Andrew Harris

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Andrew Harris

Why set your book in India?
I’ve fallen under the spell of India. I love the diversity, optimism and energy of her people, even when faced with insurmountable odds. Indians see life as a gift and genuinely believe that things will work out. My book looks at poverty and its horrendous human consequences – trafficking, crime, prostitution, child slavery, disease and premature death. It is pure fiction and written to be positive, uplifting, inspirational and thought-provoking. If any country can eradicate poverty, India can do it…..and is doing it.

How do you change the world through crime fiction?
I believe the world is changed Bottom-Up not Top-Down. People change the world not politicians. For proof, ask Al Gore who has been trying for 40 years to get politicians to listen to the arguments on climate change. To mobilise people power there is greater opportunity today than ever before. I love the popular appeal of crime fiction in its various formats – books, films, TV serials, social media, audio, etc. The Da Vinci Code sold 80 million copies in 44 languages and grossed over $200m at the box office. I want Litany to stimulate a world-wide debate on how we can eradicate poverty, once and for all time.

What’s the connection with Chennai?
Chennai, one the largest and most attractive cities in India, has achieved dramatic improvements over recent years with higher education standards, better medical facilities, employment prospects, economic growth, advancements in industry and computer technology, and last year joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in recognition of its rich and vibrant musical heritage.
Despite this progress, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) reported a 51% increase in slums in Chennai from 2001 to 2014. There is a commitment to clear the slums and provide decent living conditions for everyone. For me, Chennai provides the ideal setting to stimulate debate on eradicating poverty.

What specifically are you hoping to achieve?
Through my visit to Chennai I’m looking to achieve 4 things: charity fundraising, extending my network of contacts with like-minded professionals, stimulating debate and focusing media attention on the issues involved in poverty. I am donating $1 per book sold to a Rotarian charity that is doing great work rehabilitating the victims of trafficking and prostitution from the slums of Mumbai. It is a worthwhile cause and all the money raised will go to the people who need it.

There is a connection to Einstein in your book. How could his work eradicate poverty?
Most people believe Einstein was a genius; an iconic scientist who changed our view of the world. There is no doubt his work created a paradigm shift in our thinking – but was it all his own work? My interest in Einstein concerns the molecular properties of electricity. To find out more, read the book!

The book features some strong Hindu characters. How did you research Hinduism? Are you a spiritual person?
I spoke to Hindus, read extensively on Hinduism, visited numerous temples and watched many films and documentaries on this fascinating religion. The concept of Moksha and the importance of Samsara feature strongly in the book. I am becoming more of a spiritual person as I write these books. I believe we are losing our spiritual connection which is proving detrimental to our progress as a species.

The book is the second in your Human Spirit Trilogy. What’s the message you want your readers to understand?
Very simply that humanity is a unique and wonderful creation capable of doing anything we set our minds to. The Human Spirit is irrepressible. But we have a dark side that, left unchecked, can cause unimaginable suffering and destruction. I can see how greed, self-interest, politics and other social diseases are undermining our future success. My first book looked at why there is no cure for cancer. This book addresses the issues surrounding poverty. If we created these problems, we can find solutions.

Tell us about your next book, More. Where does the action take place?
Over the next thirty years there will be more food produced and consumed than throughout our entire history. Already we are seeing some of the consequences of agriculture on an industrialised scale. Exponential growth in the spread of diabetes will make it one of our biggest killer diseases. My next book – More – will look at diabetes, food addiction and why the craving for More doesn’t make us happier. The action is set in present day South America with historical links to Europe. It is scheduled for publication at Easter 2019.

What do your readers need to know about you as a person?
I have been blessed with the talent of storytelling. It has taken me fifty years to discover this. By writing well researched books that are entertaining – informative – thought provoking, I want to engage with readers who – like me – want to make the world a better place. I have a deep social conscience and feel the need to put something back, to help those who have been less fortunate than me. I feel enormously grateful for having lived such a happy, healthy and normal life. From humble beginnings in 1950’s Liverpool, I have enjoyed a rewarding career in people management, travelled the world, met some wonderful people and now feel part of a rich network of family and friends. The Human Spirit Trilogy is just the beginning of my new writing career.