Written Interview with Aurijit Ganguli
1. The seamless fusion of diverse elements in the book is captivating. How did you balance incorporating Indian mythology and cultural aspects while ensuring the story remains accessible and engaging to a global audience?
Aurijit: History and mythology have been my favourite subjects since my childhood. With the little bit of knowledge that I have gathered, I believe there are deep underlying connections and commonalities between most of the cultures across the world. My storyline is just a manifestation of that. For example, the Great Flood is estimated to have happened 11,600 years ago. Interestingly, you will find similar narratives of pre-warnings and flood descriptions in most ancient cultures of the world.
Personally, I enjoy travelling and exquisite cuisines, I thought the global perspective might find wider audience far beyond our borders.
One more thing, this is probably the first book of this genre by an Indian author that explores Peru so extensively.
2. The trio of protagonists – Lisa, Arjun, and Dr. Torero - all possess unique skills and backgrounds. How did you create their distinct personalities while ensuring their individual arcs added depth to the narrative?
Aurijit: Lisa and Arjun are the protagonists from my last book The Shambala Sutras. The character of Lisa as a chef was created based on the suggestions of a good friend. I continued with them in this story as well.
Dr. Torero is a new character introduced in the story. As the narrative is predominantly based in Peru, I wanted a strong erudite figure having credible connections with that country.
3. The trio embarks on a thrilling adventure, both through time and across the globe. What inspired you to set the story on multiple continents? And how did you manage to pace the story to maintain excitement while allowing for moments of reflection and discovery?
Aurijit: Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by adventure-thrillers, mystery and spirituality. I am a great fan of Dan Brown and Graham Hancock. So, I always wanted to write fast-paced stories combining all these elements.
Personally, travelling and food are my passions. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel to diverse locations around the world. Except for Peru, most of the other places mentioned in this book (like Turkey, Egypt, USA etc.) are described from my first-hand experiences.
4. The story delves into the ruins of ancient civilizations. How did you research and approach depicting these diverse settings with authenticity?
Aurijit: This was the difficult part. Before writing the book, I had to research hard over the weekends for about 7 months. I read books, watched interviews, looked up Internet, and talked to knowledgeable people. All along, I made notes with proper indexing. Later, I referred to these collections while crafting the story.
5. This story celebrates the power of knowledge and discovery. Were there any real-life inspirations or personal experiences that influenced the themes of exploration and the quest for wisdom in the story?
Aurijit: There is a higher purpose behind my writing. My objective is to bring unknown or little-known aspects of pre-history and spiritualty to the mainstream readers. My previous book and this one are both driven by this thought process.
And yes, certain real-life experiences and inspirations have fuelled the themes of expedition and search for higher wisdom.
6. This quest to save humanity from cataclysmic devastation adds high stakes to the story. How did you balance the gravity of the situation with moments of hope and humor?
Aurijit: I wanted to sustain the tension throughout the story. The lighter moments were added to make the readers enjoy the whole journey with different shades of emotions.
7. The impending cataclysm adds a sense of urgency and tension to the narrative. You have built suspense throughout the book, keeping us on the edge of our seats. So, did you feel a similar euphoric sense of fulfillment as the characters while writing the ending of the book?
Aurijit: Yes, I sure did. In fact, the entire process of my researching and writing the book has been an incredible experience for me. I was so engrossed, it often felt like meditation. So, when I finally sat down to write the last few lines, it was euphoric as well as a bit sad, as my profound journey was coming to a close.
8. Though Marcos turned out to be Destiny’s child, all of this would have been especially difficult and nearly impossible without Lisa and Arjun. How have the elements such as - the triumph of the human spirit, the value of ancient wisdom, and the pursuit of knowledge amidst adversity played a major role in the novel?
Aurijit: Triumph of human spirit and striving for higher levels of knowledge have always been the core elements of my story. It happened in The Shambala Sutras. And it was there again in this novel The Mystery Mountains.
9. 'The Mystery Mountains' left me contemplating the boundless mysteries that may forever remain beyond their understanding. As an author, are you also captivated by the allure of the unknown, finding inspiration in the profound knowledge that lies beyond our understanding, much like your characters?
Aurijit: You described it so perfectly. I am always driven by that captivating mystery of the vast, profound knowledge that lies beyond the limits of our general perception.
10. What do you hope readers will take away from "The Mystery Mountains" and what message or emotion do you want them to carry with them long after they've finished reading?
Aurijit: As long as the readers find my story informative and entertaining, my purpose of writing is fulfilled. I don’t want to preach anything to anyone. I just expect the readers to enjoy the book with an open mind. The story raises some points contrary to the popular narrative of the mainstream history books. I would urge the readers to do their own research on topics like Gobekli Tepe and see for themselves how certain archaeological discoveries are turning the popular notions of history on its head.