A.K. Vyas - A Dark International Thriller
A.K. Vyas gave early promise of being nothing special whatsoever. He was born in the small New England village best known for the witch trials, then banished to Texas at a tender age. Being annoyingly well-read for a Texan and exceptionally stubborn as a child, the smart money predicted a brief but clumsy career as a rodeo clown, while others foresaw an early death. To everyone’s intense disbelief, U.C. Berkeley made the mistake of admitting him, and he squeaked out a degree or two while doing silly, acrobatic, things in small planes. The Navy eventually decided it was safer for all parties involved (including the enemy) if he didn’t fly jets. Like most wayward souls he ended up on Wall Street, a lifestyle interrupted from time to time by an occasional date, unless of course, it was NCAA football season. (You can take a boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy.) To date, his young family has survived two Category 5 hurricanes, and an infatuation with TexMex cast iron skillet recipes. Europe is currently home, and for unknown reasons, people on the street everywhere always ask him for directions. The Eagle Feather was his debut attempt at the ancient art of storytelling and was written for his beautiful, perfect, athletic, and wonderful son. Writing has since become a cathartic hobby. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Carnival Girls.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that just made you want to tackle this?
A dark international serial killer story seems interesting. Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs was great, but we’ve had so much technology and globalization since then, I’ve also seen the chaos of Mardi Gras and Carnival.
You have lived all over the world, including Texas - how has this influenced your writing?
An authentic feel for culture and places makes a story real. I’ve traveled extensively and lived across America and in Europe. Whenever possible, I describe actual experiences. For example, there are scenes in Crete. I’ve actually stayed in those hotels, eaten at those restaurants, and visited the places mentioned in the book. This is the case for most locations in the story.
The book contains a lot of twists and turns - did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
A good story is familiar but unpredictable. I plan it all out. Readers tell me the creativity and unexpected twists keep them guessing and make the book hard to put down. I hope so.
Readers say the book had them hooked from the beginning. How did you pull that off?
It’s hard. You basically ask a question, often through a vivid scene, which focuses on a universal basic human emotion, like greed, fear, or lust. That opens up the plot drivers of anticipation, tension, and relatability.
What did you have the most fun with while writing Carnival Girls?
Sitting down over cocktails with real cops and hackers and hearing their war stories about colorful cases and characters. Most of my characters are based on amalgamations of people I know.
Does the book contain a hidden message? What do you hope readers take away from this?
The message is overt. Evil exists, and there is a tough price paid by those who protect us from it.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I write the dedication. This focuses me to do a good job for a friend or loved one.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I get up at 5am and make a cup of black coffee with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Navy style. I write for an hour listening to 80’s music. If I don’t do this, family and work obligations take over the day fast.
What are you working on right now?
Dodge City, which is a sequel to my Western novel Shannon. I write in three genres. Historical Fiction, Thrillers, and Westerns.