Saturday, October 18, 2014

Interview with Uday Mane, Author of Helpline

Reading Helpline by Uday Mane disturbed me a lot. It kept on niggling me why would an author choose a protag which is inclined to commit suicide. If as a writer, I would have to choose, then my protag would be stronger, someone who would be the savior. Armed with this righteous attitude, I went to shoot him (with) a series of question. His answers are pretty impressive. Check it out ...

Hi Uday, 
1. Thank you for this interview. Now that all the reviews have turned in, how do you feel?

Just the way a movie buff feels after watching a good thriller. These last few weeks have surely been nothing short of suspense for me. While I have been happy for mostly positive feedback I have received for the plot and my writing style, I have also taken in my stride some constructive criticism. Overall, it has been a great learning experience from some of the finest reviewers in the online space. Thank you to the entire team of The Book Club and to Rubina Ramesh for stringent timelines, support and guidance. We will most certainly work again soon.

2. Suicide, a dark and dangerous subject to write about? What made you choose this topic?

It was something unexplored in Indian literature. The topic is quite sensitive and gloomy. I was aware that most people may shy away from reading the novel due to its theme. However, in my mind, the theme of my debut novel was chosen well before its time.  It happened in the summer of 2008. I sat in crosswords with my copy of a novel and reading away peacefully. That was the day I met this stranger. We talked about books and other things in life until I inquired about the two long scars on her either wrist. With all honesty, she confessed to having tried committing suicide twice and being saved by her friends on both occasions. There is no such thing as thrice lucky. Thankfully, she conceded to having been over it. Our paths never crossed after that, but what was left behind was an idea that grew over the next few years. Six years later, there was a book called The Helpline. So, thank you, stranger.

3. Are you sympathetic to those who contemplate to commit suicide? Do you feel that Samir, your protagonist, was justified in his thought process?

I would not consider sympathy or pity the appropriate words in this context. A person contemplating suicide does not have a thought process. Their thought process is already haywire. In this case, it is best to have someone who is patient, can think on their behalf, reason with them, and walk with them down the path of sanity.  Samir’s state of mind was compromised and so was his thought process. Hence, it was Rachael and Neha, the two sane people who do not sympathize or pity on him, but show him the right direction. 

4. Some reviewers feel that Samir is a weak character while some feel that his is justified in his action. Do you think Samir is a weak character?

Yes, Samir HAD to be a weak character. How else do you portray a suicidal character? If he were confident & strong headed character, this book would not exist. The book is written in a non-linear way, jumping between past and present every now and then. This past and present is a two way journey. One journey takes Samir from being a happy person to a suicidal. Another journey takes him from being suicidal to a happy person. Between these two journeys, life happens. And on this journey, Samir discovers himself. Replace Samir with the name of any person you know. Replace Samir with your own name. And this becomes your story. We have all gone from being weak characters to strong characters. That is what this book portrays. It takes a weak character and puts him in the toughest situation. How else does anyone of us find our own identity? 

5. What would have happened with Samir if there was no Rachael? 

Where there is a will, there is a way. Rachael was a way out for Samir. Without her, he would have figured out another way. Because, he always had the will. 

6. What is your upcoming novel? Are you choosing another bold subject? A sneak peek?

I do have a couple of things on my mind. It is too early to say if the subject is bold. What I can tell you is that it will be different and there will be a message. 

Thanks Uday, for taking the time to answer these questions. What about you guys? Do you think Samir, the protag came out stronger? Would love to know readers thoughts on this one. 

The Blurb
 Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 

What is The Helpline? 

Who is Rachael? 

What is Samir’s own identity? 

Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.

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Meet the Author

Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books. 

The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Review of Lucifer's Lungi by Nitin Sawant

Lucifer's Lungi
Nitin Sawant

The Blurb
 An atheist city-slicker unleashed on a medieval holy village...

A simpleton village priest's boy who blindly worships and guards a pantheon of Gods and Their traditions...

Strange things happen when their worlds collide!

This is a tale of that turmoil on a lonely night in a jungle, when the ghosts you never knew till a few hours ago are let loose on the ghosts that you always carried within, unknowingly.

Welcome to the unholy clash of beliefs, fears and frailties with unknown Gods and demons. A clash that will test your convictions. A clash that will rabidly claw and unmask your subconscious, leaving you naked and paralyzed in front of your demons - in a climax that is as ambiguous as it is certain...

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This was one of the most hilarious horror narrative I have read after a long time. Think like the SCREAM series I suppose, in want of a better example. The story line is simple, as should be for such a short read. 

An IT guy, make it the boring and bored kind, who finds his respite in the weekends. He just packs and goes to sight see. How I envy him his freedom :( So this time he landed up in a godforsaken or should I say the battle ground of the Demons and Gods. For a guy, who is brought up to replace the traditions with science, he finds the village practices difficult to follow. This leads to error after another and he unknowingly breaks many a rules of religious fanatism.

A serious subject,but when told in such a meaningful way makes an impact. A few chuckles and many a unladylike snorts, I come to a total standstill with the appearance of Lucifer's army. :D Who the hell can think like this? I literally did not know whether to laugh or gape at the ingenuity of the author.

How deep rooted is our religious fanatism? Frankly speaking, even a partial worshipper and 'when in trouble, pray to the lord kind'  wait for Goddess Laxmi's wrath to fall on my head if I put my leg on any paper. It is instinctive. Ingrained. While I was totally prepared for the Author to mock at all the religious dogmas, I certainly was not prepared for the Lucifers's army. That was HILARIOUS.. A RIOT.

Even for our western readers, who are not familiar with the word Lungi. According to Wiki dear, "The lungi (/luŋɡi/), also known as a sarong, is a traditional garment worn around the waist in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brunei, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. It is particularly popular in regions where the heat and humidity create an unpleasant climate for trousers." 

So you can see from above, that it covers quite a big area :D So, don't let this word deter you from picking up this book. Not only is this apt for the story but methinks it is also the drawing factor. Our dear Lucifer, the fallen archangel in Lungi. Can you really resist that?

I must write a few words on the author's style of writing. He knows how to use punch lines to the T. The timings are perfect. The well placed innuendos and his keen observation is really worth mentioning. Being married to a Tamilan, I had never thought of the rice layers! :O It is so bloody true! 

If I, personally found a point which might be considered as a weak point in this short read it the colloquialism in the style of writing. Those who are not into learning about other cultures might feel the trudge. But for those who are willing to visit those parts of India, rarely touched, this is a treasure. 

Will I recommend this book : A must read. Aspirin for a headache and will make you laugh like a shit.. oops not my fault... blame it on the author. :D

Meet the Publisher 

Fablery Publications is a contemporary publishing start-up based in Bangalore. At Fablery, our focus is on bringing out books that are more in tune with the current reading habits. Our present portfolio includes a psycho-thriller novella “Lucifer’s Lungi”, two graphic novels “Subbu’s Code” and “Ka Kaa” to be launched at Bangalore Comic Con, along with a book adaptation of a National Award winning movie “Ri” and an anthology of historical fiction “Once Upon A Time”.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spotlight : Against All Rules By Summerita Rhayne

Against All Rules
Summerita Rhayne

The Blurb
 The efficient PA out of her depth...

Samara knows getting attracted to Tahir is like asking for trouble. Not only is he her boss but he’s got divorced recently and has sworn off any commitment. Short term is not on her list but temptation has never been stronger.

The man who doesn’t have faith in rainbows anymore...

Tahir doesn’t believe in enforcing a code of conduct he cannot follow. But Samara might just make him make an exception! An affair at the office might seem a solution to his troubles but how can he avoid treading uncharted territory…?

Against All Rules

when fire is set, it’s hard to avoid the blaze

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Meet the Author

Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There's no knowing when some quirky - or sometimes even not so quirky - happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she's off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.

She divides her time between family, job and writing - and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Leibster Blog Award

I had a long cherished dream of being awarded .. errrr an award. Dola Basu Singh and Ruchi Singh you have fulfilled by a long cherished dream of being nominated. I always felt like Dharam Paaji... Always giving award and not receiving one :P Today you have created  a cherished memory in my life.

The Liebster Award is an award given by bloggers to fellow bloggers. It is passed from person to person to encourage and support each other, and help discover upcoming bloggers.

Guidelines for the award post:

1. Post 11 facts about self.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by your awarder.
3. Nominate/award 5-11 bloggers you find deserving and probably have less than 1000 followers.
4. Tell them that they have been tagged by you.
5. Include the image of the award in your page.

Here are 11 (well-known, I think, though you might think otherwise ) facts about me "

  1. I was a corporate trainer at Oracle corporation. 
  2. I hate typing. My keyboard hates me with equal ardor. I write down everything before I type. Even this.
  3. I have tried out painting, knitting, sculpting and embroidery - before deciding that I am truly horrible at it.  Oh yeah.. scrapbooking too.
  4. I love books. I spend hours in Barnes and Noble just looking at books. So much so, one day a small girl walked up to me asked where a certain genre of a book is kept. I now go to another branch of Barnes and Noble.
  5. I hate travelling and never stayed in a place for more than 2 years. 
  6. My biggest dream is to have a utensil which is 5 years old. While moving we let go of our old utensils. I hate that. 
  7. I have insomnia. Blame it on all authors whose books my mom forbade me to read. So happy hours were hiding under a blanket reading a book. 
  8. I volunteer every Thrusday to teach kids with Autism. That is my prayer. I don't pray otherwise. 
  9. I have donated all my body parts and am losing friends at a rapid scale because they think I am eyeing their internal organs when I start preaching about donating your internal organs. 
  10. I tend to live more in the past than in the present. It gets me into lot of problems. 
  11. My TBR list is 788 books. Writers please be gentle with your cursings. :P

Dola Basu Singh's set of 11 questions :

1. What were you like at school?

Ans: Do you mean outside the class or inside my class? :P My earliest memory is of me standing out side the class with my hands on my ear. Why? I don't remember. But, it must have left a great impression on me for it never changed. I was terribly influenced by 'The Naughtiest Girl in The School" by Enid Blyton. I

2. Were you good in English?

Ans:  hehehe. That was the only subject I was good at. 

3. Which writers inspire you?

Ans: Sidney Sheldon, Penny Jordan, Nora Roberts. Sorry I am not very intellectual. 

4. What genre are your books/stories/unpublished manuscripts?

Ans: Romance and Mythology

5. What draws you to this genre?

Ans: Romance : Create anything and not me sued.
Mythology: Create anything and be sued ..... and then famous. :D

6. When did you decide to become a writer?

Ans : The day I lost the most loved one in my life ... I picked up my pen ....

7. Where do your ideas come from?

Ans: Life or my wildest imagination.

8. What is the easiest thing about writing?

Ans : Dreaming that a publisher will fall in love with you.

9. What is the most difficult thing about writing?

Ans: Editing. It makes me do more gardening - just to escape.

10. Do you ever get Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?

Ans: Hey good question .. the day I decided to become a writer.. from that day. 

11. What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

Ans: The Garden series of Nora Roberts.

My set of 11 questions are :

  1. What made you take up blogging? Who introduced you to the world of blogging ?
  2. One writer whose book you would want to review because you love?
  3. One writer who inspires you to pick up the pen or keyboard ?
  4. Besides reading and writing, what is your favorite pass time?
  5. The silliest mistake you have done while blogging ?
  6. How do you come to know about the technical part of blogging (eg. The software you use for blogging, etc.)
  7. What do you hate about blogging?
  8. Would you prefer a niche blog or a general blog ?
  9. Do you think blogger, naturally turn towards writing fiction or non - fiction?
  10. Do you think great books make great movies. ?
  11. Quote a opening line from the book you are currently reading.
I nominate Ruchira Khanna , Sumeetha Manikandan, Summerita Rhayne, Devika Fernando, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Aparajita Dutta, Paulami Duttagupta, Sumana Khan, Ahana Mukherjee and Usha Narayanan for the Leibster Blog Award
(The toughest part is to create this above list. There are so many wonderful bloggers and writers out there soon as I am nominated again,......:D

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cover Reveal : Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora

Cover Reveal 
Lemon Girl 
Jyoti Arora 

The She....

The He...

The Author

Jyoti Arora

Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc. 

Jyoti's first novel, Dream's Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt reading, by herself, even before she started going to school. And she considers herself most fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.

However, if books are Jyoti’s first love, and she’s still very devoted to them, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of Jyoti’s blog is a technological blog called Techn0Treats. In 2011, a post in this blog won her the title of Samsung Mobile when Samsung made her a part of the team of the twenty bloggers chosen from all over India through a blogging competition. In this team of twenty bloggers, she was the only woman and perhaps the only one who had studied literature instead of science. As a Samsung Mobiler, Jyoti acted as the promoter and ambassador of Samsung.

Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. After that, she continued her studies on her own through correspondence courses. Her zest to overcome her medical problems and made her an inspiration for many.

So are you curious now ?????????






Thursday, October 9, 2014

Spotlight of Collection of Chaos by Tikuli


(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit.Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost...the abused. There are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there's a powerful sense of hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.

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About the Author:

Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women's Web.

Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse. She blogs at 
Stalk her @