Ruby Iyer is India’s answer to the popular YA (Young Adult) novels of the West, like Hunger Games and Divergent. Set on the streets of Bombay, criminals run the city with it becoming a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save the world from total destruction. Armed only with Vikram, a cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from.
After two much-loved first parts, writer Laxmi Hariharan returns with the newest addition to the Ruby Iyer series with her third book The First Life Of Vikram Roy.
Where did the idea of the Ruby Iyer series come from? Was it inspired by anything you experienced personally?
Growing up in Bombay, my daily commute to university was inevitably nightmarish. It's just how public transport is here. The man behind you on the bus will brush up against you. You know you are going to be felt up on a crowded train platform. All you can do is accept it and get on. Or so you think.
I accepted it too, until, a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight. That made me furious. I realised, nothing had changed in this city in all these years. Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down; who would follow her instincts, stand up for herself regardless of consequences. Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Make no mistake. Ruby's her own person. She leads. I follow.
Do readers have to be familiar with the previous books in order to fully appreciate the third book The First Life Of Vikram Roy?
This is a standalone novel in the Ruby Iyer series and traces Vikram Roy’s origins; his coming-of-age years and how he came to be the reluctant cop he is when he meets Ruby. His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind. Vikram never should have left his family, but when Vikram's father brings his half-brother Vishal home, life will never be the same.
Where did the name 'Ruby Iyer' come from?
Actually I was thinking of an angry, young girl - a female Robocop-like figure, when I started writing the series. Hence she is called Ruby - from Robocop.
Hollywood has completely caught onto the marketability and huge appeal of Young Adult novels with successes like Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent for example. Do you feel that there might a similar market in Bollywood? Is a film translation of the series something that you'd be interested in overseeing?
I guess rather than classifying it as Hollywood or Bollywood, I'd say the Ruby Iyer Series of 5 books (two more to be released) is a fast paced action thriller so I definitely plan to adapt it across different media. Right now the audio book of the ‘Diaries’ will be out soon. The rest will follow.
Have you already got a full arc of the series in mind aka Game Of Thrones’ George RR Martin?
The other three are coming of age stories of the three main protagonists. Ruby Iyer and her growing years in Bombay and how her family is destroyed by 26/11; Vikram Roy, the super cop gone rogue and his years at boarding school; and Pankaj Mehta, Ruby’s flatmate, who is a young boy who finds early on that he is gay and then it’s his story about how he comes to terms with this while growing up in Bombay.
What's up next for you?
Right now I have a few stories set within the Ruby Iyer universe coming out in different anthologies. And then I am racing to complete SECOND LIVES.
To celebrate the launch of the FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY, Laxmi is giving away a $30 gift card. Enter HERE. Winner will be drawn, Oct 1, 2015.
All September earnings from the RUBY IYER SERIES will be donated to SAVE THE CHILDREN: SUPPORT CHILD REFUGEES OF SYRIA. Click HERE to buy them.