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Wednesday, January 18, 2023


Today we sit down for a chat with crime and women’s fiction author Damyanti Biswas. Learn more about Damyanti and her books here.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

I started writing short stories back in 2008, but it was in 2011 that one of them kept growing and eventually became my first novel, You Beneath Your Skin.


How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?

For me publication was never a dream. It’s always been part of the writing process. I believe that writing begins in the author’s mind but is completed in the reader’s.


Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?

I’m traditionally published. You Beneath Your Skin was published by Simon & Schuster India. The Blue Bar is published by Thomas & Mercer, and they have also contracted its sequel.


Where do you write?

It depends on what’s good that day. I always end up writing somewhere other than my writing table, sadly. I also write at cafes if I’m too blocked to write at home.


Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

I usually write with white noise in the background, either sounds of rain or forest birdsong.


How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?

Some of the incidents in my books draw inspiration from newspapers. I’ve not written anything based on my life for the crime novels.


Describe your process for naming your character?

The main characters are always born within my consciousness along with their names. The Blue Bar started with Tara without a conscious thought process, and then I had to figure out why she was named so. 


The supporting cast is named as per their roles, and these names often change in case they sound too similar. They have names befitting their social class, and the part of India they hail from. India is a complex country, and a fair amount can be divined about a person’s background based on their surnames.


Real settings or fictional towns?

So far, all the settings in my novel have been real.


If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?

I don’t think I could have written any of the books already written by others. My books emerge from my subconscious, and I can’t picture myself having written any others not already within.


Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?

As a college graduate, I went into fashion design, and lost touch with reading for a few years. I wish I’d understood myself and my calling earlier, and not missed tons of great books. Mortality looms, and on some days, I feel bad I wasted all that time.


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

My own tendency to use certain words in my writing, which I then have to pull teeth finding and replacing in an appropriate fashion!


You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

 A good book. A bottle with a water filter. A knife.


What was the worst job you’ve ever held?

The absolute worst was as a model at a car fair. 


Who’s your all-time favorite literary character (any genre)? Why?

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. I like her sharp observations and wit, and also her vulnerabilities. She’s one of the earliest heroines of the novel form, and a strong, incredibly wise one.


Ocean or mountains? 



City girl/guy or country girl/guy? 



What’s on the horizon for you?

I’m editing the sequel to The Blue Bar, after which I’ll be polishing up a novel for submission that my agent really likes. Hope to write another novel this year.


Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?

The Blue Bar is set in Mumbai, a megapolis of 21 million people. It has the most expensive private residence in the world, worth 2 billion USD, with 400,000-square-feet area divided into 27 floors. 


Not far from it stands Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in the world. 2 million people crammed into 0.81 square miles.


Since my work is set in India, the contrasts shown are extreme, and everyday reality is overwhelming to the senses. In terms of color, sounds, scents, and the sheer density of humanity, Indian cities have few equals. 


With The Blue Bar, I’ve tried to take readers to the megacity of Mumbai— its skyscrapers and its underbelly, its stories of love and hate, its beaches and swamps, its movie sets and police stations. I hope readers will come along for the journey. 


The Blue Bar

A Blue Mumbai Thriller, Book 1


On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession.


After years of dancing in Mumbai’s bars, Tara Mondal was desperate for a new start. So when a client offered her a life-changing payout to indulge a harmless, if odd, fantasy, she accepted. The setup was simple: wear a blue-sequined saree, enter a crowded railway station, and escape from view in less than three minutes. It was the last time anyone saw Tara.


Thirteen years later, Tara’s lover, Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, is still grappling with her disappearance as he faces a horrifying new crisis: on the city’s outskirts, women’s dismembered bodies are being unearthed from shallow graves. Very little links the murders, except a scattering of blue sequins and a decade’s worth of missing persons reports that correspond with major festivals.


Past and present blur as Arnav realizes he’s on the trail of a serial killer and that someone wants his investigation buried at any cost. Could the key to finding Tara and solving these murders be hidden in one of his cold cases? Or will the next body they recover be hers?


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