Here’s some straight up razz-ma-tazz info you need to know about author Bharti Kirchner that I lifted like a jewel thief straight off her website:
Bharti Kirchner is the prolific author of nine books — five novels and four cookbooks. Her fifth, a mystery novel Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery is now out. (“Engrossing,” says the Seattle Times.) Her work has been translated into German, Dutch, Spanish, Marathi, Thai and other languages. Her fourth novelPastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries (St. Martin’s Press) was selected for the Summer Washington Reads program. Darjeeling (St. Martin’s Press), a third novel, received endorsements from top national authors. Shiva Dancing (Dutton), her first novel, was chosen by Seattle Weekly to be among the top 18 books by Seattle authors in the last 25 years. (“A finely crafted novel,” says Publisher’s Weekly. “A fresh literary terrain,” says San Francisco Chronicle.)Sharmila’s Book, a second novel, was published by Dutton. (“Smart, swift, and funny,” says Publisher’s Weekly.)
Bharti Kirchner: book writer, badass, expert on tulips trying to kill you.
AWARDS & HONORS – Bharti has won a City Artist’s Project Grant, a 4-Culture literature award, two Seattle Arts Commission literature grants, and two Artist Trust GAP grants. She has won a fellowship from VCCA (Virginia center for the Creative Arts). She has been honored as a Living Pioneer Asian American Author.
If you’re not already impressed you might need to ask yourself if you really understand what it means to know about impressive stuff. She’s done more stuff in those two paragraphs than I’ve done in this life and that previous life where I hung out with Shirley MacLaine and Rasputin. That’s saying a lot too, cause Rasputin knew how to bring the party and we rocked the Czar-Rave hard.
Now, prepare yourself to get more of your mind blown as Bharti Kirchner travels to a place that she probably never thought she’d ever travel (and her Book Manager should have warned her about ahead of time) and she answers
11 Questions of Badassary!
Your book is called Tulip Season, which sounds safe enough – like, I didn’t lock my Kindle in the cellar or anything because I thought it would e-ink stab me to death when I’ve had 3 too many martinis and 2 too many shots of Nyquil.
But I see BLOOD and I sense something sinister is afoot. Please explain in a non-spoiler, yet captivating way.
BK: The cover image shows the contrasts inherent in the book. As the book opens, we see Mitra Basu, a shy young Seattle garden designer who loves to take care of her beloved yellow tulips. Little does she know that her garden is about to get clouded over. The blood, not too much of it in the book, is like tears that’ll spill out of her.
I tried to tell y’all tulips can look sinister! Bharti lures you in with pretty flowers and then the blood starts flying.
So, are tulips really trying to kill us? Because two weeks ago it was bath salts and last week it was Snooki & J-Wows new show on MTV.What sorts of normal everyday things do you see out in the real world and it makes the wheels in your head lock into 4-wheel drive “Oh, that could sneak up on someone in one of my books and they’d never suspect it!”?
Are puppies plotting to kill us?
“Just keep acting cute and then let slip us on their ankles.”
The Tyler Durden inserted frame that made a whole generation of movie-goers lose their shit.
Gum? Cause I will straight up quit inviting gum to plot my downfall in my own mouth!
If this chick isn’t mind controlled into pod-village then I don’t know who is.
BK: Not to worry. Tulips are lovely gentle flowers that open their hearts to people. In my book, they become a symbol of friendship, both a dying one, as well as a new one about to blossom.
A favorite childhood book of mine was Alexandre Dumas’ The Black Tulip. Ever since, tulips have fascinated me. Although the stories are nothing similar, I must have gotten the idea of putting tulips as a character in a book from Dumas.
Does love/romance gone wrong always need to factor into the perfect thriller/who-the-hell-did-it? Are we obsesed with the notion that those we trust the most might be out to get us when our guard is down? Or, have I been watching too many made-for-Lifetime-movies/episodes of Ancient Aliens?
BK: You’re watching life, I think! I can’t speak for other crime writers, but in mine you get a balance of the good and the scary stuff. Examples of good: An adopted grandmother who goes out of her way to help Mitra, a community who gathers together for the same reason, a mother who usually stays home and reads books ventures out to look for clues.
If I were to use a Mitra metaphor, I’d say the scary stuff eventually gets composted.
“The vast-mustache call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE, Julia Roberts!”
I obviously cut/pasted this off the Tulip Season Amazon page (maybe I shouldn’t have given that away? Maybe I’d have looked like I had mind-powers?):
Kareena Sinha, an Indian-American domestic-violence counselor, disappears from her Seattle home. When the police dismiss suspicions that she herself was a victim of spousal abuse, her best friend, Mitra Basu, a young landscape designer, resolves to find her. Mitra’s search reveals glimpses of a secret life involving her friend
and a Bollywood actor of ill repute. Following the trail, Mitra is lured back to India where she uncovers the actor’s ties to the Mumbai underworld and his financial difficulties – landing her in a web of life-threatening intrigue where Mitra can’t be sure of Kareena’s safety or her own. That sounds bang-a-rang awesome right there! What gave you the idea of going all international with this mystery tome and incorporating elements like Bollywood, the Mumbai underworld, and Tulips?
BK: In a writer’s head, many disparate elements come together to make a story. Where do these elements come from? I am not sure.
With Tulip Season, as with my other novels, the story developed a sentence at a time. I don’t outline. I always wonder what’s next. I don’t consciously think it all out before getting started. I dive right in, then float up and gasp for air. That for me is the thrill and fear of writing a novel.
5. I have seen a huge surge of Indian themes, fashion, film all hitting the pop-culture radar lately. Do you see that too? If so, what do you think American culture stands to gain the most by learning about Indian culture?
Put this in your Mouse Ears and smoke it, High School Musical!
BK: I certainly see that. I could name many possible influences, but will choose a highly visible aspect of Indian culture: the use of color. You are dazzled by the colorful clothing women wear, which look like candle flames.
Okay, Google is distracting me a little bit…
A cow gets its horns painted. The houses are pastel, with brightly hued windows. There’s even a festival called Holi or spring festival which celebrates the vibrant colors of spring.
I’m sorry, what was that?
On that day, people smear their faces with color and spray each other with colored water. You don’t wear your nice clothes that day! You just have fun.
Books. You’re a serious interviewer and you’re talking to Bharti about books.
I heard you’re a badass when it comes to getting your recipe on! Did this love of food and wanting to get other foodies on board sort of drive your career shift from the technology sector to become an author?
BK: That’s precisely what happened. You have to really love food to make that kind of a drastic transition, and I did. (I loved to cook.) That doesn’t mean consuming huge quantities of food. It is rather the idea of food, seeing food through many lenses, and wanting to share that experience with others.
I don’t write that much about food any more, only occasional essays. Novels and magazine articles take up my time.
Was Scooby-Doo a good detective? Or was he just high all the time and he bumped into right stuff every episode so the secret door would unlock or the obvious crate of stolen diamonds would have the tarp knocked off it so everyone could go, “Scooby found the obvious crate of diamonds!”
BK: Nobuo Yoshihama, the detective in Tulip Season, does the routine job of investigation. (Some of my women readers seem to like him, regardless.) But it’s the amateur sleuth, Mitra, who finds the “crate of diamond.” She doesn’t bump into the right stuff all the time. All too often she steps into the snake’s pit. She gets out somehow.
I don’t get it.
In Tulip Season you set up: A Mitra Basu Mystery. So, I’m guessing that there are gonna be more of these mysteries? Did you find it difficult to plot out a mystery story and did it involve intense outlining? Is there a greater story-arc that spans across the books and how far do have all this mapped out? (in your head counts, too)
BK: I didn’t plan for it to be a series, but lots of readers are asking. We’ll see if I go that route.
A mystery being fast-paced, I found the plotting to be different from that of a mainstream novel. More actions, more often, connected like a chain, for example. Then, too, all character actions have to have credible motivation behind them. Mystery readers demand that. As I have mentioned below I don’t outline. So it was a bit of juggling act to keep all of these crucial elements in balance.
I don’t have a big story-arc all worked out yet (for the same reason I don’t outline). I do, however, see a tremendous amount of personal growth for Mitra in the course of this possible series.
What’s some badass stuff that we should know about Tulip Season that we haven’t already covered?
BK: Readers generally don’t get excited about the prose of a mystery novel. They don’t pick out their favorite sentence, go back and reread some passages, underline their Kindle. To my surprise, a number of my readers have done all that. They email me, commenting on the lyrical quality of the book, which they say is one of its pleasures.
You’d kick my ass if we played CLUE, huh?
BK: Clues? No! One of my early readers was a mystery writer who told me he couldn’t have predicted the ending. There are plenty of clues, but also many twists and turns that can keep a reader misdirected.
Is this one of those Tim Burton movies? Where the hell is Ed Wood?
Bharti Kirchner, if you were suddenly president of the world what’s some of the kick-ass stuff that you’d do right away to get this old world spinning full-speed ahead?
Giraffe’s aren’t trying to kill me, are they?
BK: There shall be no war.
I recall an old bumper sticker that said: Suppose they gave a war and nobody came. I wish we could be there.
I’d like to sincerely thank Bharti for agreeing to let me interview her. She’s a fantastic and prolific writer and I now have a new someone to aspire to be more like!
How can you not CLICK on this picture now? Do it.
A missing domestic-violence counselor. A wealthy and callous husband. A dangerous romance.
Kareena Sinha, an Indian-American domestic-violence counselor, disappears from her Seattle home. When the police dismiss suspicions that she herself was a victim of spousal abuse, her best friend, Mitra Basu, a young landscape designer, resolves to find her.
Mitra’s search reveals glimpses of a secret life involving her friend and a Bollywood actor of ill repute. Following the trail, Mitra is lured back to India where she uncovers the actor’s ties to the Mumbai underworld and his financial difficulties – landing her in a web of life-threatening intrigue where Mitra can’t be sure of Kareena’s safety or her own.
“Mitra is gunpowder chutney to the mystery genre, her adventures a hot refreshing blast of sumptuous storytelling. Bharti Kirchner has once again conquered another literary field. Highly Addictive.” — Skye Moody, Author of the mystery novel Three Bags Full
“Tulip Season is an evocative taste of Seattle’s darker side.” — Cara Black, Author of the mystery novel Murder at the Lanterne Rouge
“A multi-layered mystery, Tulip Season is carefully crafted.” — Curt Colbert, Co-author of the upcoming mystery novel Dial ‘C’ for Chihuahua
CLICK for Time Zombie Transportation!
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe.
Jesse James recently contributed 4 essays to the book Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays, co-authored by Tess Hardwick (Riversong) and Tracey Hansen. All author proceeds will be donated to charities engaged in the fight against breast cancer.
Jesse James is currently working on Billy Purgatory and the Curse of the Satanic Five, MythCop, Vehemently Jones, Blood-Love, R. Cane, and Witches vs Robots.