Interview: Author Sunanda Chatterjee #TheBookClub

Hi folks,

Let us get to know author Sunanda Chatterjee today. She’s on my blog, answering questions about her writing and her book, Sins of the Father.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I have been writing stories from a young age. In fact, I recently discovered a story I had begun to write in my diary as a fifth-grader and had a great laugh about it with my daughter. I wanted to write and paint. That’s all. But growing up in a small town based on the Steel Plant, everyone in my neighbourhood was an engineer or a doctor and the social and family pressure to conform was immense. So I became a doctor, joined the Indian Air Force for five years, then did my PhD (6 years) and my Pathology residency (four years). I was always busy with academics and work, and only when I started working as a pathologist did I decide it was time to take the plunge, so to speak. My first novel took me ten years from start to publication, with many hurdles along the way. Since then I’ve published 3-4 books a year and hope to keep going despite my full-time job.

Which is your favourite genre to read?

My favourite genres to read are women’s fiction and thrillers. Romance is not my favourite genre to read, but I do read a lot so I know the tropes. I think switching up genres as well as indie and traditionally published books keep me interested at all times. When I’m not in a mood to read my usual genres, I read short stories or non-fiction. I recently read a book called ‘Economics for Dummies’ and enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes I pick up a book my daughter’s High School English class is studying. I also read a lot about writing itself. My nightstand is full of books about creative writing. When I’m tired of it all, I re-read Harry Potters. Yes, I’m a Potter fan through and through.

Do you believe authors should read extensively? Why?

 I am biased on this topic because I believe everyone should read extensively. Simply put, whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, it opens your mind. This applies to authors in particular. There are so many benefits that I cannot begin to list them. You learn new vocabulary, syntax, grammar, literary devices, tropes, effective use of voice, points of view, locales, local lingo and traditions and cultures. In fact, not only should authors read in their own genre, they should read in other related or unrelated genres to constantly expand their boundaries. That’s how niche and subgenres take root.

 Tell us something about your book? Any forthcoming book releases?

Wellington Estates is my first series. I expect there to be five books in the series, each being a stand-alone saga. All the stories are based on characters with connections to an exclusive community in the foothills of San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. They are privileged and wealthy, and of course, they fall in love with people who are deemed unacceptable in their social circles, for money, race or profession. Each family has secrets, vices, and pasts that prevent the members from leading fulfilling lives.

 These stories are not straight-out romance, although the romantic element is strong in each novel and it drives the story. But other characters also get the spotlight and parts of the stories are told from the parents’ or friends’ point of view. I like to call this genre as romantic saga, bridging romance and women’s fiction.

 Book 1, Sins of the Father deals with Harrison, a cop, who is the ex-heir of a Wellington Estate. He falls in love with Laura, a budding therapist and the daughter of a thief. Unacceptable all around. Laura’s friendship with Juhi is highlighted in this book.

 Book 2, Old Money deals with Connor, who shuns his Wellington Estates wealth to become a photographer. He falls in love with fashion designer Juhi who comes from a middle-class family with ties to his own and with secrets that prevent them from being together. Connor’s sister Danielle is introduced here.

 My upcoming release is book 3, The Trouble with Love. This is the story of Danielle who has grown up without want and falls in love with a poor athlete. But instead of her family rejecting him, it turns out that he rejects her for lack of purpose and direction. Danielle travels to India to find purpose. Danielle’s friend Lily is introduced in this book.

 I am writing Book 4, The Wish to Belong, will highlight Lily’s story with Arjun, the heir to a vineyard estate.

 Next will be Book 5 (as yet unnamed) will be about Arjun’s sister, who is married to an Indian Air Force Officer but circumstances lead her to Wellington Estates where she finds love again.

Thank you, Sunanda. It was great having you here and getting to know about all your books. Wish you success with Sins of the Father and more.

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