The People Behind the Sirens
Sirens Spell Danger
C.Suresh, Radha Sawana & Karthik L
There are sirens and, then, there are sirens. Some warn you of danger and some lure you into danger…Lured by a sexy siren, Vicky is mistaken for a secret agent, kidnapped, tortured and slated for death. Will he survive and save Bangalore from going up in flames?…There is a serial killer loose in the city leaving mysterious messages around the bodies of the victims. Are the messages a challenge to the police or a siren call to lure another victim…Jay is sent to Bellary to investigate a possible ISI plot. Was it merely a murky political plot or was there something more sinister in the offing? And why were two women suddenly singing siren songs of love?…Three tales of nerve-racking suspense and pulse-pounding action.
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After having read their book Sirens Spell Danger I was very excited when I got the chance to Speak to the Authors, Not one but all three of them. Here is the result of our Chat.
Hello Guys, firstly congratulation o your first book and thank you for making the time to talk to me.
1) From Celebrity bloggers to Published Authors how has your experience been?
Karthik: In my opinion, for most creative and personal bloggers, it is a natural transition. You first attempt to hold the reader’s attention with a short post and try to make it longer and longer till it is too long for a blog post. Then you are into short stories. As short stories become longer, it is novella and then novel and then finally an epic saga like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Wheel of Time. It basically boils down to how much of a consistent imaginary world with imaginary people you can create and hold in your mind and put on paper. We have reached up to the novella stage. Hope in our lifetime, we can reach the epic stage.
Suresh: I do not know that I am a Celebrity blogger OR a blogger celebrity. I am lucky that there are people who recognize me as a blogger and that is recognition enough for me. As for being a Published Author, I really think that a self-published book needs to sell before I can feel comfortable calling myself one. I shall answer this question in the spirit intended, though.
When I started blogging it was primarily on humor – and I am exceedingly fortunate in finding not only people who appreciated what I wrote but also became friends in the process. As I have said before in other places, I had planned to quit the corporate race at 40 in order to write and got sidetracked into trekking and other such pursuits. Blogging brought me back into writing and reignited my passion for writing. Winning a couple of short story contests on blogs and, later, having one of my short stories published in “Uff Ye Emotions” was a further spur. This novella has been the next major jump in terms of size. Like Karthik says, maybe I shall hit the novel stage, though I do not know I have enough life left to aspire to writing epics being much older than most debut authors.
Radha: I wasn’t much of a blogger, to be honest, and definitely not a celebrity blogger! And being a published writer isn’t a very different feeling either, because the book will need a little more time to make its mark. So for me, this has been a journey of a writer from being a fledgling short story writer to being a novella writer. And it has been a journey full of learning. I learnt a lot about writing and about myself as a writer during this one year.
2) How did you come up with the idea to collaborate and was it difficult selecting the theme to write?
Karthik: I and Suresh formed a group with some other bloggers to collaboratively develop our fiction writing skills. The idea emerged from that group. We felt we would put more effort in developing our skills if we took up a serious project instead of just practice exercises and it did turn out that way with the number of drafts and edits we did.
Our favourite genre is fantasy and that would have been the logical choice of theme. But we had three others in the team when the project started and we felt the most popular genres in Indian markets are romance and crime. So we decided to write in this genre.
Suresh: As Karthik says, this idea was born from the Indifiction Workshop where we attempted to help ourselves and other authors hone writing skills. The detailed critiques on the stories we wrote there were useful but not useful enough. Unless you actually rewrite the story taking into account the critiques, it is impossible to learn the value of the critique OR to identify whether adopting some criticism is possible for you. To illustrate, if someone were to say that I needed to describe a character in greater detail, I would probably make a hash of it since I tend to terseness in my writing and am not too keen on describing clothes and the like. SO, some criticism though valid may mar your own flow of narrative since YOU may not be able to write it well. Thus, we felt that a process of rewriting and polishing a story would be a better learning experience. In order to take it seriously it would always be better to do it with intent to publish. Which is why we started this collaborative exercise. The theme selection happened as Karthik says though, at that time, we only selected the genre – Crime.
Radha: Suresh and Karthik came to know of me through a contest in the Indifiction Workshop. By the time I joined the team, the genre was already decided. On my part, I was pleasantly surprised when I was included, as I was relatively new and virtually unknown in the blogosphere. Plus I was a big fan of Karthik’s writing and had always admired Suresh’s writing too. Collaboration for me was naturally the best alternative, because it gave me the chance to learn from the rest of the team.
3) What is your rapport do you share with each other?
Karthik: Actually we have an excellent rapport being from the same city and having similar reading interests. But working together on this anthology has really tested our friendship and it is indeed a testimony to our strong rapport that both the anthology as well as our friendship has survived to the finish.
Suresh: The initial team was of six people. It got whittled down to three later on. We did share a good rapport to start with and, I think, we continue to share a good rapport even with the members that are no longer a part of this book.
If the rapport and the friendship was tested rather badly, I am afraid that I am largely to blame. I am a very deadline conscious person AND have a sort of OCD when it comes to projects – since one project hanging fire dams up every other creative pursuit for me till it is done. Being, in a manner of speaking, the front man for the book, I am afraid I was demanding on all the others. The other members had personal and official issues that made it impossible for them to meet deadlines and I was intent on being done with the publication of this book by December 2013. In the end, they dropped out. Karthik and Radha continued to have to put up with my demands and diatribes till the end.
It is a tribute to the essential good nature of all the others that we are still friends and I can never be sufficiently grateful to them. Two of the members who dropped out have even come out with great reviews for the book and that says volumes for the strength of the rapport we shared and will continue to share.
Radha: I think we share an excellent rapport. When I joined, I felt like the odd one in the group, but that feeling was short-lived. We became very good friends pretty soon – living in the same city and sharing a common taste in books helped a lot. It was stressful to keep up with the deadlines as I was new to writing and pretty bad at managing time, but the team (including Suresh, whatever he may say :P) bore with me patiently till the end. But I think the biggest testimony to our good rapport was the way we dealt with story edits. At every stage of edits, each of us read every other story and gave our suggestions for improving the story. And the author of the story took them in the right spirit and worked on them every time. It takes a lot of patience as well as good spirit to do this multiple times.
4) Was it intentional to have a lady as the central characters of all your books, and managing to capture so many different aspects of a woman’s emotion wasn’t that a difficult task?
Karthik: Actually we just wrote and after we wrote, we looked for a common theme and it just emerged. Surprisingly this was the case with the stories by our other two friends which we had to drop to complete this on time.
Suresh: As Karthik says it was entirely coincidental. We had only decided upon the genre.
Radha: As the both of them have said, it came out as quite a surprising co-incidence. It also helped us in deciding the name of the book.
5) Who are your respective favourite authors?
Karthik: My favourite authors are Enid Blyton, J.K.Rowling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Frank Herbert, C.S.Lewis and Isaac Asimov.
Suresh: I am an eclectic reader and it would be very difficult for me to pick only a few. The ones I can recollect now are PG Wodehouse and Saki in humor; Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey and Larry Niven in Science Fiction; Doyle, Christie and Ngaio Marsh in detective fiction; Tolkien, Jordan, Eddings and George RR Martin in Fantasy; Alistair McLean, Baldacci, Ludlum and Forsyth in thrillers and, of course, William Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas and Sir Walter Scott in the classics.
Radha: I share my love for fantasy with Karthik here. My favourite authors are J K Rowling, George RR Martin, C S Lewis and Brandon Sanderson. I also love Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children, but I haven’t read the rest of his books.
6) Which is that one character from a book you have read or a character that you have written that has stuck with you?
Karthik: My favourite character is God Emperor Leto from Dune Series. But don’t think many would have read that. So let me name a more popular character – Sherlock Holmes. What I like about these characters are the strong intellect and single minded devotion to their respective causes.
Suresh: Bertie Wooster from PG Wodehouse. What I would not give to be a rich idler with an efficient valet whose only problem is a fear of aunts and having to sacrifice ties and moustaches at the behest of Jeeves – even if you have to steal cow-creamers every now and then.
Radha: It is really difficult to pick one here! Boiling it down to two, my favourite characters are Sazed from the Mistborn Series and Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. However, I am inspired more by some characters that come from Japanese Anime, like Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass and Gaara from Naruto. If I were to choose a more familiar character, it would be Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.
Thank You for taking the time to talk to me and hope that your book is a huge success
Meet the Authors
Fiction has been an addiction but the need to make a living took Suresh through Chemical Engineering and an MBA at IIM-Bangalore and, from thence, to a long 16 year stint in the area of finance with specific expertise in fertilizer subsidies and a further two years as consulting expert in the same area. That, in his words, about sums up the boring part of his life, except for the people he was privileged to meet.
Otherwise, he can be described as a mess of contradictions – a bookworm but avid trekker; alone but never lonely; enjoys solitude but loves company; lazy but a perfectionist, the litany is endless. Trekking, which side-tracked him from the writing for which he quit his job, is a major passion and he does, at least, one trek in the Himalayas every year in addition to numerous local treks.
He reignited his passion for writing with a fairly popular blog www.jambudweepam.blogspot.in and, currently, also has a short story – A Path of Thorns – published in a collection “Uff Ye Emotions”. His short stories The Gates of Hell and Yesterdays and Tomorrows have won contests. You can read a sampling of his fiction here.
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Radha Sawana is part secretive, part playful, part ambitious, part indolent, and as a result, completely confused. She has been a bookworm as far as she can remember, and so it came as no surprise to her when suddenly the thought of starting her own blog occurred her. Thus, in the 4th year of her education in BITS Pilani, she started her blog ‘Entropy’, the name paying homage to her subject of specialization – chemistry.
Entropy began with the random thoughts of her mind and before she realized it, she had started writing short stories too. Her first stories – The Late Goodbye and 48 Hours – were widely loved. Her personal favourite on her blog is her still untitled collection of three short pieces called Harakiri, Saisei and Wind. She is currently writing a seven-part story called Seven.
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Karthik, a management consultant by profession, has always had fondness for stories from his early childhood when he used to keenly listen to stories told by his grandfather. Over the next twenty five years, he has been voraciously consuming fiction starting with Enid Blyton and moving on to Arthur Conan Doyle and then Isaac Asimov. One fine day he decided he had heard enough stories and he start telling them instead and so he started his blog ‘Lucifer House Inc.’ in 2008. He has been continuously been striving to entertain his readers through his blog posts over 5 years, winning some blogger awards as well in the process. The blog has a Google page rank of 3 and figures in the Top Indian blogs directory.
Do click on these links to check out some of his short stories.
One of his stories ‘Nootropic Egress’ won the best story award under science fiction category in a story telling contests and was published in multi genre anthology ‘Ten Shades of Life’. He has recently started another blog ‘Three Realms of the Mind’ to share his passion for his three favorite fiction genres – science fiction, fantasy and historic fiction with the rest of the world. He dreams of being a bestselling author in one of these genres. Last but not the least, he shares alma maters (IIT and IIM) with some of the most popular contemporary Indian authors and hopes he can share their success in garnering readers as well.
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Blog Tour Schedule
(19th Jan- 25th Jan 2014)
19th January ’14
Sonia Rao (Spotlight)
19th January ’14
Rubina Ramesh (Spotlight/ Review)
The Book Club
20th January ’14
Janaki Nagaraj (Review)
Memoirs of A Homemaker
21 st January ’14
21st January ’14
Sundari Venkatraman (Review)
22nd January ’14
Sridevi Datta (Spotlight)
The Write Journey
22nd January ’14
Jaibala Rao (Spotlight / Interview/ Review)
My School of Thoughts
23rd January ’14
Sumeetha Manikandan (Review / Interview)
Book Reviews by Sumi
24th January ’14
Neelesh Gajanan Inamdar (Review)
From the Heart – Neel
25th January ’14 (Review)
Dola Basu Singh
25th January ’14 (Interview)
The Tales Pensieve