B00k R3vi3ws Tours: Surpanakha by Hariharan Iyer

About the Book:
Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administrator—these are the qualities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved in the 11th hour.
Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time round, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him 'vile' and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activities—undertaken with the help of a retired cop—is a cause of concern for Sesha.
Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and antiminorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?

Buy Links:
Links for downloading e-books: Amazon India | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Links for ordering paperbacks: Amazon India | Flipkart

Read an Excerpt:

A dim yellow light in the background enabled the viewers to get a silhouette of the girl. Perhaps there was a fan beyond the camera frame that ruffled her curly hair mildly, and her hand moved involuntarily to put it back in order. The yellow line over the edges of her shoulder and arms implied a somewhat plump figure. She was wearing a sleeveless top or kurta.

“Sesha had never stared at me like that. In fact, I doubt whether he had noticed me properly at all. He would enter the room and I would walk out. There was never a chance. But then, that night was perhaps different. He had always seen me in churidar-kurta. That night since I had gone to sleep, I waswearing a nightgown…a sleeveless one.

“He asked if I could serve him dinner. The cook had left. She generally left for her home on Saturday evenings and returned the next night. I agreed. He returned to the dining table after changing. I had laid out the dinner. He then took out a bottle of red wine and poured two glasses. That was a surprise. I had never seen him taking alcohol. Perhaps his wife’s accident and her long illness had disturbed him emotionally. He offered me a glass. I hesitated. But he insisted. So as not to offend him, I took the glass and sipped the drink.” She seemed to move uncomfortably in her chair. 

Catherine volunteered, “You don’t need to describe it further if you don’t want to. I know how painful it would be.” 

The girl took a long breath and replied, “Hmm…I’ll talk. Painful indeed. But I’ve braved it over the last two years. Jesus has made me strong. After clearing the table, I was returning to my room. Intuitively, I felt he was following me. I was scared to look back. I paced faster towards the room. But a couple of feet before my room, I felt he was too close to me. I turned back to object. Since he was too close, he fell over me. He propped me against the wall and before I could realise what was happening, he kissed me on my lips…”

Her voice choked. Catherine extended a glass of water and the girl’s hand extended from the hazy dark background. The fingers that wrapped the glass, which was outside the darkened area, were white and the nails were well manicured. She sipped the water, cleared her throat and resumed.

“He walked me to the next room and sat me on the bed. He knelt down before me, held my face in his hands and said that I looked beautiful. I was benumbed by the suddenness of his advance. He ran his fingers over my forehead, my eyes and cheeks and then through the neck down to…the whole
thing was inappropriate. An affront. I realised he was exploiting mynumbness. Anger surged in me. I pushed him aside, jumped out of the bed and ran to my room. I closed the door behind me and slouched against it. My whole body shivered. Unable to sleep, scared that he might forcefully enter
the room again, I sat against the door and remained awake the whole night.”

Catherine handed the girl another glass of water.

About the Author:

Hariharan Iyer is a finance professional based in Dar es Salaam. Not content with just a rewarding corporate job, he took to writing a couple of years back. He blogged on media and current affairs for a year at valadyviews.blogspot.com before hitting on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful that it convinced the accountant in him that he could put together not just a balance sheet but an intriguing political thriller as well. He has definite views on politics, NGOs and media ethics and has tried to package them in the form of an interesting novel. 

Hariharan lives with his wife in Dar es Salaam while his two sons are pursuing their ambitions in India.

Contact Hariharan:
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Author Interview: Coreena McBurnie

Hello Coreena, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 

First things first: how did you take up writing?

Thanks for having me here. I've always loved reading and have dabbled in writing over the years, but mostly poetry. About 8 years ago I took a Creative Muse class where we played with many forms of creativity, and I realized how strongly I connected to writing. I started writing for fun and didn't think much would come of it, but am happy to say that I've recently published my first novel, Prophecy.

What was your very first attempt at creative writing?

I remember writing a story in about grade 5. I put a lot of effort into it and I loved it, but the teacher didn't... My confidence was really shaken. Same story you hear a lot, unfortunately. 

Where did you get the ideas for your stories?

I like to draw on ancient myth, especially Greek myth. I love mythology and even studied it at university. Retelling myths for a modern audience is turning out to be addictive for me.

What in particular gave you the idea for Prophecy?

For Prophecy, I am retelling the Oedipus myths from the point of view of Oedipus' daughter, Antigone. I've always loved her character -- she is strong and passionate, flawed yet doesn't like to back down. Prophecy is the first in the Antigone series and each book follows an Oedipus play by Sophocles.

Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?

I don't really enjoy schedules, but I do write or edit nearly every day. I usually have to break up my time into small chunks because I find working for hours on end to be very difficult.

A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?

I love it. I decided to self publish Prophecy. Indie authors are changing the whole publishing industry and are able to take risks that traditional publishers don't tend to take. And we also maintain control of our rights to our books. It's an exciting time in publishing and self publishing is definitely a lot of work -- I've made lots of mistakes already -- but it's also a lot of fun. I had to think about my goals with publishing my book, and the main one was to entertain people with a story that I wanted to tell, and I was able to do that best by self publishing.

If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?

A dream cast would be Jennifer Lawrence as Antigone, Amandla Stenberg as Ismene, Johnny Depp as Oedipus, and Emma Thompson as Jocasta.

What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?

I am currently working on two projects: Book 2 of the Antigone series called Fate, which I am hoping to publish this fall; and a standalone more adult oriented novel called Betrayed which is about Clytemnestra (who kills her husband, Agamemnon, when he returns from the Trojan War). I've just put Chapter 1 of Betrayed on Wattpad. My plan is to post a new chapter there every 1-2 weeks.

Here's a fun quote from my writing of Fate the other day:

Despite the haze of my anger, my thoughts were remarkably clear. I concentrated the energy in my hands, knowing the tables had turned. Apollo looked at me with fear and I relished it. Those luxurious brown eyes widened, worried. I wanted him to be scared, to feel out of control, to have someone else in charge of his fate for once. I needed this frivolous god to know what it was like. 

Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?

I find most other authors inspire me! I love reading and try to appreciate all of the great character development and vivid descriptions in anything I read. I savour these things and try to use them in my own writing. As far as characters go, I am inspired by Kasta in Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

What would your advice be to aspiring authors?

Turn off your inner editor and write! Get your story down, even if you have to take baby steps to do it. Eventually, you will have a manuscript to edit. Do not edit as you go or you will never get done -- we are usually too critical of ourselves.

What would be an ideal gift for you?

For some reason this is a hard question! I love beautiful pens and artwork. Also, I love being taken out for dinner -- an evening of chatting and no cooking is pretty awesome.

And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why? 

Another tough one -- I think The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer because I read it to my daughter and it is one of her favourite books. It would make her happy if it was a movie.

Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 

Thanks so much for having me here. 

Coreena McBurnie 

My name is Coreena McBurnie and, ever since grade 5 when I had to do a report on Theseus and the Minotaur, I have had a soft spot for Greek mythology. When I hit university, I was drawn to the Classical Studies department (earning both a BA & MA), where I explored the archaeology and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds — and also where I managed to read Homer’s Odyssey, one of my absolute favourite books, in the original Greek, something which was thrilling for me (I know, sounds crazy, but the poetry and scope of the original text is amazing). After a lifetime of “what is that?”, “why did you study that?”, and “what can you do with a degree in Classical Studies?” I have decided to write novels based in ancient myth and to bring so many of the stories I love to life for a modern audience, with my own spin, of course.
Prophecy, Book 1 in the Antigone Series, is my first published novel. Currently I am working on Book 2 in the Antigone Series, called Fate. I am also in the middle of another novel about Clytemnestra who is notorious in Greek myth for killing her husband, Agamemnon, when he returned home from the Trojan War. I love exploring the motives of strong women in ancient myth.
I live in BC, Canada with my husband, our three kids, and our cat, in a beautiful part of the country, on two rivers, surrounded by ranches, near ski hills, and only a couple of hours drive to the ocean.

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