Thursday 5 August 2021

Indie Spotlight: Why I Write – Multiple-Award-Winning International Mysteries and Crime Thrillers Author Tikiri Herath Uses Storytelling to Empower Women Around the World

Indie Spotlight is a column by WWII historical fiction author Alexa Kang. The column regularly features hot new releases and noteworthy indie-published books, and popular authors who have found success in the new creative world of independent publishing. 

Today we bring to you Tikiri Herath, author of the six-book, multiple-award winning Red Heeled Rebels Thriller series. In her blog post below, she tells us how she uses fiction combined with personal insights gained through her heritage and experiences traveling and living abroad, to empower and give a voice to the most vulnerable and exploited women in the world. When I learned about her goals behind her books, I’m in awe of what she has done.

Red Heeled Rebels features a cast of diverse female characters in their twenties, hailing from four continents. Red Heeled Rebelsis the story of how the characters overcome their dark pasts, form a multinational found family and transform themselves into furious, feisty fighters who hunt down those who stole their humanity, and make them pay. You can find out more about the Red Heeled Rebels thrillers here:

Tikiri’s new Merciless Murder Mystery series follow up on the same characters from Red Heeled Rebels in their thirties, as they travel from town to town in America, solving cold cases and standing up to local authorities, solving the puzzles before anyone else can. The Merciless Murder Mystery series is here:

Now, over to Tikiri . . .  

I have lived on four continents. 




North America. 

First, as a child of an expatriate family, then as the wife of a diplomat, and finally as an international professional and a world traveler in my own right. So, I have seen a bit of this world. 

I’ve had a meal of dried fish and rice in a slum in Sri Lanka, sitting on the bare floor with only my fingers for utensils. I’ve also dined in Vienna’s majestic City Hall with distinguished diplomats and dignitaries from the highest echelons of society. 

I’ve tripped through the bustling markets of Tanzania, waving hello to the village women who sell their beautiful handmade crafts on a mat on the ground. I’ve also visited the extravagant boutiques of Seoul where expensive perfume pervades the refined air, and a scarf costs more than a Suzuki car.

My childhood memories form a mosaic of human life, a whirlwind of languages, music, dance, food, and culture. 

I am a nomad—a global nomad who belongs nowhere and everywhere. So, don’t ask me where I’m from, because I honestly don’t know. 

But there is one thing I do know. 

That is: what it’s like to be a girl, then a woman, on all four corners of this planet. 

I have sat next to girls in class, one day learning math and playing Tic Tac Toe. Then, the next day, watching as they disappeared from view, taken by their families conspiring to marry them off. 

I have taken the school bus with girls, forced to cover up from the top of their heads to the tip of their toes against their wishes. Why? Lest they offend, or worse, stimulate, the male gaze. 

These friends of mine weren’t even teens. They were mere children.

But these girls were nothing but nameless, faceless, valueless cogs in an archaic cultural wheel, trapped by a primitive mythology that robbed them of their future and their very identity. 

Their own families deemed them to be the curse, the sinner, the burden, one whose voice must be silenced, whose actions controlled, and whose behavior constricted. 

Oh, yes. I have seen much beauty and experienced great joy in my travels. 

But I have also seen the dingy underbelly of societies where old-fashioned traditions subjugate young women—traditions bound by culture, excused by religion, and imposed by a patriarchy. 

None of which belongs in the twenty-first century.

It is from these shadows of my memories I tell my tales.

I was one of the lucky ones. 

As I voyaged from country to country, I got to read, reflect, ruminate, and finally decide for myself what I wanted with my own life. Not all the girls I met had the fortune of that freedom. 

Still, there was one thing I didn’t have control over. 

How others saw me. 

They saw an Asian woman, barely five feet with my heels on, one who dares to stand up, speak up, and make choices for herself. 

This always seems to catch some folk off guard. 

Even today. 

Once, while working at NATO headquarters in Brussels, I recall rushing to a meeting, when a foreign delegation from the Middle East stopped me to ask for directions. Now, I was running late. I had no time to spare. With a very polite but hasty apology and directing them to the nearest reception booth, I turned away. But not before registering their reaction. 

The shocked gasps.

The dropped jaws. 

The scowling faces.

They didn’t know the meeting I had, the one I was running late for, was with the highest-ranking Canadian General at NATO. They didn’t know I had a master’s degree. They didn’t know I was a risk management professional who had worked in the defense and intelligence sector for more than a decade. 

Strange how I get this reaction whenever I assert myself. 

Even now. 

How disappointing. 

I would like to believe the world has evolved to a more enlightened place where we are judged not by perfunctory factors but by the content of our character. 

This is why I write.

I write because there are too many stereotypes of women who are expected to stay quiet and remain in the back of the room, pretty wall flowers and not much else. 

I write because there aren’t many heroines in literature who stand for what they believe in, summon up their courage, and go for it unapologetically. 

I write because I believe we can never have enough heroines who stand for justice and fight a good fight. 

And so, I write. 

I give my female characters a voice. A powerful, loud voice. 

My girls can brandish a Glock with as much ease as they can kick an abominable antagonist to the curb in an instant.

Isn’t it time for women, Asian women, to be the badass, butt-kicking protagonists?

Isn’t it time for more role models that inspire girls everywhere to stand up, speak up, and learn to say no, when they wish to say no?

Isn’t it time to celebrate Asian female characters showcased as the strong, smart, sassy personalities we are? 

I think so. 

And so, I write.

I write with meaning and feeling every single day, hoping no one gets to see what I saw growing up. 

And now, I’m delighted to be part of this literary velvet revolution to empower young women and girls on all four corners of this planet. 

Will you join me?

Today is the official release of Merciless Crimes, the third book in this series. For this special occasion, the first book of this series, Merciless Legacy, will be discounted for only 99c from today thru August 10. Be sure to pick up a copy.

Besides crime fiction, Tikiri also writes nonfiction. If you’re an aspiring author or artist seeking to change your life and make a difference in the world with your universe-given talents, her Rebel Diva books are for you. You can find the award-winning Rebel Diva nonfiction books at

Enjoy the reads. 

And keep up the fight! 

Be a Rebel Diva.

You can find out more about Tikiri Herath or follow her at: