Tejas Desai has done it again – writing a thriller that literally soared onto the bestseller list. “The Dance Towards Death,” hits all the sweet spots that readers want, and yes need, in an epic story –powerful character development, intense action, and a storyline that keeps on giving until the very end. “The Dance Towards Death” is the final book in Desai’s sensational trilogy aptly called “The Brotherhood Chronicle,” and it’s no surprise that each book has hit the bestseller list.
His rather dynamic protagonist Niral Solanke, a former private investigator, takes readers into the gritty world of international crime and intrigue, where loyalty, power, family ties, hope, and politics are the order of the day. This series is a must read this fall and winter. In the world of literature Desai has become a superhero, delivering readers the ride of their lifetime, we were thrilled when he agreed to an interview.
Do you remember when you got the idea for the Brotherhood Chronicles? Can you tell us a bit about that moment? Did you know it would be such as success back then?
It’s a long story. The first book started off as a short story collection I wrote while a freshman at Wesleyan University, evolved into a literary thriller I was writing in my MFA program at CUNY-Queens College, and then into the more commercial thriller as I was trying to sell it to traditional agents and publishers. I always hoped it would be successful, but when I saw the odds for that, I was pretty skeptical that could ever happen. It’s a miracle that it has.
You create characters that are extremely dynamic and engaging, and this trend has continued in your new bestseller “The Dance Towards Death”. How do you go about developing the characters in your stories?
My process has changed a lot over the years. I used to think of characters in a more ideological way, and they would often represent different points of view and various segments of society. And while that’s still often true, I often use my intuition and imagination more than strict planning. There’s always a balancing act. But basically, when I can imagine characters in a fully realized way and adopt them to the story, the story works and the characters are vivid. There’s no strict formula though, it just evolves as I work.
How do you feel the media/technology revolution has changed storytelling?
There are so many more voices out there, so many platforms and possibilities. It’s been a boon for indie storytellers of many stripes, from novelists to bloggers. On the down side, obviously there’s now a lower attention span among many people, more propaganda and disinformation, and much more competition since it seems everyone’s a writer of something. The posts on social media to go “viral” aren’t necessarily the highest quality, in fact there’s often an inverse formula based on the changing algorithms we’ve all become somewhat enslaved to, but then again, I suppose to some extent it’s always been that way.
Personally my storytelling style changed into a terser, more accessible and engaging aesthetic. I’ve had tremendous success in using social media, particularly facebook, where I have nearly 20,000 followers, to engage readers in my books and my own international adventures.
I’d say on the whole it’s been a very good thing, as it’s opened up the possibilities of storytelling and the ability to reach so many people, without a huge book deal or major publisher backing. For independent storytellers, it’s been a great way to get our work out there. Amazon gets criticized a lot, but it’s ironic that this monolith has been the greatest boon for independent storytellers in history.
My primary concern however, and maybe this is the professor and librarian in me, is how do we identify, study and ultimately preserve the works of these great indie storytellers of so many stripes, especially of the Millennial and Gen Z. Generations when most of this material is published on private online platforms and may ultimately be purged unless someone preserves them. So that might be a future project for me.
With all that has gone on, 2020 has been quite a year for many of us, yet some people have found a silver lining or two in the mix. Do you have a silver lining that you can share with our readers?
My 2020 started as bad as everyone else’s, as I was sick for over a month and had to cancel a trip to SE Asia when the virus broke out there. Then the coronavirus came to NYC and we locked down the city, and I was privy to some of its worst outcomes, since my mom worked in the hardest hit hospital in Queens. But despite all this, I was able to finish the edits for “The Dance Towards Death”, and I was able to start working on my next book “Bad Americans”.
Of course “The Dance Towards Death” became a bestseller and it’s gotten great press. “Bad Americans” is developing well and after the city’s restrictions were lifted, I’ve had a good time hanging out with a small group of friends and exploring many parts of NY and NJ I hadn’t previously known so well, with masks and social distancing, of course. So actually, on the whole, 2020 has ended very well for me.
And I have to say, I’m very optimistic for the future of storytelling and art. I’m seeing lots of talent coming up among younger generations, and I’m hoping that once this pandemic subsides, I can up my own game even more and help other dynamic writers and artists do the same. I think NYC will be more dynamic than ever in the coming decade!
Is there anything you have that you’re working on that you can tell your readers about?
I’m currently working very hard on “Bad Americans”, which is the anthology sequel to the acclaimed first volume of The Human Tragedy series, Good Americans. It seeks to portray contemporary American society in a series of short story collections.
So basically I’m attempting to revive and re-energize the short story collection as both a popular and dynamic literary vehicle for social and psychological conflict, with different segments of society portrayed. As with all my works, I’ve used my own observations and experiences before and during the pandemic, and also those of other people I’ve heard from, as well as plenty of research and imagination, to create a large world with many contemporary characters who interact and conflict with one another in dynamic ways.
So look forward to that in hopefully a couple of years!
“The Dance Towards Death” is available on Amazon.
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