Hi folks, today I have with me author Divyata Rajaram, whose book If You Only Knew Me is just out. Let us get to know her through a question and answer session.
Do you think reading is a must for writing?
My Mantra really is Read More Write More. Reading fuels your imagination , adds to your vocabulary and sparks a love for the written word!
What is the next book about?
Its an unusual love story between two people who are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Fate conspires to throw them together in the most unlikely of circumstances but not before some twists and turns in the plot that neither one of them could have ever seen coming.
What inspires you from reality to translate into fiction?
Everything inspires me but most of all it is people and the thin line between fantasy and reality.
What is your advice to new authors?
To be relentless in your pursuit of writing. Even if it is just a few pages in a diary every day or a few notes scribbled down . One day it does all come together and begin to make sense.
Why do you write?
I write because I have always seen myself as a story teller. Stories fascinate me , whether telling them or listening to them ever since childhood. Writing is a natural progression of my love for story telling.
Thank you, Divyata. Wish you success with the book.
“Ha … I’ve crossed over to the dark side, Ma. Too late to return home again,” she thought. The black coffee she sipped did nothing to clear the confusion in her head.
Dipika pushed her limp, dank hair out of her eyes, struggling to make sense of the menu in front of her.
That bastard was stringing her along, she knew it. All his false promises meant nothing, she thought wearily while gazing at the menu.
She looked up to find Rupali rushing over to the table.
“Dips, darling, so good to see you,” said Rupali, trying to sound upbeat and cheerful. She almost recoiled as she hugged Dipika.
The stench of body odor and some other strange pungent aroma permeated the air around her.
Dipika looked awful; her usual dark circles worse than ever, hair dank and limp, and lips cracked and blistered. She never used makeup, but this was truly the worst Rupali had ever seen her look in a long while.
“Are you okay, babe?” she asked in a soft whisper. The answer seemed apparent – she was not.
Dipika made a superhuman effort to sound and act normal.
“I haven’t been too well, Rupa. That’s what I had called mom about. Hope she didn’t worry you girls. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. I just haven’t been sleeping much lately and it’s telling on my health.”
Rupali was sure that Dipika was depressed about her father’s upcoming death anniversary.
“Listen, baby … you are going through a tough emotional phase right now. It will get better, I promise. Meanwhile, we are all there for you, okay?” She hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.
Dipika nodded listlessly. Poor Rupali, such a good friend, always looking out for her. Dipika felt a million miles away from her right now.
They finished their coffee and made their way over to a few shops. Rupali could tell Dipika was having trouble walking and put it down to her mystery illness. Psychosomatic symptoms, probably, given her bouts of depression. All she could hope for was that whatever it was, it would clear up and her friend would get back to normal.
Dior, Valentino, Lanvin; there was truly no dearth of high-end brands in the latest styles in the Dubai malls. The girls finally agreed on a stunning Chanel dress, stark and beautiful, in black and white. When Rupali tried it on with the blue turquoise earrings the shop assistant provided, she loved what she saw in the mirror. The hunt for matching shoes took them to the Shoe District where even Dipika was seemingly revived by the stunning collection of Christian Louboutin. Rupa convinced her to pick up a pair of strappy stilettos in hot pink with a gold trim.
Rupali hesitated for a few seconds before charging her card. Sometimes she felt guilty about spending Rohit’s money. However, he had always told her that appearance meant everything – sleek, sophisticated and expensive clothes were his natural choice and, now, hers as well.
Finally, exhausted with their shopping, the girls headed to the parking lot where Rupali’s driver was waiting for them. She asked him to first drop Dipika off at her apartment on Sheikh Zayed Road before heading to her own home.
On her way home, she quickly called up Anjali.
Avni is such a girl. When the man she loves and cares for wholeheartedly, throws her a curve ball, she chooses to walk away. What comes next for Avni?
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About the author
Today I have on my blog author Sunanda Chatterjee who’s on the blog tour of her book Sins of the Father. Here’s my question for Sunanda and her answer for the guest post for the tour.
How do you choose the setting for your book? What inspires you to make it the background for your story?
The settings of my books vary with my mood. Having lived in India and USA, most of my books feature both countries. Southern California is featured in many of my stories. But when I visit a new place, sometimes I decide to include it in my books. In Shadowed Promise, the story starts during the riots in Bombay in 1993, when I happened to be in Bombay for an exam. In Fighting for Tara, the setting is in Rajasthan (I visited years ago) and Northern California where my sister lives. The Blue House of Bishop is based in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California where I vacationed a few springs ago, and in Bhilai, India, where I grew up.
My current series is based in a fictional exclusive neighbourhood in Southern California and parts of Nashik in India where I worked for a while and where my cousin lives.
I decide the timeline based on the story. Shadowed Promise started in the 1990’s because riots had an important part to play. It traversed the 9/11 terrorist attacks and were featured in the story. Most other stories are contemporary.
What inspires me to make it a background of my story? Sometimes the story demands it, as I explained above. At other times, it might simply be a lovely sunset, or a cute bakery, or a college campus or just a picturesque street I see that sparks a scene in my mind. I’m sure other authors do the same.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sunanda. I agree a picturesque scene lends itself readily to interpretation in the story. When we use setting in an impressive and blending way with the story, it enhances the plot and becomes a part of the narration. Wish you the best for your book.
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.
Kyle Masson, Irish billionaire, discovers he had been married to a con woman. Now, left with the pregnant surrogate mother for his child, he’s determined to focus on being a proper father and to care for her throughout her pregnancy. His experience has left him suspicious and cynical. Duped by one woman, he’s determined to not let the expectant mother, Chrissie out of his sight. So, when she plans a trip to India without his knowledge, he follows hot on her heels.
Chrissie feels oppressed by Kyle’s overbearing manner. After losing her father, she feels confused and alone and wants to get acquainted with the family he left in Goa. Kyle’s heavy-handed tactics drive her mad. But she’s also attracted to him. Surely she can’t be drawn to a man this bossy. And then an insidious, incredible wish begins. That her baby should have both the parents.
As compelling attraction drives them together, the improbable dream appears to take a hazy shape.
But Chrissie knows her dreams are poised to be shattered. For she is bound only to be a surrogate, never a real mother…
His Christmas Miracle is a sensual, but tender romance set in beachside Goa at coastal India.
It is sequel to two other Christmas romance stories, His Christmas Delight and His Christmas Surprise.
Hi all, today I have on my blog, author Rubina Ramesh. She’s on the book blog tour of her latest romance novella, Destined. Let us get to know more about her through this guest post.
Hi Rubina, it’s lovely to chat with you here. My question is: This is your second romance novella. You have also written short stories. How does it feel to be a multi-genre writer?
Over to Rubina.
Thanks for having me on your blog. Honored. A multi-genre author. Sounds so grand! Yet when I sit down to write – genre is the last thing on my mind. I love telling tales so when and how they come I pour it out. Knitted Tales was not written at a particular period of time. It took me years to string those stories. So every story has a mood pertaining to the space I was in.
I am influenced greatly by multi-genre writers too. The name that comes to mind first and foremost is Nora Roberts. Whether her Romance or her Fantasies or be it her Thriller, every one of them has her signature and yet she has readers waiting for her next. So I don’t think we should be tied to any genre, any word count. That is the beauty of being an indie author too. We have the whole world out there to explore. Just because one particular genre is selling more – I don’t have to write it. There are readers out there who are waiting to read every genre. Forget being a writer – I am a multi-genre reader too. Give me a YA fantasy to a horror to an erotica – I can read all books. From a Murakami to a Nancy Drew – I think every genre caters to one particular emotion. My Murakami soothes the soul, Nora Roberts brings out the fire in me while Enid Blyton leaves a whiff of innocence. So curbing my writing to one particular genre will be such wastage of time and talent – when we can have it all.
Thanks for your descriptive response, Rubina. I agree that books are of many and multi fascinating genres and if you can be flexible, don’t let thoughts of genre constriction hold you back.
Lovely to have you here. All the best for your book!