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Friday, April 05, 2019

Author Interview : Ross Welford, author of 'The Dog Who Saved the World'

Ross Welford (from Twitter)
Read up,  Interview with Ross Welford, author of 'The Dog Who Saved the World'. In this interview, he tells us, how the entire series first began, how he came up with the core idea and developed it, which book is coming from his desk next, what he thought was different about his book, which particular story, he felt most close to, any suggestions for anyone who is coming with a book next, his favourite authors and books, what he does on a daily basis, and much more, Folks…

How did ‘The Dog who saved the World’ happen? Could you describe the journey?  

It’s not really a “journey”.  I have a contract with Harper Collins to write books, so I write them!  This is the first in a new three-book deal.

How did you come up with the core idea and develop it? 

I started with an idea of a girl who could see into the future, but that developed into the story of a girl who tried out a virtual reality time-machine.  A lot of my stories start quite differently from how they end up.

What according to you is different about your book?

This one is set in the near-future.  It is not specified, but in my head it’s about ten years from now.  That was fun – and difficult!

Are the books’ characters like anybody you know in real life?

No, not really.  Likewise the dogs, they’re all made up!

What was the most challenging part about writing the book?

Finishing it.  Always finishing it!

What book is coming from your desk, next? When do you see it released?

I am writing a book about aliens coming to earth, and it will be published next January.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today? 

No one.

Do you have any suggestions for anyone who is looking to publish a book?

Most people who’d like to be published writers never actually finish their book.  It lies in a drawer (or, more likely, on a computer) unfinished and unedited.  So, if you finish it, re-write it and get it edited (professionally, if possible) then you’ll already be WAY ahead of the game.

William Boyd
Who are your favourite authors and why?

William Boyd is brilliantly versatile, he is very difficult to fit into a “genre” but his books are always captivating.  Harper Lee wrote my favourite book, 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. Sadly, she only wrote the one.  (I draw a discreet veil over the dreadful 'Go Set A Watchman').

What else do you do on a daily basis?

I walk my dog, play the piano, and practice magic. (I recently became a member of the Magic Circle).

You can Read the Review and Buy the Book, here as well.  

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Book Review : 'Twice upon a Time' by Payal Kapadia

Twice upon a Time’ is by Payal Kapadia. The story begins with Princess Keya, who was yelling at the top of her voice, just one thing, ‘Aaaaaiiiiiieeeeehhhh’, over and over again. 

I won’t go into the ‘aaiieeahhh’s more than once, but you must have got the point! It was such a loud yell that it shook the royal window boy out of his wits. Not just him but also, the plumber, the paratrooper and the scribe too. 

And they all had the ‘word royal’ before, to make it sound regal!! Wonder what they would call me, a ‘Royal Reviewer’, perhaps? 

Finally, King Ferrlip made it to her room, and yelled to her to open up. Then the entire thing happened, the King, the Queen and the maid, the royal etc came in. The princess was throwing a tantrum, because she was too tired, of being the princess and she wanted a replacement, to take her place.

That was a little shocking and the palace went into a royal turmoil. An announcement was written and was spread around. One such statement made its way into the house of Amar, Akbar and Anthony’s, who lived with their parents and little sister, Nyla. Now, Nyla never thought that she would go, but her brothers, managed to convince the young girl, to try out for the same.

Nyla went through and though she was not expected to get in, because she was a tomboy, and ended up being liked by Princess Keya… but she was in. So, now begin the stories of the two of them. The two girls meet, break a few customs, and grow a few pink rose plants surprisingly, put on a few dresses, take a few pictures and fly Dragons!!

They also have to deal with a few whimpering women, who belong to the Society of Snobs, and then we also have a couple of scrawny princes, and the conversation with the dragon, is probably the highlight of the whole thing.  It does not end here, because the two of them get into a pool in a forest. Led by, Nyla, Keya ends up in the pool, and handling bullfrogs in lotuses and also looking at reflections of two girls on two horses.

Then, comes up the whole deal with Mountains and how they are climbed? But, see am told that I should stop now, unless I want to put the whole story out here! Yikes! 

You can Buy the Book, right here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Author Interview : Anand Neelakantan, author of ‘Vanara : The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara'

Anand Neelakantan
Read up, the Interview with Anand Neelakantan, author of ‘Vanara : The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara'. This story kind of takes off from 'Asura : Tale of the Vanquished' too and of course the great king of Lanka, who happens to make his appearance in this one, as well.
But, since this does talk of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara, I asked a few different questions. How the journey began and  what kind of research was put into this one, and how he managed to blend the three parts into one. On being asked about the similarity between the characters then and now, he answered about the grey shades of the characters, then and now, Folks...

Could you describe the journey of ‘Vanara : The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara’? 

Not much is written in Indian English about the fascinating stories of Vanara. It is usual to enter Vanara Kingdom along with Lord Ram when he meets Hanuman.
What I have done, is to go beyond this conventional approach and tell the story of Kishkinda from the beginning. The story is scattered in various Ramayanas, Mahabharata and Puranas.

The challenge was to stitch together a coherent story from the scattered material, without diverting from the original plot line. Once I had completed it, I was fascinated to see a great love triangle coming into shape and a classic tragedy about another fallen hero Baali (aka Vali), his multi-shaded brother Sugreeva and the woman they loved - Tara.

How did it begin? What kind of research was put into it?

It started as a short story. I stumbled upon this an epic, while doing research for the short story series, I was writing in Amazon Kindle on the women of Ramayana. In fact, I had written the kernel of the story as a short fiction called Tara in less than 5,000 words.

However, the chief editor of Penguin who I had happened to meet perchance in a literary festival was fascinated by the short story I was typing out and wanted to read it. She encouraged me to make it into a full-fledged novel.

There are three phases to this book. How do you blend them together while writing this book?

There is the journey of Baali and Sugreeva from slavery to freedom in the first phase.

The establishment of a free city and the conflicting life view forms the background of the story when Tara enters and changes everything.

The growth of Tara from a dreamy teenager to a woman wooed by the two brothers, her choices, her tragedy and her redemption forms the third phase.

Together it is the saga of Vana Nara people and the time is what blends all these and other nuances together.

I noticed the Sivagami phase creeping into this book. Why does it? And how?
Frankly, I have no idea where it has crept in. If you have found similarity between Tara and Sivagami, it could only be peripheral.

Does it feel that you are plugging the holes, in the Ramayana through the ‘Vanara’ book? 

There are no holes in Ramayana. What has happened to the great book is that it is often viewed only from one angle of devotion. 

What I am trying to do is to shine the light at places where there are dark shadows.

How would you relate the life of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara to the lives today? Any similarities?

All my books are contemporary. The story might have been set in Lanka, Kishkinda, Hastinapura or Mahishmathi, but they are happening here and now.

All the characters are around us and within us. So, you can find the reflections of contemporary society in all my books and especially Vanara. This is deliberate.

Which is your favourite character in this one? Why?

Chemba is my favourite character, and I had modelled him as per my pet, Jackie the blackie.

What were the most challenging and fulfilling parts about writing this book?

Challenging part was the deadline. What was fulfilling was how the characters evolved in grey shades with all the human flaws and glory.

 You can Read the Review here and Buy the Book, here as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review : The Dog who saved the World by Ross Welford

Let us begin with apparently another of Ross Welford’s books, ‘The Dog Who Saved the World’. No previous knowledge of his books, but if they are as exciting as this one, then you can be sure, that I plan to get them all.

Georgie, who lives with her dad, brother and plus her father’s girlfriend Jessica. And that’s not all; she has a best friend called Ramzy and a best dog friend, Mr Mash. Regrettably, she cannot keep Mr Mash at home due to Jessica having an allergy to them. Georgie also works for a dog rest home, where Mr Mash lives; it is an old church the called St Woofs, where they look after unwanted dogs.

Jessica could be great example, since she is a brilliant scientist. But unfortunately, she isn’t Georgie’s own mother. Though Georgie does not like her presence at home, she must survive it. The family likes her, but it takes time for only Georgie to even like her presence.

Now, let’s come to her best friend, Ramzy Rahman. His family had fled a warzone and life in the UK is nothing like it was back, home. The poor guy is left with wearing the same shirt, day after day, and left hungry due to surviving on the same food, that he must share with his siblings. But, he is an upbeat kid and bright enough to survive the adventures, which are all a part of this story.

One day, when Georgie is on a walk with her dog and Ramzy, she comes across Dr Emilia Pretorius. Dr Pretorius seems to be some sort of an unusual mastermind, with a slightly casual attitude to the personal welfare of other folks. She’s built an astonishing Virtual Reality gadget that can transfer people into a plausible future. She just wants some enthusiastic kids to help her try it out.

Now, the enthusiastic children do not realise that they would become test subjects for the 3D version of the future! Tension is building, when a dreadful disease that is spread by dogs breaks out, which is lethal for humans too. Almost all dogs are under threat, and so is Georgie’s treasured dog, when it falls really sick.

The ability to time travel into the future suddenly becomes more than a game, it becomes reality… Georgie must do something about it, and together with her two best friends, she must devise a plan to save all dogs and humans too.

Jessica is one of the scientists working on the challenge and reveals that it could take close ton a year, for them to find the cure. How do they speed up this process? If they travel to the future could they possibly find it? Dr Pretorius has a strange life too. And how exactly does her life lead on? But unfortunately, Dr Pretorius has a heart attack, and it becomes necessary to get her from the hospital, as she is the only one, who can control her gadget.

Ross Welford
oss So, will they take the help of Georgie’s brother? Will he help out and will they manage to get her out on time? Will they reach the spot, where the machine is kept? Can Georgie, Ramzy and Mr Mash save the world? Will Mr Mash be cured?

What could be more fun than seeing herself in the future, whom she ends up meeting, or perhaps a few of the future beings, whom she ends up seeing and the shops and stores, all set into the future? It’s all exciting folks, and coupled with a lot of jokes and comic features with the dogs and docs and scientists, the fun can only go on…