Saturday, April 18, 2015

Showcase: The Colossus by Ranjini Iyer


A diffident catering company owner, Max Rosen, learns of the existence of a coded research document authored by her late scientist father. This research is linked to health pills that were unearthed from the site of the Indus Valley Civilization in ancient India. The pills were once the mainstay of German pharmaceutical giant Berliner that Max's grandfather worked for. And these pills were used in horrific Nazi era medical experiments.

When Max learns that the pills and the disturbing secret they hold may be the reason why her father may not have committed suicide as she has always believed, she embarks upon a whirlwind adventure to decode her father’s research and find his killers. 

In a thrilling ride that takes her and Julian McIntosh, a history professor, across the world, she must keep her wits about her or face dire consequences at the hands of Berliner and other unknown forces, who will stop at nothing to keep the research from coming out. Even as she struggles with her feelings for Julian, Max must brace herself for startling discoveries— her father’s research may well reveal a frightening truth connecting Berliner, her grandfather, and perchance, all mankind. And the shocking reality about her father’s death is one she may never be able to face.

Colossus is a lightning paced, intelligent suspense drama, blending fact with fiction, thus making it frighteningly plausible. Iyer takes the reader on an electrifying journey through history and exotic locales from ancient India to Berlin in the Nazi era, weaving in present day Chicago, London and Pakistan. A scrumptious blend of thrills, twists, surprises, humor and a dollop of romance, Colossus will remain with the reader long after it has been read and put away.

Ranjini Iyer

Ranjini Iyer was born in Germany and grew up in India. She trained as an engineer purely because she hero worshipped her PhD holding dad. She then got herself an MBA in the U.S and stayed on.

Even as she pursued careers as a business owner, small business consultant, film producer and non profit managing director, there always remained an urge to write that had been there since childhood. 

Following the birth of her children, she focused more and more on writing. Eventually, some of it became passably good. 

The Colossus is her first (well...published) novel.

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. It could be a piece of music, a well made film, an interesting chapter in a book, or an article, or something I heard in a news item. Even a casual remark or action by someone.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. The freedom to make my own hours, to make up stories and people and situations, there being few restrictions to one’s imagination (for fiction anyway)

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. The crushing anxiety of wondering if it is worth it. As the author of my recently published debut novel, I am going through this rather harrowing phase at the moment as I contemplate my next novel or writing project.

Even though I have tried to always keep this in the back of my mind, there is the realization, especially as I am in the marketing phase of my novel, that the joy of the work must truly be considered the foremost reward. That, and the fact that even if only a handful of people derive some joy from reading it, it is enough.

It is tempting to hope for more in terms of sales or more widespread acceptance but that cannot be the driving force for a writer. That is tough to accept and live with (perhaps because I am a business woman at heart)

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A. A small business owner.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  If I may borrow slightly from M.K Gandhi’s autobiography, I would call my story, ‘My experiments with the possibilities of life.’

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. That’s an impossible question. Like a favorite color. Too many to name. Depends on my mood and frame of mind. That said, I can read a handful of books over and over. Swami and Friends, by R.K Narayan, Picadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse, Some of Oscar Wilde’s plays. The list is a long one.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. A bit like Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, a bit like Bertie Wooster, sometimes even a smidge like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. It depends on
the day.
Hepburn). My book is a little like that film. A mystery and love story told
with a sense of humor.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?

A. My first book was called The Coconut Bank. It was dedicated to my father and grandmother. It didn’t find a publisher. I am a lot like the protagonists of that book. Perhaps being a novice author, I am also a bit like the protagonist of my published effort, The Colossus’, Maxine Rosen. Or rather she is like me.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Tough choice. Most Miss Marple or Poirot mysteries , even the Midsomer Series(sucker for English cozies, I am). Most of P.G Wodehouse’s  Bertie Woosters.

Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?

A. For being kind, for making a difference in a few lives, for taking chances and making tough choices.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Summer days are easy to like as are Fall and Spring days. But perhaps some of my favorite days are a handful of winter mornings that I may have spent clearing snow from our sidewalk and driveway. And after, warmed by the exercise, I lie down on the snow-covered ground and feel the snow fall on my face.

That said, it depends on the day (there’s a theme developing here isn’t there?) There was a line in some T.V show where a woman declares, “You know how artists are. One day they want to kill themselves, the next they’re planning a party.” I am not trying to make myself sound like some great tortured artist, but that’s me in a nutshell. I love or detest days of all seasons depending….

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. The movie poster of Charade (with Cary Grant and Audrey

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. I was at a book club meeting where the women were intending to discuss my book. I was sitting on a sofa quietly watching them for at least an hour while they chatted, ate snacks and made small talk. I was waiting for the discussion to start. At first, I was terribly nervous about what they’d say about the book--if and when they finally said anything about it.

I even felt left out for a while. But I soon began to enjoy my invisibility and saw the humor in my being the odd woman in the mix, even though the book chosen for the meeting was mine.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  Starting to. The ideas are numerous but my practical self is questioning the sense of writing another book only to go through the wringer once again. I’m tempted to return to the world of business.

That said, I have done (if I may say so myself,) a fair job on this book and enjoyed doing it. It therefore seems a shame to call it a day and leave it at that. Would be a bit like training for the marathon and quitting on the day of the race.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Thank you for reading. And thank you for considering the work of new authors and of blogs like these that promote the love of books.

Writers need the boost of confidence your feedback and interest gives us to keep going. You might not realize it, but it’s a wonderful feeling to know that our book has given even a modicum of pleasure to you.  

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