20 Questions with Mira Prabhu


Today we sit down with fascinating author Mira Prabhu. She is joining us to tell us about her work, her inspiration and a bit about herself.

Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:


mira-prabhu-sepia-portrait-for-interviewQ1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t love language, books and story-telling, but one incident that happened when I was about nine years of age led me to believe I should write seriously: An English teacher at school gave us kids an assignment—we were to describe ourselves taking part in a competition, any competition. So I wrote an essay about an imaginary singing competition in which I won second place. My teacher praised it, but the next day I was summoned to the Principal’s Office—she demanded to know why I had participated in an outside competition without informing the school! I hastened to tell her that my essay was pure fiction. That’s not true, she said sternly. It’s just too vivid to be fiction. She then called my mother who assured her I was telling the truth, and so I was off the hook. Only much later did it strike me that if an adult had found my little story to be so real, perhaps I should consider writing as a career.

Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?

My first novel, Whip of the Wild God, began as an idea way back in 1992 when I was introduced to the brilliant eastern teachings on Tantra. Although I had grown up in India, my eye had been trained on the West and I was unaware that ancient India offered such esoteric riches. All I knew of Tantra came from the distorted view of it that now circulates the globe—so I was fascinated to discover that its true meaning involves the transmutation of darkness into light. Anyway, I finally finished Whip (after seven major rewrites!) twenty years later, in the shadow of the sacred mountain Arunachala located in south India.

As for my second novel, Krishna’s Counsel, it began to stir within me sometime in the mid-90s, when my Manhattan literary agent suggested I write a contemporary novel. Years later, I finished the first draft in a guesthouse in Rishikesh (foothills of the Himalayas in northern India). It’s been through several rewrites since—so this novel too would have taken me close to twenty years to complete (in actual time, about three years of solid writing and rewriting).

My third novel, Copper Moon Over Pataliputra, flashed through my mind in 2000

during my years of living in the foothills of the Himalayas. I had just moved from Manhattan to the East and had no clue what to do with my time. I hope to finish Copper Moon latest by 2017, so this novel would have been seventeen years in the making. Please do check out:

https://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/a-trilogy-of-light-mishi-bellamy-artiste-extraordinaire/

Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I can write at any time, but these days I generally write in the afternoons, after taking care of my dogs and doing a little housework.

Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Although I have ‘lain fallow’ for years as I traversed the globe, looking for that perfect home where I could focus on my creative and spiritual goals, when I do decide to work seriously on a project, I never suffer from writer’s block.

Q5) How are your books published?

Whip of the Wild God was taken on by J.V. Naggar Literary Agency in Manhattan way back in 2008. Several publishers expressed an interest in it over the years, but I did not care to be coaxed (at times, hounded!) to turn it into a sexual fantasy; for those familiar with eastern philosophy, the concepts dealt with in the book are based in fact, but to the average mainstream reader, the rising of the serpent fire (kundalini) and the idea of enlightenment can sound like fantasy. Eventually, tired of waiting for the ‘right’ publisher, I decided to self-publish.

Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?

A subject has to grab my attention—then, in the course of intensive research, a story line begins to form. In novels one and three, both set in ancient India, fictional stories are set against the backdrop of actual civilizations.

Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was thirty-three when I drafted a tentative outline of Whip of the Wild God.

Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love reading, walking, listening to music as well as singing and playing my guitar, cooking (I used to teach Indian cooking in Manhattan and Washington DC), hanging out with a few good friends, playing with my doggies and enjoying my garden. My greatest focus is on my inner path—I meditate for about three hours a day and also practice hatha yoga.

Q9) What is your favorite book?

Too many to list here! However, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and William Styron have all influenced me on my writing journey.

Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?

Most love my work and are impressed by the enormous amount of focused time and effort I invest in making it as good as I can.

Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The sense of detachment I feel after my work is out in the world—I genuinely feel I have done my best, and now it is up to the winds of fate to carry it forward, or not!

Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?

I enjoy all of it—from the blank page to the finished manuscript—but what I most love is the final editing process.

Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’m working on finishing what I call ‘The Moksha Trilogy’ (moksha is a Sanskrit word for freedom or enlightenment). Whip of the Wild God was published a few years ago, Krishna’s Counsel will be out mid-2016, and Copper Moon Over Pataliputra should be done by end of 2017.  Since each theme is close to my heart, I can’t pick a favorite out of this series of novels. However, I am right now greatly enjoying working on the third.

Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?

Persistence, a passion for expressing one’s deepest truths via the written word, authenticity and consistent efforts to improve one’s talent. Never give up and don’t worry about money or fame! Write because you have no choice but to express your uniqueness—and if you love what you do, the money may or may not follow, but you will nevertheless be happy and fulfilled. For me, perhaps because my genre is Spiritual Fiction, the real blessing of creative work is the flowering of sacred energy.

Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?

Yes, a lot, since I have a rather large reach on social media and the reviews for Whip of the Wild God have been outstanding. I also have folks writing to me every now and then to tell me they are using Whip of the Wild God to learn about the basic concepts of eastern philosophy.

Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?

Adults on the eastern spiritual path, both men and women.

Q17) What do you think makes a good story?

To grab the reader’s interest and to sustain it right through to a gripping climax. More than that, to leave them with ancient eastern truths that are rich, sweet and deep, and which can help them solve the quandaries and obstacles one cannot avoid as a human being in a seemingly random and chaotic world.

Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Perhaps a singer or an actress, since both singing and acting came easily to me.

Q19) Where can we find your books?

Whip of the Wild God: published in April 2013 on Createspace, Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords.

In Print format:

http://www.amazon.com/Whip-Of-The-Wild-God/dp/1484069544

http://www.amazon.in/Whip-Of-The-Wild-God/dp/1484069544

In e-book format:

http://www.amazon.com/Whip-The-Wild-God-ebook/dp/B00CCAZ60K/

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307577

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/whip-of-the-wild-god/id639399465

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mira_Prabhu_Whip_Of_The_Wild_God?id=vqGAAwAAQBAJ

http://authorsdb.com/bookshelf-visionary-and-metaphysical/13212-whip-of-the-wild-god

Note: A direct search on Google.com for “Whip of the Wild God” will generate these sites.

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MiraPrabhuWhipOfTheWildGodEtcetera

FB direct address: mira.prabhu@facebook.com.

My blog for lovers of eastern philosophy: miraprabhu.wordpress.com

Web-link to all WWG reviews: http://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/category/reviews.

Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?


kc-cover-interview-attachmentEXCERPT FROM KRISHNA’S COUNSEL:

Pia considered running across to a group of men over on the other side to beg for protection, but she did not speak their language with enough fluency to explain her plight, and these simple mountain folk would probably goggle at an alien woman babbling about a serial killer. For god’s sake! Was there even such a term in Hindi? In desperation, she closed her eyes and began to repeat the mantra Geshe Wangyal had given her; it was eerie how quickly she began to feel strength coursing through her veins; this cursed Kaurava, she whispered to herself, was not going to win this battle without a furious fight.

Mahant rose with languid grace to stretch his tall body, then leaned against a huge rock inscribed with Hindi or Tibetan letters she could not decipher since his body was covering part of it. He yawned, lazily, although his eyes never left her face, as if he was beginning some bizarre process of hypnotizing his prey. Abruptly he turned on his heel and strolled to the far side of the ledge, before turning around to stare at Pia again. What was he trying to do, the remorseless freak? Pia saw him speak to the mechanics, saw money change hands; grunting, the men rolled out from under the vehicle and walked away, lighting bidis and chatting away in low tones.

Now Mahant was alone and watching her again. Was it her Western gear and loose curly hair that had alerted him to her presence? Or did she have Delhi Madame to thank for this deadly situation? Mahant strolled back towards the massive rock formation and her own eyes darted towards it. Now she could see what had been inscribed upon it by human hands—Om Mani Peme Hum, Praise to the jewel at the heart of the Lotus. What did it mean to her now, this mantra held sacred by millions of fervent believers in the dharma? That who she truly was could never die! All of this is unreal, Pia, she heard Uncle Hari whisper in her ear, no one can ever kill your spirit, sweetheart, do not be afraid!

Rays of rays fell on the gigantic rock, shining now from its base of dirt and straggling grass. The mantra was connected to Avalokitesvara, Boddhisattva of Compassion, Pia realized; shutting her eyes, she saw Geshe-la’s broad Mongolian face smiling at her; when she opened them a moment later, the rock had come alive and was pulsating with a power that entered her heart in a fluid liquid stream, transforming her cowardice into an unshakable courage; a tidal wave of rage swept through her body, erasing every trace of panic at the sight of this fiend who’d buried an innocent woman alive.

The prospect of physical death hung over her like an onyx nimbus, sharpening her mind to a glittering point; now she was sure Mahant had gotten rid of the mechanics so he could grab and push her over the side of the jagged mountain. Job done, he’d go on to either finish the twins, or to spirit them back to his bleak mountain refuge, breaking their spirits with drugs so he could use them for profit. As he stood against the setting sun in this twilit space, Pia’s inner eye saw a conscienceless monster who would go on to destroy countless others if she did nothing to stop him.

The sadhu was staring up at her from the sidewalk; his face morphed into that of Uncle Hari, and a shudder rushed up her spine. This blast of kundalini was followed by a lightning stream of images: a multitude of forms writhed in purple, orange and yellow flames, mouths opening in silent screams, until her own spine arched backwards with their agony. She saw Kanna smiling as he led a trusting child to a stone bed; Ambrose’s bare foot hovering over Stella’s huge belly; imperialists wreaking havoc on ancient cultures…and so much more. Every one of these horrors, she realized in an altered state of consciousness, stemmed from a reluctance or inability to empathize—and then this dramatic movie spun down to concentrate itself within the man standing before her, as assured as any predator preparing to move on vulnerable prey.

A cruel smile lifted the corners of Mahant’s mouth as he watched Pia go through her eerie trance. Immobilized by the prospect of what was to come, she shut her eyes and another great vision arose in her third eye—a magnificent chariot raced across a battlefield; at its helm Krishna gravely addressed a trembling Prince: a spiritual warrior must do the right thing, Arjuna, no matter how the dice may fall!

A high singing took root in her throat as the cosmos continued to pour its rich energy into her being, and Pia felt the protection of legions of bright angels. Savage and Anokhi were with her too, and then she was possessed by countless beings—not just women but men, children and animals too, each victimized by ego-driven humans unable to feel the pain of others because their own hearts had atrophied. She looked at Mahant through this rainbow haze and another bizarre thing happened—she saw the suffering that had so distorted his soul, and a rush of sympathy swamped her for this monster, who would surely pay for his sins eons into the future.

And yet, she heard her inner voice say, had Mahant not also known the balm of great kindness? That head monk had cherished the foundling enough to give him his own past family name, and clearly many along the way, including Anokhi herself, had loved him. Kashi Mahant had chosen to be warped by those who’d done him harm, and exploited those who’d genuinely cared for him. Don’t hesitate now, Pia darling, Uncle Hari whispered in her ear. You must do everything you can to stop him.

The crashing music of dark angels rose to a crescendo as divine fire shot up to connect Pia to the infinite reaches of space, then hurtled down to touch earth’s molten core. Her body grew vast as the restless spirits of the tortured usurped her mortal frame; exultation washed over her as her third eye flashed, and suddenly she knew what she had to do. She took a bold step towards Mahant and saw a flash of uncertainty flicker across his stunning face. She took another step forward and saw his doubt mushroom into dread: perhaps, for the first time in his miserable life, Mahant felt the terror he’d inflicted on so many. He was staring at her as if at a horrifying apparition; the cigarette fell from his fingers as he backed away, and his lips formed the name ‘Anokhi’—and perhaps it was the spirit of his ex-lover that he saw coming for him because beads of sweat were breaking out on his bloodless face and his mouth opened wide as a rushing sound emerged from it, like a million hornets rising from a disturbed nest.

Mahant took another step backward when a rock broke loose from the edge of the cliff and his foot slipped on the loosening shale. Aghast, Pia saw his splendid body topple backwards into empty space, feet first; then his body performed a stylish slow-motion tumble in the air, as if he’d been waiting for the moment before death to execute this asana to perfection. Savage and Anokhi howled triumphantly even as another aspect of Pia broke away to wonder whether she was dreaming—although, technically speaking, this experience should rank as a full-fledged nightmare.


About Mira (From her Amazon Author Page):

I was born in India and moved to New York in my twenties. It was during my tumultuous years in Manhattan that I first became fascinated by eastern philosophy’s power to transform the genuine seeker.

So, during the freezing winter of 1993, I began to write WHIP OF THE WILD GOD, a novel of tantra set in an ancient civilization reminiscent of India’s famous Indus Valley Civilization. I completed this novel—believe it or not!—twenty years later, in the shadow of Arunachala, the ancient hill considered by millions to be the God Shiva incarnate.

Where to Find Mira’s Books:

Whip of the Wild God: published in April 2013 on Createspace, Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords.

In Print format:

http://www.amazon.com/Whip-Of-The-Wild-God/dp/1484069544

http://www.amazon.in/Whip-Of-The-Wild-God/dp/1484069544

In e-book format:

http://www.amazon.com/Whip-The-Wild-God-ebook/dp/B00CCAZ60K/

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307577

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/whip-of-the-wild-god/id639399465

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mira_Prabhu_Whip_Of_The_Wild_God?id=vqGAAwAAQBAJ

http://authorsdb.com/bookshelf-visionary-and-metaphysical/13212-whip-of-the-wild-god

Connect with Mira:

Note: A direct search on Google.com for “Whip of the Wild God” will generate these sites.

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MiraPrabhuWhipOfTheWildGodEtcetera

FB direct address: mira.prabhu@facebook.com.

My blog for lovers of eastern philosophy: miraprabhu.wordpress.com

Web-link to all WWG reviews: http://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/category/reviews.

 

14 thoughts on “20 Questions with Mira Prabhu

  1. Pingback: 20 Questions with Mira Prabhu | mira prabhu

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