Thursday, November 8, 2012

Author Interview – Laxmi Hariharan

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
The Destiny of Shaitan’s theme song is Sting’s Desert Rose featuring Cheb Mami.Haunting lyrics, sweeping vision, Sting’s drive across the desert in search of himself to the accompaniment of Cheb Mami’s unforgettable chanting will forever in many ways define my unending quest for myself and I think has influenced Tiina’s character too
Tiina’s songs:
Miles Davis—Stella by Starlight. Beautiful, moves me to tears every night. Brings visions of the sweet scent of jasmine of warm nights which touch my skin turning it to a rough-smooth concoction of sweat & dust. It’s moody at heart perhaps like how Tiina is, torn inside.
Chamak Challo—song from the Bollywood movie featuring Akon. Pure joie-de-voivre, fun, cheeky & lively. Absolutely captures the spirit of what Tiina wants to be perceived as from the outside.
Hollaback girl—by Gwen. Gwen Stefani is one of my absolute favourite artists and an inspiration for the free-spirited, follow-your-heart, cannot-resist-a-dare Tiina. This track represents many aspects of the novel too; cool, fast-paced, action oriented, yet grounded in strong beats, with many depths to explore. I think Tiina’s personal look is reflected in Gwen Stefani’s Eastern inspired (bindi wearing, Harajuku fashion sporting, inward looking) style. In the song titled “Magic’s in the Makeup” for No Doubt’s Return of Saturn, the lyrics go “If the magic’s in the makeup/Then who am I?” You could say that is Tiina’s quest too, to find who she is.
The other songs on The Destiny of Shaitan playlist include
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Mastt Mastt. It’s a spiritual love song talking about the love for the one above us all—yet also a tribute to beauty. (Artemis’ song for Tiina)
O Saya by MIA & A R Rahman from Slumdog Millionaire. This is Rai’s song for his growing up years in Bombay.
Yudi’s song—Nirvana’s Come as you are from Nevermind. Confused, conflicted, yet lingeringly melodic.
James Blunt’s You’re beautiful, Guns ‘n Roses, November Rain, Meat Loaf’s I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that. Now you know I am a romantic at heart. (Rai’s song)
Pink Floyd’s We don’t need no Education. I loved it at sixteen I’ll still love it at sixtyAn anthem song for my non-conformist soul. (to play when Tiina, Yudi & Rai are together at the Academy of half lives)
Numb—by  U2 from Zooropa, this is the song I imagine playing on the return journey from Saturn to Arkana. (The song that would play in the very last scene….)
Karsh Kale’s heart-pounding, dream-time vision Liberation. Combines modern electronica with ancient Indian raagas (music notes) Karsh is a New York based musician who produces music at the confluence of Electronica / Fusion / Progressive. Like my life :)
Michael Jackson’s Bille Jean. Just awesome, it covers love, loss & everything in between and in such a stylised fashion.
A R Rahman’s Jai Ho, from Slumdog Millionaire. An anthem of victory of the underdog.
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)
Nickname? 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? Metamorphosis
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.
Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre – Fantasy / Metaphysical
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
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