Frank Kusy is a colourful character, who entertained us hugely with his book when it was going through all its stages on Authonomy, eventually reaching the dizzy heights of the Editor’s Desk. Here’s his take on how it happened.
The idea for Rupee Millionaires came to me just as I was about to become one.
I was sitting at the foot of a cockroach-infested sink in a third-class rail compartment in India, and chanting with one thought: ‘I came to India to check out Buddhism and ended up making lots of money instead. What’s that all about?’
Along with that thought came another. ‘I’ve got eight years of diaries and tape transcripts spanning the whole period of the yuppie ‘90s – a time capsule of when “Greed was Good”, if you like. Surely there must be a book in there somewhere?’
Rupees has gone through several incarnations over the course of twelve long years. It started out as a first person diary – ditched when a professional scriptwriter said ‘I learnt more about you in a 30-second phone conversation, Frank, than I did from reading the whole of your book.’ Then it went up on Authonomy (the Harper Collins website for aspiring writers) as a third person novel. That worked out better…until I started getting comments that it was too “real” to be fiction. Finally, about eighteen months ago, I plucked up my courage and reposted it on Authonomy as a first person ‘warts and all’ memoir. To my great surprise, that worked best of all.
Memoirs are tricky things though. Especially when half the characters in them are frauds, villains or drug dealers. Best case scenario: none of them get to read it – they’re either dead or banged up for life. Worst case scenario: they all get to read it and they’re queueing up to put contracts out on you. But I don’t care. When the truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction, you’ve got to print the truth, haven’t you?
One thing I’d like to know, Frank – how did you become a Rupee millionaire? Or will I have to read your book to find out…..
Ha, ha, Jane, that’s a long story, but the short answer is, I hooked up with a bald little psycho called Spud who made it his life ambition to make us rupee millionaires. Unfortunately, as soon as he did so he went pear-shaped on me and came up with a new life ambition. He wanted me dead…
Looks as if there’s another story in the making, Frank.
The rise and fall of Spud and his dreams of world domination in business is at the core of ‘Rupees’, Jane…but yes, there is another story in the making: “A Marriage made in Chemical Heaven”. That’s still awaiting its review on Authonomy and will be published in the New Year. 🙂
You found your million and your book, Frank, but did you find Buddhism?
BTW, really enjoying “Rupee Millionaires” and looking forward to “A Marriage made in Chemical Heaven”.
Did I find Buddhism? That’s a very good question, Cherry, I had to think long and hard about that. Well, I found that money and status don’t mean a hill of beans without inner peace, and I was still working on that at the end of Rupees…and right through Chemical Heaven. I guess that now I’m broke and no longer a “lakhpati” (rupee millionaire) I’m happier than I ever have been!