It’s no secret that I love New York. I find myself in the city quite often, whether visiting friends or for the occasional modeling opportunity. I recently enjoyed catching up with one of my dear writer friends, Madhuri Pavamani. DUTCH (St. Martin’s Press), book one in The Keeper Series, is scheduled for release on April 4, 2017. Of course, we celebrated Madhuri’s forthcoming publication (described as a sexy, suspenseful urban fantasy novel that will take you on a wild ride of danger, love, sex and magic). Here’s what happened (well, the girl talk that we can share – smile):
Our writer friendship is so hilarious to me. We are in two totally different genres – I write historical fiction and you write sexy urban fantasy. Care to tell readers about your work and why you enjoy making me clutch my pearls?
In a nutshell, I’m a dark-hearted romantic with a dirty mouth and even dirtier mind. Put all of that together and it’s just a matter of time before I’m covering the page with wet swollen *bleep* and rock hard *bleep*. It simply cannot be helped. But I promise, there’s a beauty to those raw words — I write with some serious rhythm in my head, everything has to flow and fit and groove together. I like my novels to read like poetry, and hopefully my readers pick up on that.
Making you clutch your pearls is an added bonus to all this delicious dirty fun.
We both have a backgrounds in legal and I find it interesting that we both gravitated towards fiction and fantasy instead of non-fiction. For me, writing fiction is an escape from reality. Have you always had an interest in writing urban fantasy? And I ask that because sometimes our characters help us find our genre. For example, I thought I would write young adult fiction (because I love young adult fiction) but my best characters and storylines are rooted in historical fiction.
It’s funny that you mention young adult fiction because my first series I published, The Coco Butta Kids, began as young adult fiction — my diverse response to the Sweet Valley High-type of books on the market at the time. I enjoyed writing it — and love my characters to this day — but the whole time I was working on the series, I was also dreaming of my worlds and characters of The Sanctum Trilogy, my first foray into the more fantasy-like genres I tend to gravitate towards. Truth be told, I’m a romance writer — my worlds always revolve around love. It’s dark twisted fucked up love, but love is what fuels me and gets those words banging around my brain, fighting to make their way onto the page. I just like my lovers to swing a poison blade and maybe ride a dragon here and there.
As I have a glass of Malbec, you’re enjoying whiskey. I think it’s so badass! What’s your favorite whiskey? And is it your choice of fuel when you’re writing?
First off, please allow me to disclaim any advanced or professional-seeming knowledge of whiskey. The last thing you need is a bunch of whiskey drinkers, emailing you that I don’t know shit about shit. What I do know is that whiskeys can be from all over the world, like Scotch from Scotland (which is whisky without the e) and bourbon from the States. My favorites are Johnny Walker Black Label, Yamazaki 18, and Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout. In fact, I love Old Scout so much, it’s practically a character in my upcoming book, DUTCH.
Hmmm – do I drink when I write? It depends on the stage of my writing. I definitely drink while writing, but 90% of the time, that drink is coffee. I think if you test my blood, it’s mostly coffee. Lately, I’ve become obsessed with chai, but I can’t make it through the day without coffee. And lots of it. And before anyone tells me that sounds like an addiction, let me just say, it most definitely is an addiction, but I already did my good deed for this lifetime and quit smoking years ago — the coffee habit ain’t going anywhere any time soon.
Which is all a very long, roundabout way of saying, yes — after 5pm, if I’m writing, you very well might see a lowball of whiskey somewhere close by.
Okay. You know I am beyond excited about your forthcoming publication, DUTCH. I’ve literally watched you write and give life to these characters. What can readers anticipate from the The Keeper Series?
That my words will inspire lots of wet panties and erections. *CP clutches pearls* hahaha — kidding — which you know means I’m not kidding at all.
Readers should look forward to a unique world full of intrigue, despair, and passionate maddening soul-burning love. The trilogy centers around Dutch Mathew, an assassin for an organization called The Gate, and Juma Landry, a reclaimer for Death. She has nine lives and he has to end each of them. And because I’m a twisted dark-hearted romantic, they fall in love and set in motion all kinds of craziness. It’s raw and beautiful and full of the wondrous magic that is DUTCH and JUMA.
I thrive on writing strong couples like Wyatt and Dev or Darby and Abha from my previous trilogy, The Sanctum, and I think Dutch and Juma continue in that vein. One of my favorite aspects of The Keeper Series is Juma’s metamorphosis — it’s a thing of beauty, she is devastating and horrific — and the way Dutch’s love for her grows stronger as she comes into her true self.
One of your favorite hashtags is #feministasfuck. And your poetry often speaks to strong, female personas. Can readers expect the same with characters in The Keeper Series?
It’s a known fact I have serious issues with mainstream (white) feminism and its lack of intersectionality, but am I a feminist? Hell to the fuck yes. I come from a long line of strong fierce Indian women, the belief in sisterhood and girl power has lived in my blood for generations.
It’s one of the reasons I started writing in the first place — I found myself reading lots of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction with these amazing lead women but too often their power had to be explained to them, and most often the ones doing the explaining were men. I wanted to create women whose power was intrinsic, who didn’t need anyone explaining their raison d’être. I wanted them to come to their partners and lovers full of self-awareness and badassery. Equally important, I wanted those same fierce kickass women to be vulnerable, and okay with wearing that vulnerability on their sleeves.
For me, a large part of being a strong woman — and #FeministAsFuck — is accepting and wrapping oneself around one’s vulnerabilities. Our weaknesses are full of pain and the unknown, and in their inherent rawness, and our acceptance of such, lies such beauty and strength. I love coupling soft spots with obvious kick ass shit. It makes for a whole woman and characters I can be proud of and relate to, and oftentimes strive to emulate.
Anything you’d like to share with fellow writers and readers?
Besides the fact that I love your sexy, super tall ass? hmmm…
Writers, now more than ever, we need to do our thing. Especially my fellow romance writers of color — it feels incredibly important in the midst of all of this political fuckery that we continue writing our gorgeous characters of color falling in soul-wrenching mad passionate love. That very act — LOVE — feels like resistance itself.
Readers, DUTCH and JUMA, books I and II in The Keeper Series are available right now for pre-order so head over to Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, B&N, and more to snag your copies. DUTCH releases April 4th and JUMA follows on June 6th, with the finale, DEATH, scheduled for early August. This series is beautiful raw sexy poetry, the characters are unique, and the story is everything – I’ve got my fingers, toes and titties crossed that everyone gets lost in the dark magic that is DUTCH and JUMA.
Get ready y’all – the Keepers are coming.
Editor’s Note: We were having way too much fun and forgot to take pictures before devouring our food and drinks. However, we highly recommend Till and Sprocket! Enjoy!