BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, February 1, 2023: The newly inaugurated Poe & Company Bookstore in Milton brimmed with activity as fans gathered in large numbers at the Atlanta book and series launch of Anju Gattani’s Winds of Fire series and release of Book 1, Dynasties, on January 21, 2023. The launch, featuring swag giveaways and Q&A with the author garnered support from several fellow authors, writers, and prominent members of the community.
The official launch was held earlier in the month at Amelia Island, Florida on Jan 13, 2023, where Dynasties was featured as the January 2023 International Book of The Month Pick by the International Pulpwood Queen & Timber Guys Reading Nation Book Club.
The mega swag giveaway at the Atlanta launch, which sold out all copies at the store in two hours, featured a golden carry bag, colorful silk bhandej dupatta, wedding invitations to the fictional characters Rakesh and Sheetal’s wedding, bookmarks, organza pouches with instruction cards and trinkets tied to Book 1, Dynasties, Book 2, Once And For All, and Book 3, Never Again, all customized to the theme of Winds of Fire Series and made in Jaipur, India.
Dynasties explores the conflicts of an affluent and glamorous female protagonist, Sheetal Prasad, forced into an arranged marriage of convenience with playboy millionaire Rakesh Dhanraj. She must battle her own misgivings to find her bearings–to refine and define herself even as she feels bound by duty and fueled by desire.
The alliance of the Prasad and Dhanraj families drowns Sheetal in a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal. In her plan to sever this marriage and escape, Sheetal uncovers numerous devastating secrets that threaten to bring down the two-family dynasties. When the Dhanraj’s tyranny threatens her son, Sheetal has no choice but to protect the boy at all costs, burning down the façade of her abusive marriage and empowering herself to break free of all bondages.
Sheetal’s journey begins in the busy metropolis of Raigun, India, travels to the foothills of the Himalayas, and across continents to New Jersey, USA and back in pursuit of courage and hope, true love and happiness midst the clash of cultural tides.
“Being able to have a woman or a man come up to me and say—I read your series and your book and because of that I found the ability and the power to leave this relationship and break free, and I’m alive and standing in front of you because of it—that’s my success,” Gattani said in response to a question from the audience about what success might look like to her in the next 10 years. She went on the explain that someone in a situation of domestic violence/abuse may not be able to openly discuss it while they are homebound, and her series will hopefully guide them by relating to characters in similar situations and empower them to heal themselves.
A former international freelance journalist and news reporter, Gattani lived and was published in leading lifestyle magazines and newspapers across Hong Kong, India, Australia, Singapore, and USA. She frequently interviewed people from a diverse range of professions, cultures and backgrounds and loved hearing their perspectives on a range of topics. Through her interviews, Gattani learned about social issues that were rampant across cultures, be it ill-treatment of women, the perception of women as second-class citizens or the overwhelming expectations placed on women to successfully manage a home, family, extended family, careers, social and personal lives while suffering domestic violence and abuse behind closed doors.
“When I began this project over 20 years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. All I knew at the time was that I had a story to tell,” Gattani said. Since the story “fell in her lap like a scene from a movie” 40 minutes before it was time to pick up her then-five-year-old son from the bus stop, with a 1.5 years old younger son at the time, Gattani said she has never looked back. She tried to shake the scene out of her head, but the characters continued to haunt her.
Tracing her arduous journey of two decades, Gattani said every revision and rewrite had been a learning experience. Working with New York and USA Today bestselling authors, developing the story, honing on the craft of fiction and moving from New Jersey to Connecticut and finally Atlanta, Gattani’s characters and story finally found a place in the world on January 11, 2023.
The next public Atlanta event is slated with Kathy L. Murphy, The International Pulpwood Queen, themed CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY on Thu, Mar 30 at Johns Creek Books and Gifts at 5pm.