An Oxymoron’s Guide to Writing a Novel by Laxmi Hariharan, author of Destiny of Shaitan

Today is a day full of goodies. First, I am presenting the novel, The Destiny of Shaitan, Chronicle of the Three, Book 1  by Laxmi Hariharan.  In addition to the book blurb and info – the author has graciously provided a guest post on the actual process, and it doesn’t stop there.  There are tour stops with playlists and reviews and interviews, AND there is a giveaway with details to follow.  But let’s start with the book:

Title: The Destiny of Shaitan
Series: Chronicle of The Three #1
Author: Laxmi Hariharan
Genre: Fantasy, Young-Adult
Publisher: Laxmi Hariharan
Format:  Paperback / eBook
Pages:  236
Purchase:  Amazon

Book Description:  The Destiny of Shaitan, the first novel in The Chronicle of The Three series is a coming of age story, about a girl who falls in love only to realise that to be truly happy, she has to first find herself. Set in 3000 AD, when the galaxy is populated by humans as well as a half human, half alien race called half lives, this novel, tracks the protagonists from five to seventeen years old.

When Tiina accompanies her ex-boyfriend Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path. Tiina wants Yudi to eliminate Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the powerful autocrat being killed by his son, but she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Yudi and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight—including getting rid of Tiina. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan’s ultimate destiny be fulfilled?

Return to 7 Islands, (Chronicle of The Three, #2): The Destiny of Shaitan, ends with Tiina, leaving everything she knows—including Yudi and the world she helped save from Shaitan—in search of herself.  The second novel in the series, titled Return to 7 Islands, follows Tiina as she lands in a futuristic Bombay—now  reduced by a tsunami to its original seven islands—and helps Rai, in defending his childhood orphanage from the clutches of Sharmila, Shaitan’s daughter. As she struggles to come to terms with her origins in an attempt to understand herself better, she discovers a surprise about her past.

And now – the other Tour Stops  Or – enter the Rafflecopter and be one of the lucky winners!  You could win 1 Signed hard copy of The Destiny of Shaitan: Chronicle of The Three, #1 by Laxmi Hariharan,or one of 3 eBook copies of The Destiny of Shaitan Chronicle of The Three, #1 by Laxmi Hariharan, or one of 3 $10 Amazon Gift Cards or  1 $50 cash or Amazon Gift Card.  This drawing ends Nov. 25th

Here’s Laxmi!

An Oxymoron’s Guide to Writing a Novel 

A chance meeting with a stranger in Hong Kong sparked off the first words for a short story that eventually became The Destiny of Shaitan.  At that time the first Harry Potter had just released. By the time I completed my first novel, fantasy was a mainstream genre, and the tube was alive with the silent swoosh of kindles.

My debut novel took many years to complete and I had to go through what I call an adventurous learning curve before I delivered to the world. I had worked on countless drafts of my first novel—while moving three countries—when on the advice of a writing program, I decided to move on to my next novel without completing it. Then six months into plotting chapter and scenes for my second—a friend of a friend who also happened to be a numerologist read the latest draft. I listened in amazement as she told me the meanings she found within the lines I had written. It dawned on me then that it was not all in my head, perhaps I was communicating a little of the wonders of the future that I was seeing. I wasn’t completely crazy then. So I realized I had to complete the story—and more—if I wanted readers to dedicate time to my novel then I had to be a one hundred percent sure of my content.

I commissioned an editor – and rewrote the entire second half of the book; a full 150 pages in just three weeks. At the end of which, I felt like Michael Fassbender’s character in A Dangerous Method.  I had a swollen right hand; minus the orgasms of course. I was still not a 100% percent sure of the name of the novel. The same numerologist came to my rescue and steered me towards the name as it is today The Destiny of Shaitan.
Then, came the search for my cover. I first found a young Romanian student based in Bucharest who was very eager to try his hand at it.  After a few changes I had what I thought were interesting clothes for my baby. I happened to show it to my husband who dismissed it in one sentence: “The woman looks like an ugly Bollywood heroine.” Crushed, off I went, hunting for a superior artist, and found a New York based book cover designer, ready to take it on.

This time everyone loved the results, even my husband. It had taken me nine years to birth it, but within three weeks, I had edited it, crafted the cover and released my first born to the swells of Amazon. The Destiny of Shaitan was uploaded in time for its first tryst with KDP. Closure? It was just the beginning. Within minutes of declaring it a life-event on my Facebook timeline a friend told me she had downloaded it for her son. I panicked wondering if her fourteen year old should be reading the love scenes. A guest blog post on how western science fiction draws from Indian mythology drew emails from kindred souls. I was not alone. Oh! I also wiped out my annual savings in weeks. Once I opened my purse strings to promote Shaitan, there was no looking back. Within days it was clear that while I was a London based writer, my real market was the US, with its wide kindle reach. I refocused, targeting all my efforts stateside.

Most mornings I was awake at four a.m. trawling the internet, promoting my first born on various social networks; I discovered a family of writers like me; many ready to lend a helping hand and an encouraging word. This was my new avatar. Welcome Indie writer. Self-e-publishing seems to be an oxymoron. It’s great to be published, but terrifying to be actually read.  Once the book is out there, you scramble to promote it and soon there is no mind-space to write, which is why you got into it in the first place. But, I love it. I thrive on the contradiction that comes with the freedom of being the captain of your own destiny; wouldn’t have it any other way!

What are your experiences with e-publishing? I would love to hear from you.

To see more about the author, and see an excerpt of the book – read on

About the Author:   While born in India, Laxmi Hariharan has lived in Singapore and Hong Kong and is now based in London. She has written for various publications including The Times of India, The Independent, Inside Singapore, Inside Hong Kong and Asian Age. Indian mythology inspires her work. When not writing, this chai-swigging technophile enjoys long walks in the woods, growing eye-catching flowers and indulging her inner geek.  Her debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon

Find the author at:

 Facebook | Goodreads | @laxmi  | Website | Pinterest | G+ | Klout |

Now – the excerpt: 

Pluto, 3016

The lightning strikes him down, charring him black with smoke ebbing out, and he awakes to the gut-wrenching pain.

Thump. Kreeee. Thump. Kreeeeee…

Yudi jolts into consciousness from the sound. He throws off the covers and pads onto the small terrace adjoining his bedroom, wearing just the pair of black shorts he sleeps in. He is on the eighteenth floor of a fifty-eight storey apartment block. The distance does not hinder the noise, which carries to him through the dawn air, growing louder by the second:  Thump. Kreeee. THUMP. KREEEE…

Not again!

Down below, he sees the aged Plutonian female going about her early morning ritual of dragging the large steel pole, bumping down the sleeping escalator steps. Every morning at five o’clock without fail, that annoying noise wakes him up. And every morning he looks out the window to see her walking down the escalator, which would normally be running in the upward direction if it were switched on.

Why does she not take the path next to the escalator? It would make the going much easier for her. And where does she go with that one single steel pole every morning? He ponders her routine just as he has every morning.

Another of life’s great mysteries…just like the question of who my real father is. The thought comes unbidden, as if the urban chemistry swirling in the air is mocking him. The smog of the early dawn creeps in—a reminder of the clogged, urban city where he lives—masking the scene below until all he can see is his own face reflected in his mind’s eye.

Without turning, he reaches for the half-empty cigarette pack placed within arm’s length on the small wrought iron table on the terrace. He flicks on the vintage Ronson gas lighter, its golden casing long since rubbed away by frequent use to a dull brown. The cigarette paper crackles as it lights up. He pulls in a drag and exhales, watching the smoke as it melds with the smog, hitting the sticky side of the taller one hundred and eight storey-high apartment buildings on either side of the street. The smog slithers toward the other open window of the apartment diagonally opposite, where the young man living there often parades his women.

His heart begins to beat in sync to the thump, kreeee, thump, kreeee, even as the sound fades. He shuts his eyes. I am safe. I am safe. No. I am scared, so scared. Feeling so helpless is unstoppable, and the sensation grows within him.

After stubbing out the half-smoked cigarette with jerky movements, he reaches for another.

Athira’s voice rings in his ears. “Being sixteen isn’t permission to smoke your lungs out all in one go. You’ve got the rest of your life to live. Space it out a bit.”

He steels himself against the prick of consciousness that was bound to follow and continues to light his second cigarette of the day. As he pulls on the cigarette with his right hand, he plays with the faded Ronson in his left. Its smooth, much rubbed surface is a slight comfort. It’s the only reminder left of his father.

Adopted father, he corrects himself.

However much his logical mind tried to believe what Athira told him, his heart refused to listen. Athira would always remain both his father and mother. The man had not just raised him, but had showered him in love in a strong affectionate manner, which had bound them forever.

As usual, thinking of Athira sends his mind into overdrive and he shuts his eyes against the pain. He can feel every separate beat of his heart, realise the full breadth of his life, and discern each individual moment in that space.

So, this is how it feels to be powerless. His thoughts hang alongside the window and then hurtle against the glass, crashing into a thousand pieces in his mind.

Stop! Breathe! He admonishes himself, and clinging on, tries to haul himself up. Mentally, he stays suspended over the precipice for a few seconds, and then he is there, back on stable ground.

Yudi sighs and opens his eyes. Panic attacks have an annoying way of creeping up on him when he is at his most vulnerable. The images will come rushing back and once more his mind races over that well trodden memory path.

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