Jims Andrews is a chief engineer with the merchant navy, sailing the high seas for the last ten years. He lives in Calicut with his family. He has written two books namely – “Fall of a Sparrow” set in the backdrop of the tsunami which lashed the archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar and “The Patriot” which is a marine terrorism edge-of-the-seat thriller.

1. What inspired you to start writing?

The answer to this one is very simple and honest. I write for the love
of writing.

2. Considering both your novels are based in the vast emptiness of the
oceans / seas, how much do your experiences as a navy engineer
influence your thought process? And how much of that reflects in your
writing?

One situation which urged me to start writing is the solitude of the
oceans (though the inclination had been always there). Once I start
writing in my cabin, in the middle of some ocean or the other, it is
always the ocean dominating the proceedings and invariably it ends up
as the key player. Though both my books are pure works of fiction, my
merchant navy background helps me to do away with a lot of research
which otherwise would have been very cumbersome.

3. What are your comments on the thriller genre of books by young
Indian writers considering the fact that mostly a lot of college based
novels have flooded the market these days?

To be honest, I have not had much of chance reading thriller novels
from Indian authors. I have read all the books of Chetan Bhagat and
the one and only one from Arundhati Roy. Apart from that, I’m afraid
I’m not in a position to comment.

4. Any incidents / challenges you faced as a navy engineer (like in
the book) you would like to share with us?

I have not had much of an experience regarding piracy or terrorism
during my sailing days. But I’ve had a lot of inputs from my sailing
friends which had helped me partly in building up the threads. Like
the case of the Master of a vessel who successfully thwarted the
attempts from Somali pirates for three hours to board the vessel.
But for my first book, I was sailing the sea of Andaman and Nicobar
when the Tsunami struck and had a lot more of first hand information
about the subject.

5. Do you think we are still jingoistic as a nation? Or things have
become much better than before with Pakistan?

My personal opinion is that we Indians are not at all jingoistic, at
least when compared to other nations. Considering that we have been at
the receiving end post independence,  I like to believe that we are a
nation which believes in fair play. Things getting better with
Pakistan actually is wishful thinking, especially since we have the
ghost of Bangladesh episode riding on our back.

6. How do you manage your time between writing and work?

For me writing is a means of relaxation, and for that matter work and
writing does not interfere with each other. I normally write for two
hours a day late into the night, after all the demands of my job are
met with. I don’t think I can invent a better means to unwind after a
day’s toil.

7. Any message for the interested to-be-writers out there?

I am  too much of an amateur to be doing that. But I would still like
to share a thought, which actually is more of an experience. I have
always found that if I have to stop writing in the middle and think
for a few moments what the next sentence is going to be, then I’ve
invariably found that the next one is going to be stressed one. And
that is the time when I stop writing for the day.

8. Are you currently working on any other book?

No, I am not.

Thanks so much Jims for sharing your thoughts and views on writing and a lot more.