseller list in record time. This thrilling series has caused shockwaves in the literary world since it was released, taking readers on thrilling ride, after thrilling ride, each book is packed with action, mystery and excitement.
Niral Solanke, his protagonist, is a former private investigator, who takes readers down the rabbit hole of international crime, a world full of duplicity, greed and hypocrisy. Desai hits all the sweet spots in this book bringing this dark world to life, and sweeping readers off to Thailand, India, Australia, New York City and the American South. Scoring an interview with this successful author was a bright spot for us this year.
When you wrote the first book in The Brotherhood Chronicle did you have any idea that every book in the series would hit the bestseller list? What does it feel like to be a bestselling author, with so much traction in their work?
No, I didn’t! I was hoping that would happen, but never realistically thought it would. In fact, it’s funny, I wrote in the preface of the second edition of The Brotherhood that the initial edition never became a bestseller as I hoped, and then suddenly, the second edition did!
It feels great of course to have that validation, and it’s propelled the success and interest for the sequels too. It’s all about the readers and fans, and I’m always reaching more and hearing their input and feedback.
I’m hoping this is only the beginning and that my future books will be even more successful, and hopefully, will stand the test of time as well.
“The Dance Towards Death” is a powerful read, and covers a lot of emotional territory. What affect if any does writing a book of this depth have on you while you’re writing?
Writing books and reading them are two different things. The writer has a lot more struggle. I loved writing the drafts of The Dance Towards Death, and yes, the emotional bits were powerful to write. But there’s always the nagging feeling that something’s not right, that you need to edit or rewrite this or that. So there was plenty of chiseling done after the initial drafts to make it as optimal as possible.
But yes, when you’re dealing with characters who are consumed with guilt, shame, shattered honor, jealousy, ambition; who are obsessed with power, social justice, economic equivalency and won’t compromise on their goals; who are victims of sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual assault and rape; who are desperate enough to feel there’s no way out but to commit murder or create complex plans for monetary gain; where there are assassinations, double agents, betrayals, and yet, for all the darkness, genuine portrayals of love, dedication, compassion and sacrifice; then certainly, as a writer, you are consumed with making sure it is emotionally and aesthetically on spot, and there’s no way it can’t affect you at its core too, because that’s where it’s coming from, within you.
As a bestselling author no doubt you have a lot of fans. What is the most compelling feedback you have received from fans? On the other hand, what do your friends and family say about your work?
I’m obviously most flattered when fans will write reviews that praise the work, which happens most of the time. The most consistent praise is on the vivid nature of the settings and the power of the narration/language, the diversity of characterizations and how pinpoint the dialogue is. Criticisms might include the arc of this or that character, or that they prefer this storyline to that or that the plot might get confusing at times with so much going on. That rarely dissuades them though!
I have a large extended family, many friends and many, many acquaintances! Everyone’s got different taste and a different point of view, so everyone’s got a different opinion. Some will like one book more than another, some don’t like the violence or the provocative language. I imagine some of them haven’t read them yet!
I remember my mom was shocked by how good the first book was, she didn’t expect that! My dad doesn’t really read fiction, so I doubt he will get to them.
While your books have all been bestsellers, you have also had a lot of success on Social media. Do you think there is a correlation between the two? Does storytelling play a role in social media success?
Yes, I have 20,000 followers on social media, particularly on Facebook, but I’m on all platforms. It’s not clear how much that contributes to readers of my books, but I enjoy posting and engaging with people. My social media posts, in addition to being about my books, where I do get substantial engagement, also document my adventures locally and internationally, my experimentations with cuisine, exploring this place or that, my dating life, politics, movie, art and book reviews, relationships with friends, my literary movement etc.
So it goes well beyond the books themselves, but of course, it’s all part of the Tejas Desai experience, which involves even more than me as a crime and literary novelist, it’s more about me as a personality on the whole.
I don’t really create content just to create it, however. It really needs urgent and necessary. Ironically, while my books are rather dark in subject, I find my posts to be pretty optimistic and lively on the whole.
I know you used your time in lockdown to write your new book “Bad Americans.” Can you tell us a bit about this new book?
I’m working very hard on it. It’s an ambitious book born out of the pandemic experience yet consistent with the aesthetic purpose of The Human Tragedy series, which is to document, in a vivid and provocative way, life in our time.
Since I’m busy creating it, I don’t want to say too much about it, but it will be as complex as my other books, yet just as accessible. It will attempt to revive and resuscitate the short story collection as a literary art form, using story within a story tactics. I do expect to be successful, and I hope it will be out by 2023, which is the 10th anniversary of the acclaimed first volume, Good Americans!
“The Dance Towards Death” is available on Amazon.