Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Destiny of Shaitan by Laxmi Hariharan Blog Tour Guest Post/Interview

YA epic fantasy novel The Destiny of Shaitan is a delicious blend of gods & humans, offering a glimpse into your own power. 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. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path.

Tiina wants Yudi to destroy Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Shaitan being killed by his son. But she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight, even kill Tiina. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan’s ultimate destiny be fulfilled?

Do you have to be a celebrity to get a book deal?
by Laxmi Hariharan

Girls creator Lena Dunham signs book deal worth more than $3.5m. The headlines screamed, going onto elaborate how this twenty-six-year old filmmaker will deliver an advice book on essays about sex, mortality and food for Random House. I don’t know if you have seen Girls, currently renewed for its second season for HBO. One of my friends dismissed it rather unkindly as a Sex and the City for losers, and without any of the fashion. I had chuckled on hearing it. While I don’t reject Girls that easily, it’s quite clever really and uncomfortably based on the author’s real life experiences, I did wonder looking at the credits of the show—written, directed, created and acted in—by the same person, a young girl in her early twenties, how one person could be so prodigiously talented as to have delivered an entire TV series single handed and while so young.

The plot keywords on IMBD for Girls is enlightening : Sex Talk | Drinking Alcohol | Sex Scene | Tattooed Woman | Female Nudity… Hmmm! What’s not to crowd please here eh? In fact there is one entire episode in which the young female protagonists, talk only about their vaginas, in such an extremely clinical & forthright fashion that it would put Samantha from Sex & the City to shame. As I began to wonder if all the genius of the twenties’ generation was distilled into just this one person, I stumbled across the fact that Dunham’s parents are both well-known members of the art world in New York, and the girls who play the Girls are all children of famous parents. Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) is the daughter of playwright David Mamet, Jemima Kirke (Jessa) is the daughter of former Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke and Allison Williams (Marnie) is the daughter of newscaster Brian Williams. That was when the penny dropped. In the moment of clarity which followed I began to question

Does one have to be a celebrity to seal a massive book deal?

Look around you and you will find that most of the books on the best-seller lists are from those who are already personalities (well-known chefs, sports-men, Hollywood actors or Olympians in the non-fiction category.) And, of course if you are well known journalist, then you have a much better chance of being signed up by an agent or a publishing house right?

What role does connections play in your writing being recognised?

That all important networking question. Even in today’s online connected world, nothing beats being born into privilege, so you can capitalise on the platform your parents have already built over their lifetimes. A word whispered to the right person at the right time, opens that elusive door giving you a step over the threshold of that exclusive club of authors on the world stage.

As I pondered these questions, a few things became clearer. I’ll never be a celebrity (atleast not in the traditional sense) but in my Indie Avatar I can definitely influence people by building my own platform. In my little world this means blogging and sharing my opinion on what I feel most strongly about through platforms which amplify the reach of my voice. My blog (to borrow from Ayn Rand, its one small voice, but it’s my opinion nevertheless) is a great way to hone my idea. The more I write, the more I get clearer about what I am trying to say both in the non-fiction and in the fiction world. I have found that it’s even more impactful if I am able to blog on larger platforms where a community of readers is already present. Blogging is a great quick win, to keep me going. And, well talking about connections, maybe I don’t have a direct line to those who are the Gods of the publishing or movie industry, but hey I have something better, for I am part of a community of fantastic supportive bloggers around the world.

The power of the word-of-mouth of people like you and me is growing every-day. Technology is surely the greatest leveller. It means you can reach across borders, break out of the confines of the traditional and get your voice out there to anyone you want. A lot of what holds me back is in my mind, I realise. All I have to do is to be really confident about my abilities as a writer. To be is to become. That has always been the most challenging thing though. How to believe in yourself in face of all the critics who tell you, you can’t. It seems the connections are more about connecting with myself and that which is inside me. I’ve done the toughest thing which is finding my voice. Now I just to keep that link, and follow it through, one step at a time.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 

For a person who writes futuristic fantasy, it’s a strange confession, but I’d love to live in America in the roaring twenties. The French dubbed this the “Crazy Years” a time of female emancipation characterized by the Flappers—a new breed of young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, driving cars and flouting social norms—I want to find out if this is true. (I’d love to just wear the fashion of those times too.) On the flip side, I’d love to fast forward to 3017, the year my novel is set in to meet one of the half lives, the half human-half alien race who inherited the Earth from us humans.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

Michael Fassbender (is he really a combination of beauty and brains?)
Mark Zuckerberg (just how geeky is he really?)
Catwoman (love the suit of course, but love her no holds barred fighting style even more)
A grown up Arya Stark (She has to bring Needle of course; and I am curious how does someone like her who has been through so much turn out?)
Batman (he has to drive up in his batmobile)

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

My kindle, a swiss army knife, my rayban sunglasses

What is one book everyone should read?

Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It’s complex, haunting, multilayered and yet at heart a beautiful love story. It inspired my writing style to a huge extent.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?

TARA (which translates to STAR in English)

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Teleportation – so I could travel at the speed of thought and be anywhere I wanted to be.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Dark bitter chocolate, in a crunchy cone

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

Mahatma Gandhi – his courage of conviction in the face of all odds is an inspiration.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Strawberry oat crunch! Yum!

Night owl, or early bird?

Early bird, my 4 am wake-up-to-write routine is insane but effective.

Skittles or M&Ms?

M &Ms without a doubt. I am a peanut butter monster!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

When you are ready to journey into yourself, and find out about what you really want, then The Destiny of Shaitan will be there for you.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

I hope to complete Return to Seven Islands, the second book in Chronicle of the Three, by next spring, and release it on Holi—the Indian festival of colours, March 2013.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I have been writing for a long time, but two years ago I had a miscarriage, lost my baby and almost died. I came out of it with the realization that life is short. I had to get my voice out there for tomorrow is too late. This spurred to take that final step and give birth to my first born—The Destiny of Shaitan.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Meeting fellow Indie authors, the incredibly supportive book bloggers—I have to mention Abhinav Jain & Ritesh Kala who have just been incredibly supportive & become great tweet-friends—and some all around phenomenal women such as, Pavarti Taylor, Erika Szabo, Shalini Boland, Carol Wills and you Dora. All of you are incredibly switched-on, superwomen who do it all—manage your home, your family and your writing while having a clear vision of what you want your writing to achieve. I am honored to be in this company.

If you could jump in to a book and live in that world, which would it be?

Dance with Dragons (George R R Martin)

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?

Enid Blyton’s Five on Kirrin Island and Batman—the origins story comic book

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?

This is such a tough one, because I have an eclectic music taste.

You can find The Destiny of Shaitan playlist here
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 

It is in embracing my roots I found my voice. Do what it takes to find your voice and then be true to it.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?

I am going to choose an Indian Goddess, since I am inspired by Indian mythology. It would have to be my namesake the Goddess Lakshmi, the harbringer of good fortune & prosperity.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right where I am, in the centre of the universe literally, in London.

What is your favorite Quote?

It’s a line from a poem by Robert Frost "... and miles to go before I sleep…”

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I wanted to write a novel when I grew up. I didn’t realise it took many ups & down, and some soul searching life experiences to really ‘grow up.’ It took me nine years to complete The Destiny of Shaitan; it was as if I had to resolve some of my own issues before I could address my characters’ conflicts satisfactorily.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? 

Would I be too vain to say that I’d love to play myself in the film?

How did you know you should become an author?

I wrote my first poem when I was five years old; and I knew that at heart come what path I finally took I would be a writer.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?

G R R Martin for my ‘grown up’ Young Adult years & Enid Blyton for when I was a younger Young Adult. The sensuality of the settings of G R R Martin & the innocence of the characters of Enid Blyton are my inspiration.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Yes, I draw heavily from my life experiences and from the people I encounter every day. I have to admit a lot of Tiina’s quest reflects my own.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

I think The Destiny of Shaitan is a really ambitious project cross galaxies & generations; if I had known how big a canvas I was taking on, I may have paused to consider it before I jumped in

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

It was a teacher of Buddhist meditation who told me “Staying in the now is when you are really happy; and that is true spirituality; to be truly happy.” Everytime I am unhappy its because I am making too many plans, living in the future. If I pull back to the now, I am fine.

Hidden talent?

I am a qualified energy healer; I love the strength of the natural energies; that is true science fiction for me. You can’t see the power only feel its potent strength.

Favorite Food? 

Mozarella cheese, light and tasty.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

Many movies Spiderman 3 & The Dark Knight rises.

What was your favorite children’s book? 

The adventures of Noddy (Enid Blyton)


Lux (like the soap)

How do you react to a bad review? 

It’s tough, afterall its criticism of my first born. I do normally take it personally, but then I always step back and learn from it. I have always used the learnings from each, to better my writing.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?

An eagle, soaring high while providing for its young ones.

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? 

My heart

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

I would set up a fund for Indie authors

What do you do in your free time?

I love to walk in the woodlands near my home. Among the ancient trees and beautiful flowers I find peace.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 


What’s your favorite season/weather?

Autumn with her golden robes and the liminal space she provides by her transitional mood is a true inspiration for me.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I actually went to the temple, pulled up the cover of my novel on my Blackberry, and placing it before the ‘sacred square of the nine planets’ gave thanks to the higher power for bringing me this far.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Many cups of hot, sweetened Indian, masala chai (tea with spices)

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?

I am a huge romance addict. Love everything from Mills & Boon to Harlequin

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…

Dance with Dragons

Favorite music?

Very eclectic; everything from R&B to ethnic electronice

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? 

I’d really love to co-author a book with my husband who is a film journalist. Scifi meets Bollywood, my ultimate fantasy.

About the author:
Laxmi Hariharan was born in India. She lived in Singapore and Hong Kong and is now based in London. She has written for various publications including The Times of India, The Independent and Asian Age. She is inspired by Indian mythology. When not writing, this chai-swigging, technophile enjoys long walks in the woods and growing eye catching flowers.

Buy Now @ Amazon 

Genre – Fantasy / Metaphysical

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Laxmi Hariharan on Twitter, Facebook & GoodReads

This tour hosted by Orangeberry Book Tours :)

No comments:

Post a Comment