10 Questions
Anurag Mathur
The Inscrutable Americans has broken all publishing records in India. Last fortnight, he was bestowed with the Publisher’s Recognition Award of Rs 1.5 lakh.
Did you ever dream that The Inscrutable... would be such a phenomenal bestseller?
I had no idea what to expect—there was no publicity, no book launch, very few reviews and yet it's still on the bestseller lists thanks to word of mouth.

What is the secret of this runaway bestseller?
I have often pondered on it—I don't know the answer. I wish I knew then I'd write only that.

How much money does it make you?
I get about Rs 2 lakh a year in royalty for it.

But critics have called it juvenile trash.
How does it matter so long as it sells?

Was it a fluke considering that your next three books bombed?
My other three books can't match this one historic book but compared to 99 per cent of other books, they've sold well—between 5,000 to 10,000 copies.

Have you ever thought of selling it abroad?
A French company bought rights. It was also published in the US but didn't do terribly well.

Who are your readers?
A very wide array from a retired colonel to kids whose parents tell me this is the only book their child has ever read apart from textbooks.

Are you afraid of competition?
One book doing well doesn't detract from the sales of other books—just look at how the sales of Inscrutable are increasing.

How long do you think the book's popularity will last?
One never knows—look at Catcher in the Rye and Catch 22, they're still selling.

Is that why you've indulged in poetry?
I've been writing poetry over the years.


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