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“I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.” – Kiran Manral

Today on our blog guest post we have with us the multi-talented and award winning SKP_1568author Kiran Manral, the author of Saving Maya and The Face at the Window besides several other books. Her recent release,  Missing, Presumed Dead, is getting rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Let’s find out what this book is all about.

What is the inspiration behind your recent release, Missing, Presumed Dead?

Many a times, inspiration strikes you when you least expect it. You don’t even think of it as inspiration. At others it marinates within you, settling deep within your brains, snaking its tentacles around your thoughts until you can’t help but write the story that demands to be written.

For me, Missing, Presumed Dead was the second. It all began, I think with the Chinese whispers of a woman of distant acquaintance, who one fine day out of the blue, upped and left home. She never returned. She was never found, nor did the husband attempt to find her. No missing person’s complaint was filed. She left behind two children, both rather young. The son was a toddler, the girl was older. The grandparents moved in to take care of the children, the husband didn’t get married again. Of course, we moved away from that neighbourhood, and that story went the way all stories go, into the filing cabinet of my brain. It wasn’t until much later, when I was married and had a child of my own that one fine day I thought about what must have compelled a woman to go away and leave her children behind. It was something incomprehensible to me. What made living with her husband and children so unbearable that she would rather disappear to never be found again, what was her story, why was there no attempt to track her, was there something, we, the onlookers didn’t know, was it an amicable separation, was it a loveless marriage, was there sexual incompatibility, was there emotional abuse, or was there someone else she loved and went away with.

Women’s stories are often secondary in a marriage. Their stories are told through the prism of being a wife, a mother. I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.

That’s what happens with my protagonist Aisha, she goes away, unwittingly, and never comes back. Her husband doesn’t file a missing person’s complaint for her. Her children, bewildered at the loss of a mother, pick themselves up and try to cope the best they can. What compelled Aisha to stay away, why did she never come back, how marriages can become stifling cages, her battle with mental illness, these and more make up the book, Missing, Presumed Dead.

missingpresumeddeadfrontcover (1)

 

PRESS RELEASE

oAWLWdXIpresents

a must read psychological thriller

Missing, Presumed Dead

by

Kiran Manral

“A gripping and sinister tale. Kiran Manral holds you with every page.”

– Ashwin Sanghi

 

Missing, Presumed Dead is a disturbing look into a broken marriage that has been torn apart by emotional distance and mental illness. The book takes us down scary pathways where we are forced to reckon with ugly truths about love and death, and the loss of everything we hold dear—including ourselves. The novel is a mystery cum drama, packed with all the elements that make a thriller.

 

The reader is left to keep guessing till the very last page!

 

Blurb:

 

In a dysfunctional marriage, it may seem convenient when the wife commits suicide, but things aren’t always what they seem…

Battling both a fractured marriage and the monsters in her cranium, Aisha leads a sequestered life on the outskirts of a bustling tourist town in the hills of North India. She struggles to stay functional, and tries to wean herself off the pills that keep her from tipping over the edge. Prithvi, the husband she loved once, seems as eager to be rid of her, as she is to flee from him. Only her children keep her tethered to her hearth.

One rainy afternoon, the last thing Aisha expects to see is a younger version of herself at the door. It is Aisha’s half sister, Heer, her father’s illegitimate daughter from another woman. Despite her misgivings, Aisha lets her into the house, and she stays over. Two days later, Aisha goes into town and never returns. Seemingly unperturbed, Heer slips into her missing sister’s shoes effortlessly, taking charge of the house, the kids, and even Prithvi, who responds to her overtures willingly.

A note found in Aisha’s wallet states that she has taken her own life, though strange happenings leave plenty of room for doubt. But, if she is not dead, where is Aisha? Is she really dead? Did she commit suicide as the note found in her wallet states? Has she been abducted, run away or in hiding? Why does Prithvi not grieve for his deceased wife? And why does Heer walk out of the house one fine day, leaving no forwarding address?

As it examines the destruction a dystopian marriage and mental illness leave in their wake, Missing, Presumed Dead brings us face to face with the fragility of relationships, the ugly truths about love and death, and the horrifying loss of everything we hold dear, including ourselves.

More about the author

 

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective, in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Saving Maya; horror with The Face at the Window and nonfiction with Karmic Kids, A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up and True Love Stories. Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey and Boo.

She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and was a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) supported by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, Government of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. Her novella, Saving Maya, was long listed for the 2018 Saboteur Awards, UK, supported by the Arts Council England.

 

For interviews, reviews and excerpts please call or email:

Megha Parmar, 9711404608, meghaparmar@manjulindia.com

 

PB | Fiction | 268 pp | Rs 350

Buying Links

 

 

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“I turned to writing and blogging as an outlet for my thoughts and words so seeing my book on the Amazon charts has been a dream come true.” – Inderpreet Uppal

Today on the guest blog post we have the renowned book blogger, reviewer, freelance writer and  editor Inderpreet Uppal. She now boasts a new feather in her crown as the author of her recently published work Generously Yours.

We would love to know her journey as an author and your upcoming work.

It is a pleasure to be here Paromita. A1xd3oepvhL._UX250_

My journey has been an enriching and amazing so far. I am eager to write more, publish more and get my stories to the world. I have been a writer first, as the words have been a part of me forever. I turned to writing and blogging as an outlet for my thoughts and words so seeing my book on the Amazon charts has been a dream come true.

I have been writing stories on my blog and naturally wanted to take the next step to publishing. The thought was daunting no doubt but with the help and guidance of Rubina and Team TBC, it was a breeze since they are always a message away. Every writer feels scared and apprehensive but the high of seeing the book on Amazon makes it all worth it.

The added benefit was that since I was already deep into books, my steps to publishing were more organised. Kindle Direct Publishing is a boon for authors the world over as well as for me.  Short stories usually are not individually published or appreciated but disappear into an anthology, however, Amazon has changed that and now I have the option of sharing my books and stories as I wish.

I am working on a couple of books, the foremost being We Women Wonder. I have talked about it on my social media. It is about us women and the various thoughts, issues, prejudices and assumptions we face from the world and women. It is a book close to my heart as it stems from all that we face being a woman and how we can be better.

I am also working on taking Diya’s story forward. Many of my readers requested to know more about her so ‘Diya’s Desire’ is in the works. I plan it as a full-length novel. Another romance is in the works as well as various short reads.

Thank you for hosting me Paromita, all the very best to you and your books.

More About The Author

She is a Masters in Human Resources Management and worked as a management lecturer. An Army brat, she now joins her adorable Army hubby across the country. Blogging keep her busy whenever she gets a breather from mothering her ‘too tricky to handle son’. A sprinkling of fiction, a dash of books, and a bit of opinion add to the eclectic mix.

Now Available

38319920

 

Title:           Generously Yours

Genre:         Short Stories

Blurb:

‘Love is forever’ or so thought Diya.
Shy, bookish and loving, Diya never thought she would ever need to be anything else.
Her charmed life slips away from her in ways, she never imagined.
Will Viren be able to sort the jumble of their lives or is it already too late?
A bittersweet story of life, longing, and lasting love.

 Buying Links

 

AMAZON

“Writing and Marketing are two different things. As a writer, you must have worked hard…and you know how lonely the job of writing is…”

–  Mariyam Hasnain

Today we have on our guest blog post, romance author Mariyam Hasnain who is also the

mariyam1

winner of the 2017 Times of India Write India Contest. Her short story “Portal Love” was one in the Top 50 short story entries of Write India Season 2. Mariyam loves writing dark and sassy romantic stories. She’s novelist, a short story writer, and a blogger. Her latest release The wedding planner is the talk of the town.

Today she will be sharing her best selling techniques with us. So

 

Marketing Hacks for Authors – Simple Tips to Market Your First Book

 

Okay, so you’ve written a book. Now what? Promotion and Marketing…? Phew!

A mere thought of marketing is strong enough to crush all your thinking process. (Think of writing another book with that…)

Writing and Marketing are two different things. As a writer, you must have worked hard…and you know how lonely the job of writing is…

But you love it and it’s your love for writing you prefer spending time with your computer than being in any other recreational activity.

But the hard truth is once you’re ready with your finished book, you need to reach your readers.

You may have written the best book. Got a professional cover, Hired an editor… Is that enough for getting sales or reads. What’s missing?

The answer is simple. Your book is just another needle in the haystack, It’s just another book among millions of other books. Who will read it? Where are your readers? Where do they hang out? How to reach them?

How about creating a buzz about your book that your readers automatically get drawn towards it?

Yes, you got to create a buzz about your book.

Quickly here are some ways to create a pre-launch buzz about your book:

  1. Cover Choice/Reveal: Ask whats better…Reveal the cover of the book before it’s launch. You can do this on your social media pages as well as in Facebook groups and on Goodreads.
  2. Exclusive Excerpt Reveal: Release the blurb and a short excerpt of the book a week or two before its release. Share it on your social pages, Facebook groups, and Goodreads.
  3. Offer FREE first sample chapter: This could be used as a lead magnet also. Get an opt-in landing page done where people can fill up the form. In return, they will get a free chapter of your book even before its release. You can intimate them as soon as the book is LIVE. And believe me, they will be first ones to go and download your book.

I got many signups when I started offering the FREE first sample chapter of The Wedding Planner weeks’ before its release.(On my blog)

So there you go with the pre-launch buzz. Now, once the book is launched, you got to create some after-launch buzz to attract more and more readers.

  1. Reviews: Get as many reviews as possible. The more reviews you have, the more chances of your book getting noticed by Amazon as well by the readers. Never ever try to get paid reviews or use paid platforms for getting reviews. Amazon is very strict in its review policy. The moment they notice something dubious is going on, they will delete all your reviews. So keep it clean 😊
  2. Giveaways: As much as people love ebooks, there’s nothing that can beat the feel of a paperback. To draw more and more readers, set up a paperback giveaway for your book.

Setting Up a Giveaway: You can offer both Kindle and Paperback books. But with the arrival of Kindle Unlimited in India, Kindle ebooks are not much desired by the readers. So it’s the paperback that can help you build a genuine list of followers.

Paperback giveaways are also the best approach to attracting new readers to your book, gaining followers on social media and developing a fan base.

If your book is self-published, you can go for POD (Print on demand) services to have a paperback version of your book. With POD you can even get a single copy printed.

Bookwins.com is a site that helps authors set up their giveaways, totally FREE. For now, the site is offering only paperback giveaways but soon the Kindle books can also be considered for setting up the giveaways.

The site gives readers a great shopping experience. Where your books are sold for FREE. (Or as per pricing strategy)

The reader has to add the Free books to their carts and check out. And at the end of the giveaway (say if the giveaway is listed for a month), you can choose the winners through a lucky draw.

You will see how many people have entered, who are they, and where you have to ship them their free copies.

You only got to decide how many copies of print books you’re giving away.

Once done, you can advertise your giveaway on your social pages and various other facebook groups. Besides this, Bookwins.com does offer author promotion services – Including landing pages, list building, Blog development and how to write a great copy for your book ad.

So, if you feel a little inclined to know more about Bookwins.com and its giveaways, click the link below and share your experience with your pals.

These are all organic ways of buzz creation. There are many paid ways as well. For instance, you can go for blog tours, Facebook ad campaigns and submit your book to paid book promotion sites like Bookbub.

Whatever you decide, but keep in mind that the success of any book depends on a balanced mix of organic and paid reach to the readers.

That’s it for now.

To set up your first paperback Book Giveaway and reach your reader’s FREE click here:

https://netmantis.lpages.co/your-book-promo/

Know  more about the author

Mariyam Hasnain is the author of Bestsellers “The Wedding Planners and Renegade. When not writing and marketing her books she indulges in baking and reading. You can know more about her on http://mariyamhasnain.com/

 

Buying links of her latest release

 

The Wedding Planner

37647286

 

Amazon

“But to get to these fascinating nuggets, I need to combine the wide-eyed curiosity of a child with the patience of a saint.”- author Usha Narayanan

Today on guest blog post we have the popular mytho-fiction author Usha Narayanan whose latest release Prem Purana is gathering accolades among the readers. Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, media and e5d29-ushancorporate communications before becoming a full-time author. She has written several books, including ‘The Madras Mangler’, a suspense thriller, and ‘Love,Lies and Layoffs’, a Harlequin romcom. Her latest is ‘The Secret of God’s Son’, the sequel to her bestselling book,’Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’, both published by Penguin. Today she will reveal to us the research method she uses for her books.

 

Mythological love stories are very fascinating and are enjoyed by all age groups. However, the information is not easily available. Please share with us your experience in researching your material.

Thank you, Paromita, for featuring me on your blog and for the lovely question! To me, a mythological novel like ‘Prem Purana’ resembles a Gandaberunda, a fabulous double-headed eagle with a glorious tail resembling a peacock’s! Both the story and the bird are powerful and spectacular. Also, both convey beautiful lessons that guide humanity in every age. Temple carvings portray the Gandaberunda’s role in the eternal chain of life and death. A deer is swallowed by a python which in turn is captured by an elephant. A lion attacks the elephant but it is devoured in turn by a Sharabha, a form of Shiva that is part lion and part beast. The Gandaberunda, a form of Vishnu’s Narasimha avatar, then subdues the Sharabha. This is quite an interesting and thought-provoking tale!

But to get to these fascinating nuggets, I need to combine the wide-eyed curiosity of a child with the patience of a saint. Libraries, research institutes, online resources, visits to temples and historical sites, shops near them that sell booklets in the local language – everything provides food for thought. I travelled to Pancha Dwaraka, the five cities associated with Krishna, in order to write ‘Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’ and its sequel ‘The Secret of God’s Son’. When I have assembled a mass of material, I sift through the various narratives in different languages and different puranas. Every curse, every battle, every birth often has twenty variations. For instance, Ganesha has no wife in the south, but two or three in the north. I chose to go with three wives – Siddhi, Buddhi and Riddhi so that I could create distinctive characters for each of them and also devise colourful challenges for Ganesha to woo and win them!

I always take the path that excites me, the one that is unfamiliar and therefore more interesting. Or I create my own story and fit it carefully into the puranic ones, like a bard adding his own flourishes to the narrative handed down by previous generations. The ultimate aim is to excite the readers, to keep them turning the pages and finish reading with a sense of satisfaction and a smile. I hope ‘Prem Purana’ has succeeded in doing this!

Readers, please remember to leave a few lines on Amazon and Goodreads once you have read the book. I’m waiting!

Know more about the author

When she’s not juggling travelling, writing and interviews, Usha reads everything from thrillers to romances, provided her cat isn’t fast asleep on
her Kindle.

To know more about her, visit www.ushanarayanan.com or email her at author@ushanarayanan.com. Find her also at www.facebook.com/writerusha or tweet @writerusha.

Know more about the book

be120-prempurana

Today on the blog guest post we have the popular author Alka Dimri whose books  speak about the people in real life.

Her debut novel 45 Days in a Cancer Hospital was long listed for the prestigious Crossword Books award 2013. Her poems have been published in many magazines. She holds MBA degree in HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer.

Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.

Her latest release Beyond Secrets is the talk of the town. Let us get to know the author in her more and her writing journey so far.

You have been writing issue based stories. Your new book talks about broken heart and trust. But layered in a tinge of suspense. What is it all about and your expectation from the readers.

Paromita, first of all, I would like to thank you for featuring me on your blog.

Coming to your question Beyond Secrets is a story that can’t be restricted in one category, it revolves around so many issues that I had difficulty deciding it’s genre. It talks about issues of abandonment, broken trust, betrayal, child trafficking, religious issues and much more.

Sharing a bit about the plot:

Something is bizarre, Noel realizes the moment he steps in Aashiyana orphanage to volunteer as a counsellor. Aashiyana is a calm place and Noel enjoys his stint, but something is off. With each passing day he feels he is inching closer to the mysterious little boy from his childhood dreams.

Nidhi visits Aashiyana as a volunteer, and that’s how she wanted to keep it. Noel suspects something underneath her recluse behaviour and he is right. The more he learns about her, the more he is drawn towards her. And Nidhi? She isn’t allowed to love…as if love needs permission. Noel gets hopeful…

BUT…

An unexpected phone call and Noel must doubt everything he owned. The boy in his dream wasn’t a stranger after all. Suddenly he wants to escape. From truth? From love? From family? Maybe everyone. Nidhi, just healed is left back to fight new scars; alone. Forever? or will he return?

Noel thought unearthing the secrets would bring peace; he was wrong. There was a journey beyond secrets, a journey from denial to acceptance.

Beyond secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationship. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
My expectations from the readers?

My readers have left such heart touching reviews that I can’t ask for more. I am happy that people are able to connect with the characters of the story and they have felt the pain of the characters. Few of them had sleepless nights. That is the extent to which they have felt the emotions. What else can I expect? My precious readers are giving me much more than what I expected and I am really thankful to them. Just one request, please don’t give spoilers while writing a review, it takes away the charm of the story. And for the 0.5% reviewers who suggested editing, my manuscript has been edited by one of the top editors of the industry. English is complicated language and same thing can be written in many ways and we need to understand that. But then different people have different views and I respect that. Having said that, I am always open to improvement and thankful to all the reviews coming my way.

Stalk Alka Dimri @

                  

 

BEYOND SECRETS
by
Alka Dimri Saklani
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage.
 
Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions.
 
Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world.
 
Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined.
 
One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore.
 
They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again?
 
Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
Read an excerpt:
10. A Different World

The classroom was in chaos when I entered. It looked like a mini battlefield of little soldiers bombarding each other with paper balls and paper planes. Before I could get a grip on the situation blackness seemed to engulf the scene before me, revealing another scene, hazy, like a dusty video film taking me to a different world where no colours existed except shades of grey; a classroom with empty first rows, far off, images of children yelling and flying airplanes… A wave of sadness crept in, a feeling of hollowness. Amid this chaos? Wasn’t it strange? Were these the same children who had forced their way into my thoughts when I was in the park? Were these known faces? Before I could become a part of the unreal the clamour faded as a strict commanding voice pierced through the din.

“Pranil!”

“Yes ma’m,” I said.

The scene dissolved and I found Simin staring at me in disbelief. “What happened?” she asked with a puzzled expression.

My head was spinning.

“Nothing, I thought you called me.” I said.

“I called Pranil. But what happened to you? You stood with your eyes shut. You ok?”

Oh, so that was her voice. Then why did I hear another voice, something from a distant, hazy corner of my mind? Or was it solely my imagination? Or a moment when imagination collided with reality?

“Yeah, am absolutely fine.” I said, looking away, not meeting her eyes.

“Pranil, I need to talk to you. Please come to my cabin after your prayers are over.” Simin said.

“Yes, ma’m.” The voice came from the last bench, from a boy with dishevelled hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion.

The dizziness made me uneasy and I couldn’t contribute much to the class that day. I walked to Simin’s cabin after the session.

I was not sure how I would collect the information. I wasn’t even sure what information I wanted. As soon as Simin saw me she started discussing a few things she wanted me to do.

“Noel, will you be able to go to… she paused. “You look disturbed. Are you ok?”

“Yeah.”

“You can tell me if anything is bothering you.”

“The boy you wanted to meet in the morning.” Not sure what was stopping me from speaking out his name.

“Pranil?”

“Yes.” I paused. “Pranil.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.

“What about him?”

“Can you tell me something about him?”

“Like what?” She disconnected her phone that had just started ringing.

“Like…like…how old is he? Since when has he been here? Why did his parents leave him? Anything.”

“Anything. Hmmm.” She thought for a while. “Pranil is about 10 years old, he has been here since the last four years. His father died and his mother, who was a house maid, wanted to re-marry. The man she wanted to marry was not ready to accept responsibility of a son, therefore she left him here. But why are you asking all this?” She again silenced her beeping phone.

“I think I know him. Or someone by that name… or… or…” I didn’t know how to explain something I was still struggling to understand. I didn’t want her to disconnect her phone for the third time for my silly questions so I left the room leaving her gaping at me.

Later in the day I met Pranil. He was painting something when I reached him.

“Hello Pranil, can I sit here?”

He nodded.

“What are you doing?” I asked him.

“I am drawing a house.” He showed me the few scribbled lines in his notebook.

“Wow! This is a very good drawing.”

He smiled shyly.

I expected some connection to my foggy feelings as I talked to him. But no snapshots, no voices, no images followed. As if he was not the Pranil who played in my mind, the Pranil in my mysterious imagination was someone else, someone close to me yet far away, someone known to me yet a stranger. Something in my own self was unknown to me, an enigma and it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling. I just wanted to drag out the stranger from me but every time I tried the stranger gripped me tighter as if slowly becoming an inseparable part of me like my blood and my veins.

 
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“I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity.” – Saiswaroopa Iyer

Today, I would like to welcome Saiswaroopa Iyer, author of Abhaya, on my blog for a guest post.14706559

Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa’s interests include Startups, Economics, Carnatic Music, Philosophy, Politics, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

She currently lives in London and loves to read and write.

Her new release Avishi is topping the bestseller charts on amazon. We want to know her secret.
 

How difficult is the research for your story especially when it is even older than Ramayana and Mahabharata stories?

Researching for stories from Ancient literature and civilizational past come is a unique roller coaster ride for an author. There is a euphoric feeling about ‘discovering’ this new character who is so less talked about. There is also this exhilaration that a writer feels when he/she gets ‘the calling’ from the character to write that unsung story. At the same time, there are challenges. My challenge was about re-imagining the ancient Vedic world, the society and the setting which was far older than Mahabharata and Ramayana.

I have to confess it was not easy; especially after writing Abhaya for which the research was already done by generations of stalwarts and all I had to do was read up and plug the story into the dense narrative of Mahabharata. Avishi on the other hand required me to dwell a lot upon the world and the times besides the actual plot. I remember the phase where I would stop at every line and wonder about the tools they used, the vegetation, the fabric they wore and the dynamics between people. Minor characters and their backgrounds had to be worked out in detail though their appearance wa35613023s only for a scene or two. But in hindsight, I am happy to have spent all that time and effort because at the end of the day, that was what increased my confidence. With each session of tough research/pondering, I became more confident about the story as well as creative assumptions going into the process.

That said, the fact that the story is so ancient also gave my creative wings, a new lease of life. For once, it felt exhilarating to discover that I, as the writer had so much liberty to reimagine the ancient world. The Rig Vedic sources mentioned the story only in about 6 shlokas of two lines each and the commentary by Sayana added to its interpretation. But writing a full length novel required me to deploy my creative abilities to the maximum. I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity. This is my biggest take away from the whole experience.

Know more about the author

      Stalk her @ 

                  

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“One of the biggest challenges that any author has to face while writing a historical novel is to hone the language to match the period.” – Sumeetha Manikandan
Today on our guest post we have Sumeetha Manikandan, one of the top

sumeetha
Sumeetha Manikandan

bestselling romance author whose novellas ‘Perfect Groom’ and ‘These Lines of Mehendi’ (which was published as a paperback novel called ‘Love Again’) have been on the top of Amazon India charts ever since its publication. A bookaholic, thinker, feminist and a daydreamer, she reads across genres and is a crazy fan of history, romance and science fiction novels.

Her latest release Ponni’s Beloved is the work of English translation of one of the best classics of Tamil literature, Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan.
 

How difficult it was for you to do the translation because recreating the same magic with words in a different language is not easy especially when the book has stayed with book lovers for generations?

The first thing that anybody ever told me about translating was that ‘how can you write this classic in English?’ ‘How would you capture the nuances of one language into another?’ Speculation was endless as was criticism. Even today, I tend to read some passages and wonder whether I could have written them differently. I guess it’s a struggle that all translators undergo.

One of the biggest challenges that any author has to face while writing a historical novel is to hone the language to match the period. That said, one needs to be careful that they do not go overboard with their ‘thy’ and ‘thou’ (especially if you are writing a dark age or medieval novel) because today’s reader would find it disruptive. The other extreme of this argument would be to write novels where well-known historical characters utter words such as ‘dammit’ ‘bloody’ ‘What the F@#$’ which totally spoils the book for the reader.

Finding a middle ground here is very important. The language needs to be formal and yet must not be too archaic and nor it must be too modern. It needs to be fusion of neutral and formal – perfect enough to remind the reader that they are in a certain era in the historical timeline.

As a reader, I had to abandon many a book for this reason. The only times I have really persevered is when the plot is good enough to stir my curiosity that I chose to endure the bad language just to find out what happened to the protagonists in the end.

Ken Follet’s Pillars of Earth makes a great example here. Basing the plot in 12th century, the author doesn’t use archaic language (the kind for which you need a dictionary to consult for every other word) and yet he cleverly ushers us into medieval England and soon we are worried as to who would rule over the Kingdom.

While perfecting the language was just half the struggle but getting the humour right was important too especially in Ponni’s Beloved.

Ponniyin Selvan’s hero is a muti-faceted character. He was not only brave, courageous, daring and rash but also quite funny. His interactions with the rest of the characters results in situational comedy, eliciting peels of laughter from the readers.

That was the biggest challenge that I had to face. What might seem funny in tamil might just fall flat in english so I had to work around the language a lot and write many versions until I could get it right.

I will be the first to admit that much is indeed lost in translation. So those readers who can read Tamil must enjoy this classic in its original language.

The Schedule of the Tour can be seen here 



Ponni’s Beloved 

Volume 1. New Floods 

by 

Sumeetha Manikandan

 
 



Blurb

 

Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice and pure love.

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Excerpt

“I have brought important information for all of you. That’s why I asked the noble Sambuverayar to invite us all here. Maharaja Sundara Chola’s health has been steadily deteriorating. I secretly asked our royal physician, and he says that there is absolutely no chance of his health improving. His days are numbered. And it is up to us, to think about the future of the royal throne.”
 
“What do the astrologers say?” asked one of the noble men.
 
“Why ask the astrologers? Haven’t you seen the comet that has been appearing in the sky, for the past few weeks? They say whenever a comet appears, there will be death in the royal family,” said another.
 
“I have asked the astrologers as well, and they say that the king might live for some more time. Anyway, we will have to decide who should ascend the throne next,” said Pazhuvetarayar.
 
“What is the use of discussing that now? Aditya Karikalan was made the Crown Prince two years ago,” said one of the noblemen.
 
“True. But before he took that decision, did Sundara Chola consult any of us? We all have stood by the Chola Kingdom with loyalty and have sacrificed our sons and grandsons in the battlefield. Even now warriors from each of our clans have gone to Elangai to fight for the Chola Kingdom. Don’t you think we deserve the right to be consulted about who should be the next heir to the throne? Even King Dasaratha asked his council of ministers, before deciding to crown Rama. But our Sundara Chola didn’t think it necessary to consult anyone…”
More about the author
An avid reader of historical novels, she has been translating Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan for the past ten years and hopes to translate more of his novels to English.
Sumeetha is married to filmmaker K.S. Manikandan and lives with her nine-year-old daughter in Chennai.”
 
You can stalk her @ 
      Climbing The Charts

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“The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept” – Deepti Menon.

Today in the blog guest post we have with us the author who hones many feathers in her cap besides being a writer. She is a teacher, journalist, an army kid and later an army wife

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Deepti Menon

too. Her first novel, Arms and the Woman, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa publishing house in the year 2002. Today she will be sharing with us her new release, The Shadow in the Mirror, published by Readomania.

Q : The cover is so compelling that one would always like to know what is the book about? Please share how did you conceptualize the idea of this book.

Deepti: Paromita, thank you so much!

The cover is special, indeed!  Let me come to the second part of your question first. The story originated from a tiny seed of an idea, which I wanted to put across to my readers, and it is from there that the whole story evolved. The narration kept getting more complex as the threads were woven together in separate patterns, till they all came together in a tapestry that, hopefully, shines forth.

The book begins with the death of a young lady named Nita, and numerous other stories come together, seemingly unconnected, till the denouement where the mystery is solved. My biggest hope was that no spoilers would pop up and ruin the suspense of the story.

The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept, and the full credit for it should go to Dipankar Mukherjee. We sat down and looked at numerous options, starting from a charcoal sketch, called ‘The Chaste Kiss’  that was done by an Army friend of my father’s, a absolutely brilliant sketch. However, it was all in greys and whites, and would not have looked as effective as the cover of a book.

So then the search began for the perfect cover, and finally Dipankar and his designer came up with the present image in four different covers. The blue looked riveting, with the red bindi in stark contrast and that is how the cover came into being.

More about the author

Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. She also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels.
In 2002, her light hearted book, ‘Arms and the Woman’, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi. This was written mainly to reveal the warmth and camaraderie within the great institution. She is now working on her second book that is a work of fiction, and not- to-be divulged yet!

Follow the author

 

Shadow In The Mirror 

by

Deepti Menon

 
Publisher: Readomania 

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The Story:

It all begins with a death. Nita, a pregnant woman falling from her balcony becomes the string that unravels the plot. Her death casts a shadow over many lives; her heartbroken father, her husband and Vinny, a young journalist, drawn in by the whiff of foul play and murder.
What follows are stories within stories, eras and worlds colliding with each other, leaving behind splintered relationships and mesmerizing slices of lives that appear to be drawn together and driven apart by the whimsical threads of destiny.
As events cast their shadows ahead to link the stories of Vinny, Kavita, Roma, Krish and Nita in an unrelenting knot, a journey starts to uncover the truth. What is the secret that links Nita’s death to the other characters? Will Vinny be able to unravel the mystery of Nita’s death?
From intimate diary entries and letters, to bantering over a meal and sharing memories while spring cleaning, this novel de-familiarizes the ordinary, presenting a kaleidoscope of our own pasts, broken edges and pulsating hearts.
 

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Amazon.com| Amazon.in | Amazon.co.uk

 

Also Available on #KindleUnlimited 

“I am a writer who steals hidden inspirations from real life.” – Jatin Kuberkar

Today on the Blog Guest Post we have with us the software engineer turned author Jatin Kuberkar. They say,take an ounce full of imagination and a scoop of humour. Mix them well. Now put a few teaspoons of feelings and emotions and simmer until it smells good. Add spices for taste. Put the mixture on the platter of dreams and garnish it with a few peanuts of desires and some herbs of passion – that’s all it takes to be Jatin Kuberkar.

Jatin Kuberkar

 

Jatin is a software engineer by day and a passionate writer by night. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin likes to express his inspirations in the form of poetry, short stories, novels and essays.

Author of two other books, Rainbow Dreams, a collection of poetry and While I Was Waiting, a collection of short stories.

Today Jatin is going to share his inspiration behind his new release, Cabbing All The Way.

How did Cabbing All The Way happen?

We were a group of 12 people working in the same company, living in the same residential locality but travelled with different means to our workplace that was 40 kms away. I was a part of this crazy ‘shared’ cab group idea that was ‘invented’ to ease our daily travel pain. None in the group shared a similar interest, except for the NEED of travelling together. The journey went on for four long years, with adjustments and compromises…This is just what we do in our life, is it not? We don’t look for permanent solutions, in fact there are no permanent solutions!, we solve a problem just for the moment and move on to the next one…we try to get the best out of every present moment rather than waiting for a perfect one…it works until it works and the rest is uncertain. This was pretty much the same with the world inside our cab.

I am a writer who steals hidden inspirations from real life. So, at a certain point in our journey, I realised that this story of daily struggle for survival, in the wrap of humour, need to be told to the world.In 2013 I started compiling incidents and experiences into a book, for this one I maintained handwritten notes. Almost a year later, I had enough material but the climax. The ending of the story came to me in a special way. That was a time in our cab when quarrels, misunderstandings and frustrations were at an all-time high. Work at office was also demanding. The cab service itself was not functioning promptly because our regular driver had left.Every day we would talk about giving up on the cab. But, we managed the situation in an excellent way and the cab survived – this gave me an idea for the climax.

More about the author

 
He lives in Hyderabad and adorns polymorphic forms in his personal life as a son, a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, an observer, a critic and the list goes on… He is an ardent lover of Hyderabadi biryani and is a worshipper of chaai. If granted a boon, Jatin would love to learn magic from Hogwarts and fly around on a broom stick.
 

Stalk him @

  

 

 

 
CABBING ALL THE WAY
by
Jatin Kuberkar
 
Blurb
 
Twelve people agree to an idea of running a shared transport service from a common residential locality to their out-of-civilisation office campus. Twelve different minds with equally diverse personalities gel with each other to fulfil a common need. At first, the members collide on mutual interests, timings, priorities and personal discipline, but in the course of their journey, they become best friends, make long-lasting relationships, mentor and help each other on various mundane matters. The journey goes on fine until one day some members try to dictate terms over the group. The rift widens with each passing day, the tension surmounts and finally all hell breaks loose… Will the journey continue? Fasten your seatbelts for the journey is about to begin…
 
Read an excerpt @

Readomania 


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