Thursday, December 5, 2019

"Haunted" by H G Ahedi

Dear Readers:

If you liked my book "The Keystroke Killer," I think you're going to like this next book, "Haunted" by H. G. Ahedi. It is filled with twists, turns and things that you don't see coming. So, for all of those adults who love a good thriller and mystery, add this book to your Christmas list.


Summer of 2015 is hot, tiring, and busy for Roumoult Cranston. He has no patience for his best friend Dr. William Sterling, who is looking for a triple murderer. When he returns to New York, Roumoult discovers that William has disappeared. In his attempts to save William, he uncovers the trail of a murderer whose victims are random, motives unknown, and methods unconventional. While hunting for what could be multiple killers, Roumoult discovers an ancient treasure. He wants to give it to the museum; the NYPD wants to use it as a bait; the killers want to steal it at any cost!

"Haunted" by H G Ahedi
Q1: Tell the readers a little about yourself, were you grew up, where you live now and you went to school. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born and brought up in Central West India, in a town called Pune, which is about 200 kilometers from Mumbai. Fascinated by research, I moved to Australia to obtain a Masters’ degree. I lived in Melbourne for a year and then moved again to complete my Ph.D. in the small beautiful town called Hobart in Tasmania.

Writing was always my passion; I would daydream plots and then put them in words sitting in the dark when everyone else at home was asleep. After I finished my Ph.D., I began thinking of publishing my books. Don’t ask me why, but something just clicked. I just wanted to do it!

Q2: What inspired you to author this book?

I have to say that the most inspiring thing that drove me to write, but also rewrite (several times), run a campaign to fund this book, and to get it published was my father’s passing away. My deepest regret is that he never saw my books being published. He hardly knew I wrote.

I wrote Haunted when I had finished my Ph.D., I didn’t have a stable job and I was in depression. Don’t get me wrong, I was fortunate to be surrounded by ‘awesome’ people, but a family loss is something that is very personal, and you cannot define a time or decide ‘this is the day I get over it.’ You can’t. No one can. In a way, Haunted saved me, writing and rewriting it helped me get through a tough time. It’s no surprise, I dedicated the book to my father.
Q3 Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

When I began designing the cover, I just wanted to show one thing, which was the heart of the story. I remembered that when I looked at book covers in the bookshops, some would have too much information, or the fonts would be too large and overall didn’t seem appealing. I wanted something abstract. When I thought about the book cover, I wanted something that would attract attention and draw readers.

Initially, I designed four book covers and sent them off to my friends. Some of them had read the story and quickly concluded that three covers out of four didn’t suit the novel. My friends who hadn’t read the book thought the green cover was mysterious and attractive. Since the green cover got the most votes, I improved it and then sent it to a book cover designer who did her magic!

Q4: Who has been the most significant influence on you personally, and as a writer?
Personally, it would be my father. He was kicked out of the house when he was in fourth grade and had nothing. After working very hard, in the next decade, he became a successful businessman. My parents had a tough raising us and surviving, but the reason my father inspires me is that he showed me that anything is possible, and you do not need anyone’s permission. He made it, so can you, you must believe in yourself and work for your dreams. The other quality about my father that inspired me was he was always there. Trust me; he was not perfect. He was loud, short-tempered, and very very stubborn (but whose father isn’t). But he was always there. No matter what. He would come, always. He was like an invisible force that always stood by me and I feel he is still there.

People inspire me to write. Everyone has a story, and we like to read stories. A decade ago, I used to write for myself, now I write for others, for my readers. It’s something I was given, and I want to share it. In 2012, when I began sharing my work with close friends, I could see their eyes lit up. They would say: OMG this is so amazing! We want to read more. How do you think of these things? The excitement in their voice fed my creativity.

When people heard of Haunted and that I was running a campaign to fund it, they visited the campaign page and read all about the book, and the best part is that they wanted to contribute. To know more, and to be a part of my journey. I would say people around me inspire me.

The feedback was not always helpful, and sometimes it was depressing to hear people say, “Oh, this is not good enough,” but as a professional writer, you have to understand that everyone has their own opinion.

Q5: What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Writing Haunted felt like a test. The original book, which I finished in early 2016, had a completely different beginning (chapter 1) and was 180K words long. I know, I know. I do not know how I did it, but then I sent it to my beta readers, and four out of three hated the start of the novel. They thought it was too long, had too many unnecessary aspects and too many details affected the plot. I gave it a thought and then changed the beginning and rewrote the manuscript bringing it down to 110K words. I sent it off to over a hundred publishing houses and agents, all of them rejected it! These are the ones I kept a record of, I don’t remember how many in total. It was heartbreaking, but I had so much faith in this book, I wanted it published. Then I got the manuscript analyzed by an experienced editor and she gave me some excellent tips. I sat down again, chopped down the number of words, focused on specific characters, made the book more engaging, fast pace and created an ending that no one could guess.

This was early 2019, and by this time, I had decided to run a campaign to promote and fund my book. I thought it would be great to get readers involved from the beginning. They could preorder the book via the campaign page. The campaign to publish Haunted began in Aug 2019, on Kickstarter. It started pretty well with some people/readers pledging and preordering the book. But then, I did a mistake. I didn’t realize that I needed more time. I had set the book to publish in Nov 2019, two months were not enough to complete the campaign, and the issue with Kickstarter is that if you do not reach your goal, you lose all the money. I couldn’t afford that. I struggled through every day to get backers, and I had to put up ads, talked with people, and I was on email all the time while I was not at work (by the way I have a daytime job like everyone!). But I learned a lot in that short period, and the project was funded.

Designing and finding the right people to work with was another challenge. The cover was easy but working with the book designer to get it just right took about two weeks. I am happy to say, everything was well in the end and the book was published. So you could say I had quite a few challenges. What I learned was, to refine your work and to get it to the next level, intention, focus and hard work is the key.

Q6: Tell the readers about your book.

The book has multiple characters and plot lines that come together. It raises questions such as: Should you bury the truth? Lie? Let your past be past? Or act on it?

Haunted is a suspense thriller that begins in Egypt, where a group of archeologists are looking for a ship that has been long forgotten. Dr. Marian Watson is one of them, and she senses that the ship is telling her a tale of horror and lunacy which will never die, and she is right.

Then the story shifts to New York, where Dr. Sterling is a medical examiner who doesn’t think that the three men in cold storage committed suicide. All he wants to do is to follow his instincts, but before he can find any evidence, he vanishes.

Simultaneously, a scientist pays a high price for his curiosity and seeks help from Roumoult Cranston, a well-known lawyer. What begins as a routine investigation soon opens a series of unbelievable and bizarre incidences.

A well-known industrialist claims he saw a werewolf. Dr. Emma Meyers believes her patient is having a panic attack, but when he dies under unusual circumstances, her fears are just beginning to unravel.

NYPD detectives Tom Nash and Joan Chase are in the heart of the investigation and are trying to piece the puzzle together. When the clues line up, they find themselves on the trail of a vicious murderer who will spare no one. Soon the investigation turns into a deadly hunt, and if by some miracle they survived, this killer would haunt them for the rest of their life.

Q7: Who is your target audience and why?

People who love murder mysteries. If you like Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, I am pretty sure you will like Haunted. Fans of John Grisham and Lee Child would be attracted to the plot and the action/suspense aspects.

I have recently discovered that defining the age of the audience is not applicable. The people who pledged for my book were of different age groups. I am also promoting my book on Amazon and Facebook and the age group varies dramatically.


Q8: What is your greatest success in life?

Success is different for everyone. Personally, I feel that my greatest achievement in life is that I want to continue to inspire people. A few of my friends said that what I do, the way I am, inspires them, and you know it’s a great feeling. If this is what I am meant to do, this is what I will do!  I want them to think better for themselves, be positive and exceed their limitations. I was lucky to be surrounded by people who were positive and inspiring and lifted me up. Good, healthy and positive relationships, I believe are the core of success.

As a writer, I want people to read my book and go, what the _____ (I will let you fill the blank). That is success for me. Of course, selling tons of books is a plus point, but every author knows the feeling when the reader/fan says: “Oh my god, I never saw that coming.” “How could you think such a complex story.” “Wow… that was amazing.” “I love your book, when are you writing the next one.”

Q9: What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

This question is a bit difficult to answer because I am a big fan of writers. I have been reading books for the last 30 years. Everyone has their reasons to write, and I feel the important thing that sets them apart is why? Why did they become a writer? I became a writer because I wanted to be, and I have the unique ability to pull out stories out of thin air. To write the most twisted, thrilling stories with multiple plotlines that come together. To create a situation that is dark and humorous at the same time. To bring together the strange little things (like the readers of Haunted will see) that excel the reader’s interest. To bring together characters from multiple backgrounds to interact with each other giving the reader a unique experience. I feel this sets me apart from other writers.


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