Dear Jyoti,

Thank you for coming over to talk to me. I am a big fan of your blog – The Rest is Silence - and I loved your first book – Temptation in Paradise!



Let's talk about “Perfect Landing”.

I'm excited to hear that your second romance for Mills and Boon (now Harper Collins) is about to 'land' (couldn't resist!).



1. How did the idea come about, to write romance? Was it a difficult trope to write? I ask because I know that you've written for children, and your blog is very personal, very intense writing.

I believe all stories are essentially love stories – different types of love but love never the less. Romance is just an expression of love and being a romantic at heart, it seemed like a no-brainer to write about it. The challenge was to make the transition from the short story format to novel length fiction.


2. Tell us something about the hero of “Perfect Landing”? Why do you think readers will adore him? Will they?

Samrat Khanna or Sam is an interesting character - rich, spoilt in some ways; grounded, and sensitive in others. I hope he will find a place in the reader’s heart as he evolves through the story and becomes the perfect foil for Sara’s more complicated personality.

3. Do you look for images to inspire you when you are creating characters? If not, how do you picture them?

Not really. I use my mind’s eye. The physicality is a necessity of the genre but for me what matters more is the essence of the character.

4. I love the way you handle conflict and sensual undercurrents between the protagonists. How do you manage that? How hard is it to write about the physical relationship?

A popular romance writer once told me that the remit of writing romantic fiction is to bring the reader to the door of the bedroom and let their imagination do the rest. It is advice I have taken to heart and try my best to follow. Still, it is not easy and neither is integrating conflict for that matter.

My secret is that when I am writing about conflict I take on the skin of the characters, so I respond and then counter as if I were that person. That said I would leave how I write about the physical relationship to your imagination (wink, wink).


5. What is your favourite genre to read? How has it influenced what you yourself write?

I read across genres and authors, sometimes on recommendation, sometimes because the author’s voice caught my attention. I’ll let you in on another secret…when you pick up a book, after reading the back, flip to somewhere around page 50 or 60 and read a page…if the writing or plot pace doesn’t seem to be flagging you are on to a good thing.

The success or failure of any book lies in the middle because that is what will push the reader to finish the book. I read like a writer, always looking for the beauty in the writing, plot pacing and story. Every book you read teaches you something, whether it is what to do or what not to!


6. Has any real-life event, personal or public, ever begged to be written into one of your stories? Could you share it with us, please?

You can’t absent yourself from what you write, some way or the other you creep in. I try not to use specific events but I do include their impact, be it a personal experience or a news item that interested me. I tend to write about grief and loss because it is something I know and understand.

The other trope that also finds its way into my writing is the impact of the past on the present. I like to explore the fact that life is not neat. In Perfect Landing, I have used current news, sociocultural issues related to the media and unresolved grief to create a compelling landscape on which Sam and Sara’s romance unfolds.


7. Of all the attributes of a well written story, which is the one that pleases you the most?

The cadence of the writing, a beautiful turn of phrase and the residue – does it linger after I finish reading it? Do I feel changed in some way after I read it?


8. What one or two things absolutely irritate you in a book, and would most certainly make you put the book down immediately?

Tripping over the writing, bad grammar and my biggest bugbear – clichés!


9. When do you write? What is your writing space like? What do you use, pencil/pen and paper, or a gadget?

I am fairly disciplined when on deadline and usually follow a pattern of writing binges where I don’t really care whether it is day or night. These are followed by fallow periods I use to build energy and material for the next sprint. I can write anywhere, including at times on park benches in the watery winter sun! My ideation is always done long hand but the actual writing is on a laptop.


10. Your advice to starting authors - one thing they MUST do and one that they should NEVER.

Must READ

Must never NOT WRITE.

It’s a double negative for a reason…if you don’t write you are not a writer. It really is that simple.


Thank you, Jyoti, it has been a pleasure talking to you.


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