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?