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September 14, 2014

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Zac O’Yeah:Detective novelist fond of rock/pop books

SWEDE Zac O’Yeah is the author of “Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan” (2010) and “Mr Majestic!” (2012) published by Hachette India. At 25, he moved to India. His 12 published books range from best-selling detective fiction to history and travelogue, and he has also translated Indian literature into Swedish. He was a writer in residence in Shanghai in 2012.

What's the best book you’ve read recently? What do you like about it?

“India Psychedelic: The Story of a Rocking Generation” by Sidharth Bhatia is a great book, because it is a first-of-its-kind history of Indian rock music — and it is written by a fellow who was there, who lived through those years, and saw the concerts and met the bands.

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

Basically, I try to read whenever I’m not writing. Though perhaps the ideal time to read is while traveling, at airports while waiting, it is such fun to escape into a book if your flight is late. In fact, if I’m reading a real good book I might wish that the flight is even further delayed!

What was the last book that made you laugh?

It must have been “I’m Coming to Take You to Lunch: A Fantastic Tale of Boys, Booze and How WHAM! were sold to China,” which is an autobiographical book by this most amazing pop impresario named Simon Napier-Bell. It is both very funny and insightful, a combination that is quite rare in non-fiction.

What does your personal book collection look like? Do you organize your books in any particular way?

I keep my collection of crime and forensic literature on the top shelf because it is quite important to my work as a writer of detective novels. Underneath it, in the bookshelf, are dictionaries and encyclopedias, then the next two shelves are full of travel literature (since I also work as a travel writer I keep lots of maps and guidebooks at hand), then there are shelves with fiction.

Do you have a favorite childhood literary character or hero?

As a child I read a lot so I had lots of literary heroes, but I think one of the earliest was Alice in Wonderland. When I turned 10 years old I got more into James Bond. As a 15-year-old I was heavily influenced by Holden Caulfield.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?

It would be interesting to meet Hemingway or Ian Fleming and find out how they were able to write at all if they were drunk all the time.


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