Mr Pillai was born in a small village called Haripad at his maternal grandfather’s house. His paternal grandfather was one of the pioneers in processing In-Shell cashew and exporting Cashew Kernels from India more than a century ago. He inadvertently stumbled into his role as a third-generation entrepreneur. Growing up he had the good fortune of hearing the legends and personalities associated with the cashew business from its inception. As most of these stories emanated from family retainers a sense of exaggeration was a certain ingredient. This hoary past motivated the author to pen a book on these lines.
At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I knew right from a young age that I wanted to write. I had entered my family business almost immediately after I attained adulthood. However the necessity for brevity in business communication meant that I had to be very constrained. In those days the prevailing correspondence in Cable, Telex and Facsimile was certainly terse and the idea was to get the message across in minimum of words.
What is your ‘if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?
Nothing. I don’t read such propaganda! This only leads to negative thoughts and information.
The last book you bought?
A Spoonful of Curds. I’ve just ordered it online. It’s not yet in my hands.
What did you do with your first advance?
The first receipt from the sale is in the bank working off the publication costs incurred. There is no advance as this is a self published book.
A book you wish you had written?
Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan
Characters or Plot?
Anything Rustic or Pastoral is certainly up my alley.
Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?
Shopping Receipts and electricity bills
Favourite writing snack?
Only water. I believe snacks distracts, certainly in my case.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Bringing period characters to life. Giving them a voice does give me immense pleasure.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
To buy a good fountain pen. Now I am hooked on to this after decades of using “throw away” . Now Iam rediscovering the pleasures of writing with a fountain pen for the first time after leaving school almost thirty seven years ago.!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have written and published this one “ The Cursed Treasure”. There is nothing concrete. I do have some ideas for the next one.
Do you ever judge a book by its cover?
Always. For any potential reader an attractive and relevant cover will do 20% of the enticement ! Yes, the name of the author will be the prime factor.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Well, I am already working in my family business of processing Raw Cashew nuts and selling the resultant Cashews Kernels. My family was one of the pioneers in processing and exporting Cashews from India. Thus the writing came second after almost thirty odd years of working.