Anita Saran – Circe’
Have you ever come across an author that, with the briefest of words, the simplest turn of a phrase or the most miniscule of story blurbs, captures your attention? Their simplicity has incited your interests and made you say, ‘Huh, where have her stories been that I haven’t taken notice sooner?
Anita Saran is just one such author.
Recently I turned to my fellow Mojocastle Press authors to share their current and upcoming works and Anita Saran answered the call. In doing so she has begun a journey that I, as a reader and a fan of fiction, am quite certain, will be inspiring, intriguing and well worth the romp into history’s past. As her critics have pointed out Anita’s story, Circe’ has almost Xena-style irreverence towards the mythology that keeps it ticking. They love the freshness, originality and vibrancy of the voice.
– Jo Hart, Randomhouse Delrey Writer’s Workshop
Most recently Suite 101 has stated that Anita Saran has woven a story that threads Greek mythology and feminist ideals together, taking a witty and satirical look at myths of all types, ancient and modern. Readers join the main character, Circe, on her journey of discovery through a set of wild adventures.
So, without further adieu, let me introduce to you Anita Saran –
Congratulations on your novel! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your book.
'Circe' is my first novel. It's been published by Mojocastle Press and is now available in all eBook formats and in paperback from Amazon.com.
'Circe' is about the emerging woman who is not afraid to look into herself or question the conditioning she has grown up with. A woman who runs with wolves as Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run with Wolves) puts it, and who is fully aware of her most primal desires, as well as her spiritual self and is sometimes torn between body and soul. Circe, the enchantress brought out the beast in man and loved only to destroy. This is the story of her adventurous and hilarious quest for the ideal mate. Will she find him within or without?
The novel poses several questions. Is there such a thing as the ideal mate? Is there a difference between sex and love? Can lust be transcended as long as one has a body? Here there is an alien posing as an Elvis look alike, a flying carpet that was once a man, a Mayan sacrificial victim, a lusting mummy, Hecate of the three heads, gay fairies who live in hollow hills and more such impossible things.
Wow! This story sounds so fun. I love time travel and mythology stories. And the blending of so many creatures together – it sounds delicious. Do you have an excerpt from your book that you’d like to share?
Sure. This is from Chapter 1 of Circe – Titled: Warts and All
Oh, I know what everyone thinks of me: wanton, femme fatale, promiscuous, fickle, with strange evil powers and not to forget--never to forget--narcissistic.
Why can't I be narcissistic? I'm gorgeous, I have a heavenly voice, I weave cloth of unearthly splendour on my loom, I concoct great potions turning man into beast and woman into gorgon, I brew storms from stillness. I also separate sex from love. I'm very proud of my ability to separate sex from love--whatever love may be. Most women can't. They get tied up with love, like trussed fowls awaiting slaughter.
I have never felt guilty about bedding a stranger--or two--just because I like how he looks. Men are cowards. Pursue them and they flee. Ignore them and they pursue you. I do not play games with men. It does not take them long to know how I feel about them. I never wear a mask. Perhaps that's why they either adore me or despise me.
I'm afraid of ugliness. At least I don't worry about old age. There's always my daily goblet of ambrosia. Do I ever wonder about a time when we could lose the ambrosia? Yes, I do. However, I am actually more terrified of growing ugly than growing old.
Babies don't interest me. I'm more interested in the children of the mind, so much more difficult to create, but I do have a child, although not the sort you'd expect. That bully, Zeus, took me against my will twenty years ago.
He came down on me as a shower of rain. I would have preferred rubies...after all, he came down on Danae as a shower of gold. I hate his pot belly and his tight-curled beard which would fill your mouth like his forked tongue--if he did make love as his own self. They say he has a forked phallus too, and his spermatozoa have forked tails. Something to do with those thunderbolts.
Most women don't like his looks either, or why must he come down on them in the ludicrous shape of a swan, a bull, a shower of gold coins and suchlike? On Mount Olympus they still snicker about the time when Zeus--as himself--made love to a nymph. She laughed hysterically during the act at the occasional flashes of purple lightning that shot out from his arse when he climaxed, turning a piece of rock into tar, then bouncing off to hit a snail whose shell turned fluorescent purple. Zeus, deeply insulted by the nymph's laughter, decided to forevermore disguise himself.
I felt nothing sexual about the shower that was Zeus, although it permeated my every nook and cranny. I wonder what he got out of it.
Zeus and purple lightning bolts from his ass – great stuff! I definitely want to know more about this story…
Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?
In real life. I love watching The History Channel and Discovery. I love Reality shows like Cheaters and The Bachelor. I've kept a journal since I was 15 and it's really been useful for my writing. Some of the people I knew have ended up - caricaturized of course - in my fantasy novel 'Circe.' I explore my own philosophy in my fiction. Circe was my alter Ego, torn between body and soul. I wrote it 18 years ago. Luckily I no longer feel that way. It's true liberation!
Who would you say is/was your biggest inspiration and why?
Tom Robbins for his rich imagination and wonderful prose. He also chooses profound subjects to write about. JRR Tolkien for his poetic style, imagination and the message his writing presents – the victory of good over evil.
There are so many crazy nuances that get in the way of an author getting to that final product. What do you find to be the hardest thing about creating your stories?
The hardest thing is incorporating changes after you've sent it out for critiques. You really have to know what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
Do you currently have a favorite character?
Yes. My favorite is a muddled, lusty, power-hungry young woman who's looking for life's true meaning and purpose.
If she finds it make sure she shares it…lol!
Most authors are complete book whores themselves – myself included. That’s part of the reason we write. We have to have our daily allotment of words. So, what are reading right now?
I'm reading the world's very first novel - 'Kadambari' by an Indian writer called Bana. It was written in the 7th century AD, earlier than the novel that’s' widely considered as the world's first - Don Quixote.
Ok, that got my attention – the world’s first novel?? That is soooo cool! I’m definitely going to go look this one up.
The heavy use of metaphors characteristic of ancient Sanskrit literature makes me laugh out loud and the minute details can get tedious, but the story is riveting. It's interesting to see how different reader's tastes are today. Things are faster paced, but I still like to linger on a flower or a sunset when I read a book.
Certain poetry is like that for me – it creeps beneath your skin, seeking the light that warms your soul. It’s soothing, comforting, beautiful; even if or when the telling is about a heartbreaking subject. It still speaks to you.
Do you like listen to music when you write? And if so, what do you like to listen to?
I don't need music to inspire me. I only used music once while writing a novella called 'Kali's Lament'. I listened over and over to Peter Gabriel's beautiful and classical soundtrack for movie based on Christ's life – 'The Last Temptation.' I used the music because it was a difficult story to write.
What are you writing now?
I am currently making some minor revisions to 'The Choosing,' a novella, which, when we began this interview just a week ago was being considered by a publisher. And now, it has just been accepted. Amazing since I only sent it out to 3 publishers. It's 23,000 words. A sort of female 'Pilgrim's Progress'. The Editor in Chief calls it "colorful and imaginative."
It's basically a story about a muddled young girl who's had a tragic relationship with her abusive mother and as a result wants to prove that she's special. She wants to become a sorceress, but for this, she has to be a "Pure One." She too is torn between body and soul like Circe. When she's a little girl being tortured by her mother, she is comforted by an angelic being who predicts that she'll become a Being of Light some day. And she does, but not before she's experienced a dark relationship with a sorcerer whose lust for her distracts him the pure path. It's a pretty complex plot.
I was afraid that only a publisher of religious/inspirational fiction would look at it, but something told me that a good story is a good story, regardless of the theme. Most readers cannot identify with Akaasa's struggle towards the light, but it's still a good tale. I think the time is right for such stories as we enter the Age of Aquarius, the age of enlightenment.
That is such wonderful news, Anita! Congrats. It’s always so thrilling to have your dreams come to fruition.
So where can readers learn more about you and your works?
They can find me on my website - http://www.anitasaran.com where there are links to various pieces of fiction online as well as reviews of my work. I also offer email courses in copywriting and short story writing.
**Anita Saran is a writer, painter and former fashion model. She lives in Bangalore, India, where she works as an advertising copywriter and web content writer.
Please be sure to visit her on the web and read her wonderful stories! For more information on Circe – look her up at Mojocastle Press, LLC – www.mojocastle.com