We’re happy to have Bharti Kirchner join on us the blog today!
Tell us about your most recent and upcoming releases!
My most recent release is Murder at Andaman: A Maya Mallick Mystery (Book 2). With that in the bookstores, I am now concentrating on the next in the series, Murder at Jaipur: A Maya Mallick Mystery (Book 3). This tale takes PI Maya Mallick from Seattle to Jaipur in India to search for a missing gem, one of the highest valued in the world. Gems are a big part of the Indian society, both spiritually and as a family inheritance, and I am enjoying the research part of the book.
You’ve written novels in genres such as literary-commercial and historical. You’re also the author of four successful cookbooks. What prompted you to start a mystery series?
There’s a story here! Years ago, I was asked to contribute to the anthology, Seattle Noir. (This is a city-based anthology series, done by Akashic Books. There are, for example, Boston Noir, Portland Noir, and Istanbul Noir and scores of others, where each mystery story is set in a certain neighborhood and composed by a writer living in that neighborhood. I lived in Seattle at the time.) Prior to that I haven’t done a mystery short story. So, when the request came, I hesitated. Eventually, I wrote a story, titled Promised Tulips, which took place in my neighborhood, Wallingford, in Seattle. The story was well received. Publisher’s Weekly called it “one of the two best stories” in the collection. Later it was selected for the USA Noir, the anthology that contained the best of all city-based anthologies. At that point, my readers started asking me why I don’t write more in the mystery category. Thanks to them, I found I enjoyed the process and a set of mystery novels followed.
Name a favorite book you’ve read recently.
I just finished The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (William Morrow). Although not a mystery novel as such, there is a mystery element in it that makes the reader wonder and which provides a satisfying ending.
What writing advice do you give to aspiring writers?
Besides “Read, read, read and write, write, write,” I’d suggest you write something unique, what only you can write. What makes you unique? How differently do you see the world? What matters to you? Editors and agents talk about the submissions they receive as being similar and the difficulty they have in finding one that stands out.
If you could go back in time and give your younger author self any advice, what would you tell her?
That it takes enormous dedication and hard work and there are no guarantees, but success eventually comes if you stay dedicated, if you have something to say.
About Bharti Kirchner:
Winner of the 2020 SALA award, Bharti Kirchner is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels (in various genres, including historical, literary, and mystery) and four cookbooks. Goddess of Fire, a historical set in the 17th century India, was shortlisted for the Nancy Pearl Award. Her most recent is Murder at Andaman: A Maya Mallick Mystery (Book 2). Bharti has written for Food & Wine, Vegetarian Times, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, and eleven anthologies. Her many awards include a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship. She has been honored as a Living Pioneer Asian American Author. Visit her website at www.bhartikirchner.com.