Sunday, October 26, 2014

Author Interview: Janaki Murali: Tender Tales: The Colour of Dawn: Gulu Naami: Mica in Someplace Else

She rejoices in fiction, revel in fantasy and love to tell a tale. She writes for both adults and children.
Her work includes short stories in several magazines, Tender Tales, a serialised children's adventure in a daily newspaper (Deccan Chronicle), The Colour of Dawn (Harper Collins India) (read review here), Gulu Naami and the Power of the Triad (Partridge India), the first part in the Gulu Naami series and Mica in Someplace Else (autopilot:Spoilt Ideas) in memory of Aagneya (2005-2014).

A crusading journalist (perhaps), a soft skills trainer (maybe), mom to a son and daughter (always) and a friend to stray cats (sometimes). her likes include the Beatles, books, movies, theatre and travel. She live in Bangalore, India.

Welcome Janaki!

Your real name and pen name?
Janaki Murali – I write under my own name. I am called Jana by friends and family.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
My dad used to take my brothers and me on an annual outing to a film and dinner. ‘Hatari’ was a film I remember seeing on one of these outings. Mom would give me surprise treats, by coming to my school to pick me up and take me to a restaurant. She bought me my first book, ‘Hidden House’ by Enid Blyton and dad was always the first one to read my work.

About your education
BA English literature and then went on to do Journalism

What career did you plan during your education days
Writing, always writing.
Addressing a Summer camp
What languages you can speak and write?
I can speak English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, a smattering of Malayalam and Bengali, but prefer to write only in English, although I have learned to write Hindi, but never do.    

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
Books. There have always been some great authors and their books that have inspired me at various phases of my life.

What hurts you most in this world
Harsh words
fantasy session at Bangalore litfest
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
There have been several challenges in my life, I don’t want to go into boring details here, but I found prayer a big help in surmounting them.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I would love to be Margaret Thatcher for a day. She battled prejudices and stereotypes and become the Iron Lady.

 What is your favourite genre and why?
Children’s fantasy and humour. It’s so wonderful to escape into a fantasy world, rejoice and revel in it and subtle humour, is so much fun to read.
reading at a bookstore
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I started writing as a child, I would invent stories in my head. My first short story was published when I was 16 years old. Writing is my passion, I write because I am. I hope my readers get as much pleasure from my articles and stories, as I get in writing them. 

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
As a journalist, I have written several articles and columns in newspapers. Many of my short stories were published over the years in magazines. Tender Tales, a children’s adventure series was featured in Deccan Chronicle. My published books are, The Colour of Dawn (HarperCollins), Gulu Naami and The Power of the Triad (Partridge India), and Mica in Someplace Else (authopilot:Spoilt Ideas) Recently my short story, Smile, There’s Only This Life, got published in a literary e-zine, The Earthen Lamp Journal
The Colour of Dawn
The Colour of Dawn is about a woman’s struggle to bury a past that crowds into her present. It is about an unfulfilled love that turns vindictive.

The novel is an exploration of a hot and sultry cauldron of cultures awaiting the rain, after a series of nuclear blasts raised tension between two rival countries. 
With a powerful blend of irony, drama and pathos, Janaki Murali delineates the universal nature of fear and its effect on human lives and destinies and leaves you wondering whether love can be so crippling!
Gulu Naami and The Power of the Triad:
Dive deep into the bowels of a volcano in the Bay of Bengal and meet the fire-breathing Mrigas, shape-shifting Bahulas, four-headed Gufiyas and the special unugly Gulu. Watch them as they employ insects of espionage and wield weapons of fantasy.

See a whole new world through the eyes of three earthlings who learn to stand united after losing a parent, and are pulled into a chain reaction that is about to shake up the entire galaxy.
Building on influences from Asia, Africa and the ancient language of Sanskrit, Janaki Murali takes readers on a phantasmagorical journey.
Mica in Someplace Else:
Everyone has a talent in Someplace Else and eight year old Mica Mishti, who is magically transported to Someplace Else, must find a talent real soon, to escape being axed.

In an adventure that was waiting to happen, Mica meets King Ginger, who yearns to fly, Gold Button, who heads a troop of button soldiers and one eyed Gren, who becomes her ally and friend. 
Mica in Someplace Else was written around nine year old Aagneya’s sketches. Saluting Aagneya’s indomitable spirit in fighting chronic kidney disorder and the joy he brought to people through his drawings, the book is in his memory. Aagneya (2005-2014)

What are your forthcoming writings?
Gulu Naami and the destiny keepers - 2nd book in the Gulu Naami series, a collection of short stories and a novel titled Following the Light Home- this has been 13 years in the making. 

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in Calcutta (Kolkata) West Bengal. I have travelled across the USA, UK, Europe, Singapore, UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Israel. My favourite cities are London, Paris and San Francisco. I like these cities because they’re so culturally alive, pulsating with art, music, theatre and the best wining and dining options.
signing the facebook wall, Menlo park, US
Your favorite time of the day?
Mornings, sitting with my coffee and working on a Sudoku in my morning newspapers.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Your favorite color and why?
Blue, it’s such a pleasant colour.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
I read Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate factory last week, and I am currently reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

Your favorite book and why?
Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. I marvel at the sheer brilliance of Seth’s achievement of writing a whole novel in verse.

Your favorite movie and why?
Godfather for its characterisation and the sheer expanse of the film

Your favorite celebrity and why?
Meryl Streep for the sweep of roles she has essayed.  

Your favorite food?
Pasta and Chaat

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare
Sun. Smile. Morning. Coffee. Mountain. Long Drive. Silence. Water. Air. Mars. Tulip. Blue. Right. Glance.

What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God, Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age
Technology – faceless, distant, reach
Life-Emotional, exciting, exasperating
God- Is there one?
Humanity-Complex, Caring, Crass.
Terrorism- Misguided, angry people.
Racism- Be human first
Childhood Abuse- It frightens me.
Love -Unconditional, warts and all.
Parenting-Enjoyable, frustrating, stressful.
Old age- Lonely, friendless, losing control    
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Do your best

The last line of your autobiography would be…
I did my best

Amazon link: Gulu Naami and The Power of the Triad:
Mica in Someplace Else:

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