Monday, April 30, 2012

Interview in The Bengal Post

Interview in Business Economics

Reading at Just Jewellery, Mahalakshmi on Friday, 27th April

Of course I was dazzled by the jewellery there. These jewellery store readings call for every ounce of my concentration to stay focused on the book and not wander off midway to peer intensely at something that's caught my eye from across the room. The neckpiece I'm wearing, its part of the Just Jewellery range. Loved the neon pop colours.

Here are the photographs:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

As reviewed on The Book Lovers Review

Priyanka Chaturvedi reviewed The Reluctant Detective on her blog, and given that she along with Parul Sharma together ensured I didn't slack off on writing this, I owe them both bigtime.
I read Kiran’s (good friend no.1) debut novel The Reluctant Detective last month and honestly all through the book I kept looking or waiting to catch her on something where she went wrong with the story but there was absolutely nothing I could come up with. The book was near perfect. The book kept me in splits throughout, right from the word go. Much like her blog, that’s the only minus point I’d give her book, that it is an extension of her blog. Some parts of the book had a sense of deja vu. But then there is a twist in the story, then also her blog is more personal.

The book starts off with Lady Kay aka Kanan Mehra who is the main protagonist of the book. Her curiosity keeps getting her into all kinds of incidents in the book except for when she finds herself involved in not one but two murders that take places in her vicinity. This is when her curiosity turns to her advantage and helps her find out the whys and the whats and the whos behind the murder.
Now wait if you thought this is only yet another whodunit no dear friends that this book is not. This is also the tale of every mum; yes Lady Kay is also a mum to an adorable son and a wife to a macho man! So read her hilarious exchanges with her son and her husband. The best is her exchanges with her self.  It will have you laughing right through the book.

Read more here.

On the masthead of The Telegraph supplement on Sunday

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kolkata, 11 th April 2012, Oxford Park Street

The time on the invitation said 6.30 pm. I was taking a short afternoon nap at a dear friend's home before getting ready, when I felt a definite shake to the bed. I sprung up in shock and looked around me warily. I know I live with a poltergeist with a fetish for flushing the loo, but the thought that I had brought the poltergeist here with me to Kolkata was a bit too much for even my credulous self to stomach. I was just imagining it, I thought to myself and lay down again, and then the bed definitely vibrated. Nope. It shook solidly for a few seconds. I jumped up and ran out of the room. My friend was sleeping peacably in her room, and it felt blasphemous to wake her, so I said a little prayer and lay myself down again, hoping the bed wouldn't levitate to the ceiling and have me screeching aloud and ruining her afternoon nap. Like I do when I am stressed, I went to twitter and found out that while I slept and jumped awake, there had been an earthquake in the Indian Ocean and aftershocks had been felt in Kolkata. And a panicky person from the publishing house was BBMing me saying the building housing Oxford had been evacuated and Kolkata was to have a tsunami. Given the geographical location of Kolkata, I thought the possibility of a tsunami hitting it was a bit incredulous even for a credulous person like me and informed him that I would be there at the venue, tsunami or no tsunami.
I reached early. At around 6. The venue was filling up quick. By the time it was 6.30, it was packed much to my amazement. I had asked my chief guests, Suhel Seth and Rita Bhimani, to be there by 7 pm, assuming, like in every city I had been to, crowds would show up a good 30 minutes after the time mentioned on the invite. Kolkata was punctual.
People were standing at the back. The other place this had happened was at Quill and Canvas in Gurgaon. It was a lovely event, perhaps one of the best I've had. The beautiful Baisali Chatterjee Dutt read so beautifully, she brought the book and the characters to life. I was actually embarassed to read after her, because I'm not good at this reading business. I rather do all my reading in my head. Suhel Seth and Rita Bhimani were very gracious and kind about the book. The crowd was attentive and interested and laughed and responded.
Here are some pictures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

How ‘The Reluctant Detective’ author used Social Media

Most social media professionals in Mumbai are familiar with the name of Kiran Manral. This thirty-something suburban housewife is one of the more influential voices in the social space. Her blogs, Karmikids and Thirty-six and counting are among the better known Indian parenting & personal blogs, respectively. She runs India Helps which supports to disaster victims and she is also one of the driving forces behind Child Sexual Awareness Month and Violence Against Women Awareness Month.
With her debut novel ‘The Reluctant Detective’, Kiran adds ‘published author’ to her formidable list of accomplishments.  Not surprisingly, Kiran has been tapping into the social space to create interest around the book and her activities since the book’s launch make for a great social media case study.
Kiran’s is not exactly the fairytale story of a blogger getting a book deal because of her blog. But being a blogger and in the company of other writers & readers did help. She says,
“The book happened because of two dear friends who pushed me to get off my butt and write it. One is Parul Sharma, the author of Bringing Up Vasu and By The Watercooler. The other is Priyanka Chaturvedi, a school gate mom friend and a book reviewer. Both are bloggers and part of my core team at India Helps. I wrote down a synopsis and three chapters and sent it off, and the rest, as the cliche goes, is history. I don’t know if social media contributed to the book writing and getting accepted process, except for the fact that Parul and I bonded over our respective blogs. In the promotions bit, yes, social media has been actively leveraged.”
As the novel neared publication, Kiran’s social network came in to play a bigger role. Instead of splashing on a big advertising budget, she reached out to her immediate circle. Many of them are influential bloggers or tweeters also and helped her spread the word. Additionally, her friend, Mahjabeen Umar shot a Youtube-worthy promo for ‘The Reluctant Detective.

The Blog, the blogger, the blogosphere

In the month of the launch, Kiran organized a blogathon across her circle where every day a blogger would host a mention of ‘The Reluctant Detective’ – an announcement about it or even a book review. She says,
“The blogathon was just friends. I think I am lucky and blessed that so many bloggers pitched in and lent me space and days on their blogs. I just mailed out all the bloggers I knew and am delighted that everyone, every single one reverted positively and participated. All I did was take a date from them as to when they would post on their blogs, so I had one month covered with at least one blog post everyday.”
This well-organized blogathon generated a lot of visibility for the book. At least 30 bloggers blogged and tweeted their impressions of ‘The Reluctant Detective’.
On Kiran’s request, some of the reviewers also posted their comments at online book retailers and book review sites. Westland Books, her publisher, signed ‘The Reluctant Detective’ up for BlogAdda’s Book Reviews program and that brought in some informed opinions about the book on the blogosphere as well. Kiran used Google alerts to keep updated on mentions of the book. Thus she managed to track blogposts, blogathon mentions and reviews, all of which made it to The Reluctant Detective blog.

Twitter talk and Facebook flourishes

Kiran’s active Twitter persona encouraged people to connect with her and by proxy, with the book. She would tweet about the book, link to reviews and retweet comments about the book. She also participated in twit chats organized by HomeShop18 and later Westland Books. As a result, people not only bought her book but also tweeted pictures of themselves reading it or about parts they were reading and laughing at. By constantly and actively engaging with her fellow tweeters, Kiran managed to ensure that other people started conversations around her book. She says,
“People want to know the process of writing, one’s inspirations, tips and tricks to getting published and such like. Questions are very basic, but everyone has their own curiosity which I am duty bound to answer.”
‘The Reluctant Detective’ Facebook Page posts updates on upcoming events, photographs from readings, press coverage and news on giveaway contests.

Read more here: