In The Spiral of Deception, Krav Maga champion and computer whiz Aarya has taken a hiatus from her education to work as a private investigator. When her childhood friend Mira is reported missing, Aarya and her friend Sid are on the case!
The investigation takes a dark turn when Aarya and Sid stumble into a world of crime beyond anything seen before. Can they discover Mira’s fate in time?
Now to what Ranjana had to say:
Jenn: How did your journey begin as a writer?
Ranjana: I have been writing since childhood – for the school magazine, office newsletters, and the like. Later, as life got busy, I continued to write occasionally to get emotions out of my system as a cathartic process. Serious writing, however, started only in 2020. I started writing a blog and opinion pieces for a news site. I wrote some short stories, and I realized I loved writing fiction. It gave me a sense of fulfillment and happiness like no other.
That was the birth of my first short story collection, The Tales Next Door -a collection of ten short stories depicting various slices of Indian life. This was the precursor to my debut novel, The Spiral of Deception.
J: What was the inspiration behind The Spiral of Deception?
R: I enjoy reading thrillers and mysteries. Therefore, it was not a surprise for me when the first plot of an entire novel I thought of was in the same genre. Most of my stories, including The Spiral of Deception, are influenced in some parts by what happens in reality. Some news articles, some story that your neighbour tells you, a piece of gossip that you overhear – these influence the various parts of the story.
J: Aarya is such a cool character! How did you go about constructing her personality and her career as a private investigator?
R: Oh, I have to agree (with all humility) that Aarya is terrific. I love her, and so do most of my readers. As I have often said, she is the type of daughter I would hope for if I had one.
There was a discussion where we talked about various professions and how women have started adding significant value to each. We all felt that investigation and crime are places where, especially in cities like Delhi, women might find it difficult, almost impossible, to make a mark. That was the genesis of Aarya’s character. I started imagining a woman, her personality and traits, strengths and weaknesses, that would be able to make an indelible mark as an investigator.
J: And I have to say that I love that the female character (Aarya) is the main protagonist while her male friend (Sid) is sort of the “side kick.” How did you decide to give Aarya a friend to ride along?
R: Well, no person can work completely alone. Every human being needs to have friends, people they can rely on. Sid is that character – a loyal friend who is funny, caring, not the best fighter, but who helps Aarya see a different perspective at times. Together, they make up a great team.
J: Who are your favorite mystery authors?
R: I have to say, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I have grown up reading their books and have enjoyed each and every mystery.
J: What are you working on now/what can we expect to see from you next?
R: I am working on the next Aarya novel, The Crimson Party. I’m hoping it will be out in a few months. This story is also set in Delhi and Gurgaon (the National Capital Region in India) and is timed almost a year after The Spiral of Deception. Aarya is close to burnout when she gets sucked into a new case, the murder of a businessman. As she tries to dig deeper into the case, the web around her and Sid gets tighter, endangering their very lives.
J: What are you reading now?
R: I am reading three books right now. Two are slow reads, where I read a few pages per day. They are Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar and Collected Works of Kahlil Gibran. The third book is A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. I enjoy Murakami because you can never expect how the story unfolds. It may be in the realm of reality or fantasy or both, making it unexpected and thoughtful simultaneously.
Okay, that’s all for now. Have a wonderful day, everyone!