Friday, September 19, 2014

Author Interview- Anurag Anand (Birth of the Bastard Prince)

Hello, everyone! Today on the blog, we have with us a great Indian author. Please join us in welcoming Anurag Anand. *throws confetti* Anurag is the author of many books that you can take a look at over here, but he is here today to let our readers know about his latest release, Birth of the Bastard Prince. Without much ado, let's get on to the post I have for you. After getting to know the book and the author a little, we'll move on to the knowledgeble, interesting and fun interview we did with the author. Let's go then! 


Legendary courtesan Amrapali's life story is as enigmatic and extraordinary as her beauty and grace.Found abandoned under a mango tree as an infant, the twists and turns of fate led her to become the Nagarvadhu, the most sought-after yet morally reviled courtesan of the kingdom of Vaishali.In Birth of the Bastard Prince, the sequel to the riveting The Legend of Amrapali, Anurag Anand explores Amrapali's eventful life as the Nagarvadhu. He describes in thrilling detail the war between Vaishali and Magadha, in which Amrapali played a crucial role; traces her love affair with Bimbisara, the emperor of Magadha, and the birth of their son Vimala Kondanna; reveals the palace intrigues and conspiraciesthat led to Amrapali's tribulations; and finally explains how Amrapali found the solace and happiness he so desired.

Weaving together facts with fiction, written with a contemporary flavour, Birth of the Bastard Prince is an enchanting exploration of Amrapali's life as a courtesan and a mother, and her spiritual awakening in the Buddhist order.



You can even watch the BOOK VIDEO


Anurag is a management professional who started his parellel career in writing at the age of 25 when he published his first non-fiction title, 'Pillars of Success'. After his second non-fiction title, he shifted to the fiction genre and since then he has authored several books including bestsellers like The Legend of Amrapali and The Quest for Nothing.

Anurag's works have been lauded for their realistic treatment of subjects and the life-like interplay between characters.



Hi Anurag! Welcome to The Readdicts. It’s lovely to have you on our blog today and we hope you have a nice time answering our questions.

      1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Anurag: Thank you for having me on The Readdicts. And I must add that you guys are doing a fantastic job of promoting indigenous writing and authors. Keep up the great work!

As for me, I am a regular guy-next-door who loves spending time with friends and family, feels pressurized when demands at the workplace begin to mount, and is on the continuous lookout for an escape into a zone I can call my own. This is where writing fits in – it is the closest I have ever come to finding this zone of mine.

I am based in Gurgaon and am presently employed with a Cola major. Born in Patna (not all that long back, I like to believe), I have spent most of my life in school/ college hostels, forcibly mingling with people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, planets etc. It is the understanding of human nature and emotions I gathered during this phase of my life that forms the basis of my writing today.     

     2) Tell us about your book, Birth of the Bastard Prince, and its prequel, The Legend of Amrapali. Whilst we’re at this, let us know if readers need to read the first book before picking up the second.

Anurag: Not many of us are aware that the first democratic form of governance known to mankind was instutionalized in the ancient Indian kingdom of Vaishali. Amrapali – a girl of unknown parentage found abandoned under a mango tree – through a sequence of wicked manoeuvres was appointed the Nagarvadhu of this illustrious kingdom. It is a fictional life-account of this enchantress that has been traced in The Legend of Amrapali and Birth of the Bastard Prince.

While The Legend of Amrapali talks about the early years of her life – the machinations that went behind her appointment as the Nagarvadhu and the revenge she exacts from her tormentors – Birth of the Bastard Prince deals with the tribulations in the later part of Amrapali’s life, until she finds solace in the aegis of Gautama Buddha. Her love affair with Bimbisara, the emperor of the neighbouring kingdom of Magadh, the war between Magadh and Vaishali which history records as having lasted for about sixteen years, and a plethora of intriguing twists and turns make Birth of the Bastard Prince an interesting read for readers with diverse tastes.

Although Birth of the Bastard Prince has been positioned as a sequel to The Legend of Amrapali, it has been written in a manner to make it a stand-alone read. So, while as an author I would wish that my readers find time to read both the books, Birth of the Bastard Prince begins with a summary of the prequel that would not leave them grappling for context. 

      3) What kind of research went into writing your book?

Anurag: Quite frankly, majority of my research happened around the time I was writing The Legend of Amrapali. Once the prequel was ready, I already had the characters and settings I needed to take the story to its fruition, and this made the task much simpler.

However, while writing the Birth of the Bastard Prince I did have the privilege of visiting the present-day Vaishali in Bihar which still houses ancient ruins from the era that Amrapali’s story belongs to. From the Abhishek Pushkarini – the coronation tank used to anoint the newly appointed rulers of Vaishali and which now is a popular tourist destination – to the articles displayed in the nearby ASI Museum, it was a fascinating experience to say the least. I am sharing some pictures from this visit for your readers to get a glimpse into the glories of our past.

Toilet pan
Abhishek Pushkarni

     4) Tell us in a single sentence why readers should pick up your book.

Anurag: It is a perfect blend of facts and fiction that will not only entertain them, but also introduce them to a legendry character from the pages of history.  

    5) Do you plan on writing more books that will follow The Legend of Amrapali and Birth of the Bastard Prince?

Anurag: No, Amrapali’s story is complete with Birth of the Bastard Prince. My intention was to present her story in a crisp, entertaining and easily readable format, which I believe I have achieved with this book. The rest I shall leave for my readers to judge.

     6) I have read and really liked your book, Where the Rainbow Ends. It was a really touching and warm contemporary read. How do you switch between genres when writing? Additionally, which genre do you prefer to write?

Anurag: This is a tough one; it is like asking a parent to choose between two offsprings. However, there is a marked difference when it comes to dealing with the two genres. In case of contemporary fiction, once the plot and the story-outline are ready, the writing takes care of itself. Since I am more familiar with the social fabric of today, I am not required to evaluate every sentence in the context of the story’s setting. Historical fiction, on the other hand, requires a higher degree of concentration, focus and of course research.   

      7) What is the best part of being an author?

Anurag: The social recognition it brings about! After my first book was published, even those members of the extended family who I thought had written me off as a black sheep found reasons to connect with me. And this, to me, was my first win as an author.

      8) What is the worst part of being an author?

Anurag: The prevalent perception that writing books is but a key into the world of Swiss bank accounts, long yachts and expensive vacations! I wish it were so, but it is sadly not. And this one is for those friends who can’t stop taunting us (authors) about the supposed billions we make in royalties, and for those entrepreneurs who keep following-up over proposals quoting obnoxious sums to promote a book, each time a new title hits the stands. Guys, a reality check is in order!  

     9) Who are some of your favourite authors and what are some of your favourite books?

Anurag: I am a voracious reader with an appetite for almost anything between Chacha Chaudhary comics to complex textbooks of Physics. Well, almost!
However, some names that immediately come to mind are P G Wodehouse – there is no one who has dealt with humour as he has – John Green, George Orwell, Tagore and Alex Rutherford. Favourite titles, well, Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand, The Book Thief – Markus Zusak, Chowringhee – Shankar (translation by Arunava Sinha) etc. etc.

      10) If you could read only one book for the rest of your life, what book would you pick and why?

Birth of the Bastard Prince, because I do have a narcissistic streak in me!

We also have two fun rounds in store for you. The first one is called “Favourites”. All you have to do is, give us one favourite only. The second one is called “This or that” where you get to pick only one of the two choices we give you. Let’s get started. Brace yourself!


1) Favourite song? 

Anurag: O Ri Duniya  from the film Gulaal. A beautiful composition by Piyush Mishra.

2) Favourite movie? 

Anurag: Life is Beautiful – a film capable of melting even the sturdiest of hearts.

3) Favourite drink? 

Anurag: Coca-Cola (doesn’t hurt if it is spiked with Captain Morgan sometimes)

4) Favourite food? 

Anurag: All things sinful: pizzas, burgers, Mughlai, sweets and chocolates.

5) Favourite day of the week? 

Anurag: Saturday, as it leaves me hopeful of what is to follow. Sunday is simply too short a day.

This or that:

1) Tea or coffee? 

Anurag: Coffee (as long as it hasn’t been poured from a vending machine)

2) Coke or Pepsi? 

Anurag: Sheesh… why would you even ask that? Of course Coke! And by the way, P…. who??

3) Day or night? 

Anurag: Night… Days mean you need to leave your bed.

4) Beach or mountain? 

Anurag: Beaches… mountains mean simply too many clothes! I like to travel light… why, what else did you think?

5) Left or right? 

Anurag: Right… all that is ‘left’ thereafter is wrong!

Thank you so much for spending some time with us today, Anurag. We wish you lots of love, happiness and success in life.

Anurag: My pleasure!

That's all there is to it! I really hope you all liked this interview and that you're now looking forward to reading Anurag's books. We'd like to thank the author again for everything, and thank you, readers, for stopping by! 

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this one (on your instagram perhaps?! I have no idea) but it really seems interesting. I had no idea that it was based on some historical facts which makes it even more interesting. I'm sort of tabula rasa when it comes to Indian history so this all would be new to me. Great interview, Sarika :)


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