Where will the need for survival lead us?
The deeper the plot, the stronger the curiosity, especially when it’s about cold blooded murder. And Outsourced by Maya Kavita is a saga of real life situations. It is about people fighting for survival in a competitive world with unknown faces in unexplored continents. It is about talent being shunned, inability of the mind to cope with failure, inability of the power movers and capitalists to understand the need to look after their own, it is about kalyug in the words of the Indian god Krishna. Outsourced is a tale of the weaknesses of the 21st century, where bank balances rise and human capital loses.
It’s an interesting book because it raises many questions. In this day of global outsourcing, cheap labour, more profits, how valid is human life. Are we all getting caught in the trap of putting machine over man, forgetting it is man who runs those machines? Are we really losing our balance and not progressing with each other? Crime is an outcome of frustration and the book is simply written. In fact, many of you will connect to a lot of crime serials, the interrogations we see picturised of court rooms. You will enjoy reading it because this is about people around us and the power and mind games that have begun to rule our worlds. The book has depth, the characters have emotional twists and turns. Maya has used all her expertise as an HR professional to take peek at how the human mind works and how it affects our emotions which lead us on the path of crime.
Maya Kavita (J I Kendall aka – Joan Weston) worked for many years in the IT industry. She began writing with her books, The Greater-Than-Riches mystery series. Based in Toronto, Maya says, “I spent many years in an HR job, helping our company downsize. My work was harder than George Clooney’s in the movie Up in The Air because I had to fire a lot of people that I had hired and trained, whose families I had met. I even had to choose who would be fired. I had to help them carry their personal belongings to the door, and I searched their boxes while they watched because I was instructed to make sure they hadn’t stolen anything from us. I write from my experiences.”
In an email conversation, she reveals more. Excerpts:
How did you get interested in writing?
I have been interested in writing from an early age. I even wrote poetry from my earliest days in school. Writing has been a big part of both my academic and professional lives and I am comfortable expressing myself in this way. I have always loved good storytelling and fell quite naturally into telling the story that became Outsourced.
How did the interest in writing crime come?
When I was in primary school, my favourite books were the Nancy Drew series – perhaps that’s how I became interested in mystery stories. However, I think many people love a good mystery – bookstores tend to have large sections devoted to crime and thriller novels. Also, I think that many stories that aren’t classified as mysteries have some kind of intrigue in them, or problem that draws from the mystery genre. That’s what has always attracted me to fiction. Still, much of my reading has been in the mystery genre.
The book has a lot of in the mind thoughts and dialogues. Are you a trained psychologist?
Your question makes me smile. No, I’m no more a psychologist than anyone who spent a lot of time in the same business and made observations about how people act. Or who has heard stories from their friends and family over the years and has drawn conclusions about how people feel and how they are motivated. I hope that my book resonates with readers, that they can say, ‘That’s exactly how I would feel in that situation’. I have a varied educational background. I studied history, journalism, and human resources. I suppose I bring those disciplines to bear on my writing as well.
What is the need of the hour in terms of writing crime thrillers? Where do you get your ideas from?
Many crime writers today write from their own professional backgrounds. My ideas come from my life – not the murders, obviously! But from my work experiences indirectly, and from the experiences of others I have met. One of the ideas in Outsourced came from a conversation I overheard while waiting in a doctor’s office. A writer has to be an observer (and an eavesdropper, I guess). Ideas are everywhere once you get into the habit of looking for them. It’s been said that no one is safe around a writer…anyone can be the inspiration for a character or plot.
Who are your favourite crime writers?
I read everything by John Grisham. I also like Linda Fairstein, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. These people who have worked in the fields they write about were my original inspiration for Outsourced, a book that takes place in the kind of business where I spent my career.
The book is more like an arty cinema documentary. It has a lot of scene-like chapters. Were you inspired by crime movies or serials?
I am a huge fan of the Columbo crime series. I also like the old black and white Sherlock Holmes movies. And the various Poirot characters. I am happy that you saw the visual nature of my writing. I placed myself in the scenes and wrote about them as though I was walking with the character through them. I’m glad that translates to the reader as a kind of documentary, that was certainly my intent. Also, I think that even avid readers spend a lot of time ‘watching’ stories as well as reading them on Youtube, TV, movies, and learn to read books as a visual exercise.
What are the future plans? What can we expect from you now?
Outsourced is the first book in a trilogy about Trans-Global Tech, my fictional company. There’s more to come for Ella Laraway and her colleagues, none of it good, of course.
Price: Rs 299
Publisher: Tara Press
Ella Laraway, an HR executive with Trans-Geo Tech, leads a massive outsourcing of jobs in Toronto. Ella’s US mentor, Odette Dodeur, is later found dead, her body shipped from Toronto to China in a barrel along with the message, “Outsource this”. TGT’s CEO Tapan Rao accuses Ella of incompetence in handling the security around the outsourcings, and makes her the scapegoat in Odette’s death. TGT’s liaison with the detective investigating the murder. But worst of all, Ella is the murderer’s next target. After several close calls, she’ll end up alone with a killer, at the edge of Niagara Falls, where she’ll have to be willing to kill in order to save herself.