Friday, March 6, 2015


On Author’s Circle today, meet author Zeenat Mahal, to talk about writing, life and her new book, 

She Loves Me He Loves Me Not. 

Hi Zeenat, thanks for dropping in and letting us have a peek into your life. And for the wonderful things you said about me in your blog. (read it HERE.) I am so thrilled we get to be friends over common interests :)

Alright, gushing done, or at least postponed... 
So, what’s She Loves Me He Loves Me Not about?

SLMHLMN is a twist on the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. I always thought as a child, that the Beast's side of the story was not explored at all. We never hear his thoughts. What did he feel? And I always felt that there must be something dark within Beauty, to remain and then fall in love with the Beast. I think it's one of the most nuanced fairytales, others being The Little MatchGirl, The Little Mermaid and Snow White. I might do those next. So dibs on that! 

What’s your favorite line from your novel? Why?

When Fardeen and Zoella are negotiating their marriage and she stipulates 'no physical contact', Fardeen replies,  'Why is sex the first thing on your mind when it comes to me?' 
I thought it the most endearing quality of Zoella that she loves him and is so bad at hiding it, everyone knows it. Fardeen knows exactly how attractive she finds him but never uses it against her.

I'd laughed out loud on that one too. LOL.
How did you become a writer? In other words, tell us YOUR STORY.

A friend of mine I hadn't spoken with in years, but who had been very close to me in school, emailed me one day about Indireads. I followed up. I had just started writing Haveli, my first novella. Naheed Hasan, the publishing head of Indireads loved it and sent me a contract. 
It was such a thrill because I had never ever thought of writing romance or any genre writing for that matter. Genre fiction is not really respected in writing circles, unfortunately, and when I found myself on this side of the fence, I started writing about issues such as these also. I find it extremely rewarding. 

What is your best marketing tip?

Choose two or three social media sites at the most, and work on those. Don't spread yourself too thin. Give at least two hours every day to social media. I love Twitter. It's the most efficient marketing tool, I think. 

Why write romance?

I love romance. I read it a lot. I enjoy writing it. It's my way of taking a break from my mainstream fiction, which deals with social issues. Romance is fun! 

Is there a certain scene you find difficult to write? Eg: Racy or action etc.? Why?

I think taking your reader through an intimate scene between your characters can be tricky. It's difficult to not fall into the trap of distasteful long descriptions, that might just end up being hilarious rather than hot. Some people can do it very well, of course, others only think they can. I choose not to show intimacy in my books because not giving everything away is much more romantic. 

Is your writing character-driven or plot-driven?

Character is plot, says Henry James. I believe him. It's the choices our characters make that drives the narrative. So definitely character driven.

Which is the best character you’ve written? Is he or she your favorite? Why?

I don't know if she is the best character I've written, but Chandni is my favourite because she is the most unlike me. She is bold, spoilt and vulnerable. She is a princess. She has a tragic life but she doesn't ever let her weaknesses show. I love that about her, and her sarcasm! 

What do you wish to convey through your writing?

Entertainment. Laughter.  Snippets of relevant information about cultural heritage and geographical history. Things people tend to forget about themselves and their history, and when reminded, feel proud of.

What can we expect from you next?

No idea. Sorry.

To end lets try a Rapid Fire round. Your answer should be the first word/s that pops into your head when you think of:

LIFE: seasons (what?!)
HERO: Tragic
LOVE: life 
HATE: anger

Thank you once again, Zeenat for being here and talking to me. It was fun!

Zeenat Mahal can be reached at all these places:

(Incidently, I had the honor of reading the ARC of SLMHLMN and I finished it in one day. A pure reading pleasure. ~ Falguni.)

Zoella didn’t know whether she was devastatingly happy or happily devastated. 

Zoella has been in love with Fardeen Malik, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother, since she was ten, but he’s always seen her as a ‘good girl’—not his type—and he can barely remember her name. Besides, he’s engaged to a gorgeous leggy socialite, someone from the same rarefied social strata as the imposing Malik family. In short, Zoella has no chance with him. 

Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of a fiancĂ©e, Fardeen is bitterly caustic, a shell of the man he used to be, a beast that has broken out of the fairy tale world he once lived in. And a twist of fate lands him his very own beauty—Zoella.

This man, however, is a far cry from the Fardeen of her dreams. Stripped of her illusions, Zoella creates her own twist in the fairy tale, beating him at his own game.

Zeenat Mahal explores themes of love, longing and arranged marriages in this modern, unusual interpretation of the old-age fairy tale.