I’m MB and today, I’m delighted to be sharing Anna Bushi’s novel Heir To Malla to the blog. This is the first book in the Land of Magadha series which is available to read now! For this guest post, Anna has shared about her writing inspirations and more about Heir To Malla’s story. Enjoy reading.
MB: Please introduce yourself?
Anna Bushi: I was the child who had a novel tucked in her textbook and stayed up late to finish the book, rather than study for a test. During college, after a grueling week of midterms, I would reward myself by staying up late to read a book. While I started writing late, reading has been an integral part of my life.
MB: What is your novel Heir To Malla about?
Anna Bushi: The story unfolds in Malla, as Princess Meera learns her brother Crown Prince Jay is missing. She sends the man she is in love with, Rish Vindhya, to search for him. Prince Amar of Padi, known for his penchant for violence, harbors desires for Malla and Meera. Suddenly, Meera is catapulted into the battle for her kingdom. If Jay is not found, the price she needs to pay is steep, her love and happiness. Will Prince Jay be found? Can Meera control her destiny? Read to find out.
Web site: https://annabushi.com
MB: I would love to hear more about your writing journey, inspirations and how Heir To Malla came to be?
Anna Bushi: My grandmother lit the spark with the stories she told me as a child. It was a time before computers and smartphones. During mealtimes, my grandmother would narrate stories from Indian mythology. A brilliant storyteller, she brought these worlds alive. Her stories fueled my imagination, and I would happily eat a three-course meal to hear more.
As I grew, I read most books I could lay my hands on. The boarding schools in Enid Blyton’s books captivated me endlessly. Living at home and attending a crowded school, I was enthralled by the idea of eating, sleeping, and studying with friends. It fueled my desire to attend college far from home to experience something similar. When I read Harry Potter novels years later, while the wizarding world felt novel, the boarding school was familiar. I eagerly awaited the release of each HP book and read them in one sitting, staying up all night. Then I spent two or three years between books blogging and discussing the future plot. The internet had arrived with these books and changed the book world forever.
Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys introduced me to American life without leaving my house as a child. During my teen years, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens showcased British Literature. Through the miracle of books, I traveled back in time to medieval India and left part of me there.
As an adult, my passion for reading remained. I read A Song of Ice and Fire, the books Game of Thrones show was based on before the show aired. I have a philosophy of reading the books first. Discussing the unfinished series with fellow book nerds, I was struck by the difference between the role of women in these books, compared to the ones I read growing up. An idea floated into my head about writing my own story.
For five years, I wrote the story of the Malla Royal family loosely based on medieval India. I created my own Land of Magadha and drew rivers and mountains. My protagonist does not wield a sword or a wand. Her strength is still very palpable. Dressed in bright sarees, her struggles will feel real to most women. While no kingdom is at stake in our lives, we are juggling our work and family life demands. My characters live in a medieval world. Fealty to the king and crown is expected. Marriages are arranged with an eye towards strengthening alliances. Do individual desires and aspirations have any place in these settings? Especially among female characters? My characters struggle with these questions, and answers are not always easy.
My book celebrates many aspects of ancient India, including food, culture, art, and music. Weddings, feasts, and musicals play a role in the tale, and mango leaves strung together serves as the portal into their lives.
I chose to write in the first-person point of view to allow the readers to become emotionally connected to the characters. I have one male and one female point of view character, and that allowed me to explore temples, dances, and sword fights. Their storylines do not happen chronologically. The astute reader would find hints in the chapters to establish a timeline and sequence of events. This allowed me to have a little fun revealing things to the readers that my character is in the dark about. The drama comes from seeing the characters make decisions based on incomplete information, while the reader is either enjoying the ride or screaming at the book.
Writing battle scenes without glorifying violence and yet depicting the human cost of the war was a fine line I walked. William Faulkner said, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” My book is filled with twists and turns, as a human heart in conflict paves the way for fantastic drama.
After living with these characters for so long, they have grown to become very real to me. I am returning to the Land of Magadha in my book two of the series, set a few years later, and with many familiar characters. I left plenty of hanging threads in book 1, and I am having fun pulling them to see what unravels and what tightens into a knot.
My advice to aspiring writers would be to read widely. Brandon Sanderson has mastered creating worlds full of magic. Rainbow Rowell will tug your heart. Alka Joshi paints a colorful picture of Jaipur.
Then start writing. Write what you would love to read. Don’t worry about mistakes and flow in your first draft. Just get the story down. You can work with an editor to polish the story later.
Hope you curl up with a book soon.
You can follow me @anna.bushi.book on Instagram and @annabushibook on twitter!
Amazon US link to Heir To Malla: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08885DD8T
Amazon UK link to Heir To Malla: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08885DD8T
Many thanks to Anna for writing this guest post for the blog. Heir To Malla is available to read on Kindle Unlimited today. There are more guest posts to come, stick on by for future postings!