A Thriller Fiction writer with a passion and purpose | Sunday Observer

A Thriller Fiction writer with a passion and purpose

25 October, 2020

Amanda Wickramarachchi is a 21-year-old debut novelist who hails from Ratnapura. Over the next four weeks, in collaboration with Amanda, Youth Observer will feature a series of excerpts from her detective crime thriller novel The Truth in Their Lies. This Q&A feature, which precedes the upcoming series of excerpts, offers interesting insights about what inspired this young writer to pursue writing her debut novel.

Q: What is your choice of genres when it comes to literature and reading? And when did your interest in fiction writing begin?

A: Well, my favourite genre is crime and mystery. A touch of romance into mystery is also something I enjoy. I love fast paced plots with an unpredictable twist at the end. Agatha Christie, Dan Brown and Jo Nesbo are some authors I've admired since I was a child. I love it when the writer manages to fool the reader with mind blowing twists till the very end.

I'd say I initially began an interest to write around 10 years ago. There was this quote that, "if there is a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it". I should say that, I had several ideas to write something to address a social misconduct. So, I started writing the story that was rumbling in my mind and reading what I've written inspired me to go all the distance and finish it with a grand ending. I am really happy with the improvement of my writing, vocabulary and tone of speech since back then and I'm glad I didn't stop writing.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Truth in their Lies, and what was the initial inspiration for this novel?

A: I'd say it took around seven years. To tell you the truth, I've been experimenting with the same basic idea till I developed it into this plot. There is a vast difference in the plot and vocabulary comparing with what I've written back then. However, it was in 2019, while I was awaiting university entrance, that I was completely able to write it down.

As I think, the initial inspiration for this novel came in 2012 when the news of ‘’Nirbhaya broke in the media. The 23-year-old medical student was gang raped inside a bus and was brutally murdered in New Delhi. News about this murder was viewed by billions of people from all around the world and this case went huge depending on one serious fact- the fact that she was a medical student. Child abuse or gang raping is something of common occurrence in current society and I felt sad about how every little girl and woman who got abused does not get the same attention as Nirbhaya's case. No one tends to speak for the helpless victims and sometimes even puts the blame on them for being abused. As a result, rather than seeking for justice, these victims tend to hide deeper in society bearing and burying their trauma. When I repeatedly mused over this situation, I was inspired to gather my thoughts into a story, so that I could one day, creatively address against these crimes. That particular Nirbhaya incident as well as other abuse cases were planted deep inside my mind and they became the seeds for what I’ve published today.

Q: How much research did you do for this work and what sources did you refer to gather information and facts to construct the social and cultural framework of this fiction?

A: I had to do a lot of research because I imagined the plot to be based in USA, a place I've never been to. So I read about the state of Wyoming and the two cities in there, Cheyenne and Newcastle where I was going to base my story in. In addition, I had to learn a bit about American English and their vocabulary, since there are some differences compared to British English, which we practice in Sri Lanka.

Q: How has the response been so far from readers about the book?

A: It has been really amazing and I am very happy with the response of the readers. They have commented on the plot as fast paced and cinematic and were surprised with how directly I've addressed the things that many people don't usually speak about. They were also shocked and entertained by the unpredictable plot twists and turns which no one had been able to guess. So, I guess I succeeded in that aspect and I am really satisfied about it.

Q: Do you see your engagement with fiction writing as a continuous pursuit in life?

A: Well, yes, I sure would like to continue writing fiction. Although the exposure and market for English novels are very low in Sri Lanka, I really would love to keep writing.

Q: Have you made any plans yet for another novel?

A: I would love to write another novel. I haven't planned it yet, but since I'm studying in the vet medical field, I would like to do a medical thriller series. Moreover, I would love to make a simple request to my readers. Writing against social misconducts is something I wish to pursue in the future too. I’m open for criticism on my book and suggestions for my future publications. So, please feel free to contact me via my social media pages and to share your ideas and thoughts about my book.