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?

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!

Don’t miss this sale!

How does a dutiful daughter find the balance between her own desires and the needs of her kingdom? Princess Meera has fallen in love with a noble warrior, Rish Vindhya. But, when her brother disappears, she must make the difficult choice to either follow her heart or protect her beloved land. Can Meera keep her kingdom safe, or is her brother’s disappearance in enemy territory just the beginning of greater troubles?


Meera had married to save her kingdom. And in time, she grows to love her generous husband and builds a family with him. Then forced on the run with Rish Vindhya, her old passions are rekindled. What will the dutiful wife do about a love that cannot be acknowledged nor denied? Especially when kingdoms are at stake?

Character spotlight – Queen Charu

Evil stepmothers abound in fairy tales and mythology. Most of us grew up with stories about Cinderella’s stepmother who jeopardized Cinderalla’s chance for happiness. A common trope has been to pit a stepmother against her stepdaughter. When viewed through a modern lens, we realize that these stories depict the lack of female power and how their livelihood depends on the men in their lives. It is no wonder these women are typically battling for a man’s attention.

In Indian mythology, Queen Kaikeyi in Ramayana is the catalyst for the epic. She banishes her stepson, Rama, to the forest for fourteen years and sets in motion the quest for Sita. Her crime is wanting the throne for her birth son. Her desire paints her in a dark light compared to the sacrifice of noble Rama.

For a good stepmother, you need to turn to Mrs.Dashwood in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Here, the stepson wrongs the stepmother by his greed.

Coming to my books, you catch a glimpse of Queen Charu in the prequel Novella. She is not an evil stepmother. Nor is she a saint. She is misguided, complex, and human.

Her chapter Queen of Malla in Heir to Malla is one of my favorite. It is a quiet chapter of a mother sharing her story with her daughter. Her words reveal so much about the place and agency of women in those times.

Who is your favorite fictional stepmother?

Free book is here

Prince in Shadow introduces the readers to the Land of Magadha. This novella is available to my Newsletter subscribers for free.

A prequel novella to Heir to Malla, this tale opens a window into the Malla dynasty. Royal siblings, Princess Meera and Prince Jay had led a sheltered life. That was about to change. Grab a hot chai and plunge into a tale of royal intrigue laced with love. 

I typically send a monthly newsletter about my upcoming book, new releases, cover reveal, and sales. On rare occasions, you might get two emails from me in a month. So there is no worry about me flooding your inbox.

Happy summer reading.

Book Birthday

This past week, I celebrated a book birthday. I published my debut novel Heir to Malla a year ago. Just two months into the pandemic and new life of masks and lockdowns, I shared the story I had been working on for over five years.

A year later, I have realized how many mistakes I made. I had no marketing plan, no newsletter, and no beta readers. I launched the book into the wild with no clue. Since then, I have joined writing groups on Facebook and learned many things from experienced authors.


I have found a beta reader or two among my avid readers. I will be releasing Prince in Shadow, an Heir to Malla prequel novella, exclusively to my Newsletter subscribers.

For my second book, War of the Three Kings, I have a simple marketing plan, mainly focused on building my newsletter subscription, sales promo for Heir to Malla, and one or two third-party newsletter promotions. I will share more details after the launch.


This journey is a marathon, and I am grateful to my readers for letting me share the stories in my head.

My writing journey

Many writers come from backgrounds you typically expect: English majors, journalists, English teachers, history, or literature students. Then some writers like me have no background in literature or writing except for a deep love of books.

A few years ago, I along with thousands of others, waited for the next book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. This book series was made famous by the television show “Game of Thrones”. I had read every theory on the dark corners of the web about what would happen in books six and seven. As a reader, I was eager to find out what happened to my favorite characters. After waiting many years, a seed got planted, and I wondered what it would mean to write my own royal saga loosely based on Indian culture.

Without any training apart from having read many books, I started writing. Princess Meera, Prince Jay, the many supporting characters, and the land of Magadha took life on-page.

I only had a vague idea of the story I wanted to tell when I started. With no outline, my plot grew organically. Over 100k words later, I finished my first draft. In my edits, I chopped characters, rearranged plots and scenes but the core story of love, family, and duty remained.

Then I worked with a wonderful editor who helped me polish the story. As an engineer by training and trade, my writing before this book primarily focused on writing facts, charts, and technical specifications. A story needs settings, characters, scenes, conflict, and emotions. Each edit added depth to my tale. I am still honing my storytelling craft and having fun doing it, as I write book 2.

This year, Heir to Malla was published. Releasing a book is like raising a child and letting them go. My book is now in the hands of readers.

My hope is readers have as much fun reading the book as I had fun writing it.

My advice to writers is to write your story first. Pour your heart out. You can fix things later in the edits. And it is never late to start learning the craft.

Land of Magadha – Love vs Duty

Love vs Duty is a premise I explored in Book 1. This is a topic relevant in current times as well. It manifests itself as Self vs Society. Take the current pandemic and mask-wearing as an example. Wearing a mask might be good for the community, while the individual self might protest the inconvenience or health and safety concerns.

Sacrificing one’s self might be taken to an extreme. In some cultures, women are routinely asked to give up their aspirations for the welfare of their families. What is a good balance between the two, and who decides it?

My characters live in a medieval world. Fealty to the king and crown is expected. Marriages are arranged with an eye towards strengthening alliances. Do individual desires and aspirations have any place in these settings? Especially among female characters?

My characters struggle with these questions, and answers are not always easy.