Guest Post – Importance of research in mythological Fiction by Usha Narayanan

I have Usha Narayanan–Bestselling author of Mythological Fiction–on my blog today, talking about the importance of research while writing mythological fiction, especially when the possibility of hurting religious sentiments is always present when writing about gods. Over to Usha.

You have focused on a very significant issue, Dola. Thank you for that and also for featuring me on your blog! To me, it is important to capture the spirit of our epics and puranas, not belittle or mock the gods or make them speak and act in a coarse manner just to attract eyeballs! Many of us are unfamiliar with our ancient literature and my aim is to focus attention on their richness and the way in which the sages embedded deep truths within their colourful stories. My intention is to promote introspection and elevate our thinking to the level of the gods, rather than bring them down to ours. This respectful treatment makes it unlikely that anyone will be offended by my stories.

Even when I add doses of fiction to write about Ganesha’s or Ravana’s love for their brides in ‘Prem Purana,’ I ensure that the stories are not just entertaining but also elevating. You will see how the gods and asuras exhibit human emotions like jealousy and despair, but the final takeaway is always love, dharma and faith. Another key element is ensuring that the women are portrayed as strong, significant individuals, for I deeply believe in that. The women in ‘Prem Purana’, and Mayavati in ‘Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’ and its sequel ‘The Secret of God’s Son,’ are equal in strength and wisdom to men, if not superior.

During my research I avoid bizarre interpretations and controversial angles that I feel are often written in order to garner publicity. Instead, I write stories that I hope will enable the younger generation to appreciate the wisdom of our ancients, and that they will see how relevant they still are. I hope ‘Prem Purana’ will provide readers an enjoyable experience. Through your blog, I request readers to post a few lines on Amazon and Goodreads once they have read the book. I’m waiting!

Do check out Usha’s latest book Prem Purana that features three love stories of deities and asuras.


Usha Narayanan
Blog Tour by The Book Club of PREM PURANA by Usha Narayanan
Stories of love and extraordinary devotion 
No one is untouched by love, not even devas and asuras, kings and nymphs. And when they face life’s unexpected tribulations, their love also undergoes trials. Read how Ganesha took myriad forms to please Riddhi, Siddhi and Buddhi, how Ravana shared an unbreakable bond with his true love, Mandodari and how Nala and Damayanti’s relationship was tested till almost nothing remained. 
Tormented by passion, wracked by betrayal, torn by the agony of separation, love in its many splendored forms is the origin of these incredibly endearing stories of Prem Purana. 
Ganesha stood with Brahma’s daughter Siddhi on the sacred soil of Kailasa, offering worship to the linga that Parvati had installed. He glanced at his companion’s proud face, knowing that he had embarked on a rough path in attempting to win her over. For now, however, he had to focus on his confrontation with Parasurama whom Shiva had blessed with his great axe.
Siddhi watched from a safe distance as Ganesha bowed to the warrior and requested him to wait until Shiva granted him permission to enter. But Parasurama angrily pushed him aside and strode towards the cave. Ganesha intercepted him, causing the angry warrior to raise his axe to threaten him.
Finding that his antagonist would not listen to mere words, Shiva’s son extended his trunk by many lengths and wound it around Parasurama 100 times. He then raised the warrior into the skies so that he could see the seven mountains, the seven oceans and the seven islands of the earth below him. Then he whirled him around and showed him all the lokas including Vaikunta, where Lord Vishnu presided on his lotus throne with Devi Lakshmi. With his yogic power, Shiva’s son granted Parasurama a vision of Goloka, the purest of realms, where blue-hued Krishna resided with Radha and his gopis.
After showing Parasurama how insignificant he was when compared to the primordial universe spanning endless time and space, Gajamukha dropped him gently on the ground outside Shiva’s cave. He smiled at Siddhi who stood dazed, clinging to a tree for support, as she too had been granted the supernal vision by Ganesha’s grace. She realized now that her cheerful friend was called Vakratunda not because of his crooked trunk, but because he was the one who straightened out the crooked.
Parasurama recovered from his stupor and saw that he was lying on the ground at Ganesha’s feet. Incensed by this humiliation, he sprang to his feet and took up his mighty axe. The parasu hurtled towards Ganesha with a deafening roar. Siddhi trembled, certain that her friend would not survive the dire power of his father’s weapon.
Strangely enough, Gajamukha made no attempt to counter Parasurama’s axe. Instead, he joined his hands in worship to the parasu and stood calmly as if reconciled to his death.
Siddhi heard a horrific crack as the parasu struck one of Ganesha’s tusks and severed it completely. It fell to the ground with a crash, smeared in blood, looking like a crystal mountain covered in red chalk. Shiva rushed out of the cave, followed by Parvati, who turned into fiery Durga when she saw that her son had been wounded. She discerned what had happened and raged at the warrior who stood before her with the axe that had returned to his hand.
‘O Parasurama!’ she said. ‘You may be learned and wise and the son of a great sage, yet you have allowed wrath to overcome you. You received your parasu from your guru, Shiva, but abused your gift by using it to wound his son. Ganesha, on the other hand, allowed the axe to sever his tusk due to his respect for his father’s weapon. What next will you do, Parasurama? Will you assail mighty Shiva himself? Presumptuous warrior! I curse you this day that though you are an avatara of my beloved Vishnu, no one on earth or heaven will ever worship you!’
Parasurama cowered before the angry goddess whose fury grew by the moment. ‘It is only due to Ganesha’s forbearance that you are still alive, for he can kill a hundred thousand Parasuramas in the blink of an eye,’ she said. ‘But I am unwilling to be so tolerant and will end your life today!’
Durga rushed towards him, with her trident aimed at his head. Parasurama stood unarmed and unresisting. He closed his eyes, joined his hands together and surrendered to Krishna.
‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya!’ Parasurama chanted, invoking his god with his last breath.
At once, Krishna appeared before him, lustrous and omnipotent, granting him protection with one raised hand. Durga stopped mid-stride and gazed at Krishna. Her wrath vanished, dissolving like mist in the light of the sun. A beatific smile adorned her face. She offered him a reverential welcome along with Shiva.
Krishna addressed them gently, a calm smile on his face. ‘I have come here to rescue my devotee,’ he said. ‘Though Parasurama has committed a grievous sin, I request you to forgive him, Parvati. He is your son too, for you are the divine mother, the refuge of all creation. As for you, Parasurama, you have to undertake a severe tapasya to attain forgiveness. Worship the Devi who animates the three realms in the form of the gentle Gauri and the fierce Durga. Seek the blessings of Ganesha who is now Ekadanta, the lord with one tusk.’
Having offered his counsel, the lord returned to Goloka. Parasurama prostrated himself before the gods and laid his axe at Ganesha’s feet in tribute. He then retreated to a distant mountain to begin his worship. Parvati took her son into her mansion, to coddle him after his fierce encounter.


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About the Author


Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, radio and corporate communications before becoming a full-time author. Her bestselling novels span multiple genres: ‘The Madras Mangler’, a suspense thriller; ‘Love, Lies and Layoffs’ (Harlequin) and ’Doctor Stalker Spy’ (Juggernaut), lighthearted romances; ‘Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’, ‘The Secret of God’s Son’ and her latest ‘Prem Purana’ (all from Penguin) that have been praised as ‘Indian mythology at its fiercest and finest.’ Two new books are in the offing. When she is not travelling, writing or editing, Usha reads everything from thrillers and romances to the puranas.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author…

Praise for Usha’s books:
‘Like the best of our mythological tales, Pradyumna: Son of Krishna too is a multilayered one…There is valour, there is cowardice, there is glory, there is shame, there is sex, lies and deception.’
The Secret of God’s Son is a compelling read on mythological tales.’ – The Sentinel


Prem Purana is so good! I am impressed at how Usha can write about Ganesha with so much personality while at the same time showing him as a cosmic divine being. ’ Dr Laura Gibbs, Professor, Indian Epics, University of Oklahoma 
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Author Interview – Rubina Ramesh, Author of Finding the Angel.

Had a lovely chit-chat with one of my favorite Indie Romance authors – Rubina Ramesh of Finding the Angel & The Knitted Tales fame. Have a looksy:
Me: Including a Faberge is certainly a new idea. How did you come across it? Did you need to take permission to use Angel in your book?
Rubina: Hi Dola, thanks for these insightful questions. Fabergé had always fascinated me. I used to read about it a lot since my mom was very fascinated about this whole concept of Faberge. I believe in the old ‘bonedi’ Kolkata’s house, these were collected as a status symbol. And since they were priceless, many stories are associated with them.
Even in the European aristocracy, they played a very important role in the mysticism of these Faberege eggs.. But when my mom used to tell me stories about these eggs and how many of them have disappeared – stolen since they were considered priceless. I mean can you imagine Dola, the eggs which we take so much for granted, can be priceless 😛
Since the Fabergé I spoke about is lost and there is no ownership claim, I didn’t need permission for that. But yes I did write to the Faberege company after the book was published and to my surprise they reverted back. It was a wonderful moment in my life. 
Me: Your characters are so lively they jump out of the book. Do you plan their sketch or write on the go?
Rubina: Coming from a critique like you, this is a huge compliment. Thank you 😛
I  really wish I could plan out my stories. I have tried that method but failed miserably. I write from one scene to another as my characters take me. Sometimes I do miss a scene or two but during editing, generally I take care of it. But this is not the best method I suppose but planning and plotting never worked for me. I am still working on this method.
Me: You have self-published 2 books. I understand you had an offer to traditionally publish Angel but you chose the Indie route. How has your journey been? Do you regret letting go of the trad-pub deal?
Rubina: Of course it’s a dream for every author to be traditionally published. I have that too. But under any circumstances, I refuse to write what a publisher wants me to write. The world of publishing has changed. I would rather have my readers tell me if I should write or not. I can take criticism – as my reviewers will tell you. I cannot take butchering of a book. I like my space a lot. So if my book is bad, let the readers say that openly. For this book, I have five star ratings – not from friends only. And I have  one star  and two star ratings rating too. I accept both with love. Now my aim is to win over that person who gave me a one star rating in my next book.. or the next.. or the next. Writers grow with every book they write and that is the only mission I have in my life.
Me: Does the success of The Book Club ever interfere with your writing? Which do you like more, reviewing and marketing or writing?
Rubina: The Book Club is not mine alone. So everyone does their bit. TBC to me is my strength – a virtual world where we can speak about our love for writing without boring the life out of our family. 😛
Me: Tell us about your next book.
Rubina: I have two coming up. Maya and Kept. Maya is a two book series though both will have an ending of their own. Maya is a romantic thriller while Kept is a drama or romance – yet to decide.
A beautiful love story surrounding a rare antique, Finding The Angel is a lovely read interspersed with a dash of humor. If you’re looking for a breezy romance to read this summer, pick this up. ‘Twas lovely having you over on Shiuli, Rubina. You Rock.
Rubina Ramesh
All She wanted was love…
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft. 
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?
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About the author

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

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Chit Chat with Sundari Venkatraman – Author of The Runaway Bride

Had a chance of talking to Sundari Venkatraman who has released 4 novels this year namely, Double Jeopardy, The Malhotra Bride, Meghna and now recently, The Runaway Bride. Here’s an excerpt from our talk.

D: Welcome to my blog, Sundari! I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.
S: Thank you Dola for having me on your blog.

D: Give us an insight into your main characters.
S: Chanda is my heroine. While she’s young, she’s one of the older students in her BMS class. There’s a reason or it. She began her education late as she’s originates from a village background. She’d been married as a kid, when she was eight. Worse yet, her bridegroom had runaway.
Ranveer is into software and owns his company. He’s smart, dynamic and attracted to Chanda. But is he ready to pursue the relationship? You will need to read the book to find out.
Then there is Shikha, who plots to win Ranveer’s hand; the quiet Abhimanyu is Ranveer’s second-in-command. He’s also in love with the wild Shikha.

D: Wow! They sound so interesting, especially Chanda. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters?
S: Deepika Padukone as Chanda
Ranveer Singh as Ranveer
Mallika Sherawat as Shikha
Jimmy Shergill as Abhimanyu

D: I see three of my favourites there! Sundari, what draws you to the Romance genre?
S: I view the world via rosy spectacles and can’t see the negatives. Isn’t that a perfect view point for romance? Then there are the happy endings…. sigh!

D: Who doesn’t love happy endings right? What are you working on at the minute?
S: An anthology of romantic short stories – Matches Made In Heaven – to be published in December 2014.

D: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
S: First and foremost – becoming RICH & FAMOUS! I am dead serious, no jokes. I am planning to publish four books every year. Matches Made In Heaven will be the fourth book for 2014. 2015 will see four more books beginning with Sangita’s Dilemma in February 2014 and Simha International in June 2014. I am planning to get my books published by a traditional publisher too, in the print form, as I realise that the Indian audience prefers those. That’s it for now.

D: I wish you all the best and hope all your dreams will come true, Sundari! Thank you for telling my followers a little more about you.
S: Thank you so much Dola Basu Singh for giving me an opportunity to air my views.

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