Arjun Rao: Author Interview

Do you want to read about a hard-hitting female protagonist? One that speaks her mind. One who is not ashamed of who she is, what she does, and what she stands for. Well, we at thenotoriousreader were all too excited to know about her. So we decided to talk to the author, Arjun Rao to get more information about his debut novel Myla: Insurrection.

Arjun Rao has been in the sports and entertainment business for almost 2 decades. Having been a fan of action and thriller novels, he has been an avid reader all his life and a big fan of the masters in these genres.

 Can you tell us what inspired you to be a writer?

From a very young age, I have always loved reading. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, followed by the Hardy Boys, then onto the likes of Nick Carter and so many more over the years. Today, I love reading crime-fiction and that has impacted me greatly. The ability of my favorite writers like Lee Child, Matthew Reilly, Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, Ludlum, Baldacci, and again, so many more, is inspiring. Their skill in creating intricate mysteries, that keep you hooked from the first page is captivating. I always wanted to be able to weave magic with the written word like this, and ‘Myla: Inspiration’ is my first attempt in what I hope will be a long journey as a writer.

Please tell us more about your book.

My first book, ‘Myla: Insurrection’ is a fast-paced, action-packed novel in the crime-mystery-thriller genre. It is about an Indian Army trained Covert Operative woman, who is called back home when her family is mysteriously killed. Angry, sad, and struggling to come to terms with the loss, the book is her story of vengeance, as she uncovers a plot that is aimed at killer her.  It is about her battle with a new enemy, one that is more dangerous than anything she has faced before.

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Can you please shed some more light on the main characters of the book?

Malaika Menon, aka Agent Myla, is an army trained covert operative, working undercover in various parts of the world, taking action against the enemies of India. She is a Malayali girl, hailing from Calicut in Kerala and she left home at the age of 16 to travel and be exposed to the real world. Joining the army, she quickly became the best of the best, rising to great heights within the Special Forces community, and when the story begins,  is undercover in Karachi, looking for the shadowy head of an international drug cartel.

Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?

The current landscape in India, given the rampant crimes against women all across the country, is what made me choose a story and a character like this.  I wanted to create a female character that is hard-hitting, tough as nails, yet retains her innate goodness and sense of purpose. My idea is to create a female character that embodies strength, goodness, and the mental fortitude to stand up for what is right, fight for the down-trodden and be a real hero in her own right.

Will you try your hand at any other genre?

I have been thinking about Young Adult romance-fiction for a while now, but it is very different from what I have been reading all my life. I find myself in a situation where I need to read a lot of books in this genre to better understand its nuances before I attempt a story.

When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?

My second book is ready, but unfortunately, I cannot say much about it at the moment. I anticipate being able to release it in the month of July or August if all goes well. It is also in the crime-thriller-mystery genre.

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What would you have been if not a writer?

I run my own business in sports and entertainment, and I guess that goes on.

 Who is your favorite author?

I have several. Lee Child and his Jack Reacher character, Vince Flynn and his Mitch Rapp character, Tom Clancy and his Jack Ryan character, Matthew Reilly and his Jack West Jr. and Shane Schofield characters, they have all greatly impacted my love for reading.

How do you like to spend your free time?

In these current COVID times, free times have become the norm.  I have been watching various TV shows and movies, trying to get perspective on what to write next, what issues to pick up, and try and make a story out of, that kind of thing. I read a lot, I enjoy playing tennis, I swim a lot and I hope for a quick return to a normal life.

Is there any message you would like to give to your readers?

It is my sincere hope that we all learn to live with a lot more tolerance in our minds, hearts, and lives. The moment we become more tolerant, hatred subsides, respect for each other rises and life becomes better for one and all. Tolerance does not cost us anything. All it takes is a small shift in our mindset. I hope our world comes out of the COVID madness, the racial madness in the US, and general caste and religious bias as a much more tolerant world, and we all have a role in making it a better place.

You can read more about Myla: Insurrection by clicking here.

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