Gitanjali Murari: Author Interview

With a new release titled The Crown of Seven Stars on the shelves, we thenotoriousreader team were curious to know more about this new book and about the author and her exceptional way of storytelling.

Gitanjali Murari has over twenty years’ experience at senior creative positions in production houses and top entertainment networks. She has studied Film & TV production at MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia University. Apart from writing books, she has a keen interest in writing screenplays. Here is a gist of our conversation with the author:

 Can you tell us what inspired you to be a writer?

My older sister Minakshi is the real storyteller in the family. Every night, she would tell me bedtime stories and when I began reading, coupled with her stories, my imagination was fired. I wrote my ‘first book’ at the age of 7 or 8 about a donkey called Pepito 🙂 Thereafter, when I was studying Film & TV production at MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia university, writing was an essential part of storytelling. Writing scripts everyday for class assignments further unlocked the desire to write and later, while I was pursuing a career in TV, I began to scribble thoughts, ideas albeit infrequently. But what really got me down to serious writing, was when a few years ago I was asked to write short stories for a spiritual magazine, Samvit. The brief was to make children the protagonist of a tale set in the adult world. This helped me evolve as a writer.

Please tell us more about your book.

The Crown of Seven Stars is a fast-paced adventure with elements of fantasy, myth and the magical, all woven together to tell a story that is philosophical at its core. I believe it has appeal for everyone, anywhere in the world because the theme is universal – of Truth and Freedom.

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Can you please shed some more light on the main characters of the book?

The characters stand for qualities that range from the base to the noble, the entire spectrum that is there within most of us. The struggle of these characters is our daily struggle against our base tendencies that threaten to overwhelm us. There is Saahas, the protagonist who is at war with his own destiny; there is King Vasuket, a gentle merciful
king but morally feeble; Manmaani who comes across as pure evil but has redeeming qualities that are overshadowed by her selfishness; Ashwath, is Manmaani’s oldest son. He is physically strong, a bully. Yet, he is capable of change. Then there is Shunen, neglected by his mother, a twisted, bitter personality. And using them as pawns in her grand design is Destiny, the narrator of this tale!

Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?

I am deeply interested in Vedanta which talks of Man’s eternally free and pure nature. I believe it holds the answers to all of life’s problems, and I felt compelled to share these learnings in the form of an entertaining story.

Will you try your hand at any other genre?

Yes! I’m very keen to write a contemporary drama.

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When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?

I’m working on a few ideas. I will keep you posted.

What would you have been if not a writer?

Definitely a filmmaker! Which I still hope to be! Incidentally, before I wrote The Crown of Seven Stars, I penned 3 screenplays, each in a different genre. I’m hoping to pitch them to producers now.

Who is your favorite author?

There are many and they range from comedy to thrillers to mythology to historical to social drama. But I would like to mention 2 writers who have had a huge impact on me – Alan Paton and his profoundly moving Cry, The Beloved Country and Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mocking Bird. These two stories are about hate and prejudice. They are extremely relevant today.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Reading and watching movies, long walks, and listening to music while enjoying a good cup of tea!

 Is there any message you would like to give to your readers?

I quote a few lines from The Crown of Seven Stars: ‘Destiny is not easy to tame. She must be owned first and then broken. And for that, you need special weapons…celestial no less. Then you can win any war.’

If you want to know more about the book you can check out this article.

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