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I’m currently in Delhi, on a book “promotion tour” (God, I’ve alway wanted to say that!) and am having a total blast. My publishers publicity person is the nicest girl around, who, in spite of being some eleven months pregnant, is looking after me grandly. She is being so solicitous that I feel like a rock star…well, except for the good stuff like drugs and alcohol 🙂

The first launch went off well. Everybody kept telling me I’m looking hot, so, come to think of it, it went off great. The venue was nice and cosy with a fine view of the monuments of Lutyen’s Delhi. The Park Hotel had gone out of their way to cater for the event and had prepared a delicious array of sumptuous snacks and finger foods. A special mention to Anushree Banrejee and Urvashi Malik of the Park Hotel for handling the event with such enthusiasm.

Then, yesterday the whole day was spent talking to media. It was a packed day, tiring as hell and as much fun! The highlight of the day was me in my halter neck dress bringing the traffic at Parliament Street to a complete halt. I’m not joking. The dress which doesn’t garner a second glance from my bhaji wala in Bombay wreaked complete havoc in babu Delhi. It was hilarious!

And now I have to leave. Some more interviews lined up, plus have to prepare for tomorrow’s launch at Gurgaon. I’ll blog about everything a little later when I have more time. Ciao!

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Dear All,

Piggies on the Railway is officially being launched on the 24th at the Park Hotel, Parliament Street, New Delhi at 5 p.m. and once again on the 27th at Landmark bookstore, Gurgaon at 7 p.m.

Do try and make it for one or both events. If you are planning on coming, do drop a little RSVP (as an email on the id given on the sidebar) so that the catering guys can provide for you 🙂

Landmark Invite

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Somebody asked me the other day if writing crime fiction was significantly different from writing any other fiction. At first glance it would appear that it is not. After all, crime fiction is like telling any other story. It has to have a plot, a properly paced story graph, character development graph, conflict, resolution etc etc.

However, I think crime fiction is probably the more difficult to write because it requires the most careful crafting. You have to keep track of so many things. What actually happened? Who are the characters? What are they saying? Are they lying (duh!)? If so why? All the threads have to be tied up and all the loopholes plugged.

Then there is the question of detail. How much detail is too much detail? It is generally agreed that if your PI knows it, your readers should, too. However, it has to be given in a clever and interesting way or the readers will zone out.

It is considered bad form to hide vital information from readers and then rejoice when they fail to guess who the real killer is. One has to constantly remember that your readers will always be trying to second guess you. Therefore it is a real challenge to give out all the information and still retain suspense.

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For those of you who can’t wait *winks* and for those with more practical considerations (like saving  muchos rupees), you can order your copy here.

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Preface

My name is Kasthuri Kumar and I am twenty-eight years old—or thereabouts anyway. For reasons that many Thirumalas, Tilotammas and Bisheshwaris will understand, I like to be addressed either by my surname or my self-shortened moniker, Katie.

Contrary to what my first name might suggest, my ancestry is north Indian. My parents were both sensible, middle-class bureaucrats, the choice of my name being their one rash act. When they were posted in Kerala, my mother had patronised a local eponymous artist and recklessly promised her that she would name her daughter after her. And she did.

I recently (voluntarily) resigned my commission from the Indian Police Service (IPS) following some (minor) medical problems. After my retirement I came to Bombay with a vague but strong desire to do something creative, exciting even. Not as in adrenaline pumping-dodging-Maoists’-bullets exciting, but something stimulating. And if it involved a bit of fame and glamour, well, so much the better.

In Bombay, I camped out with my best friend, Marie Banerjee, while I figured out what to do with my life. It was Marie who inadvertently got me started on my present career. While I was shacked up with her, one of her uncles had some procedural problems renewing his arms licence. I, having wielded a weapon all my professional life, and having routinely dealt with such issues, was able to help him out.

Which gave Marie the idea that that’s what I could do with my life—and incidentally put my experience in the police to good use—private detecting. Now, that’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it would have to do till I figured out what it was that I actually wanted to do.

Actually, I think I wanted to be a famous doctor, or a scientist. Although it is probably too late for either, I still have fantasies about receiving the Nobel Prize. I’m not sure what the breakthrough discovery is, other than the hazy notion that it might be in the field of astrophysics. Perhaps some advanced work on string theory? What I am pretty sure about, is that I’m wearing a shimmering red gown by Valentino with black Fendi peep toes.

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There comes a time in everyone’s life when one has to go back to the basics. Nowhere is it seen more plainly than in sport where peaks and troughs are regularly hit and are painfully evident to see. It is amazing how a sportsperson who is, as sports commentators are fond of saying, ‘timing the ball sweetly’ or in  ‘fine nick’ the week before can struggle to get a racket/bat on the ball in the very next week.

Sometimes the lean patch can last a long time and while it persists, can slowly erode the player’s confidence till she doesn’t believe she can compete with the, again as sports commentators are fond of saying, ‘the best in the field.’ To break this vicious cycle they are advised to go back to the basics. Focus on your rhythm, footwork and hitting through the ball cleanly. Focus on winning just the very next point. Then the next. If you do that, your confidence will slowly return and soon you’ll be able to strategise ahead for a clutch of points and then the whole match.

I hope you can see where I’m going with this. (And no, I haven’t turned into a motivational speaker or a sports psychologist).

As you know, it’s been slow going for me for some days now on the writing front. Much as I tried, I just couldn’t figure out why. And then I realised I was thinking about writing the whole novel, that is 100,000 words. And to make matters worse I’ve started two. So that’s at least 250,000 words.

Think of it like that and the task seems daunting. The trick is to focus on writing one scene well. Then the next. Soon, as you get a grip on the language and the characters you’ll be able to write more than a scene at a time and before you know it, the novel is finished. Voila! Simple, isn’t it?

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