Thank you for adding beauty and grace to my blog.
I’m intrigued by the lovely cover of your latest book – let’s talk about it – about “Crossing Lines”.
How did the idea come about, to write Millennial romances?
The idea to write Millennial romances came from the fact that I am of the 80s and I grew up in the 90s. So it’s a natural segue into exploring the characters and lives of the people of my generation. Will McAvoy from The Newsroom said that This Generation. Period. Was. The. Worst. Ever. But the thing is, that is what makes it so exciting. If you are constantly trying to find and redefine yourself, your idea of relationships, of love, of sex, of marriage, and where it all fits in with the person you are, there are going to be tectonic shifts, right? Who’ll frame that conversation? I want to.
And you’re doing a great job of it, Aarti. Tell us something about the hero of “Crossing Lines”? Why do you think readers will adore Shiv? Will they?
Shiv Naren Pal is a bad boy ex-hacker, to put it in the crudest possible way. He is preternaturally smart, can upgrade your business in no time flat using a laptop and a smartphone and is a control freak even when it comes to his friends. But he is alone, mostly because of his work as a former government-sanctioned hacker. Even when he is surrounded by all the people who love him, he is afraid of being abandoned. And at the same time, he desperately wants to belong. In that regard, he is unlike Dev from “Still Not Over You”, who is very family-oriented and is an unselfish Alpha.
Shiv’s insecurities come from a messed up childhood, I guess. He has made his peace with his choices. And Dr. Naina Shah is the first person he can’t stand being apart from. So he breaks all these rules from the minute he sees her, trying to become the person he thinks she deserves to be with.
Do you look for images to inspire you when you are creating characters? Care to share some of those images here?
I don’t really have particular images when my characters are being formed. I do have men. Lovely, sexy, flawed, beautiful men who basically make it impossible for me to close my eyes without wanting to write about them. But, as mentioned in the dedication for Crossing Lines, I told Shawn, my amazeballs designer, that I imagined Shiv Naren Pal to be a brown Stephen Amell …
…and he delivered the Shiv I needed!
How hard is it to write about the physical relationship? The sensual, sexual plot – how critical is it to the story?
Love and sex and desire are all part of the same coin. Writing about fully grown adults without exploring their passionate sides is ridiculous and does them an injustice. It’s not hard to write sex scenes if that’s what you’re asking. And the degree of sexiness depends on the kind of story I am trying to tell. So depends on the characters and who and what they are. Where their head-space is at. Each character behaves differently based on their histories, life choices, personal preferences etc. just like real life people. So it is kind of fun writing about all these people doing it!
What is your favorite genre to read? How has it influenced what you yourself write?
My favorite genre to read is romance. And young adult. Love, love, love them both. I am also exploring Sci-fi and fantasy now that I am majorly in love with Doctor Who. I guess it has influenced me in that I write both of them – romance and YA. Well. Try to?
I also love Ayn Rand’s works but am not naive enough to attempt anything more than strong, well-developed characters who have a steel core and stand by their words and actions.
Never say not, Aarti! I’m certain you’ll do a great job. Has any real-life event, personal or public, ever begged to be written into one of your stories?
Nah. Nothing comes to mind, although everything I write comes from a place of subliminal truth. But it’s not something I actively or consciously track! So I don’t know if something ever made it into a book…or maybe everything did.
Ha ha, your disclaimer should cover you in that eventuality. Of all the attributes of a well-written story, which is the one that pleases you the most?
I can’t really pinpoint what I love most about a well-written story, but maybe this analogy might help. It’s that perfect bite of ice cream, coffee (even though I’ve quit now) and French fry on a rainy day when you bunked work or whatever you’re supposed to do and gave yourself permission to be happy. And in that one immersive moment, you are. Happy.
What one or two things absolutely irritate you in a book, and would most certainly make you put the book down immediately?
Two-dimensional characters. Rampant unwarranted sexism and just, like…bad writing. Don’t ask me to define what bad writing is. You know it. You’ve seen it. You’ve shuddered too!
Absolutely! When do you write, Aarti? What is your writing space like? What do you use, pencil/pen and paper, or a gadget?
My bed is my writing space. But then so is the living room and, at times, the kitchen. Recently, ever since my grandparents moved across the building from us, I write a lot in their home too. I have an iPod and, like, a million earphones (birthday gifters, take note!) and I use a laptop to write. But I do my plotting on my Story Pad – colorful notepads that people keep gifting me!
Your advice to starting authors – one thing they MUST do and one that they should NEVER.
The one thing you MUST do – write. Finish that first draft no matter how bad it is. Nothing is as useless as a blank page. Read too. Nothing teaches you like reading will. Nothing.
The one thing you must NEVER do – underestimate. Yourself. Your audience. The publisher. Your agent. The marketing guy trying to be super nice to you and explaining how it all works.
Lovely advice, Aarti. Thanks so much!
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