What’s a book launch without a tantric quiz? To formally announce the launch of my new novel, The Matsya Curse, we have organised a quiz which tests your knowledge of supernatural, folklore and tantrism. If Goddess-forbid, a quiz bores you, there will be a quick book reading from The Matsya Curse and a fiery session with author Samhita Arni (of the Sita’s Ramayana fame) on our evil plan to push in a feminist agenda through humour. And samosa and tea. Free. Seriously. Come, come! There’s no reason not to.
This Sunday. At British Council Library, Bangalore
It’s happening at 4pm at the lovely venue that’s the British Council Library. It’s a Sunday post-lunch session, there’s no traffic on the road and there are delectable books to be won.
Super duper excitement happened while I was in Delhi. First of all, I saw spring come alive in the city after six years. It’s fabulous, by the way, that end of winters before they crash into the searing hot summers. The city was blushing and blooming with colours all over, Fall tussling with Spring. And I can vouch for it, for was driving from one end of the city to the other, meeting people, making new friends, signing books, talking about the art and craft of writing books (knowledgeably at that!).
The end of my Delhi trip was with a formal launch of Cult of Chaos, which HarperCollins organised in association with Oxford Bookstore and QuizCraft Global. The idea was the same as the launch in Bangalore a month before: a quiz on everything paranormal and supernatural and then a discussion about Cult of Chaos. About 70 people turned up. The house was full, more were standing in the aisles, including me and it was a young bustling, energetic crowd, with a few kids. Manasi, an editor from HarperCollins introduced the book beautifully. Sidhartha, the handsome bloke from QuizCraft offered a rocking quiz to attendees. RJ Ginnie, who kindly accepted my request to do a discussion and ask me probing questions, made the talk about the book so much fun. Most of them who attended had a good time (and told me it wasn’t a boring book launch. Including a few peeps from HarperCollins). So see, heaven had been achieved.
Except it wasn’t just that. A lot of the people who turned up were from my school, college, post grad, ex-office pals and family. For me, more than a launch, it turned out to be a series of reunions with old friends, swapping notes, hugging, crying a bit. They were all there for me, proud, excited, supportive. Wow. Am touched, out of words, giddy and rather exhausted. So here’s all the madness. In photos and comments as usual.
Since I don’t really remember much of the event myself, here’s what two literature students who were there at the quiz and stayed till the end, thought about it. They interviewed me post the event and wrote for a really nice website called ReadersClubDelhi.Com. They were well prepared with a tight questionnaire, so check out the video below if you want to see me fumble and skirt difficult questions.
Oxford Bookstore CP and Harper Collins India in association with Quizcraft Global organized a quiz – Witches and Vamps : a quiz on paranormal crime on 28th March to celebrate the launch of the novel Cult of Chaos, a tantrik thriller by Shweta Taneja.
The event began at 3:20pm with an introduction by Mansi, editor at Harper Collins and was taken over by Siddharta Gopati, the quizmaster for the day. There were sixteen teams and three rounds – written, audio-visual and still image.
The questions were thrilling and the atmosphere electric. Written round included a few questions from Cult of Chaos among the other questions. Audio-visual round was an out of the world experience with short video clips of movies like The Conjuring and The Exorcism of Emily Rose being played to be identified by the teams.
The quiz ended at a thrilling note and left the participants awestruck and yearning for more.
Manjulika’s angel, The Reluctant Quizers and SFF were the round winners. Sawalon Se Darne Walewon the overall quiz. All of them were awarded the prizes by none other than Shweta Taneja.
After the distribution of prizes, the author was in conversation with Ginny about her book The Cult of Chaos. Here is a small excerpt from the conversation –
Ginny: As we know The Cult of Chaos is a fantasy, what was your research and preparation for the book?
Shweta: I did my best research and tried to keep the book as indigenous as possible. I read sixty books on tantrism, asked people about their experiences and folk stories. The blood of my book is Indian, unlike the western magic world fantasies.
After the conversation, the floor was open to questions and an interesting assortment of questions was thrown at the author to which Taneja answered with smiles and incredulity. More serious questions regarding her novel and protagonist were also asked.
A stunning quiz, interesting discussions and a few laughs and smiles, the evening came to an end. Check out an interview with the author.
Would you like the supernatural quiz in your city? Contact me!
There will be a quiz on everything paranormal and supernatural. There will be freebies like blade-shaped bookmarks and giveaways and book prizes and snacks and laughter during the event. I confidently promise it’s going to be a blast. As much as the book is. So just come over!
Oxford Bookstore and HarperCollins
WITCHES AND VAMPS
A QUIZ ON PARANORMAL CRIME
to celebrate Shweta Taneja’s
CULT OF CHAOS
an Anantya Tantrist mystery
Think you know your supernatural sleuths?
To celebrate the launch of Cult of Chaos, the first book in the Anantya Tantrist detective series, author Shweta Taneja takes you on a dark mission through detective thrillers, supernatural mysteries and investigators who dabble with devilish crime. So brush up on popular occult shows, comics and books and get ready to stun her with your psychic best. The duel is on!
For all ages.
DAY: 28th March
TIME: 3pm – 5pm
VENUE: Oxford bookstore, Connaught Place, Delhi
A quiz so scary, we had to have it in broad daylight
Never knew that a standalone event, where people are coming just to meet you, to celebrate your book, can give one such jitters. So it was that I had had a sort of a stomach churning, a week before my first ever book launch was about to happen. I adore Anantya Tantrist, the tantrik detective of Cult of Chaos. Absolutely love the book, but how was I going to convince 50-odd people to turn up at the event and buy the book at that?
And why should they come? I’m not a known author or anything. I’m just someone. But somewhere I so wanted to somehow celebrate the book and writing and completing and getting it published. I’ve always been the curious sorts, asking questions to everyone. So I wondered, why not a quiz? The idea stuck and we decided to do not just any quiz but a special one, on Occult Detectives to entertain the crowd. I knew Anantya would like that and that way, I wouldn’t have to ramble on about the book for half an hour, or do a discussion, which can be so boring for the audience! That decided, we hired QuizCraft Global to conduct this quiz.
To start the quiz, I had asked a friend Kanishka who had read the book at its manuscript level, to say a little about it. He started from The Ghost Hunters of Kurseong, which he’d read and how he was so pleasantly surprised at Cult of Chaos, which is extensively different from my first book. (And definitely not meant for kids) I blushed and got muddled in my head, while he said really, really nice things.
Sathvik Ashok, the quiz master from QuizCraft Global took over from there and kept people entertained for almost 45 minutes, scribbling and chewing pens, hitting themselves on the head or clapping at the chap who got the answer. The quiz had five rounds ranging from supernatural questions, urban legends, to Indian ones. My favourite one was:
ONE OF MY FAVE QUESTIONS:
“A female ghost with messy hair and tattered clothing is said to knock on people’s front doors asking for alms. Opening the door to this ghost is said to invite bad luck. Sometimes, she’s even recognized as an omen for death in the house. If you open the door, she hangs around your house and becomes a nuisance. What idea did people come up with to combat this ?”
Can you guess the answer? I will put it in the end of this post.
Post that, author Sharath Komarraju, was asked to come on stage to take off the shiny wrapping off Cult of Chaos to formally launch the book. He also won one of the rounds of the quiz. He said, ‘I will keep it very short as I’ve been told to say exactly two words. I’ve read this book at the manuscript level and found it fascinating. So my two words are: Buy it.’ With this, he gave the mike to me.
I mumbled emotional stuff about how the book combines the two genres I love the most: fantasy and detective fiction. Of course with blood and violence thrown in. I’ve rambled on the same stuff in other interviews, which you can read here, here and even here.
Finally, it was Ajitha, the senior editor, who has been with Anantya and me throughout, who came on stage. She retold the story of when Shweta had met her first, a few years ago at Bangalore Literature Festival. ‘Shweta came up to me, introduced herself and said, I think Anantya wants you to be the editor of her book. At that time, I was stumped and didn’t know what to say, but it got my attention and I got back home and started to read Cult of Chaos. And I was hooked.’ On the part she loved about the book, Ajitha said. ‘The world is so fleshed out and real. And Anantya is just so like you and me, a woman who has grown up in India, is trying to live an independent life, and even though most of her gaalis are written in English, they are perfectly Indian. I think the time was right for a book like this, an occult detective fiction, to come out in the market.’ Am so happy she agreed to become the editor of the book!
The event closed with a few signings and a couple of photographs with friends. Signing off with the best comment overheard: “The age of the audience increased by 20 years for the next event, a poetry reading session.’
Answer to the above question: Naale Baa (Come tomorrow). The two words were written on every second door in the city to avoid a mysterious woman from knocking at the door at midnight.
A special mention to Ashu, who was there as always and to all of my friends for coming by and making it so much fun (And Kanchen for the owls)! Here are a few photos taken by pal Prasad N and the media coverage so far.