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Monday, November 5, 2012

Author of the Week, Laxmi Hariharan, Interview & #Giveaway!

(In the author’s words) I am a writer, technophile & dare I say, a futurist, with a penchant for chai and growing eye-catching flowers.  Wanderlust drove me out of my home country India to travel across Asia, and I lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before coming home to London.  I am inspired by Indian mythology; I draw from the stories my grandmother narrated to me as a child. It is in acknowledging my roots that I found my voice. When not writing I love walking in the woods with my soulmate, and indulging my inner geek. My debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon I would love to connect with you:

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter: @laxmi | Website | Pinterest | G+ | Klout |

Interview with Laxmi Hariharan

Holly: Hi Laxmi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Laxmi Hariharan: I am a new age migrant who left my home country to wander the world, but only on coming back home and embracing my roots did I find my voice

Holly: Describe your book? How do you come up with the idea for the book?
Laxmi Hariharan: The Destiny of Shaitan is a delicious blend of gods & humans, sacred & profane; a gripping ride offering a glimpse into your own power. Partially set in a futuristic Bombay, this coming of age story is painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world. When Tiina accompanies Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight.  The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled? Read it to find out more.

I am inspired by Indian mythology. My grandmother narrated me these amazing stories of Indian Gods and Goddesses and their fantastic adventures, when I was growing up in Bombay. So I think the seeds of this book were sown when I was a five year old. I hope The Destiny of Shaitan will introduce an entire new generation around the world to Indian mythology – in a very cool, easy to understand fashion.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Laxmi Hariharan: The Destiny of Shaitan is my debut novel and #1 in The Chronicle of the Three. The characters came first, inspired by some very unique individuals I met on my journey. I am always surprised at how they turn up in my story. I tend to take the quirky bits from different people and put them back in different combinations.

Holly: What was the inspiration for this novel?

Laxmi Hariharan: The unerring precision of being caught in that act by him sends goose pimples up her arms. She plays it out in her mind, examining it from different angles.  It was December 2003 and those were the first words I wrote and which eventually grew into a novel. A chance encounter with a stranger in the futuristic city of Hong Kong where I lived for a few years triggered off these first words for The Destiny of Shaitan. When I arrived in Hong Kong, it felt as if I had landed on an alien planet with the most bizarre things happening around me. These incidents inspired the character of Tiina, who eventually became the lead protagonist of the novel.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Laxmi Hariharan: In the Destiny of Shaitan I created a new order of the solar system set in the late 29th century to early 30th century.  In this world, the planet of Java where the readers meet Tiina for the first time, is an ideal place where rice paddies are farmed and gigantic swarms of bees roam. Bombay on the mother planet Earth on the other hand is a gritty place where Rai was left when his mother, one of Shaitan’s mistresses, escaped and gave birth to him. Compared to the lush planet of Java, Bombay and Earth are filthy, almost sordid. Very similar to Pluto which is Yudi’s adopted home planet. So in this novel, I allude to a futuristic Bombay—the original city is destroyed, leaving only the original seven islands in its place—it is here that my next novel #2 in the series, called Return to Seven Islands, is based. I stay in the same galaxy I have created for Shaitan, but zoom into the city of Bombay as a setting for the characters.

Holly: Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?

Laxmi Hariharan: I just read Queer by William. S. Burroughs, standing in a bookstore! I am working my way through the Eve Dallas series by J.D.Robb who is one of my favourite romance authors, and have also started reading Shades of Grey by E. L. James (I’ve got to find out what all the fuss is about!) I like reading a few books in parallel.

Holly: Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?

Laxmi Hariharan: After a nine year long gestation I finally delivered with no fanfare, no blood or gore. The Destiny of Shaitan, simply slipped into the real word through the vortex of my imagination. I trembled with excitement and fear and as I held the thumbnail of the book in my mind's eye, felt overwhelming relief. And a sense of closure: culminating when I pressed the go live button on Amazon. The Destiny of Shaitan was in the real world. For as long as I remember I have thought of myself as pregnant with this bookIt eluded me over the years. As I fell in love, married, moved countries, made new friends, changed jobs and miscarried in real life; hanging over it all was the finger of truth. That I had to find a way to give birth, and get the book out in the real world. I am glad I did. Now I can’t wait for my second one!

Holly: Do you think you may ever go into another genre?

Laxmi Hariharan: I am very tempted to write in the romance genre. Hence my second novel Return to Seven Islands, while still in the fantasy space, will definitely have a huge love angle. In the Destiny of Shaitan as well, central to the story is the love story between Tiina and Yudi and Yudi’s subsequent betrayal. I am partial to romance stories especially those with futuristic settings like the Eve Dallas series by J.D.Robb which is one of my favourites.

Holly: Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Laxmi Hariharan: It is a constant surprise how much I use Indian mythology as a North Star. I had to trace my memory back to when I was very little, about five or younger, and recall my grandmother telling me stories of the Indian gods and goddesses. My subconscious had soaked this up, using it as a springboard in my writing. A lot of my plotlines thus come from Indian mythology and I often look to the gods and goddesses themselves as inspiration for my characters. Tiina’s character is heavily influenced by the strong female figures in Indian mythology, particularly the goddess Uma, who is the divine mother, the supreme life energy stronger than any other god. . I hope The Destiny of Shaitan will introduce an entire new generation around the world to Indian mythology – in a very cool, easy to understand fashion.

Holly: Why this genre(s)?

Laxmi Hariharan: The fantasy genre chose me, I didn’t have a choice. Here I can make up the rules of the world as I go along. I have always remained a rebel at heart, a free-spirit and this genre seems to give me the freedom I crave for in real life.

Holly: What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?

Laxmi Hariharan: Its so exciting to start a novel, but it takes commitment, nerves of steel & courage of conviction in yourself to finish it and finally put it out there for the world to see and pass judgement on it.

Holly: Where do you see yourself at in five years—writing wise?

Laxmi Hariharan: I sincerely hope and pray that I will be writing full time. Now that I have found my voice, I can’t stop speaking. I write voraciously, not just for my novel, but also on my blog, as well for the, and I love to write guest blogs. It’s as if I am compelled to keep going. So I am asking the universe to allow me to simply express myself, by simply being me. I hope I will be finally really alive!

Holly: What is the easiest part of writing in your opinion?

Laxmi Hariharan: Umm! There is no easy part in writing a novel. Perhaps I would say that writing a 1000 word blog post is really much more enjoyable, for there is no weight of expectation, no completion needed here. You can say I like open endings!

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Laxmi Hariharan: When you are ready to take a journey into yourself, to find your real motivations, and perhaps even find answer to some of life’s questions which may be, all while being entertained on the ride, then The Destiny of Shaitan will be waiting!

Holly: Can you tell us a few do’s and don’ts for aspiring authors?

Laxmi Hariharan: Just do it! Find your voice and then get it out there. Don’t wait, for tomorrow maybe too late.

Random Quickies!

Holly: Witches or Zombies?

Laxmi Hariharan: Witches

Holly: Favorite author?

Laxmi Hariharan: G. R. R. Martin

Holly: Horror or romance?

Laxmi Hariharan: Romance

Holly: Contemporary or fantasy?

Laxmi Hariharan: Fantasy

Holly: Favorite movie?

Laxmi Hariharan: The Fifth Element

Holly: Supernatural or Psych? (TV Shows)

Laxmi Hariharan: Supernatural

Books by Laxmi Hariharan

Chronicle of The Three 
#1: The Destiny of Shaitan

Enter below to win a eBook copy of The Destiny of Shaitan Chronicle of The Three  book 1!

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