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09 June 2003 Books 10 Questions

Aniruddha Bahal

The Tehelka spy who caught them red-handed, on his new thriller, Bunker 13 (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux), which is making waves abroad
Was there always a writer hidden in the investigative reporter?
I always harboured literary ambitions.

Did your experience as an investigative reporter help?
As a journalist, your exposure is much more and therefore you have more material to exercise your imagination.

Did you learn anything when your first novel flopped?
Every writer has to churn out half-a-million odd words before writing anything of substance.

Are you attracted to the seamy side of life?
For me, life's a composite experience.

Why did you choose to write a thriller?
I'd slot it as espionage fiction.

Why did you leave Tehelka?
I wanted to get back to journalism, something that I have been unable to do for many months now because of the government bogging us down with a lot of legal nonsense.

What is Cobrapost?
Cobrapost.com is a small effort to establish an independent media platform.

How big was the advance for this book?
A significant sum.

What is the foreign reaction to Bunker 13?
The reviews thus far have been encouraging.

Other than Salinger, who are your role models?
I love the American writers of the '50s and '60s. I think the literary energy of that period was awesome—Kerouac, Ken Kassey, Heller etc.

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AUTHORS: Sheela Reddy
SECTION: Books
SUBSECTION: Interviews10 Questions
OUTLOOK: 09 June, 2003
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