Sanjay Kumar Singh went to school at St. Michaels High School, Patna and Bishop Cottons Boys School, Bangalore. He graduated in Economics (Honours) from St. Stephens College, Delhi, and has a Law Degree from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. He is now a practicing lawyer and lives with his wife Leena, daughter Vaibhavi, fondly called Tiggle, and their pet Labrador named Phantom, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.
In a conversation with the author, we asked him about his book and what inspired him to write it:
CinnamonTeal: Tell us about the title. What made you choose “Fear is a Friend” as the title of the book?
Sanjay Kumar Singh: Fear is an emotion and emotions have the potential to further agitate the subconscious which itself is stupendously powerful. If fear is embraced as a friend and not treated as an embarrassing companion, it can work with the subconscious to create solutions and provide answers even in extreme situations of risk and turmoil, as happens with Ashwin Bhardwaj, the central character of the book.
CinnamonTeal: Share with us your taste for books. How much of your reading influences your writing? And what made you write a thriller? Any favourite authors whose style of writing has influenced you?
Sanjay Kumar Singh: I like books that are intelligently written, strive to deliver some meaning, even if in between the lines, and do not unnecessarily stretch their content. To that extent, what I like reading does stand as a parameter to improve upon in what I write.
I have been reading thrillers from a young age. Of late, particularly, I have been disappointed with the quality of thrillers generally available; for often they consume pages to the point of boredom and often feature far too much brutality. I felt that I could write a thriller without these shortcomings and give it ingredients that would make the book not only far more engaging and entertaining but also leave the reader with positive feelings and images in his mind.
While I do have some favourite authors, I do not think my writing style has been influenced by any of them.
CinnamonTeal: Let us in a bit on your other tastes. Like your taste for poetry that reflects in your writing. What is it about poetry that fascinates you?
Sanjay Kumar Singh: So far as tastes are concerned, at this point in my life, I find that my tastes or attention are largely devoted to the deeper meanings of life and after-life.
Poetry can link with the subconscious in a much more expressive and powerful mode that does incite my interest and my attempt to bring out the same. I have a published book of poems titled “Mascara on Whiskey Nights and Other Poems” and my next work, just completed, is a novel written in poetry and has some contemporary pressing issues as its theme and setting.
Sanjay Kumar Singh: I have had, I daresay, a wide reading base, including that related to current affairs and issues which helped me in reducing the research I actually had to carry out for the book.
I would advise one to take time in conceiving the plot of the book. This at times can be quite demanding and even painful, but is well worth the intensity of the effort put in. Then, to express the plot in a manner that is comfortable both to the writing style of the writer as also to the reader. And, of course, I feel that one should avoid incorporating features or aspects in one’s book about which one doesn’t know much.
CinnamonTeal: Will there be a sequel to the book? Will Ashwin Bhardwaj ever quit?
Sanjay Kumar Singh: Yes, there would be a sequel to the book for, yes indeed, Ashwin Bhardwaj does indeed doesn’t look like as if he would quit!
CinnamonTeal: Describe for us your emotions as you began to write your first novel? Was there trepidation? A sense of excitement? A fear of the unknown, perhaps?
Sanjay Kumar Singh: Of course, there were tremors of trepidation and currents of excitement throughout and yes, the feeling that FEAR is indeed a friend!