Today, I plan to share a few thoughts on the making of “Let The Dead Stay Dead” my latest novel, which has been published on Wattpad to reach out to a larger audience. I must confess that I started out with the view that it would be a thriller, much like my first two novels, “It Can’t Be You” and “Lucky For Some, 13.”
While writing, “Let The Dead Stay Dead”, I discovered that the element of suspense, so vital to a thriller, was substantially reduced due to the structure of the plot. The story culminated, in a manner of speaking, in a court room battle. I could not use suspense as to who were participating in the trial. I could, at best, build suspense in what actually transpired as set out by those who spoke out at the trial and gave their versions of what they saw, heard or felt at the times they were involved in the murder, which occasioned the trial.
My story perhaps no longer fitted the conventional definition of being a thriller which is generally very fast paced with many twists and turns to the plot. In this case, the story did involve elements of intrigue and suspense but was not as fast paced as a thriller. Instead it had the characteristics of being a psychological novel which explored the thoughts, inner feelings and motivations of a bunch of people. Amongst them was a young woman who may have inherited more than her mother’s beauty. It turns out that she was a paranoid schizophrenic.
The most challenging parts for me was to research mental illness and schizophrenia in particular, as also the intricacies of the legal system and process in india. Both were subjects I wasn’t familiar with at all, to start with. I enjoyed doing the research and did learn a lot (at least compared to what I knew before) about these subjects.
Mental illness is something which unfortunately so many people are afflicted with. I was horrified to see this article in the Times of India which says as many as 1 in 5 people in India could have some form of mental illness. Their families face many challenges to bring up, live with and take care of such people. In the book, I have taken a certain amount of literary licence. I am not claiming that everyone afflicted with schizophrenia will behave the way the characters in my book do. It could happen, and sadly it does happen though thankfully, not all the time.
Do read “Let The Dead Stay Dead” and let me know what you think of the story. In concluding, I must admit that the title was inspired by James Hadley Chase, whose books I devoured as a kid. This title sounds like one from James Hadley Chase. I like to think that he would have liked the story too.