Author ANIRUDH IYENGAR, whose book, “THE LODESTONE PROPHECIES” got published and released worldwide on Friday, 18th of June 2021 by PUFFINS PUBLISHERS Private Limited, is interviewed by NEEL PREET, who is an Amazon India 4th BEST-SELLING Author, a Literary Editor, Columnist and Book Reviewer.
Check out Author ANIRUDH IYENGAR’s debut book, THE LODESTONE PROPHECIES on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B0965TSVG4
Author’s Background: The Author, ANIRUDH IYENGAR who is currently 22, was born in Tamil Nadu and raised in Gulbarga (now Kalaburagi) and Hyderabad, where he currently lives with his father. Anirudh was fully home-schooled and finished his high school and intermediate through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). He received his BA in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), where he is now pursuing his MA degree in English. Anirudh began writing his debut novel after the untimely demise of his mother, three years ago, as he found writing to be cathartic. Since he is a lover of fantasy fiction, he chose that genre to express himself. Anirudh is passionate about reading and writing, and his other hobbies include playing keyboard, drawing, and bicycling.
Read the Interview from here:
Neel Preet: Big Congratulations to you Anirudh on your debut book, The Lodestone Prophecies. You’ve achieved something remarkably huge at a young age! What responses are you getting for your book? Please share your experience about this book.
Anirudh Iyengar: It is too early to talk about responses. I hope that it gains good reviews from fantasy-fiction readers. I myself have always loved reading books. Having been homeschooled, I have always had the time to devote myself to non-academic reading every day. In fact, being homeschooled helped me in developing and sustaining my reading habit. During my childhood and early teenage years, I usually preferred reading fantasy fiction and developed a strong desire to write fantasy fiction. I even attempted writing stories of magic and adventure in my spare time at that age. Later when I was 19, I got the idea for The Lodestone Prophecies and from that time onwards, I devoted my spare time (especially the evenings) to write the book.
Neel Preet: I’ve read your book and I genuinely feel that it has a strong storyline with a proper mix of thrill. So, my next question to you is that what inspired you to write a script like this? What was the impetus behind this work of yours?
Anirudh Iyengar: As I said, my inspiration came from my love for fantasy fiction. The untimely loss of my mother in October 2017 and the resultant void in my life created the basic idea for the novel in which three siblings in rural Krishvel (the fictitious locale in which The Lodestone Prophecies begins) lose their mother as abruptly as I did. From this point onwards, my passion for fantasy fiction took over and I was able to introduce the elements of magic, evil kings, witches, pirates, prophecies, mythical creatures such as vanaras, dragons and Sharaba, and so on. While introducing the elements that made my work a fantasy fiction, I kept in my mind that I was an Indian writer and used several Indian elements. But I have added several international mythical elements as well, keeping in mind that the language of my choice (English) gives room for such elements and that the readers of English language fantasy novels would love such elements.
Neel Preet: You have given a very interesting title to your book, which is undoubtedly very catchy. So, what made you go for this title for your book?
Anirudh Iyengar: The word “lodestone” is an archaic English word for a magnet. Specifically, it refers to naturally occurring magnets in rock form with the capability to attract iron, nickel and cobalt, although less effectively than man-made magnets. The line “And the cave shall become a lodestone” occurs in the fourth stanza of a poem known as “the Lodestone Prophecies” in the novel, whose nine stanzas appear in instalments according to the context in the novel. The poem, as a whole, deals with the prophesied defeat of the evil king Qanzai in the novel. Now, the fourth stanza occurs in the context in which the rebels’ allies gather together to form an army strong enough to challenge Qanzai. When it comes to the title of the book, “The Lodestone” in The Lodestone Prophecies can be suggestive of the magnetic unity of Good in the face of Evil. As for “Prophecies”, there does not really have to be a prophecy to predict the defeat of Evil, since the defeat of Evil is always quite predictable. In that context, a prophecy against Evil is just a reminder of the importance of doing good to others rather than deriving pleasure by causing harm for others.
Neel Preet: While reading your book, I found that you’ve inserted some real strong characters in your storyline, which had greatly impressed me as a reader. So, I would like you to explain us the overall theme of your book.
Anirudh Iyengar: As in all the major works of fantasy fiction, the major theme in my novel is that of Good against Evil. While one can introduce imperfections in those who are “good” in order to create realistically convincing characters, the “evil” characters are generally defined by their basic nature of causing harm to the others around them in order to derive their own pleasure. However, the concept of Evil can also be used to define and attack the ills of the contemporary society. In the case of the Lodestone Prophecies, it is autocracy, imperialism, male chauvinism, industrial capitalism, racism, etc.
Neel Preet: These days, we don’t see many writers coming out with such kind of genre like yours. So, my next question is that why did you choose to write on such a subject matter? Also, what was your mindset while writing this script?
Anirudh Iyengar: In my opinion, we are still going through the Golden Age of fantasy and science fiction, especially when it comes to writing in the English language. In fact, fantasy/science fiction is the most common genre used in stories written in children’s magazines, such as Tinkle and Gokulam, which contain fantasy/science fiction stories by Indian writers. However, a novel of fantasy fiction is complex in comparison to the stories found in children’s magazines. A novel contains nuances which make it readable for serious readers too. I have kept in my mind a target audience of individuals aged 13 and above, since young readers aged 13-16 are high school students who are capable of enjoying the good-versus-evil theme in a work of fantasy fiction and, at the same time, form early philosophical insights from the books they read. I believe that more Indian writers will come up with good works of fantasy/science fiction in the future, since we have a highly ancient tradition in the genre of epic and fantasy writing.
Neel Preet: Your writing seemed to be impeccable, and you were bold with your storyline and characters in this book, which I really appreciate. Therefore, I want you to tell us about some of those writers who inspire you and whom you follow.
Anirudh Iyengar: My favourite writers are Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini and Stephenie Meyer for His Dark Materials, Harry Potter Series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Inheritance Cycle and The Twilight Series, respectively. If one moves back into the past by half a century, one can find J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and the former can be considered the father of the modern fantasy fiction. In fact, it was Tolkien, who with his The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, inspires all the fantasy fiction writers of the 21st century. But even before Tolkien, L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, have emerged as major forerunners of the modern fantasy fiction. However, the tradition of fantasy writing is quite ancient and dates back to epic writers like Valmiki, Vyasa, Homer and Virgil. There also exists a vast ocean of mythological stories all over the world which has enabled the modern fantasy fiction to exist today. Therefore, it would make perfect sense to say that I follow the tradition of fantasy writing itself rather than that of an individual fantasy fiction writer.
Neel Preet: Is there any message, which you would like to convey to your readers – or any piece of advice which you would like to give to the readers?
Anirudh Iyengar: I would love to express my hearty congratulations to the young reader who has developed the reading habit before the age of 13 and is maintaining it in spite of the rushed pace of modern life. Personally, I am not against cinema, TV or OTT since I can understand the artistic value of a motion picture. But in my experience, it is the habit of reading which makes a person conscious of this artistic value in a motion picture. I would love it if the youth of the generation can spend as much time in reading books as in viewing the screen. I would also like to give a message to the parents of the youngsters that they are not to burden the youngsters with tuition just because the youngsters happen to have spare time. The spare time can be used in developing the reading habit and thus the creativity of the youngsters. I believe that even schools and colleges should take steps to reduce the academic burden of the students and encourage more general reading.
Neel Preet: Are there any other books that you are working on? Please let us know about your future projects.
Anirudh Iyengar: Since I am in my MA Final Year, I am taking a short break from writing. Nevertheless, I am planning a sequel for The Lodestone Prophecies.
Neel Preet: Thank you so much for answering all my questions. All the very best to you for future and your book too!
Anirudh Iyengar: My pleasure – and thank you for your wishes!