Anuja Chandramouli completed her graduation from Women’s Christian College, Chennai. She was a topper in Abnormal Psychology. She has also completed a Master’s degree in English.
Her debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named as one of the top 5 books in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013 by Amazon India. Her second book, Kamadeva: The God of Desire was released in August, 2014. She is currently studying classical dance. Anuja is also working on her next book. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have absolutely adored books and stories from the time I learned to read. There are few things in life more satisfying than a really good yarn and my favourite pastime is curling up with a nice novel. Writing was the natural progression of my lifelong passion for reading as I simply wanted to make my own contribution to the literary world and take my place among the storytellers.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
Enid Blyton was an especial favourite and so was Amar Chitra Katha. I also read Frances Hodgson Burnett, Louisa May Alcott, Susan Coolidge, Elinor Brent Dyer, and Charles Dickens. At one time, I was really into the Nancy Drew (Carolyn Keene), Three Investigators (Alfred Hitchcock) and Sweet Valley series (Francine Pascal)!
I started reading Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer, Stephen King, Wilbur Smith, Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) Agatha Christie, Jane Austen during my teens and I am still partial to them.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
It is a lonely job and one that makes you feel like you are operating in a vacuum. Looking inward constantly for motivation and the sheer discipline needed to get the job done is a constant challenge.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I do quite a bit of research, since my first three books were in the mythology genre. It gives me quite the kick to root around in Puranic lore and turn out obscure tales that not many are aware of. I feel it also gives me an edge over the other writers in what has become a hyper – competitive field!
What motivated you to write the book “Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince”?
I love the Mahabharatha in general and Arjuna in particular. In fact, Arjuna was my first love and it has turned out to be quite the abiding romance. It was wonderful to gather together everything I knew about him, seek out fresh insights and put it into a book.
The journey was absolutely magical and the entire experience was something special. In my wildest dreams, I dared not hope for the warm reception the book got. Two years after its release, readers continue to email me or drop a line on Facebook to share their thoughts on the book or tell me how much they loved it. Needless to say, I remain absolutely nuts about Arjuna!
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Kamadeva : The God of Desire”?
Kamadeva is one of the known names in mythology. However most think of him as the chap who went about shooting at people with flower – tipped arrows to make them fall in love before pissing off Shiva and getting burnt to cinders when Mahadeva, opened his third eye.
I was curious about the enigmatic Kamadeva, and sure enough, there was so much more to him. Kama was gentle, loving, kind and a serious sweetheart. It was lovely getting to know him and the result is Kamadeva: The God of Desire, a ripping yarn that has generous helpings of love, desire and adventure.
How did you came up with the idea of writing mythological genre book?
It was not a conscious decision. Arjuna just happened because you are always told to write about things you care about and he was the natural choice. Kamadeva followed of his own accord. My third book (which will be out this October) is on the mother Goddess and it is more of a feminist manifesto rather than your regular mythology genre book.
Who are your favourite authors?
Terry Brooks, Agatha Christie and George RR Martin (Currently I hate him for keeping me in such miserable suspense but I’ll go back to loving him once he gets around to releasing his next book.) Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame is all kinds of awesome. Recently I was inspired by the writing of Boualem Sansal, Anthony Doerr and Richard Flanagan.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
It is a part – time job but I insist on devoting a certain chunk of every day for writing, at least a few hours.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Learn to love reading. And don’t just think about writing the great novel someday. Just go ahead and do it.
You can buy her book now: