Readers Write In #20: Yama’s Lieutenant…

Posted on July 8, 2017


The following is a note from Anuja Chandramouli…

People always want to know what prompted me to write books in the currently red – hot, alleged cash cow that is the mythology genre. I have no idea what to say except that it is not something that I thought long and hard about, given my tendency to over – analyse stuff to the point where paralysis sets in, hindering actual action and encouraging the lazy bum within to have her way. As someone who was a great fan of the Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent, I took to heart a bit of advice doled out to Joey Brittany who dreams of becoming a writer. The exact words escape me but it is basically that you should write about the things that you care deeply about. The point was reiterated in Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, another favourite of mine. And umpteen other books and articles. So years later, when I finally got down to it, I knew that my first book had to be about Arjuna, who was, is and always will be the greatest love of my life. Simple as that.

After the arduous process of getting dear Arjuna published, the grand plan was to write a horror story that would scare the crap out of folks and have them clutching their hearts, begging for mercy. Unfortunately a Stephen King I am not and my publishers dropped broad hints that I ought to stick to the tried and tested, persistently pitching ideas (a colourful array of characters from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha) hoping to reel me in. I chose to write about Kamadeva, who is a somewhat obscure character and not much is known about him barring his unfortunate encounter with Shiva and his role as the divine pimp. Plus I am something of a contrarian.

My third book was Shakti: The Divine Feminine. It was an insanely intense effort that left me drained and more than a little unhinged thanks to a growing caffeine addiction, endless sleepless night (Sometimes you are too tired to work and too wired to sleep right?) and the kind of angst that writers are fond of inflicting on themselves. So I promised myself that I would do something different and not in the way our heroines keep assuring us their role in their next Thala/Thalapathy/Surya flick is going to be.

That is more or less how Yama’s Lieutenant happened. It stemmed out of my growing frustration with the mythology genre (Thanks to the extraordinary success of the likes of AshwinSanghi, AnandNeelakantan, DevduttPattnaik and Amish Tripathi among others, the supposedly 33 crore deities from the Hindu pantheon have been retrieved from the musty passageways of memory and legend, dusted off, polished, retrofitted and propelled into the collective consciousness with gleaming, oftenglamorous avatars resulting in crazy competition for yours truly) and extreme irritation with George RR Martin who has allowed HBO to seduce him away from his writing tools, leaving rabid fans like myself who are addicted to his fare with severe withdrawal symptoms. I actually contemplated kidnapping him and making him resume work at gunpoint!

In a bid to work off my criminal tendencies I decided to try my hand at fantasy with elements of horror and mythology tossed in, thanks to my dalliance with both. It is supposed to be a pulpy, fun, fast – paced actioner and I daresay it is mostly that. In a bid to serve as a rousing example to GRRM, I hope to develop it into a series and out of respect to my non – existent fans have a new one out every year.

By now, you are probably convinced this meandering post is headed nowhere, but believe me, I am going to get to my point in the next sentence. My newest mythic – fantasy, Yama’s Lieutenant and the Stone Witch (the second adventure in the series) will be out on July 26th and I am hoping you will check it out, here.

If you want to read the first one first, please feel free to go right ahead and order your copy here.

All feedback is welcome and those of you who would like a review copy do get in touch with me at Thanks ever so much BR and all of you for bearing with me!