Bloody Good Book & Westland announce the co-publication of India’s first crowd sourced & crowd curated thriller novel: Brutal by Uday Satpathy

Bestselling author and entrepreneur Rashmi Bansal’s eBook publishing venture Bloody Good Book has joined hands with leading publisher Westland Ltd to announce the publication of debutant author and Bloody Good Book find Uday Satpathy’s novel Brutal.

Brutal will be India’s first crowd sourced and crowd curated thriller novel. It was found through Bloody Good Book, a novel online platform (www.bloodygoodbook.com) that uses the power and wisdom of crowds to discover and nurture great new books.

Bloody Good Book was launched on 2 June 2014. In three months, Bloody Good Book has over 5000 registered members and over 65 books on its platform. Uday Satpathy joined Bloody Good Book in its second month. In a short span of time, his novel Brutal rose quickly to the top of the heap, garnering great reviews from Bloody Good Book members.

Hetika Sanghani, star reviewer at Bloody Good Book said, “140 pages of sheer gripping pages…just absolutely loved the flow, the tension created and the way the story unfolds…The most striking feature is Uday’s brilliance of narrating so many stories together without creating any confusion…infact adding to the tension created making you want to read more and more…Uday-if BGB doesnt publish your manuscript I am definitely bribing you into giving me the entire manuscript…lol….cant wait to know more!!!”

Brutal also received effusive praise from bestselling author of thriller books, Ravi Subramanian. Ravi, author of Bankerupt and God Is A Gamer, said, “Brutal is a thriller packed with extraordinary detail, unbearable thrill and unequalled emotional depth. Uday’s writing is something to watch out for in the coming years.”

Brutal will be published as an eBook by Bloody Good Book and as a print book by Westland Ltd.

Synopsis of Brutal by Uday Satpathy

‘You are in real, real danger’ – a school teacher gets a creepy warning in his mailbox. Seven days later, he massacres eleven of his own students. Two months later, he is gunned down in broad daylight by an obscure militant outfit.

Justice served. The nation pacified. Case closed, the police say. But, two crime reporters think otherwise.

Seeking redemption through this case are Prakash and Seema, ace journalists in their professional lives, but broken individuals in the darkness of their personal hells. As they dig deeper into the mystery, they are led into the ominous forests of Bandhavgarh where an eerily similar massacre had occurred eight years ago. Little do they know that they have stirred up a hornet’s nest.

One by one their leads start turning up in body bags and they are chased by assassins at every corner. Soon they realize that they are pitted against evil powers pervading the business and political DNA of the country, with an unbelievably sinister agenda. As a massive terrorist strike looms over the nation, will Prakash and Seema survive long enough uncover a conspiracy of unimaginable proportions?

Find and follow Brutal at http://bloodygoodbook.com/brutal on Bloody Good Book.

About Bloody Good Book

Bloody Good Book is a unique eBook publishing venture that seeks to channel the power of crowd sourcing and crowd curating to discover and nurture new writing talents.

Moving away from traditional publishing procedures, Bloody Good Book has built an innovative and interactive, over 5000 members strong online platform where writers from all over India are invited and encouraged to submit their manuscripts. The first three chapters of their book are made available online and readers across India are encouraged to read, rate, and review for publication. The top ten best reviewed and most popular manuscripts are reviewed by Bloody Good Book and Westland for publication.

About Westland Ltd

WESTLAND LIMITED is a subsidiary of Trent Limited, a Tata enterprise.

It is the fifth largest English language trade publisher in India. Westland’s bestselling authors include Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Devdutt Pattanaik, Ashok Banker, Rujuta Diwekar, Rashmi Bansal, Anita and Harsha Bhogle and Preeti Shenoy among others.

Since Neilsen has started their Bookscan in India which tracks bestselling titles across the country, Westland has consistently had a strong presence in the top 50 best selling charts.  Some of the authors have also found a place in the Forbes list.

It currently has three imprints, which are:

1) Tranquebar Press – for literary fiction and non fiction

2) Westland – for trade books (fiction and non fiction)

3) EastWest – for south India heritage and academic cross over books

Westland has also ventured into Hindi language publishing and children’s books.

Reasons to gift your sister a book this Raksha Bandhan

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Raksha Bandhan is around the corner and most of you will be shopping for your sisters, yes? Here are some very good reasons why you should consider gifting her a book!

1. Chocolates, clothing and jewelry are okay gifts. A book, on the other hand..

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2. Nothing excites a bookworm like a new book. Nothing.

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3. Sister’s not a bookworm? No problem. No matter what your sister’s hobby is, there’s a book on it she will love. Guaranteed.

Really. There’s even an award for the oddest book title.

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4. Your parents will be impressed with you for encouraging a good habit.

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5. The next time she’s on a train or a flight with nothing to do, she will thank you.

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6. She might just discover a new author or series that she *loves*. And you’ll be the hero who introduced her to it.

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7. You can borrow it from her when she’s done.

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A chat with Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author of ‘Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times’

Veteran journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay’s biography, “Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times” is on a success sprint: booksellers say it’s a favourite with the readers (http://bit.ly/1tvOtHB) and news articles reach out to the author for quotes on Modi (http://bit.ly/1sA4xaI).

We’ve published e-singles from the book, which you can download online! ‘A Time of Difference’ presents a painstakingly researched, truthful account of Narendra Modi’s marriage: http://bit.ly/1mtAtdc. ‘Childhood Lessons’ unearths Modi’s childhood, that forms the core of his formative years: http://bit.ly/1i4Unuz

We also had a quick chat with the author about the book. Here’s what he had to say:

Q1: What were the challenges you faced, while writing Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times?

Nilanjan: The biggest challenge was to stay neutral and not get swayed by criticism that one heard about him every day in the press. It was also important not to be influenced by claims of his publicists and admirers. The next big challenge was to negotiate my way through interviews in such a manner so that he did not get annoyed and stop speaking to me. He eventually did so half way into the writing of the book but this was not due to any provocation from me. He is the best person to explain why he chose to speak to me in the first instance and later withdrew his pleasure. But as a writer, I suspect, he must have learnt that some of the people I was interacting with, were among his bitter critics and he did not appreciate this. Writing the book was also a challenge because of the sense of constantly being under scrutiny. I was assured that one of his brothers, Pankaj, who works for the State Information Department, would accompany me to his village, Vadnagar. At the last minute he dropped out feigning illness. Similarly, another brother Somabhai, had promised to meet at the Old Age Home he ran on the outskirts of the village. But when we went there, we were told that he was away from the place. When I called him up, he said he had an urgent chore to attend to and had to come away. This demonstrated that it was extremely difficult to meet people and get them to talk impartially about Modi. Many political leaders who I had known for years also sought to be excused. They were willing to talk about anything else but Modi.

But on the positive side, whenever I either met or spoke to him he was extremely polite. When it came to sharing official information and providing access to visit parts of the state to witness various development projects, he personally directed his officers to be of assistance.

Q2: What has this book done to you as an author?

Nilanjan: The book has brought me tremendous respect and recognition. I have been commended for having attempted to be absolutely fair in my scrutiny of my subject despite the fact that he evokes sharply polarised views. In the last one year, I have been interviewed extensively by national and international media – print, TV and Internet. Most journalists have used my book as a guide for their own work. For instance the reporter who interviewed Modi last year for the international news agency Reuters, wrote to me saying how he had used parts of my book to prepare for the meeting with Modi. Similarly, most reporters and senior journalists have read my book and are very appreciative. The book has also been received very positively in the market and this has been heart warming.

But more importantly I have been invited to academic seminars, been asked to deliver lectures and interact with students. Writing the book also gave me tremendous confidence in my writing abilities. I have also been invited regularly to literary festivals and whenever I attended them, the audience was out in full numbers. The book has considerably enhanced my professional stature.

You Know You’re A Novelist When…

As we prepare ourselves for the launch of Preeti’s new book, ”The One You Cannot Have,” we asked her what it was like, to be a novelist. Here’s her witty response:

You know you are a novelist when…

1. You fight with your spouse over something that your imaginary characters said.

2. You look at everything that happens to you, from the perspective of whether it would make a good story.

3. You hate the ring of telephone because–damn, it interrupted this brilliant plot you were constructing inside your head.

4. You login into amazon.in and look at best-selling titles thrice a day.

5. You know all the names that appear regularly on the Nielsen list and you can reel them off even in your sleep.

6. You want to know how many books a person has written, how many copies it has sold and who has published it rather than being impressed that the person has written a book.

7. You ponder for hours to name your characters.

8. Editors and publishers are not only your friends, but they are the only ones on speed-dial on your phone.

9. You go into hibernation mode and do not socialize, pick up calls or even talk to people, because you are working on a book, and you think it is normal.

10. You walk into a book store and cannot resist clicking a picture of your books.

           – By Preeti Shenoy, author of ‘The Secret Wishlist’ and ‘The One You Cannot Have’

Interview with Radhika Nathan, author of ‘The Mute Anklet’

Uma Brooke, an Englishman’s daughter brought up under the care of the Maharajah of Madurai is deeply attached to India; so she finds herself embroiled in a personal conflict when the good Maharajah is keen on her alliance with Captain Ashton Trevelyan of the British army. ‘The Mute Anklet’ is the story of this young couple in a time of political intrigue, set in an era of grand historical events in British India.

front_mute ankletWhat prompted you to write The Mute Anklet? Do describe the journey for us.

Reading and writing have always been great stress busters for me. I had a few plots that were bouncing around in my head.  Because of the period it’s set in, this novel seemed like the one I’d have most fun writing. In retrospect, I may have gone slightly overboard describing the buildings, food, clothing etc. It was quite entertaining to make up a heroine with strong opinions and a hero who didn’t care about any of them. I had my shares of disasters too – I lost an earlier draft to a hard disk crash. For a while I didn’t feel like picking it up again. I wrote the book in a haphazard fashion – whenever I wanted to, on any chapter I felt like. This made it difficult to take it to the finish line.

Your book explores a historically tumultuous period in India, when Tipu Sultan was waging a ferocious battle. What made you choose this instant in time?

This story happens during an intriguing moment in Indian history before the Raj, before the Kiplingesque world view, before the idea of India and independence the way we see it today. Across the world we have events playing out in the wake of the American revolutionary war.

You see the complexity and diversity of this country jump out at you when you study this period. The novel explores identity and relationships, albeit at a superficial level, and it seemed like a good idea to set it at this time.

The Mute Anklet masterfully studies the fast changing relationship between an opinionated Uma Brooke and an aloof Captain Trevelyan. Did you have a blueprint for your characters and their development from the outset? Or did the characters grow of their accord as you wrote?

I had a blueprint. I knew at the outset I was going to make my heroine borderline headstrong and the hero an indifferent rake. I also knew at the outset, they’d change as the story progressed. However, the final version is a lot more elaborate than what I had envisioned in the beginning.

The title is intriguing. Could you tell us more about it?

I struggled quite a bit for an appropriate title. Until the book went to print I agonized about it. I must admit the title is sort of an inside joke. There is of course the epic of the anklet, ‘Chilapathikaram’  that deals with fidelity and judgment where the object – The Anklet – plays an important part. So I figured the name would suit a novel that deals with similar themes.

 

Kanika Dhillon: Interviewed by Vaani Arora

We’re eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Shiva and the Rise of the Shadows,’ and found this interview with Kanika Dhillon a good read.

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Kanika Dhillon, the author of Shiva and the Rise of the Shadows, releasing in late September, in conversation with Vaani Arora, film-maker and writer.

VA: You are known to be totally into Bollywood, how did this post-apocalyptic story idea start?

KD: I have always been fascinated with fantasy fiction. I love the thought of creating a world drawn from myth, mythology and imagination, The post-apocalyptic idea started as soon as I was done with my first book, a satire, Bombay Duck Is a Fish. I wanted to go in a completely different direction as a creator and explore a genre that was unexpected, that posed both a challenge and a risk. I was apprehensive to attempt a story like this, but at the same time was excited to create a world that was fantastical and believable at the same time.

VA: What kind of books did you read…

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And So It Happened.

This, dear reader, is the story of my book.

Not the story of what happens in my book, obviously. For that you’ll have to buy a copy and read it (and preferably write me a fan mail because that’d be awesome). No. This is the story of my writing a story and that story’s journey to becoming a book that’s actually published and all that. Yeah. Read up.

‘Thank you for the mail, but I will not be taking on anymore projects for some time now,’ I typed and reluctantly hit the send button. It was January 2012; I was pregnant and working long hours on the laptop was a constant reason for the husband and parents to shake their heads in disapproval. Mom shoved newspaper articles under my nose about how laptop radiation was bad for the unborn baby, and husband was a little short of making me swear against it. So grudgingly I agreed to stop working for awhile. But then, what could a very pregnant, internet addict do in a small town anyway, I asked. To this, the very supportive husband answered, ‘Well, the girl can write the story she always wanted to.’ Well played darling, I thought, and opened a word document. And then I wrote.

After the first few chapters, I re-read my story and saw two problems. 1.) It wasn’t going where I thought it would go; it was like the story had a mind of its own, and 2.) It was awfully raw; it needed a lot of editing. To 1, I just said ‘Oh well’, forgot about the rough plot I had in mind and wrote whatever the story told me to write. And for 2, I prayed hard to the Editing Gods, and began writing in a way that I hoped would be less chaotic for an editor.

Strangely, mom and dad weren’t complaining either. The long-hours-on-laptop were crushing my soul and hurting my health when it was for work. But now that I was writing a novel, it was okay, because apparently I was fostering creativity in my baby. For two months I wrote like a woman possessed and then, just like that, I was done. The process of writing the story had been unexpectedly simple.

Completing the story felt good. I mean, having brilliant plot ideas or starting a potential literary masterpiece is nothing if they are abandoned. But finishing something that you are happy with – that has to be some sort of an accomplishment, right? So I was euphoric, and secretly feeling superior to most people because hey, I’d written a book!

But it wasn’t a book yet, was it? It was just a story and not another soul had read it yet. Mainly because I didn’t let anyone – you see, it was my metaphorical baby and all that, and I loved the story to bits, but letting someone read it seemed a bit intimidating. What if they didn’t like it? What if they did? What if they gave me expectations? I didn’t want to expect anything because I’d heard horror stories about the publishing industry in India. You know, how they tell you, ‘No one’s going to entertain you if you don’t have the right connections.’ Or that ‘They only publish their relatives and friends, even if the work is terrible.’ And oh, the best one – ‘You want to be published? Do you have money to offer?’ Scary, I know.

Then, almost a week after I had finished writing, I suddenly decided to try my luck. What’s the worst that could happen, I asked myself and geared up. Westland was the obvious choice because – Immortals of Meluha, obviously. I was in love with the Shiva Trilogy, like everyone else. So I sent sample chapters and a rough synopsis to Westland and voila, within two weeks they told me that they loved it and wanted the entire manuscript. I sat for five hours straight and edited the entire story. Er, I mean manuscript.

Then I sent it off and promptly started to day-dream about my name on those jazzy bestsellers-of-the-decade lists.

Then I got a mail from Westland. My book was going to be published, after all.

It took a day to sink in. Everything had fallen into place. Within the next few days the author contract arrived, and the editing process started. It felt bizarre. I had barely overcome the giddy feeling when suddenly the back blurb needed to be written, proofs had to be done and the cover design had to be finalized. Quickly, the release date arrived.

I had not announced the news on social media though. For some reason, I felt uncharacteristically modest. It wasn’t until the book in all its brilliant-cover-page-design glory was showcased on the Westland website, that I finally shared my news.

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‘My book is up for pre-order. Overwhelming. Can’t wait to trace a finger over my name on the book cover. It will be orgasmic, yes?’ – I tweeted.

It was re-tweeted like a hundred times. I shared the link on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the response. This was new territory. This was, in the truest sense, awesome.

You will find that my book tells you how courage is a prerequisite for an Army wife, how strength is her biggest weapon. And in a very filmy fashion, courage is what saw me through those scary stories about publishing, and write my first mail. It was strength that fuelled me. And well, it happened. It sure is a happy save-the-day ending, but the struggle to reach there is what makes me who I am. Courage, like you’ll read in Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life, is what counts.