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Twists in the courtroom tale

Published : Jun 26, 2018, 6:29 am IST
Updated : Jun 26, 2018, 6:29 am IST

Vish Dhamija seventh book The Mogul is now slated for a release in July.

Vish Dhamija
 Vish Dhamija

The only author who writes legal fiction in India opens up about the thrills of courtroom drama and his love for writing that made him soldier on despite rejections and criticism.

Imagine a journey taken step by step, slowly, with difficulties and finally, victory! So is the case with Vish Dhamija who is an author of six bestselling crime fiction books and the only author who writes legal fiction in India.

The start was tough, and it took time for success to follow. His first manuscript Nothing Lasts Forever took over two years to find a publisher. The books that followed proved more successful. His seventh book The Mogul is now slated for a release in July. And he has two books signed up for release next year.

He is the only author in India to write legal fiction. “It was a risk. You see, legal fiction is largely a US product. From Erle Stanley Gardner to John Grisham, it’s been American authors. You’d be hard-pressed to find legal fiction writers from other English-speaking countries, including Britain. And although the genre has been successful in India it remained to be seen how the readers would react to legal fiction based in India, using our own legal system as the backdrop for courtrooms scenes. But Deja Karma, my first legal fiction proved that readers appreciate a good story regardless of the setting. And the risk paid off, so to speak,” says the marketer and author, who lives in UK with his wife Nidhi Singh, the great-granddaughter of Raja Mahendra Pratap.

The Mogul is the story of Prem Bedi, the third richest man in the country, who is accused of killing his ex-wife and her husband, and dragged into a highly publicised court battle. The evidence points blatantly towards him. The author elaborates on the plot, “He has friends who can’t afford to let him fall. His ex-wife’s family can’t wait to convict him to inherit his money. The narrative unfolds through the perspectives of the ensemble characters, moving the story forward with their own frame of reference and motivations. The wolves are circling, the lion is alone.”

A message he would like to give budding writers is: “Read. Write. Repeat. There’s no mantra. There are no geniuses. A budding writer is no different to who I was a decade ago. I got declined by almost every publisher, but I didn’t give up. I knew my story had merit and I soldiered on despite criticism and rejections. However, you have to write that first draft, edit, re-edit, make it perfect before you approach a publisher. Honestly, if someone sent me a manuscript and I found five errors on the first page, there’s hardly a chance I’d bother reading it — irrespective of how good the synopsis is. Make your manuscript perfect; don’t expect the editor to do your work for you. And read what other authors are writing in the genre, know what’s already in the market, what sells, what doesn’t.”

About his hobbies he opens up instantly, saying, “I read a lot. I watch endless films and television series. I collect die-cast vehicles — the old Matchbox ones and other scaled models. I am passionate about golf, which takes quite a bit of time. I love Single Malt whiskies, although I’ve taken a year’s break from drinking. I’m extremely fond of music — mainly rock and jazz and Kishore Kumar. I like gardening, socialising, theatre, classic cars, travel, beach holidays, you name it,” he signs off.

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