The last chapter of Simha’s Roar

You know how the song from The Sound of Music goes.

Let’s start at the very beginning,
A very good place to start …

I have always done that while writing. Started at the very beginning — from the prologue, usually — and gone on to the end of the book. It worked well for the first two books of The Battle of Vathapi series — Nandi’s Charge and Varaha’s Vengeance.

However, when I sat down to write the third book of the trilogy, my mind kept going back to my one point of unhappiness with the Great Kalki. In his Sivagamiyin Sabatham, the story set in the same time period as my trilogy, and with the same protagonists, the Pallavas and the Chalukyas, perhaps because he was writing for a Tamil audience, Kalki had been less than complimentary to Immudi Pulikeshi and had made him out to be some sort of a villain. Now, as a writer, I understand why he did that, but somehow, I never quite liked that aspect of the book.

Even in the first two books, I had consciously tried to make sure that the Chalukyas did not come across as pantomime villains. Hence, when I started writing the third book, my mind kept wandering to how it would end. Of course, I am not giving anything away by saying that the book would end with the death of Pulikeshi. That was a given. However, how would I write about it?

That’s when I started to think about actually writing the last chapter first. I debated it with myself. Did I really want to do that? Could I do that and still lead up to it with the other chapters? I didn’t know and frankly, by that time, the idea of writing that last chapter first had taken hold of me and so that’s exactly what I did. I took my time writing that last chapter. The title itself, “The Lion Falls” sets the tone for how I thought about the protagonists.

Hopefully, my riders will appreciate that last chapter and will feel the churn of emotions that I went through as I wrote it.

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