New Delhi, June 9: "It was an argument with a woman on Lord Ram at a literature fest that upset me immensely. That was when I had decided my next series would be on Ram," said banker-turned-author Amish Tripathi on his upcoming book - "Scion of Ikshvaku".
Through this series, the author said, he needed to give his interpretation of Lord Ram, who the woman thought had mistreated his wife, Sita.
After his successful Shiva Trilogy, the author explores his version of the Ramayana through the Ramchandra series, which he said could entail five to six books.
"I think the incident was meant to happen to me to help me make up my mind," Tripathi said in an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the first chapter of his new work.
"The idea behind giving out only one chapter of the book is to give the readers a sense of what the book could be. We are offering the free chapter through Amazon Kindle or their app. Through the online chapter, we aim to spread it out and keep the excitement up among the readers," said Tripathi, who debuted with "The Immortals of Meluha" in 2010 - the first of the Shiva Trilogy.
He soon broke into the top-seller charts - within a week of its launch.
Talking about the idea behind his books, he said: "In all my books, there is a core philosophy which I try to convey. For the Shiva Trilogy it was to find out what evil is and for the Ramchandra series it is to know what an ideal society is," adding that he was unsure of what he was going to write when he signed a contract with his publisher around two years ago.
Questioned if he was under pressure to deliver a promising first chapter, he replied sternly: "When I am writing, I don't care about the publishers or critics or, frankly, even readers. When I write, I only write for myself. Once I am done with writing, I focus entirely on marketing."
A good book does not sell itself, he remarked. Teamed with his wife, Preeti Tripathi, the couple have changed the way Indian books marketed themselves. The marketing campaigns ranged from video trailers before the book launch to releasing one chapter of the book as an appetiser.
Facing rejection of his first book's manuscript by 20 publishers, Tripathi said he never thought of an alternative, where he would give up on his book. So, he had decided to self-publish it.
Attributing his knowledge of mythology to his family, he mentioned that his grandfather, who was a pandit, and his parents taught him many things on the subject, adding that the long debates with his family on mythology helped him with his books. A voracious reader, he has been reading at least 4-8 non-fiction or mythological books every month since his teenage years.
The Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta graduate had worked with reputed banks in the country before he turned into an author.
"I left my job only after my second book had released. Since I do not come from a wealthy background, it was important for me to ensure that I could pay my bills. I used to write my first book on weekends and in my spare time," he said.
"I have enough fiction ideas to keep myself busy for the next 20 years. And if all of them keep selling, hopefully, I can keep writing. Else, I have to go back to banking," he added with a laugh, talking about his future plans.