After writing books of historical fiction intertwined with mythology, what made you write a self-help book? Would you even classify 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck as a self-help book?
I have many ideas about life, love and luck, but I simply cannot get down to penning weekly columns on such subjects. Many of my views do not necessarily find adequate expression in my historical, mythological and thriller fiction. I figured that I would start writing small books that could encapsulate some of these views that have remained bottled up within! This one is the first in the series. I hope to do many more.

But do you think an individual can really change his or her own luck?
I think that the easy way of understanding it is via the Hindu concept of karma and dharma. There is stuff that you simply cannot change. That’s your karma. But there are many things that you can influence by your actions or dharma.

You walk down a road… you cannot change its distance. But then the straight road leads to a fork. Now you can choose whether you wish to go left or right. The road and the fork are karma, but your decision to choose either the left or the right is your dharma.

Increasingly, it is becoming evident that you and I are not isolated but form part of a complex web of interconnected energy clusters. I find it difficult to believe that we cannot change outcomes via our thoughts and actions in such an interconnected universe.

Why this title in a country where so many people are superstitious?
After completing my first novel The Rozabal Line, I was in the process of making submissions to literary agents and publishers. After sending over a hundred letters, I was sorely disappointed when polite and not-so-polite rejections arrived. A year later, it was evident to me that no one was really interested in my work.

I described my situation to a close family friend who was having dinner with my father. Taking a generous gulp of his third peg of Johnnie Walker Black Label, the gregarious Punjabi gentleman responded, “In life, 99% is about good luck! Just remember that, son.” In a slightly argumentative tone I asked, “But uncle, what about the balance 1%? Surely that must be hard work or talent?”

Laughing loudly, he declared triumphantly, “The final 1%? That’s called bloody good luck, my boy! Simply keep at it and wait for your bloody good luck to kick in!” And that’s why I chose the title that I did!

How easy or difficult is it for a writer to change genres?
It’s not very difficult to write in a new genre. The more difficult part is to be accepted by one’s loyal readers when one makes such a change. As I see it, I get bored easily and hence want to be free to experiment with styles and genres. The old proverb goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Who is Ashwin Sanghi the reader?
I was brought up on a diet of commercial fiction and thrillers for most of my growing years: Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Irving Wallace, Jack Higgins, Tom Clancy, Ayn Rand, Ken Follett, Arthur Hailey. In the past decade, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, Ian Rankin and countless others were added to my list of favourites. Increasingly I find that I am reading much more non-fiction than fiction. Some of my favourite non-fiction authors are Gary Zukav, Richard Dawkins and Brian Weiss.

Your major literary influences are...
It’s difficult to say because I grew up reading both classics as well as potboilers. My spiritual sense is influenced by Paramahansa Yogananda, my love for fast pace and racy plots is influenced by Dan Brown and Frederick Forsythe, my fascination with historical retelling is inspired by Dominique Lapierre, my passion for research is fuelled by Arthur Hailey, and my Indianness of voice is influenced by Salman Rushdie.

What is your daily routine as a writer like?
I currently work five days a week in my family’s business areas. Thus, writing is not my fulltime occupation. To that extent, I have to plan my hours in order to get my writing done. I use travel trips, weekends and early mornings of workdays (5am to 9am) to write. Evenings are devoted to research and reading. During weekends I devote Saturdays entirely to writing and Sunday entirely to family time. As you can imagine, besides work and writing, the only other thing that I have time for is my family.

Vivek Tejuja works at Flipkart and loves to recommend books.