Oslo-based Indian writer Atul Koul Randev says he got the idea of his debut book “The Hundred Million Bet” while crossing one of Italy’s oldest casinos during a road trip.
Brought out by Srishti Publishers, the novel is about money laundering, mafia and crime.
Mr. Randev says the idea of writing a thriller about gambling and poker struck him during the road trip to Milan.
“On the way to Italy, we crossed Casino di Campione d’Italia, which is one of Italy’s oldest casinos. It is built on a little piece of land that technically belongs to Italy but is surrounded on all sides by Switzerland,” he says.
“The trapped casino, with a promise of riches, was the first seed. The idea germinated and developed into the whole story from there,” he adds.
Caesar, the main character, is rash and addicted to the game, and the story begins with him trying to get out of his addiction to the game by playing one last game, making that one final win, and leaving it all.
Mr. Randev says developing Caesar as a character was quite fun.
“The fact that I had two timelines to work with, allowed me to build almost two personalities. Which, among other things, I could attribute to personality development as the character grows older,” he says.
Mr. Randev lives in Norway, which is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world. Though these countries are also known for their Nordic crime thrillers, he says they have not been of much influence on him.
“We are quite blessed with amazing Nordic writers in the genre like Jo Nesbo, but I have to admit that it’s not the biggest genre on my bookshelf,” he says.
On the other hand, he says he reads a lot of fantasy by writers such as Mr. Brandon Sanderson, Mr. Robert Jordan, Mr. Joe Abercrombie, Mr. Steven Erikson, Mr. Neil Gaiman, and more recently, Ms. Ann Leckie.
“I also read authors who write about life in general, like Mr. Julian Barnes and Mr. Allain De Botton. All of them, but some more than others, have been a major influence on everything I write,” he adds.