Anuja Chandramouli is a bestselling Indian author and New Age Indian Classicist. Her highly acclaimed debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named by Amazon India as one of the top 5 books in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013. Kamadeva: The God of Desire, Shakti: The Divine Feminine, and Yama’s Lieutenant are her other bestsellers. Her latest spellbinding book is Yama’s Lieutenant and the Stone Witch (2017).
Her articles, short stories and book reviews have appeared in various publications like Femina, Women’s Era, Lonely Planet, The Hindu and The New Indian Express. An accomplished orator, she regularly conducts Story Telling sessions and workshops on Creative Writing, Empowerand Mythology in schools, colleges and various other platforms.
This happily married, mother of two little girls, lives in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She is a student of classical dance. Currently, she is hard at work on her new book with her two trusty aides – caffeine and yoga.
Twitter handle: @anujamouli
1) Tell us something about your book.
Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince is incredibly special to me. I wrote the book during a very challenging phase in my life. Arjuna is the greatest love of my life and always will be. It was only fitting that my first book be on him. The book seeks to chronicle every little detail about him and provide some fresh insights into the character of the greatest warrior India has produced. Mahabharata virgins as well as scholars will find the book has a little something for everybody.
In the end, he really came through for me as I knew he would. Arjuna was one of the top five sellers in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013. Five years later,readers still email or msg me to say the sweetest things about the book. Arjuna gave me the confidence to work on Kamadeva, Shakti and Yama’s Lieutenant Small wonder I love him to bits!
2) The readership of Mythological fiction is on the rise, why do you think people are now interested in the ancient tales again?
Mythology represents the glory days and rich heritage of our proud nation that has fallen on hard times. As Indians we are painfully aware of how things stand today. Caste and creed continue to tear us apart as does corruption. The gap between the haves and have – nots is yet to be bridged and we wrestle with issues pertaining to health, hygiene and everything else in between. We look to the past to deal with the present and hope for a better future. Therein lies the resurgent lure of mythology.
3) There are many books that have been written about Mahabharata and its characters, what makes your story different?
Comparisons are odious and I’d rather not compare my work with those of others who write in the same genre. What I bring to the table is sincerity, passion, humor and intensity. Plus modern day readers appreciate the contemporary themes that are dealt with in my books which resonates deeply with them.
4) What is the kind of research that you had to do when writing this book?
I devote a lot of time and effort towards a painstaking research process. Given how much Indian mythology means to me, I feel the material must be treated with love and respect. By studying the source material thoroughly we give past masters their due and are able to build on it with fresh perspective and a touch of creativity. This is how the magic happens.
6) If someone wants to write a book in your genre, what is the advice you would give to them?
Whichever genre, you choose to swear allegiance to, let it be because you give a crap and are willing to work your backside off in order to create something worthy.
7) Are you a reader, which are the books that inspire you?
I am a voracious reader and devour books with the gusto of a glutton. There are many authors and books that inspire me. If I were to mention them all, it will easily become a thousand page tome. Needless to say the Mahabharata continues to inspire me and IMO, Veda Vyasa is the greatest author who ever lived.
8) How can people get in touch with you?