What happens when an author visits the setting of her book, Fatehpur Sikri

What happens when an author visits the setting of her book, Fatehpur Sikri

In a recent visit with family to Fatehpur Sikri, our excellent guide was rather befuddled by an over-excited woman, screeching with joy when she saw the Durbar hall, the Anup Talab, Akbar’s bed and the Buland Darwaza. “Yes, yes madam. Would you like a photograph? There as well? And there? And here again? Yes, it is all quite exciting.” As we entered the first garden and space where Akbar would hold his durbar, the guide pointed to a plain, flat platform raised two feet off the ground, against the backdrop of a columned corridor. “That’s where the king and Prince Salim were weighed on their birthday against gold, silver and other items.” “AAAAAHHH!” screeched the woman, madly flipping through a yellow-covered book with a gilded title, Akbar and the Tricky Traitor, to an image of Akbar being weighed against the very items mentioned, beautifully detailed by the illustrator of the book, Vandana Bist. Whipping out trusty phone, she stretched her arm out with book, framing the scene with the platform in the backdrop, and clicked. “And over there is the Darbar-i-Aam where the king held court…” “EEEEHHHH!” yelled the woman, flipping to another page in the book in which Akbar stands holding court while searching for his Super Six amidst the lot. Hand outstretched… click! “That was Akbar’s gigantic bed…” “OOOOH!” Flip flip flip… click! The ten-year-old and the eight-year-old offspring of the woman were soon influenced by the fervor of discovering new facts about the place and of photographing every nook and cranny of Fatehpur Sikri that echoed in the book, having read it multiple times themselves. “What’s...

NPS: New Plot Syndrome

As of last night, I’ve moved past my Post Manuscript Syndrome stage with Squiggle, part 2 – yes, it is a GO and I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited about moving a step closer to the crucial design stage for this book. Meanwhile, I’ve plunged headlong into writing the next History Mystery. Well, not quite plunged and not quite headlong and not quite writing as yet… it’s more like gasping, wheezing and choking as I attempt to come up with a plot and characters. I’m calling it NPS: New Plot Syndrome (I’m less daunted by character creation). My head is swimming with the research I’ve done on Aryabhata. Theorems float like fishes blowing bubbles at me and spheres have developed scary faces, inhabiting my every waking hour, through day and night, since insomnia is here to haunt me, yet again. I’m back in college before my final exam (I majored in Math). Sheafs of paper that have been scribbled upon litter my table. I have flowcharts of plot-progression and what-ifs. I have sheets with possible riddles, post-its in a multitude of colours, highlighter pens that have run out of ink and possible plots that are weaving around and going… nowhere! Aargh! It’s scary. It’s frustrating. It gives me an upset tummy. Strangely, it’s also immensely, phenomenally exciting. It’s a new beginning, a whole new world, a new adventure and a new challenge to myself. It’s thoughts flowing fast, often faster than I can pen them down. I’m crying out in pain when I bang into walls. Somewhere, I have to believe that whatever story gods exist will come to my aid and fill my...

On my historically geographically challenged past…

Here’s a blog piece that I wrote for my publisher Duckbill’s blog regarding history, geography and more such. Ooty and Orissa Natasha Sharma, the author of the History-Mystery series, on her struggles with history and geography at school and beyond! There is one bit of history that I recall clearly from school – the Indus Valley civilisation. It intrigued me. The layout of their cities, the thought put into buildings and public spaces, the drainage system, the statue of the dancing girl, the seals … it all built up this world in my head that has stayed with me ever since. On my earliest visit to the National Museum, I remember heading straight for the Harappan section and getting goosebumps on seeing the relics from thousands of years ago. And that’s really where all my fascination with history ended back then. History, apart from that first chapter, was my most dreaded subject. Okay, probably second from the bottom of my list, geography being the lowest. I was extremely geographically challenged back and even at the risk of being ridiculed ever after, I shall reveal the moment that I look back at myself in utter horror… Read ahead here … http://theduckbillblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/natasha-sharma-ooty-and-orissa/ Visit the History Mystery series page to know more about the books and for links to buy the books or ebooks. Click on the book covers below to read the first chapter from each book.      Share...

History Mystery available as ebooks

I am super excited and delighted to post that Akbar and the Tricky Traitor and Ashoka and the Muddled Messages are now available for download as ebooks for Kindles and iPads.  The ebooks are available on amazon.com and flipkart. Here are some quick links to download the ebooks:   From Amazon.com: Akbar and the Tricky Traitor From flipkart.com: Akbar and the Tricky Traitor From Amazon.com: Ashoka and the Muddled Messages From flipkart.com: Ashoka and the Muddled Messages The History Mystery series in paperback form is also available in bookstores in India and online stores including Flipkart, Infibeam and Amazon. View my author page on Amazon and sign up if you’d like to stay informed of new releases of my books on Amazon. Share...