| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Dec 17 (Reuters Life!) - Finance and fiction
seem like an unlikely mix, but a number of Indian and Pakistani
novelists are finding their stints as finance professionals may
have helped ward off writer's block.
While there is no direct link between mastering the markets
and writing novels, a career in finance does seem to have had
its merits for former Wall Street banker Anish Trivedi.
"I think once you've had to convince people to part with
their money by giving them a cogent, compelling argument in as
few words as possible, you learn to get your point across
pretty rapidly on a page," says Trivedi.
Trivedi, who lives in Mumbai, gave up a seven-figure salary
to pursue his writing dream. In "Call me Dan" he took a
light-hearted look at arranged marriages and one-night stands
in 21st-century India.
Some novelists who move from other careers to writing
success mine their experiences for fiction. John Grisham has
done this with law and Robin Cook, an ex-doctor, with medicine.
Yet the financiers-turned-novelists from the Indian
subcontinent chose to set their characters in worlds far
removed from dollar wars and hedge funds.
Private equity professional Sarita Mandanna wrote about
star-crossed lovers in the period novel "Tiger Hills" while
Pakistan's H.M. Naqvi, a former World Bank employee, explored a
post-9/11 New York in "Home Boy".
Amish Tripathi, who works in the Indian insurance industry,
found his calling with "The Immortals of Meluha", historical
fiction set in 1900 BC.
Financial journalist Maha Khan Phillips made her debut with
"Beautiful from This Angle", a satire set against the backdrop
of honour killings in Pakistan, and thinks many novelist
wannabes may be lurking in media offices.
"Financial journalism is cluttered with frustrated fiction
writers," says Phillips.
"In fact, every boss I have ever had, every editor I have
ever worked with, has had a novel tucked away."
Publishers aren't wary of novelists with a finance
background. And there may be some positives for writers with a
"I enjoy having conversations with them (publishers) about
the workings of the business - the operating mechanics, the
numbers and the accounting," says Mandanna.
But even after getting published, it's often too soon for
writers to trade in finance for literary aspirations. Not
everyone can be Chetan Bhagat.
Bhagat, arguably India's most read novelist, quit his
investment banking career in 2009 to devote his entire time to
writing. His first three bestsellers were written juggling his
day job and the novelist's urge.
For Tripathi, the corporate life still "pays the bills" and
he is happy to continue with both vocations.
But Naqvi, who lives in Karachi, has left finance behind.
"It doesn't matter if one has worked on an oil rig, as a
dentist, a hairdresser or a banker," says Naqvi. "Writing
fiction, a novel in particular, is difficult business."
(Editing by Elaine Lies)