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Rahul Kanakia Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Enter Title Here (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Are Totally Normal (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 46, July 2010(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Polluto 8: In Space No One Can Hear You Dream(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Diverse Energies(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
We See a Different Frontier(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Apex: Volume 4(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clarkesworld: Year Six(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Procyon Science Fiction Anthology 2016(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2017(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rahul Kanakia is a transgender author of Indian descent who is best known for her short fiction and young adult fiction works. Some of her fiction has been published in publications such as “Nature,” “Clarkesworld,” “Lightspeed,” and “The Indiana Review.” While his parents grew up in Mumbai, Kanakia was brought up in the United States as his parents moved to the United States when he was little. Rahul has always had a love for writing and asserts that he has been writing and submitting fantasy and science fiction stories ever since he was eighteen. Some of his stories such as “The Girl Who Escaped From Hell” and “Corridors” have gone on to become critically acclaimed works of fiction. He published his debut novel “Enter Title Herein” in 2016, which he soon followed up with “We Are Totally Normal” in 2020. He went to Stanford for his bachelor’s in economics and then proceeded to Johns Hopkins for his creative writing MFA. After graduation, he moved to Berkeley California but now lives with his wife, child, cat, and dog in San Francisco.

As a voracious reader, Rahul cites the works of Asimov and particularly the novel “Foundation” for getting her hooked into fiction. It was given to her by her mother who asserted that she had read the novel as a girl in India. The novel soon led her to develop an interest in all manner of science fiction. Apart from Asimov, she also read the works of Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Anne McCaffrey, and Robert Heinlein among many others. For children’s novels, she loved the works of Astrid Lindgren and Enid Blyton. Rahul first started writing as a high schooler though she had always wanted to become an author ever since she realized that people could make money as professional authors. She came to this knowledge when she read the submission guidelines for “DRAGON,” the official D&D magazine. However, he never committed to it and it took until 2003 before she finished and submitted his first short story to a science fiction magazine. This marked the first of dozens of rejections of her short stories though she never gave up and now has several short stories published in several anthologies and collections.

Rahul Kanakia would later decide to get into writing novels after the success of her short stories. She got the idea for her debut novel while she was reading a wide range of financial reports by Michael Lewis on the 2008 economic collapse and the panic that resulted from it. Kanakia was struck by a chant by some protesters in Korea that asserted that “We are not study machines!” The phrase struck a chord with her and she thought she could do something with it and so started writing a manuscript that was a sleek dystopian tale of people forced to study. But then she thought that it did not need to be a dystopian story, given that children in the US are compelled to study all the time and hence she could just as well write the story of one of these students. The novel “Enter Title Here” was written in about a month while she was vacationing in India and Sri Lanka, though publishing proved much harder. Rahul had also submitted another manuscript to a young adult contest and while she did not win, Valynne Maetanni the winner offered to introduce her to some publishers. By 2014, the manuscript was accepted for publishing and Disney-Hyperion finally released the novel in 2016.

Rahul’s debut novel “Enter Title Here” tells the story of Reshma highly accomplished senior at Silicon Valley High School. She has a stellar academic record and has also excelled in extracurricular activities, making her a college counselor’s dream student. But there are many other students with just as good records and she needs something to make herself stand out and get into Stanford and med school after that. She is a habitual overachiever that has often gotten herself out of difficult situations. She hatches a plan to make herself stand out by signing on to a literary agent. She had once written on the Huffington Post and she uses that article to pitch to Linda Montrose a renowned agent. Linda thinks she has what it takes and Reshma knows that with a book deal she would be certain to get into Stanford. But she does not believe anyone would ever want to read a story of book nerds like herself and hence she needs to convert herself into a more conventional protagonist. She starts becoming a normal American teen which includes getting a boyfriend and making friends. Reshma has written what she believes is a happy ending but after writing three hundred pages, she is learning that success may after all not be as important as meaningful relationships. But even though she has always achieved pretty much what she set out to do, things can always go wrong and they do. Her schoolwork soon starts suffering and she may just lose the valedictorian spot. Reshma now has to make a decision between the happy ending in her novel and the social success or going back into her shell and achieving academic success.

Rahul Kanakia’s “We Are Totally Normal” opens to freshman year student Nandan planning for a perfect junior year. He is going to help Dave his best friend become cool and popular, resolve the differences he has with his ex, and overall help people get along with each other. Nandan believes he has cracked the complicated high school social scene until he hooks up with his friend Dave at an after-party one night. This has made things so complicated given that Nandan had never felt any attraction for guys. But Dave is his usual cool self and Nandan agrees to a tryout relationship though he knows that every student will now look at him through different lenses. But while Dave is like a fish in water in the new relationship, Nandan finds the going tough. He is soon developing extreme anxiety about his sexual identity and what it means for his social life, his friends and even for himself that he wishes that he can roll back the hands of time. But he has to make a difficult choice between going back to being normal and breaking up and potentially losing the love of the person that had finally made him feel that he mattered. It is a deeply felt and raw story of finding oneself, seeking connection and rejecting labels.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rahul Kanakia

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