“How much of the tantrism mentioned in this book is true?” a woman asked me at an event. She referred to my fantasy thriller series, Anantya Tantrist Mysteries, which has a tantric detective who fights supernatural crimes and is based in a world where tantric organisations run the supernatural world and liaison with the Indian government.
I opted for that cryptic babu reply: “It’s fiction but it reflects what’s real.”
Frankly, I was rather flattered. Here was a lady who had been in the spiritual business of things, attended congregations in ashrams across the country, was exposed to tantrics of all manners and she wondered aloud if the story, a book that calls itself fantasy fiction mind you, was based on true events or not. A whole year of in-depth research into the world of tantrism had paid off. Kaboom.
When Anantya Tantrist first came into my mind, as an urban fantasy series, I knew the 23-year-old was a tantric detective. After all, if you want to base a story in the Indian occult, the first image that comes to you is of a black choga-wearing villain who have an evil laugh, wears skulls while doing badly choreographed jigs and rituals that involve blood. Tantrics, in other words.
I’m finally heading to Chennai with the occult quiz. It’s been a couple of years since friends, fans and quiz enthusiasts are asking me to bring the creepy occult quiz to them. So i’m so so excited to announce this.
It’s tomorrow, 5-6pm at the British Council, Chennai. You can RSVP to Susan: firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Facebook event page. Needless to say, come over peeps. It’s going to be super fun.
My latest book, The Matsya Curse, was partly edited at the Chichester University, where I was for three months, on a Charles Wallace India Trust writing fellowship, galavanting, interacting with authors and teachers and basically learning so much. That’s the reason when it came to the book’s launch I decided to approach the British Council Library, Bangalore for it.
And oh, what a launch it was!
There’s still a heady hangover from it as I am writing this. There was a quiz, done by geeky spouse Ashwani and friend Prasad which was won by 11-year olds. I knew about four questions from the total fifteen and Leighton, the head of Bangalore BCL mentioned that he didn’t know any over Twitter. The quiz was followed by an excerpt reading from The Matsya Curse and then a conversatino between me and Samhita Arni. Sam was wonderful with her questions, well-read and covered all aspects of the book, be it tantrism, feminism, Indian mythology in fantasy or how much time it takes to write a book. Phew. What wonderfulness. Leaving you with a few photographs taken by the fab photograph and friend Darshan CG. Now back to planning more quizzes for you. Look out this space for announcements.
Am superbly thrilled to share the cover of my latest book with you all. Anantya Tantrist is back. And so is this adventure, which is crazier than the last one. The cover’s been done by the wonderful, wonderful George Mathen. (Read about how I convinced him to do it here). And well, it’s out, it’s coming and I’m going gaga and have lost the art of writing a bit. On preorder now.
Tantrik detective Anantya Tantrist is back, smart-ass comments, dark mantras and all
In Banaras, Bhairava, a black tantrik, sets out to win control of life through mass murder, aided by an army of pretas. In Delhi, a tribal supernatural melts to death in a five-star hotel on the same night that an ancient demonologist is murdered. All this while, the government and the Central Association of Tantriks choose to look the other way and gods, demi-gods, immortals and rakshasas all join Bhairava’s army.
All that stands between the murdering bosses and the hapless masses is unofficial detective Anantya Tantrist, armed with a boneblade, a tote of mandalas and a cocky attitude. Just as she begins to see a pattern between a goddess selling art, a miracle-producing minister, an undead mob attacking a rock concert and her immortal friend throwing a tantrum, Anantya faces her most personal hell: her ex-boyfriend Neel has come back from the dead and is trying to kill her. He’s not the only one, of course. A powerful rakshasi wants her head, a pair of demi-gods wants her blood and the trolls are trying to squash her to pulp.
She cannot even sleep off the exhaustion, because each time she drops off, Bhairava invades her mind, trying to consume it. Join Anantya as she faces her most formidable enemy yet in the ultimate battle for her mind and her city.
“A remarkable tale,” says Anand Neelakanthan, author of Asura and Bahubali. Please to pre-order and read.
Of all the ones I’ve been to, Blossoms Book House is especially close to my heart. Maybe because it was in their vast collection on tantrism that I first came across the climax of my first book of Anantya Tantrist series – Cult of Chaos. I’ve spent hours in the bylanes of its fantasy and science fiction sections. Oh and don’t even get me started about the corner that houses the comics. The ideas I’ve found there, have fuelled a lot of my other books, including Anantya’s upcoming adventure, The Matsya Curse.
How important are bookstores for authors when it comes to inspiration and research? Did I really find ghosts and supernatural monsters in Blossoms Book House? I’ve been roped in by the lovely people at The Humming Tree and Book and Brews to do a session about my love for bookstores as part of The Book Shop Crawl on Sunday. I will tell you why, even though I voraciously read on my Kindle, bookstores remain important for me. This Sunday. 2.30pm.
Even though the event is sold out, I’m allowing readers and those curious to sneak in to hear the stories. So come, peeps!