Excerpt from Burden of the Crown

You saw him as a sixteen-year-old crown prince in Heir to Malla. In Burden of the Crown, King Jay is a father. The character growth over thirty years was a fascinating story for me to write. Yes, there is heartbreak involved. And hope. And lots of love. I am excited to share an excerpt from this book with you.

Chapter 1 – Jay

Salty air wafted in through the tiny window and touched my skin like a coarse fabric. The sea crashed against the ship, drowning the faint noise of sailors shouting on the deck above me. Picking up a scroll, I noticed the swirls in the honey-colored table revealed by the morning light. I traced the markings on the wood with my finger, marveling at the craftsmanship of Malla carpenters. From outside my door came a thud of footsteps and a knock. I glanced up as my son strode in with my nephew on his heels. My son, Vikram, resembled my younger self, captured in a portrait in Akash. 

“Father, there are beautiful coral reefs around here, and Atul and I want to take a boat to explore,” he said. The waves rocked the vessel gently like I had rocked these boys when they fit in my palm. Vikram swayed on his feet, brimming with energy. He exuded easy confidence that I had not possessed at sixteen. 

Continue reading here.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers and mother figures play a prominent role in my Land of Magadha trilogy.

Stepmother

In Heir to Malla, you meet Queen Charu, stepmother of Meera and Jay. Is she an evil queen? Not quite. I featured her in a blog post.

Tears welled in my eyes anyway for the mother I lost, and my stepmother who got her wish to wear the crown but knew no real happiness.

Princess Meera

Grandmother

Grandmothers and the tales they spin can be magical. Meera’s grandmother plants seeds in her mind of what her life will be like as a queen. I wrote about how my grandmother inspired my writing journey.

Even my beloved Padi may not be worthy of my beautiful and brave granddaughter.

Queen Mother Priya

Sister

The wonderful sibling relationship between Meera and Jay features prominently in my trilogy.

“The one our mother taught us?”

“I don’t remember her, let alone her voice. I only remember you singing to me.”

Jay

Aunt

Of course, many aunts act as mother figures in the story.

He cried out for his mother last night. I watched as Aranya comforted him tenderly and calmed his demons.

Jay

A mother’s love is complex, and I enjoyed exploring the different layers of it in my story.

Anger surged in me like a fire that was fed new wood. I needed to protect my child.

Meera

What is your favorite portrayal of mother in fiction?

Cover Reveal

Burden of the Crown

This book concludes the story of Meera and Jay and is a culmination of my eight years writing journey. 

We first meet 19-year-old Meera and her 16-year-old brother, Jay, in Heir to Malla. In the first chapter, our protagonist dreams about marriage and love. The chapter ends with her learning that her brother has gone missing in enemy land. 

What follows is a tale of love, adventure, and royal intrigue set in medieval India. From the gods worshipped to the food served at the feast, the book offers a taste of 9th to 11th century India. I enjoyed writing this coming-of-age story, especially Meera’s. At the start of the book, Meera is a traditional princess, content to let her father and brother manage the affairs of the court. Then things change for the worse, and she is forced to take charge of her destiny.    
 
Meera and Jay return to face the consequences of their actions in War of the Three Kings, set a decade after book one. This book starts with another Meera chapter, showcasing her domestic bliss, with a peek at her heart in conflict, and plunges into chaos with a death of a beloved monarch. I loved the many storylines in this book, some happy, others tragic. One, in particular, tore my heart. My characters are not playing with blunt swords anymore. So the outcomes are unpredictable. 

Burden of the Crown will wrap up Meera and Jay’s tales. This series has been a magical ride for me. Some of the arcs started in book one conclude in this book. It has been an absolute joy writing about this land, where I could let my imagination run wild. I will share an excerpt soon.

Books I read and loved

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

While the world outside feels chaotic, we readers find refuge in books. Here are some books that I have read recently and would recommend:

People We Meet on Vacation – Warm, buttery, sweet, and perfect for romance lovers. This is a book one can read again and again.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: If you read one book on writing, make it this. An authentic voice is such an elusive thing. Stephen King does it so effortlessly. To imagine him facing near-death halfway through the text and still producing such a great book speaks to his skills as an author. I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it to all my author friends.

A Game of Fear (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #24): To say I have a soft spot for the shell-shocked inspector is an understatement. I have read all the books in this series. This novel was better than the last book. That is saying something because this is book 24. Recommend for mystery lovers and lovers of the foggy, grey English countryside.

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5): Surprised by this book. In a good way. Short stories compiled cleverly into a novel. Sprinkling of old fairy tales retold in clever ways. Recommend for fantasy readers. I am off reading the next book in this series.

Of course, if you have not read my books, start reading with Heir to Malla.

Love the community support

I recently attended a local author event put together by Ahaana, a non-profit that encourages men and women in the South Asian community to speak openly about taboo subjects such as domestic violence, abuse, and abandonment. They increase awareness through community events like these.

With Kelly Bagla

I am usually nervous about public events, but the friendly audience put me at ease. I shared the stage with two amazing South Asian women. Davinder’s story and her courage were inspiring. Kelly is a legal powerhouse. I am looking forward to reading their books!


I chose to read some passages from Chapter Two: Queen Charu. Strong women come in many forms. Some of Charu’s struggles still resonate in the modern world. I wrote about her in an earlier blog post.


Writing is a solitary activity, so I cherished the questions after. It gave me a boost of energy. Susheela Narayanan from India Currents attended the event and featured it in the magazine. Thankful for her kind words.

As an author, I am grateful for the support of organizations like Ahaana. Please donate to their worthy causes.

Where is my trilogy set?

While there was a Magadha kingdom in ancient India, my book is set in a fictional land of my imagination. Yes, I made my own map.

Magadha, an ancient empire in India, situated along the Ganges river valley, prospered between the 8th century BCE and the 4th century BCE. Gautama Buddha resided in the Magadha kingdom for many years.

My story, though, is set in a fictional land of Magadha and consists of three kingdoms—Malla, Padi, and Saral. This tale emulates the culture, laws, and religions of the 9th century CE to the 11th century CE in medieval India. 

Why did I not use a real kingdom for my setting? I thought about it. Since I am writing about royal families and their battles and power struggles, a fictional land allowed me to tell the story I wanted to tell. 

Malla kingdom is a composite of many kingdoms in India, including the Chola empire of Rajaraja I. Chola rulers used the symbol of a tiger as their royal emblem, and I borrowed that.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

Anaïs Nin

Land of Magadha trilogy

Heir to Malla: Missing brother. Broken father. Rogue prince vying for her kingdom. Princess Meera is fighting for her land. Will she have to sacrifice her heart to save it?

War of the Three Kings: Deadly secrets! Vengeful king! Can Meera stop her kingdom from descending into chaos?

Burden of the Crown: Conclusion to the story of the Malla siblings is coming in Summer 2022.

Historical fiction allows us to experience the lives of humans of the past and to draw parallels to our present. As you read my books, you will see it resonate with many of our present-day situations. You can emphasize what these men and women went through and see where we have made progress and where we still have ways to go. My books magically teleport you to medieval India from the comforts of your couch. That is the power of fiction. Happy reading!

Happily ever after is a myth

I love books with happy endings. They are like a warm blanket on a cold rainy day. But, in real life, our emotions come in waves. We are sad, happy, angry, jealous, all on the same day.

Even with my writing, I finished the final book in my trilogy with mixed emotions—glad to have completed the story to my satisfaction—at the same time, saddened to say goodbye to these characters.

My stories reflect that. I hope they bring you joy. Also, I hope they move you to tears. Read my books and fall in love with the characters. 

Reading a story can allow us to find ourselves when we see our emotions reflected on the pages. A character’s journey can help you find courage for overcoming adversities in your life. Let my tales tug your heart.

Land of Magadha Trilogy: Epic historical fiction saga

Heir to Malla: Missing brother. Broken father. Rogue prince vying for her kingdom. Princess Meera is fighting for her land. Will she have to sacrifice her heart to save it?

War of the Three Kings: Deadly secrets! Vengeful king! Can Meera stop her kingdom from descending into chaos?

Burden of the Crown: Conclusion to the story of the Malla siblings is coming in Summer 2022.

Conversation with Nivedita Ramesh

Nivedita is a marketing consultant turned full-time mom who dreams up a lot more stories than she writes. She is currently trying to keep it all together – a house that cannot run itself, a toddler that runs everywhere by herself, and fragments of an erstwhile life. She lives in Bangalore. You can read her blog here.

Here is my conversation with her:

Nivedita, as an aspiring writer, what are some of the questions you have for me?

Anna Bushi

Hi Anna, it was so inspiring to go through your blog and read about your books! You have shown that it is possible to make something about the stories that are constantly jumping around in my head. I have so many questions for you! Here are some:

Q1. Why did you choose the self-publishing route?

I had many stories bubbling inside me, and I wanted to share them. Self-publishing gives me a lot of freedom with what stories I can tell. I write historical fiction loosely based on medieval India. If I had gone the traditional publishing route, these stories might have never seen the light of day.

Depending on your goals, you have to decide whether traditional publishing or self-publishing is the best option for you. Self-publishing is like a small business. The author is responsible for editing, cover, marketing, and more. This work might be daunting for some.

Some authors are interested in awards and recognition. For them, traditional publishing might be worth the wait.

Q2. How do you balance a career / paid work / full-time job with writing? As a related question, how do you manage your daily life – parenting, housekeeping, time to relax and unwind, and writing?

It is a struggle on some days 😂. I began writing only when my kids were older and more independent. At each stage in our life, we have to ask ourselves what is important to us right now. And find time to do it. It also means saying no to things that are not important. Time is a great equalizer. Every day, we all get the same 24 hours, nothing more or less. I write almost daily, even if only for a few minutes. It allows me to unwind from the stress of my everyday life.

Q3. Why did you choose to write historical fiction? What was your inspiration behind choosing medieval time?

I loved the stories I read about ancient Indian kingdoms, especially Chola and Pallava kingdoms in the south. A Tamil Author, Kalki’s books were a significant inspiration. I found it fascinating to think of someone born to rule. What their struggles and challenges would be. I also find it easier to explore themes like duty vs. self or women’s rights in this setting, far removed from today’s world.

Q4. What are the resources that were helpful for you while researching your novels?

I read several books on the craft of writing. I also read several historical fiction books. I studied the culture, food, and laws of the medieval period. Since my protagonists are royal siblings, I created a fictional land rather than set my story in a real kingdom. Though this is a work of fiction, I researched weapons, clothing, and spices to make sure they were in use during that time. For flowers and trees, I used old Tamil literature. For medicine, I used Ayurvedic text and several published articles for guidelines. Museum websites are a great place to research jewels and weapons. Internet is a treasure trove of information. From battle wounds to poisons, I have searched for some weird details.

Q5. Can you take me through your writing journey? Did the story pan out as three books from the start? Did you make an outline and flesh out the characters before writing the novel?

I wanted to write a series from the start. In my first story, I started writing without an outline. I stumbled and made a few mistakes along the way. For my next novels, I created a rough chapter by chapter outline. Though I deviated from the storyline in my final story, having this synopsis helped me.

Q6. This question is very specific to novel writing, mostly because of its length. How do you edit it? I struggle to remember details and edit a 2000 word short story.

I wish I had a photographic memory. I keep a glossary of all the characters and their physical features, relationships, etc. Plus, I have an outline of the book where I tracked how many days have passed, seasons, moon phases, etc. I have two beta readers who read my chapters and provided valuable feedback. All of this helps, plus I re-read the book a few times before sending it to my editor.

Q7. Having successfully self-published three books (and with more on the way, undoubtedly), what pointers would you offer unpublished authors like me who have novel-length stories that they want to publish? What are the things to look out for while self-publishing?

Writing, like any art form, is not an easy way to make a living. So first make sure there is a passion to write. Then determine what stories you want to tell. Pick one of them and write a two-page summary of this. Read a craft book on fiction writing. I have a few in my Goodreads profile. These help with creating engaging characters. Become friends with fellow writers to form a support group.


Then write consistently, whether it is every day or every week.


For publishing, I recommend finding an editor to edit the novel. And getting a good cover for the book. There are many Facebook groups (SPF Community, 20booksto50K) dedicated to self-published authors where you can ask for advice or just read past posts. I highly recommend joining a couple of these.
Most important of all, every author’s journey is going to be unique. Set your goals and march towards them.

Happy Writing!

Book Three – Title Reveal

What a journey this has been. Meera and Jay have been with me for over five years, and they feel like my friends. Friends who rule kingdoms and fight in battles. I am blessed to be able to share this story with you. 

In this trilogy set in medieval India, I have mostly explored the conflict of the heart. There are plenty of enemies for my protagonists, but the ones that need to be slain are the ones within.

Meera has always done what is right for her kingdom and family. Can she do something that is right for her?

Jay thought ruling a kingdom was a colossal burden to bear. But being a father proves to be more arduous.

I cannot wait to share this conclusion with you in 2022. Wish you a very happy and meaningful New Year.