Today I’m hosting Laxmi Hariharan in celebration of her new release The Destiny of Shaitan. Check out the interview below and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win either a $15 Amazon Gift Card or Autographed Paperback of The Destiny of Shaitan
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Laxmi Hariharan] A chai-swigging writer, technophile & futurist who is spiritually in tune with herself and with nature.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about The Destiny of Shaitan?
[Laxmi Hariharan] Partially set in a futuristic Bombay, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, 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. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan’s ultimate destiny be fulfilled?
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Laxmi Hariharan] I lived in Hong Kong for a few years. When I arrived there, it felt as if I had been dropped into a cauldron of seething emotions, like an alien planet. During my time here I met some really interesting people. To give you an idea; one person from the UK who renounced the corporate world to become Buddhist monk; another actress from Argentina who performed a one act play called ‘Sex’ at the local fringe theatre in the city; yet another from China was a professor of physics but also an accomplished salsa dancer. The range was incredible and inspired me to write a series of short stories, featuring fictional characters who mirrored the real life ones. When I read out the stories to my writers’ group, a friend pointed out that all the characters belonged in one story. Thus the Destiny of Shaitan was born.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[Laxmi Hariharan] The most challenging aspect was completing it. Writing the finishing scenes took me forever. It was as if I had to grow up first and face a few of my own life experiences before I could give the characters closure in their story.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Tiina?
[Laxmi Hariharan] Free-spirited, feisty & intense.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Yudi would never have in his pocket?
[Laxmi Hariharan] Iphone, razorblade, wallet.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is Tiina’s single most prized possession?
[Laxmi Hariharan] Her long-sword, with the ruby in the centre of the hilt. She calls it her third-eye.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Laxmi Hariharan] The stories from Indian mythology which my grandmother narrated to me as a child growing up in Bombay. The Russian scifi novels Day Watch & Night Watch by Sergey Lukyanenko is probably my single biggest creative influence. Later the movies I saw over the years have informed my writing – the Fifth Element, Blade Runner, Kill Bill, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Ghost Dog – The way of the Samurai, the early Karate Kid films (remember Karate Kid IV with Hilary Swank), Japanese films such as Godzilla, Akira, Samurai Fiction as well as John Woo’s Hong Kong action films such as Hard Boiled to name a few. Finally I owe a lot to Bollywood films; I get my sense of drama from watching them all through my formative years.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Laxmi Hariharan] I need to assume the ‘position’ ie. Be at my kitchen table, overlooking the garden, with an unending supply of sweetened Indian masala chai. I also need music. I can’t write without music. And access to the internet. I write best when I am multi-tasking.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Laxmi Hariharan] A Dance with Dragons – by GRR Martin (who I think is GOD!) I totally loved the entire A Song of Ice & Fire series. Its mainstream now; but GRR was writing in the relationship-fantasy space long before HBO discovered him. His earlier Dunk & Egg series are my particular favourite.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Laxmi Hariharan] Like many children who grew up in India in the eighties, I owe a lot to the Amar Chitra Katha comics published locally in India, which brought to life the ancient Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharatha in a very easy to understand fashion; and then DC & Marvel comics. I was a voracious reader though. I read everything in sight including mainstream commercial fiction.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Laxmi Hariharan] I enjoy training at the gym and also being outdoors in the woodlands near my home in London. I watch a lot of films with my husband who is a movie reviewer himself; and like many in my adopted country I am a keen gardener. I love growing eye-catching flowers.
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Laxmi Hariharan] I would love to hear from you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find me here:
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
Don’t forget to fill in the widget below for a chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card or Autographed Paperback of The Destiny of Shaitan.
Didn’t win? You can order The Destiny of Shaitan from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below: