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.
I recently finished my first set of revisions and sent the book to my editor. I hope to publish this book this summer and share the story that has been with me for years.
This tale flowed more easily from my head to my hand. Meera is back as one of our two protagonists. She is a decade older and finding her heart tugged in two different directions. Our other protagonist, who will remain nameless, finds his whole identity called into question.
Flavors, colors, and smells of medieval India seep through the pages.
Writing from the perspective of two characters allowed me to depict battles, dances, voyages, and more.
The women in those times resembled the moon. They had no power of their own and derived their authority from the men around them. How they wield this influence is a theme I explore.
For the men of my tale, danger lurks in every corner. From the kiss of a sword to the kiss of a lady, their heart is in peril.
I will be sharing the first chapter with my Newsletter subscribers soon. Please sign up here.
While I am editing War of the Three Kings, I have also started writing book three. I just wrapped chapter one of the finale. These characters have been with me for over six years now, so I am heading towards the finish line with mixed emotions. I want to complete the stories of Meera, Jay, and others. I want to write other tales about new characters who are whispering in my ears now. But there is sad music playing in the background (in my mind) as I think of the ending and bidding these characters farewell.
In some ways, this does feel like a mother or father sending their child off to college and mourning the lost childhood. In my case, I do have other stories I want to tell. Those nebulous ideas in my head now will grow into faint outlines and then characters with personalities and back stories and story arcs.
War of the Three Kings: Can Meera keep her secrets past and present from destroying Magadha and the men she loves?
News of her father’s death shatters Queen Meera’s peaceful life. King Nakul is invading Malla, while her brother, Prince Jay, is fighting a battle in neighboring Sunda. Can she stop Nakul without revealing the deadly secret she holds about her family?
At the same time, Prince Jay seeks revenge for his father’s death, but he cannot tell friends from foes. How can he save Malla and live up to the burden of the Crown when he doesn’t know who to trust?
I am returning to the Land of Magadha in book two of the series, set a few years later, and with many familiar characters. I left plenty of hanging threads in book 1, and I am having fun pulling them to see what unravels and what tightens into a knot.
I am making steady progress in my second book set in the Land of Magadha. It starts a few years after Heir to Malla and has several characters introduced in book 1.
Heir to Malla is available everywhere books are sold and is a historical fantasy without magic based in the fictional land of Magadha. I am running a free Instagram giveaway for Heir to Malla in the US. Please check it out.
In book 2, our protagonists are older and in power, and their challenges pit duty vs. following their heart’s desires. I am deeply interested in exploring what makes someone a good ruler, and monarchy provides a unique way to explore that.
I have written 40,000 words, so I am about half-way through my first draft. While I am not writing a happily ever after romance, love and hope are recurring themes.
In terms of writing style, I have broad chapter outlines written for the book, and then I let the characters take me where they want to go. I am sometimes pleasantly surprised or shocked by how certain events turn out. This mix of some planning and then letting nature take its course works well for me.
Writing continues to be my refuge in a chaotic world, especially with the pandemic upending so many normal activities.
In Heir to Malla, set in fictional Land of Magadha, you were introduced to Princess Meera, Prince Jay, Rish Vindhya, and many other characters. If their stories captivated you, you would enjoy returning to this world in book 2.
This book starts a few years later and includes many of the familiar characters you met in book 1. Because I have spent many years in these characters’ heads, the story has been flowing more naturally. The human heart in conflict is what I enjoy writing about, and there is plenty of drama to enthrall the readers.
I recently wrote Chapter 12 of the book, so I am about 40% done with my first draft. We see a main character’s chambers for the first time in this book, and I was surprised by it. And had fun envisioning how it looked.
A chapter that simmered in my head for many months was finally penned. I will go back a few weeks later to read it. I hope you like it as much as I did when I wrote it.
The next set of chapters planned essentially completes the first half and will be an emotional rollercoaster to put in words. I will probably read light romances to balance it out.
When the world around us is unpredictable and chaotic, we all need an outlet to escape reality.
I can pick a book to read and get lost in its pages for hours. I can be following a Scotland Yard Inspector solve a murder mystery in gloomy grey London. I can be shapeshifting in a magical realm, chasing a dark lord bent on destructing the world.
I started writing five years ago, and quickly, Heir to Malla became more than a novel. Writing became a way for me to relax. The creative outlet allowed me to meditate about characters and plot, rather than worry about everyday struggles.
Writing my second book in the Land of Magadha series has kept me sane during this pandemic. I may not be able to travel anywhere in the real world, but my characters have been riding elephants and horses and sailing the seas.
These characters that have been with me for over five years feel very real to me, and I can forget about the virus for some time every day and write about Meera and Rish.
Imagining a dark corridor, hearing the sounds in a battlefield, or describing a palace feast let my mind savor these things. Instead of obsessing about things I cannot control, I can chart a course for my story.
What are you doing to keep your sanity in these times?
Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
I recently finished chapter 8 of my yet untitled book 2. Since I scrapped the first few chapters of my book 1 during my edits, I have anywhere from 0 to 20% of my first draft completed.
I left plenty of hanging threads in book 1, and I am having fun pulling them to see what unravels and what tightens into a knot.
My protagonist Meera and my other POV character, who will remain nameless (Book 1 Spoilers), have plenty of conflicts – love, duty, and desires pulling them in different directions. What the self wants to do is not what is best for society. Love, that strong overpowering feeling, leading them down perilous paths with no return. And why is it so hard to do one’s duty? All happening in the backdrop of war for Magadha itself.
My next chapter is one I have envisioned happening in my head for a few months now, but sometimes these characters surprise me and take me down a road less traveled. I am excited to see how the images in my head translate into words on paper.