When Preetham Grandhi contacted me to ask if I would participate in his blog tour, I checked him out on Amazon. I wanted to read what others thought about his book before I committed. More than 60 people have read and reviewed Circle of Souls, and all of those reviews have been exceptional. His endorsements from Judge Judy, M.J. Rose, Paul Castro, and Linda Fairstein are impressive. This is Preetham Grandhi's first novel and deals with paranormal elements, the brutal murder of a child, predestination and other Indian beliefs and traditions. It began as a self-published book. Because of these wonderful reviews and reader comments, my curiosity got the best of me, so I agreed to participate in Preetham's blog tour; he mailed me an ARC. I'm still reading Circle of Souls. I'm fascinated by this new author's stortytelling abilities as well as his attention to detail so I emailed him to ask a few questions. Please take this opportunity to meet Preetham Grandhi and learn from his honest answers to my questions:
How did you write this book? Did you meticulously plot it out or did you just sit down and start writing? Feel free to elaborate on your writing process.
It was a few months post 9/11, and I was looking at the biographies of the people who had lost their lives. I began to wonder if there was a larger meaning to their lives. All of a sudden, a story flashed into my mind, and I quickly wrote it on a piece of paper. I knew then that I needed to write a story that was larger than life. It needed to communicate the essence that there is a bigger purpose and meaning to our passage on earth. I knew that in order to capture and convey such a message, the book needed to be captivating, interesting, and thrilling. I realized that a story based on the work I do would be the right place to begin. I am a child psychiatrist and had just started a new job. During my fellowship, I worked with children with numerous psychosocial issues and had many life stories to tell. It was at that moment that I decided I could write a book that would capture all these thoughts. That was how A Circle of Souls was born.
What aspect of writing this book was the most difficult for you to grasp/conquer? How did you overcome it?
I think overcoming writers block at crucial moments was the hardest to pass. I had to put it away for weeks before coming back to write. In the end I had to be very patient and had lots of encouragement from my wife.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in writing and marketing your books?
I had thought writing was hard but marketing is much harder. Thanks to bloggers like you I am getting the word out there.
You give wonderful attention to fine details--do you have to work at that or does it come naturally because you're a doctor? How does your profession play into your writing.
Fictional realism is the term used to describe a story that is based on both fiction and the author’s real life experience. If it was only based on author experience and no fiction then the book would be a memoir. When an author uses his or her own experiences it can make the book feel more real. As an author it is sometimes easier to write content from one’s own experiences. It is best to have a good balance of both fact and fiction. In fact without my profession there would be no book. My interactions with children gives an accurate portrayal of their struggles.
Is this a self-published book? How did you find your publisher and if it is self-published, why did you choose that route instead of a traditional publisher?
When I started writing my first novel in late 2002, I never imagined how challenging and long the process would be. The first task was finishing the first version of the book that took about a year and a half. Then it took me about three more years to go through the next sixteen versions and revisions of the book.
Then finally, I had the finished book at hand only to find the task of finding a literary agent or a publisher even more daunting. I went through many agents who said they were either not interested or would get back to me. When I tried to reach the publisher directly they all said I needed an agent. Now I was in a pickle with a good manuscript on hand and nowhere to go.
Then one day I discovered iUniverse the independent publishing house. So in November 2007 I published the first print of “A Circle of Souls.” I was awarded their publishers choice award for excellence. I found it both a relief but yet frustrating that the book was finally available but was poorly received by book reviewers and had limited distribution to online vendors only.
So in early 2008, I began the search for a traditional publisher to pick up the book again. In July 2008 I was at the Book Expo in LA. I was fortunate to meet Lyle and Bryce from Cedar Fort. They are a wonderful father and son team who have been running a midsized publishing house in Utah. They were kind enough to look at my book and accepted to publish it just the way it was. There were no changes in content but had a brand new fabulous cover.
So in June 2009 “A Circle of Souls” was born again with a new gorgeous cover and renewed life. It came with the perks of a traditional publishing house and a better distribution opportunity.
The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.
Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury s hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.
The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events. In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.
How can interested readers purchase your book?
It is available at Amazon.com, and in the stores at Borders and Barnes and Noble. Visit my website at www.acircleofsouls.com for the direct links.
Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. ~Preetham