Amazon bestselling novelist and motivational speaker, Kulpreet Yadav is the Founder-Editor of Open Road Review, an international literary magazine that has published over 140 writers from 20 countries in the last 3 years. As a creative writing mentor, Kulpreet has conducted numerous workshops for aspiring writers in India. Shortlisted several times in literary contests, Kulpreet’s stories and essays have appeared in over 30 publications in India and abroad.
Kulpreet’s latest novel, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate, is India’s first spy thriller based on pirates and hijacking at sea. It was launched in New Delhi in August and in Pune and Mumbai in September of this year.
Kulpreet has participated in various literary festivals in India and abroad like Asia Pacific Writer’s events at Bangkok in 2012 and Singapore in 2014, Hyderabad Literature festival 2012, Delhi literature festival 2013 & 2015, Goa international writers & readers festival 2014, Glitterati Gurgaon art & literature festival 2014, Pune international literary festival 2015 etc. He was also an invited as speaker at Literati fest of IIT Delhi in 2014, and several other schools and colleges across India. Kulpreet lives in New Delhi.
Vinita Kinra: Welcome to Global Asian Times, Kulpreet. Why did you throw out your job at the height of your career to become a writer?
Kulpreet Yadav: I got bored. That’s the short answer. But let me trace my journey for the readers. To tell you the truth, the first 15 years of life in uniform were fun. I had a fabulous time sailing all along the Indian coast. But soon, the organization considered me too senior to remain at sea, and I found myself in a small office in New Delhi surrounded by files. My enthusiasm nosedived, and since I’m not the kind of a guy who likes pushing papers, I quit.
Vinita Kinra: How much is your latest spy thriller, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate, autobiographical?
Kulpreet Yadav: Nothing is autobiographical anymore, even when they claim it to be so. There are a few events in the book based on my direct experiences, though.
Vinita Kinra: Do you ever regret the decision to choose the unconventional career of writing as opposed to the more secure one you quit?
Kulpreet Yadav: No. A writer’s journey is tough. But that’s precisely the reason why I am here. I love challenges and the unconventional. The book is selling well, people admire me, I have found many new friends and readers, and I am doing what I love. Life couldn’t have been better. Last but not the least, there is no BOSS to worry about. And my new boss smiles at me whenever I look in the mirror.
Vinita Kinra: Share with us your publishing journey. Did you run into beginner’s luck, or was the path fraught with challenges?
Kulpreet Yadav: I have had real bad experiences with the publishers. Indian publishers, like anywhere else in the world I understand, are failed writers who take their talent too seriously. I learnt this the hard way. But I have finally figured out how to deal with them—find an agent. I have India’s leading agent representing me, so I prefer to stay away from the publishers.
Vinita Kinra: What triggered the urge in you to found the literary journal, Open Road Review?
Kulpreet Yadav: OK, you figured out that I’m a publisher too. But I’ll stick to the answers above. When I wear the publisher’s hat, I behave exactly like all other publishers. But to answer your question, Open Road Review reflects my ambition of running a global magazine that is headquartered in India. The English-speaking west has been too kind to us as far as promoting Indian writers are concerned. It’s payback time, I guess. At Open Road Review we are a team of four and we work real hard to ensure that only the best work gets into our quarterly issues.
Vinita Kinra: Could you have written the spy thriller, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate, without your naval background?
Kulpreet Yadav: Probably not.
Vinita Kinra: Talk to us about your main protagonist Andy Karan, the undercover spy who works as a journalist.
Kulpreet Yadav: Andy Karan is 30 and works as an investigative journalist in New Delhi. He believes that India’s position at the top of the world, as it was centuries ago, needs to be restored. A seeker of truth & justice, Andy Karan is a loner, forever fighting the demons of his birth and fate. An undercover spy whose mother named him after Karan of Mahabharata when she was abandoned by the only man she had loved and trusted, Andy has to put his past to rest and race against time to conquer the present.
Vinita Kinra: Who has been your biggest inspiration through your writing journey?
Kulpreet Yadav: To be frank, no one. But I am moved by the enormous faith my family has in my ability to write compelling stories. My mom, dad, brother, wife, daughters and all others think of me as a minor star. It sometimes gets hard to keep my head glued on my shoulders, but it’s cool. Their faith is the real fodder which keeps me going.
Vinita Kinra: Tell us about your debut novel, The Bet.
Kulpreet Yadav: It was a good story which woke up in the bed of a bad publisher. I hope to discipline it someday and make it more presentable for readers.
Vinita Kinra: You have also written a short story collection. How different is that from writing a full-length novel?
Kulpreet Yadav: I love short stories—they are so real. I write them all the time, and the economy of emotion in their fabric makes them more readable. My collection is called India Unlimited.
The Pirate of the World
The Pirate of the World wants to quit a life of crime and settle down with Dao-Ming, the woman he loves.
But his final mission fails. With it, curtains are also drawn on his reign of terror that lasted ten years in the Malacca Strait, a shallow but navigable stretch of sea that is notorious for attacks on passing ships by ruthless pirates.
Now locked-up in a high security jail in Malaysia, the Pirate of the World is days away from his execution.
A seeker of truth & justice, 30 years old Andy Karan is a loner, forever fighting the demons of his birth and fate. An undercover spy whose mother named him after Karan of Mahabharata when she was abandoned by the only man she had loved and trusted, Andy has to put his past to rest and race against time to conquer the present.
On an assignment to snuff-out his colleague’s murderer in Goa, Andy Karan is roped in by the Indian government for a secret plan. In exchange for the pirate’s freedom, the Indian intelligence, along with their Malaysian counterparts, intend to use the pirate’s expertise for the greater good of the world.
The playground is the high seas off the Indian coast where a North Korean Ship called Ocean King is on its way to a port in Iran with a secret cargo. The mission is to hijack the ship and its cargo along with the Brazilian Captain and the Filipino crew, who are armed to the teeth.
Meanwhile in Goa a new drug called ‘magic’, which gives the same kick as Heroin but is half the cost, is altering the inter-gang dynamics and the rave party culture.
Can Andy, who refuses to be a victim of his birth in this new Kurukshetra, trust the pirate? Or his own instincts in an unfamiliar terrain?
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.