Author Interview: Laxmi Hariharan

Hello Laxmi, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me.

1. First things first: how did you take up writing?

Aneisha, I've written since I was five. I took it up seriously after 2012. A few years ago, I had a bad miscarriage and almost died. I came out of it realizing life is short and if I wanted to do something, it had to be now. What was I waiting for afterall?

2. What was your very first attempt at creative writing?

My natural writing is beat poetry. I wrote that initially. My first full-length novel The Destiny of Shaitan, I wrote that over nine years and two countries and shifting three homes, much tumult in those years. Then as I said when it dawned on me that I had only finite time, I set to work completing this epic fantasy novel.

3. Where did you get the ideas for your stories?

I think they come from my growing years and then the distilled experiences of living in different countries and assimilating different cultures and meeting different people who have also had interesting experiences. The idea can come from anywhere – a book, a movie or something someone says. Then I tap into my deeper emotions to choose the relevant one I want to go with when I write. So Ruby Iyer is anger, and my next series is about learning to trust again.

4. What in particular gave you the idea for the Ruby Iyer series?

Growing up in Bombay I was weighed down by the expectations of traditional Indian society. Yet, I wanted to be economically independent. So, daily I would leave the relative safety of home, knowing that my commute to work was going to be nightmarish. It's just how public transport is in this city.

When you get on a bus you know that the man standing behind is going to brush against you. When you walk through a crowded local train platform, you accept that you are probably going to be felt up. Every time this happened to me, I would get really angry. But, I’d just push it aside and get on. Not much I could do about it could I? If I raised my voice it’s not like anyone was going to pay attention.

But, when a young photojournalist was raped in the center of Bombay in broad daylight, I was furious. It was as if nothing had changed in all the years I had been away.
Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down, who would stand up for herself, who would follow her heart ... Thus, Ruby Iyer was born. Make no mistake though Ruby is her own person. She leads and I follow.

5. Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?

Another author told me its not about writing fast but writing consistently. That is what I try to do. Write every evening and on weekends. Its like you train yourself, your brain, your attention, your mind to get into that habit—yes that dreaded boring work—of writing everyday. So when you sit at that table you automatically write.

Oh! And I use an app to block out all social media when I write. Only way to focus.

6. A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?

Everyone has to be Indie in some form. Whether you are a movie maker or a traditionally published author with hardcopies out on bookshelves. You still have to build your platform and reach readers directly. That is the long term to bulding a group of readers, and kindred people who get you.I have the utmost respect for traditional publishers. I believe it brings a rigour to the craft which Indies need to figure out on their own. On the other hand yes an Indie has more control. So they both have their strengths and challenges.

7. If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?

I have no idea! It’s a tough question. I'd probably prefer unknown faces who are talented and fit the emotion of the character.

8. What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?

Right now I have a short story UnTamed – the story of LeanaIyeroy, Ruby Iyer's granddaughter coming out as part of the UnCommon Bodies Anthology. Sneak preview here.
I am also writing Second Lives, the finale to the Ruby Iyer series and the Early Life of Kay Braganza (Ruby's mother) which I may or may not publish. I also want to write the Secret Life of Panky Mehta, but we'll see. And then I have the next series currently titled 'Shoot the Moon' set thirty years post Ruby Iyer, but featuring some of her progeny again.

9. Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?

Lot of wonderful writers. My friend Jule Owen and her newly launched The Boy Who Fell to Earth is one I am reading and really love. AlsoPavarti Taylor's magic realist Shadow on the Wall is great.

10. What would your advice be to aspiring authors?

Persist and perfect your craft. Write, and repeat and again.

11. What would be an ideal gift for you?

I am going to see the new Star Wars at an IMAX cinema. That is perfect. I look for extraordinary experiences – they are the best gifts ever.

12. And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?

Tough one. But any story from the Immortality Chronicles would make for a great movie or series.

Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works.

Click on the image below to learn more about Laxmi's latest literary adventure! 

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About Laxmi Hariharan 

A near death incident told Laxmi to write, she never stopped. Laxmi has been a journalist with The Independent and a global marketer with MTV and NBCUniversal. She is the creator of the award winning Ruby Iyer Series and blogs for the Huffington Post among others. She is an avid street art photographer and partial to electronica music. London is where she creates. Bombay is what fires her imagination.