Gautam Mayekar is an ethical hacker by profession, working for an American IT firm. Born and brought up in Goa, he hails from a family of teachers, writers, and librarians. He grew up reading books of every genre.

I’m So Hacked is the debut book of Gautam Mayekar. It’s a techno-psycho thriller, a rare genre in India. Gautam says that he wanted to give the readers something different to read and think about, rather than a plain love story.

He has won several prizes in online writing prompts, including the recent contest held by Half Baked Beans.

Read on as author Gautam Mayekar talks about his book, life as a writer and hacker, lessons he learned after publishing the first book, best cybersecurity practices for smartphones, and more.

1. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and an overview of your book—I’m So Hacked.

Hi, I am Gautam. I was born and brought up in Goa and currently working in Pune in a software firm – TIBCO, as a Product security analyst.

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My book, I’m So Hacked, is a Techno-Psycho Thriller. It is a story of a reclusive hacker @v! and how he and his three friends plan a cyber-attack on the country’s technological unit. Will they succeed? Will they create the “change” that they desire? Or is there something else to this whole plot? 

2. Where did you get the idea behind the story of I’m So Hacked? Do the characters come from real-life incidents or from your own imaginations?

I would say the characters are very much inspired by real-life people. The idea came to me when I was working in an anti-virus company a few years ago and chasing an unknown hacker who kept evading us. I blogged about the cat and mouse chase and later compiled those posts into this novel with an addition of a fictional plot. 

3. Tell us about the journey after the manuscript was ready on your laptop. How much time did you take to finish writing the book?

The blog posts were written a year prior to the compilation of this book. I sent the sample chapters/ pitch to various publishers and forgot about it.

It is only when 5 of them came back to me with a request for the full manuscript that I started writing seriously. Then it was all about putting in some extra hours after office and sacrificing weekend plans. The book was ready within 2 months.

4. Being a professional ethical hacker and still finding a path towards writing a techno-psycho thriller. Please elaborate.

Well, I have always been writing sporadically and blogging about daily quirks. I wrote a lot of romantic posts in past and thought about writing a book. But I didn’t want to enter this already stagnated “Engineers love story” Indian market with another love story.

So when these fictional write-ups on hacking started garnering good views/ hits, I was pushed by my friends/ colleagues/ blog readers to approach the publishers. I thought there were very few books in this segment in India; I wanted to give the readers something different to read and think about.

5. What sort of reviews you are getting from the readers?

People absolutely love the cover (yeah, big thanks to Leadstart design team for that). And they like the way I have explained all the complex hacks/ technical jargons with the usage of simple examples. All the hacks mentioned in this book are realistic and not some magical punching of keys and “access granted”. Readers have also liked the office politics part and the psychotic thrill which is the theme throughout.    

Book Review: I’m So Hacked by Gautam Mayekar

6. Three lessons that you learnt after publishing your first book?

First, it is not very easy for new authors to get published traditionally these days. So, I consider myself really lucky and thank Leadstart for the opportunity.

Second, marketing and scaling is something which is really challenging in this age where people are less inclined towards reading. Reaching out to everyone on a personal level is more and more important. 

Third, create good content, try and write something different and your book will be taken well by readers. 

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7. As an ethical hacker, please share 3-4 best cybersecurity practices with our readers that can help in protecting smartphones from getting exploited.

– Do not click on malicious links/ URL’s, in the sophisticated cybersecurity world that we live in, most of the exploitation still needs user interaction. Stay alert.

– Change your passwords often and use a strong password with special characters.

– Being active on social media doesn’t mean barking out your dog’s name and your mom’s maiden name.

– Check the authenticity and reviews of any apps before downloading them.

8. What are your other passions apart from ethical hacking and writing?

I like to go on long drives, mostly alone. 

I play TT and love watching football.

9. A quick-fire round:

Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful person?

Hard work. Luck runs out, hard work always pays off.

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?

I am definitely hacked 😀

Whom do you consider your icons when it comes to writing? Any favourite authors?

Harold Robbins, Mark Russinovich

What compliment do people give you the most?

Apart from my writing, they like my carefree and “don’t give a f*ck attitude”

10. What’s next for Gautam Mayekar? When do we expect your new book?

Soon, Pretty soon. Another book in the Hacker series is already in pipeline. *fingers crossed *

Buy I’m So Hacked book by Gautam Mayekar

Related author interviews:

Alisha Nandeshwar, Author of No More No Less

Robert A Cozzi, International Award-Winning Poet

Charmi Vyas Mehta, Author of Soulmate

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