Shiva Kumar to Launch Final Book of Trilogy at The Next Chapter

Growing up, Shiva Kumar lived in London and Cairo and went to boarding school in India before settling in the United States. Always on the go, Kumar struggled to make long- lasting friends. Therefore, he turned to literature.
“My refuge was books,” Kumar said. “I used to read a lot.”
Kumar grew up in a traditional Indian home, which played a part in the themes he would indulge in. “I used to know a lot about our mythology, our stories, our religions, our culture,” Kumar said. “Like the Odyssey and the Iliad in the Western world, we have two huge epics in India called the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They are sort of equivalent to the Odyssey and the Iliad.”
While in boarding school in India, Kumar was often in the library. There, he encountered an encyclopedia of mythology that covered every country in the world. He became fascinated with the myth of origins of different worlds, which eventually inspired The Lanka Chronicles trilogy. On May 16, Kumar will launch the final chapter of his trilogy — Path of Destiny — at The Next Chapter bookstore.
“I came to [the United States] when I was 14 years old,” Kumar said. “I was interested in the Western culture of superheroes. Then, I realized that Wonder Woman has her origin in Greek mythology. Thor has his origin in Scandinavian mythology. These all come from some deeper repository that becomes translated to popular culture. I ended up thinking that if I could take something [from] traditional Indian mythology and translate it into a modern science fiction fantasy world, how cool would that be.”
Kumar did just that, releasing An Awakening, the first book of The Lanka Chronicles in May 2022. In November 2023, The Lanka Chronicles’ second book — A New Reality — was published.
It took Kumar time to officially become an author. However, he has always been in the creative sector. As one of the main minds behind Silver Arc Productions, Kumar has 30 years of experience in the production of documentaries and television programs. Additionally, he has an acting resume with appearances in Quantico, Madam Secretary, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, All the Queen’s Men and most recently, FBI: Most Wanted.
The thought of writing a book never crossed Kumar’s mind until at 54 years old in 2015, he was diagnosed with cancer — a disease with the potential of being terminal.
“I was taking the train from the city back to Long Island, and in my head was this dream,” Kumar said. “If these great heroes of mythology, including the heroes of my mythology — he’s called Rama in the original mythology and in my story he’s called Dharma. I started thinking, if Dharma was an older man and he had the potential of dying, would he not want to fix the things he did wrong. All of these heroes live a godlike life and win wars, but the collateral damage of what they do is tremendous. I thought if I might die, and if this hero was someone that
was dying, would he not want to fix it. That was the first moment I thought, ‘I need to write this down.’”
During Kumar’s chemotherapy, he dedicated tremendous time to writing. “It was pouring out of me and I couldn’t stop,” Kumar said. “It gave me a way to channel my passion. People say, and I don’t know how true it is, that you have to want to beat a disease. You have to want to survive. Or you could give up. This writing was what helped me go through it.”
In his time with cancer between 2015 and 2017, Kumar wrote continuously. When he was done, Kumar had outlined the content of all three books into one.
Today, Kumar is cancer-free and lives in Plandome Manor in Manhasset. Now with his wife and two grown children, Kumar continues to be a creative mastermind.
He is hoping his next project will be a screenplay Kumar is working on called A Journey
to Babylon.
Alex Pinsky Streinger is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.

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