Monday, 4 April 2016

Hariharan Iyer talks about his book Surpanakha.

Book Blurb

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 slappe
d 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

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:

Author Interview
1.                  What inspired you to write the book?
A couple of years ago, a law intern alleged that a retired judged misbehaved with her. Celebrity lawyers took up her case. Media hounded the judge. He was forced to resign from a strategic post retirement job. Thereafter when the police registered a case and wanted the victim to testify, she vanished. We don’t know what happened. Was there pressure on her not to testify? Or was it decided that the purpose had been achieved? Neither the celebrity lawyers nor media felt obliged to explain their position to the masses.
Secondly, a series of articles by an IIM professor on the mushrooming NGOs and their questionable sources of funds forced me to think. Around the same time there were reports that well-known personalities who were running foreign funded NGOs were using the funds for buying branded jewelry, clothing and shoes! It made me wonder what the underlying motivation could be for floating such NGOs.
Both the above gave rise to a lot of what ifs in me and pushed me into the realm of fiction. And the novel was born. I would, however, like to clarify that it is not a real life story.
2.                  When did you realise that you want to write a book?
I had been blogging for a while on media and current affairs. Then I hit on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful as to convince the accountant in me that apart from putting together a balance sheet, I could write an intriguing political thriller.
3.                  Who helped you in writing the book and please say about their contributions?
There are many who helped me in improving the book and making it more readable. First my wife. She read the first draft and suggested the changes—quite drastic they were—to be made. Then a senior colleague. Then a couple of beta readers. And the impact of their input was: I cut down the size by 15,000 words; I dropped 2 characters and modified one; I changed the title.
4.                  How is your book going to inspire the readers?
The novel revolves around contemporary issues like hate crime and sexual harassment, the politics surrounding them, and the skewed coverage media gives them. In fact, Surpanakha, my book, starts where the prime time debates in TV channels leave the viewers. Obviously, it will change the way they consume news and views. It will enable them to form an opinion independent of the stereotypes media and the panelists want him to form.
5.                  If you are given the chance to change one thing in your book what would it be?
Like I said, I’ve I cut down more than 20 scenes, dropped 2 characters, modified one more character and changed the title based on the advice of beta readers. No more changes now.
6.                  How do you find time to write and which part of the day is best for writing for you?
I head the finance function of a $150 mill group based in East and Central Africa. Quite a demanding job. My days are spent in the office and nights and weekend with the family. What is left is early morning. With a strong filter coffee by my side, I start writing at 4:30 in the morning.
7.                  Which books have inspired you the most, in the journey of writing this book?
More than books, some recent controversies and the slanted coverage they got from media inspired me to write this book.
8.                  What is the best advice, you would give for writers who are trying to write a book?
I am budding author. This is my first book. I am not competent to advise others.
9.                  What are your hobbies?
Books, TV seriels (only the first 50-60 episodes; thereafter I can’t stand the illogical twists and turns they take retain TRPs), Action movies
10.              What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on my next book. It is about a young girl who aspires to study medicine, but is unable to do so because of the reservation rules of the state. How does she respond to this challenge? Does she accept it as fate and study B.Sc as her brother did a few years earlier or does she fight back?

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