Author of the Month - Laxmi Hariharan, Interview + Giveaway!

by - Sunday, February 01, 2015

"Author of the Month" is a new feature that I have recently created to honour my favourite authors who have written some of the best books I have ever read. 

This feature will:

  • Run for the entire month. 
  • On every Sunday of the month (excluding the first week where I will have a blog post introducing and interviewing the author), there will be a blog post dedicated to the author. The content of the blog post is entirely up to the author's choice. 

For the entire month of February, I am proud to feature Laxmi Hariharan, author of the best-selling The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles #1) as Dreamland Teenage Fantasy's author of the month! Laxmi has been a wonderful and humble person to talk with and I am honoured to have the chance to interview her personally besides reading and reviewing her book - Many Lives of Ruby Iyer (review attached below).

Without further ado,

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A near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). She has been a journalist with the Independent, and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV. Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post, among others. London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination. 

Reach her @laxmi | Facebook | blog

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer is published by Amazon White Glove, through Jacaranda Literary Agency, and paperback is distributed in India through Read Out Loud.

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Hello Laxmi, welcome to my blog! I am so excited that you agreed to be my “Featured Author” for the month of February. Before we start off with the "gruelling" questions, tell us something about yourself. What genre of books do you normally write?

Hi Natasha, really pleased to be here with you. Firstly I love your blog and your enthusiasm and passion for reading and supporting authors like me J It's thanks to the awesome support of bloggers like you that I continue to write. I tend to write in the YA space. My protagonists almost always are teens J Angry Young Girls. I seem to veer towards rebellious, eighteen year olds who hate being told what to do, and want to figure things out for themselves. And it’s normally dysptopian, slightly dark, gritty, with a fantasy edge to it.

Thank you for the kind compliments! It really means a lot when an author, such as yourself responds so positively towards us, bloggers! Likewise, it fuels my passion to write better posts. YA dystopia is one of my favourite genres!

What was your inspiration behind your works? How did you started writing?

I have been writing since I was five. Cliché but true. I knew I was going to become an author very early in life. But in my early years it was more important for me to be independent, to travel and see the world. To find myself in some way I think. So I ended up living in Bombay, Singapore, HongKong and then in London. My teen years were spent in Bombay and then HongKong had a big impact on me. When I first landed in HongKong I found my heart would race, beat hard every night... so loudly I couldn’t sleep. I went to a kinesiologist who told me it was because I was someone very in tune myself and landing in HongKong which was the base chakra of the universe... the cradle of all greed, had shocked me. The flower essences she recommended to help soothe my inner self really helped. This experience is what confirmed my faith in the unseen, that there are forces we can't see but can feel, which really play a big role in our life. I started writing properly in HongKong. And my first novel, the Destiny of Shaitan was born there. Perhaps that's why I write dystopian fantasy. Because HongKong is such an urban, contradictory landscape. Then in writing The Destiny of Shaitan... one of the characters Ray, came from a dystopian Bombay. Once I started writing a futuristic Bombay there was no going back. I read a lot of dystopian YA set in a futuristic Chicago, SF, NY... but I think dystopia is today in Bombay. You know what I mean? Its hot, arid, urban, and totally dysfunctional. So what better setting then for a kickass-yet-confused character like Ruby than Bombay.

You are living my dream! I love the story behind your muse, it's inspiring.

 So far how many books have you written? And if you can pick a favorite, which one will it be?

The Destiny of Shaitan, The Ruby Iyer Diaries, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer, have been published. I completed Return to 7 Islands, the sequel to Shaitan, which is complete but not yet published. And now I am writing The Second Life of Ruby Iyer, the sequel to The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer. I love them all... though Ruby Iyer has her own energy. She is one happening girl who has her own mind. Ruby leads and I follow.

Heck! Ruby is one hell of a kickass protagonist! If I am stuck in a post-apocalyptic world, I'd too follow Ruby anywhere :P 

What tips would you give to young writers who are just starting to embark on their writing journey? I love writing, but for some reason I can’t write professionally.

Start a blog. Try to blog every week. It helps you find what you want to say, why you are the way you are, and what you are passionate about. It also helps you understand what people like about your writing, and how much you are willing to compromise... or not. How much will you stick to the vision you are seeing and not be swayed by popular opinion. And helps you develop a thick skin... which you need when people don't like your books and your characters.

Writer’s block, how do you overcome it?

I think you have to write yourself out of a writer's block. That's all we can do right? Keep writing. A word, a sentence, a paragraph, a page.... a book. Many books...

Do you have any writer’s pet peeves?

I need to drink lots of hot, chai – each sweetened with at least two spoonful of sugar. It’s my fuel!

I love music! Can you share with us what songs that sings to you when you write?

I listen to electronica music when I write. My favourite is an internet radio station called It plays sets by little known Dutch DJ's. Very Indie and underground. Yet hugely stimulating. Oh! Yes. I can't write without this music. Other than that my faves are Eminem, 50 cent, Damien Rice (have you heard him? He is awesome), and MJ. Love MJ and Prince.

I love Indie music, they lift my spirits and sing to me personally. My favourite song of Damien Rice is 9 Crimes! 

What was your best encounter with a fellow reader?

My fave meeting was with DDS – Debdatta Sahay – a blogger, who read 260 books last year. She recently broke the Limca book of Records for most books reviewed in India. Wow! That was something. It’s amazing to meet bloggers like DDS and you who love to read. You keep me going!

Tell us something random about yourself!

I love the colour purple. And I am obsessed with trees. Love forests. When I die, I want my ashes to be spread across the roots of #treeoflaxmi. It’s a tree I photograph every day... so I see the seasons come and go around it. But the tree stays there, grounded, firm, holding its own. Gosh that's how I want to be.

Tree of Laxmi! I would love to see it! 

 Besides writing, what are your other passions?

My only other passion is my husband J heheh. Yah. We met at a rock concert... and it was love at first sight. And he is an author and journalist. My idol in many ways too, because he just always knew he was going to do something related to films and writing early in life and he didn’t hesitate to follow his inner voice. So I find that very inspiring.

Aww.. there's nothing that I love more than true love. I am happy that you have a loving husband that is inspiring to you in so many ways. 

~ Quick fire questions ~

Cats or dogs?

Sunrise or sunset?

Vampires or werewolves?
Vamp-wolves J

Living in the hills or by the beach?
In a forest

Who is your favorite person in the world?
Ruby Iyer

Favorite musician?

Favorite movie?
Classic: Out of Sight (Clooney and JLo)
Today: Hunger Games

What is your life motto?
Just do it

 Hot or cold?
Blistering hot

 Favorite food?
Ginger Beer J

An angry, young girl desperate to rescue her best friend.
A sexy cop willing to do anything to save the city he serves.
A delusional doctor bent on its annihilation. 

When Ruby Iyer's best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the mysterious Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram? 

When Ruby Iyer's best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the mysterious Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram? 

Sacramento Regular

"... A white-knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay as a terrifying encounter propels our heroine from her everyday commute into a battle for survival - her own survival and the survival of the city she loves." - Fran Pickering, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winning author.

"The author uses the city as a stark, sometimes gloomy, backdrop for a tight story of conflict and terror, and does an excellent job of portraying the city-as-a-mother, leaving the hero(ine) to grapple with the dilemma of choice." - Jormund Elver 

"I was sitting there with bated breath at the climax and was really cheering for the characters. I felt for Ruby Iyer every step of the way. Even when I thought she was making a foolish decision or being brash, I still understood her plight." - Creating Serenity Reviews 

 "Laxmi is a storyteller who knows how to build worlds populated with endearingly down to earth bravehearts." - Inma Martinez, world leading digital media strategists according to FORTUNE and TIME, entrepreneur & avid reader

Find Ruby on Amazon US  |  Amazon UK|  Amazon India |  Paperback

Youtube Trailer: 

Sacramento Regular

Spectacular, unique and absolutely mind blowing! 

First of all, a dystopia novel set in Bombay, how often do you get that? I was really excited when I was offered the chance to read and review one of Laxmi's works, having participated in her The Destiny of Shaitan Blog Tour  back in 2012, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to collaborate with Laxmi once again after 3 years. I've heard great things about her writing, but to have a first-hand experience of what it will be like? Exhilarating. 

Okay :P Maybe a teeny bit over the top. 
As Ruby stormed through Bombay, from saving strangers' lives to being chased and gunned down by a maniac, heck, adrenaline literally coursed through my veins as Ruby and Vikram (did I ever tell you I have a thing for young cops?) stared into the eyes of death again and again, in the end of every night before I go to sleep, I would be left panting and tensed, unwilling to put the book down (but 7 am alarm clock calls, the bitterness of reality). 

There are so many elements of the story that appeals to me, first being its link to the Asian culture -Indian to be exact - which made me respect the author even more for dedicating a kickass storyline as a tribute to my beloved heritage. Living in a multicultural country, I've learned to respect and admire the beauty of different cultures, the Indian culture is something that I am familiar with yet not to such extent. As Laxmi's words raced across the pages describing the sceneries of Bombay through Ruby's eyes, she had painted a beautiful portrait of the city embossed with delicate description of its people, bringing Bombay to life in my mind, just as what I always imagined India to be. Which leads to my second point, the sophistication of the writing. 

If I have the book in hard print, I am pretty sure the entire book will be filled with post its (in different colours!) bookmarking all of my favourite quotes and scenes from the book. I love how Laxmi is able to challenge my thinking capacity and create words that would make me reflect back on life itself, her words convey wisdom and there's nothing more that I look up to than that! 

And one of my personal favourites:

"I am a little tired now of this self-indulgent bunch. They stand there, clad in their various shades of designer hoodies, pleased to be led along like lambs to slaughter. They have left one material prison for another. It has never really mattered to them, this lack of choice in their destiny. They are happy to be pushed along on a path drawn by someone else.

Unlike me.. "

It was amazing to see how Ruby blossomed from a girl-next door into a feisty and ass kicking strong character with a defined personality, her strength and maturity is a fuel to my own thoughts and inspired me to have a different take on life. Ruby comes from a dysfunctional family, with an estranged (and somewhat delusional) mother who she has no contact with pretty much her entire life, yet she emerged as someone who is able to defeat the world, despite it being annihilated by the same being that ruined her world - such play of words -

Not to mention, Vikram Roy. *Sheesh, get your girly hormones in check!* Personally, I do love a dose of romance in every books I read, Vikram? Absolutely breathtaking. Charming? Hell yeah, and a cop too. Vikram and Ruby does not have the easygoing kind of relationship where they would go out on romantic candlelight dinners or spend extravagant money on dates, their relationship is build on a remarkable level of trust set in a apocalyptic world where boundaries are tested and there was no space for romantic and sappy romances. I guess it was one of the factor why their romance stood out. If I could have someone to "babysit" me, Vikram would be the one!

I am in complete awe with the flow of the story as I reserved myself to have no expectations and just let the words take me on a wild and dangerous journey. The ending was perfect - not to mention, major cliffhanger - leaving me breathless and anticipating for more.

To conclude my feelings overall, everything about the book just calls out to me, Ruby Iyer is a dystopia at its best. The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer is a start of a life changing series, that I would say! Inspirational and fast paced, a good adaptation of a worthwhile action packed film, worth every second of my time!

To show her support for the feature, Laxmi has agreed to giveaway 3 ebook copies of The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer to 3 lucky winners! Thank you for the generosity and humbleness! 

Dare to take on the challenge?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
~ Gratitude ~

I would love to extend my gratitude towards Ritesh Kala for his generous help throughout the whole process! This feature would not be a success without him! Thank you for all the support and hardwork, and most of all for being such a great friend!

~ What's next ~ 

Stay tuned for the entire month of February for more news and posts by Laxmi Hariharan! 

Comment down below if you have any questions you would like to ask Laxmi, thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog! 

Have a romantic February ;) 


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  1. Hey Natasha, so pleased you liked Ruby's story. And yes... Vikram has turned out to the silent lady-killer here, hasn't he. I am writing his novella right now, even as I race to complete The Second Life of Ruby Iyer. Thank you again for your awesome support xxx

    1. Hey Laxmi! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, yes I can't help but swoon at his hidden charm. That is the best news ever! I would love to read the "world" through his eyes! Loving the series :D


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