I recorded this reading from The Road to Madhapur for the New Zealand Society of Authors series NZ Writers Read. This programme began during the pandemic and allows New Zealand authors to showcase their work.
This video introduces us to Theo, an idealistic Kiwi doctor who wants to change the world. Along the way, I reveal some of the inspiration behind the story with some breathtaking images of family medicine and village life in India and Uganda.
I have struggled to find the right title for Blood Cousins since I completed the manuscript. Recently, it’s become something of an obsession. When I started the novel, Blood Cousins seemed an appropriate title, but it became less so as the story progressed.
Gang Girl is a memorable and eye-catching title. Blood Cousins needs an equally attention-grabbing title. The use of another iteration could work. I considered Gazza and the Gang. Aaron could be nicknamed Gazza as a child when he starred in his school football team. Or maybe Gekko and the Gang. Aaron could have acquired the nickname Gekko from his meteoric rise to the top of the power industry.
Today, I have finally cracked it. I have settled on Goliath and the Gang. This title is attention-grabbing and reflects the heart of the story. And it affords an exciting tagline: ‘Aaron has two sworn enemies … Goliath and the Gang’.
The Road to Madhapur features in IndieReader’s prestigious best-reviewed books in March 2023.
Here’s what they said:
‘THE ROAD TO MADHAPUR by David Whittet is a wistful, beautiful if heartbreaking coming-of-age story where the character’s lives are beset by strife and hardship but through their tribulations come to realize who they truly are and find their life’s purpose through the service of those in need.’
View IndieReader’s full list of the best reviewed books in March here.
I completed the second book in the Gang Girl series on a recent visit to Thailand. With the working title Blood Cousins, the novel continues Alicia's struggle to escape her gang upbringing and build a better life for her son.
On my return home, I sent the manuscript to my faithful beta readers, who provided invaluable feedback on Gang Girl. While I am delighted with their constructive advice and enthusiasm for the project, I wanted to know how those who had not read Gang Girl would respond to the story. Would they understand it? Had I provided sufficient backstory for the book to work as a stand-alone novel?
To answer this question, I also gave the manuscript to several reviewers who had yet to read the first novel. Comparing their response to that of my regular readers has proved fascinating. While those familiar with the first book were primarily concerned with justice for Alicia, my new reviewers got even more from the story. With a fresh perspective, they concentrated on Aaron's story, a young man destined to reach the top and determined the gang would not destroy his life like they had his mother's. This is especially heartening, as I intended to write a companion novel rather than a sequel.
I am delighted with the feedback from all my reviewers. This will enable me to fine-tune the manuscript as I work with my editorial team.
This is what Indie Reader had to say about The Road to Madhapur:
‘THE ROAD TO MADHAPUR by David Whittet features a captivating, well-paced narrative following two main characters: Theo Malone, a doctor from New Zealand with a broken spirit sent to India on volunteer work, and Elisha, an Australian teenager who lost her mother in a tragic incident while on a family trip to India. The cultural setting of Madhapur, beautifully evoked with breathtaking imagery and remarkable attention to detail, serves as the perfect backdrop where Theo and Elisha’s paths collide and they find love, meaning and purpose.’
IndieReader Discovery Awards: The Road to Madhapur