Ashwin Sanghi: My life in books Advertisement

Ashwin Sanghi: My life in books

The author on the literary works that shaped his writing

By Sonam Savlani  July 29th, 2014

Bestselling American author James Patterson’s latest addition to the Private series (starring former-CIA-agent-turned-private detective Jack Morgan) is set in India, and he’s collaborated with The Krishna Key author Ashwin Sanghi on this. Instead of Morgan, in Private India we meet Santosh Wagh, head of the Mumbai branch of “the world’s best PI agency”. He’s on the trail of a serial killer, who is behind seemingly unconnected murders. “My focus has always been on research and plot while the Patterson formula is pace and character. This book has given us a chance to combine our respective strengths,” says Sanghi. We catch up with him to find out about the books that informed his writing. 

The book that got me writing:

“In 1999, I read The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. It was through this book that the notion that Jesus may have left behind a bloodline first came to my attention. A couple of years later, I read Holger Kersten’s Jesus Lived In India and was fascinated with the idea that Jesus could have been inspired by Buddhism, and that he may have drawn much of his spiritual learning from India. I began to wonder whether I could marry the two theories – it became the core of The Rozabal Line [Sanghi’s first book].” 

The authors that inspire me:

“I grew up reading both classics as well as potboilers. My spiritual sense is influenced by Paramahansa Yogananda. My love for fast pace and racy plots is influenced by Dan Brown and Frederick Forsyth. My fascination with historical retelling is inspired by Dominique Lapierre. My passion for research is fuelled by Arthur Hailey, and my Indianness of voice is influenced by Salman Rushdie. In the past decade, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Stieg Larsson and Ian Rankin were added to my list of favourites. I prefer thrillers to any other genre and that is precisely the reason why my books are always fast-paced.”

The book I wish I’d written:

One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Only Márquez could describe an entire nation’s history through seven generations of a single family.” 

The book that was my guilty pleasure:

Memoirs Of A Woman Of Pleasure (more popularly known as Fanny Hill) by John Cleland.”

The bestsellers I’ve loved:

“There are several. Byculla To Bangkok by S Hussain Zaidi; Inferno by Dan Brown; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith; And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini; Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha.”

Private India (Random House India) is out this month