On Author’s Circle today, meet author, blogger,
naptime enthusiast, Aarti V Raman, to talk about writing, life
and her next book, Untitled Book 3 but also called The Last Time.
Hi Aarti, thanks for dropping in and letting us have a peek into your life.
Hello Falguni, thanks for having me over. I know this is long overdue so I hope the chat more than makes up for it. So, first of all, Happy New Year to you and yours.
So, what’s Book 3 about?
This is my third book, a straight up contemporary romance. No guns, no bombs, just lurveee. (I can hear disappointed exclamations already!) Firstly, I cannot believe I get to publish three novels with traditional publishing houses, something I only ever dreamed of.
Secondly, Book 3 is about a troubled ex-ballerina who comes home to Mumbai and wants to start a ballet school after her lovable but traditional Gujarati family want her to get married ASAP. The only trouble is, she cannot dance anymore. Enter Abeer Goswami, lawyer, ex-boyfriend and the love of her life who basically helps her get her dream running. How do these two find their way back to each other forms the crux of the book. And of course, the big question – Can you rebuild your life again when your dearest dream ends?
Do you have any strange writing habits?
ALL my writing habits are strange (laughs). For instance, I need to have a particular music playlist on my iPod, which changes with every book, when I write. Then, I need to wear my Santa hat if I write in December, which I almost always do. Oh, and I pace. A LOT. I think I will stop now before people decide I am too weird to read about.
What does your day look like?
I have a full-time job now, as editor at e27.co, an awesome news website about Asian startups, so my day begins at 8 AM when I have to wake up for work. I work throughout the day (read FB and YouTube a LOT in between), then chill for a bit. Exercising is my new motto so I do that, followed by a bit of catching up on my marketing and cooking dinner. But when I am writing (which is not as often as I would like) all rules go out the window and I become a zombied hermit, who talks to herself at 1 AM. Sometimes cries too (laughs).
Which author/s have inspired you the most?
Nora Roberts. Sidney Sheldon. Nora because her unparalleled achievements in romance writing opened it up as a phenomenon and Sidney because Nothing Lasts Forever is the first adult novel I read when I was nine. Yes, I was a precocious child.
I also love JK Rowling. She did for YA Urban Fantasy what Nora did for romance.
If your book becomes a movie whom would you want to play the hero and the heroine?
HAHA. If you read the dedications to my novels you will see the heroes are already decided for. Hugh Jackman in White Knight, Akshay Kumar for Kingdom Come and Abhay Deol’s laidback good guy with sense and sophistication and spine inspired a lot of Abeer so I guess, him. For the women, gosh…I don’t know…ME?! (winks). Hollywood, Bollywood are you listening?
How did you become a writer? In other words, tell us YOUR STORY.
How does anyone become a writer? They start writing J I don’t have a story anymore. It’s more an adventure that keeps changing with new obstacles and challenges being added, but with also better and more awesome surprises coming my way.
But I will say this. I wanted to write for Harlequin from the time I read my first Mills&Boon at 14. I accomplished that with Kingdom Come. That is my favorite part of my story, so far.
What is your least favorite part about the writing/publishing profession?
The evolving nature of marketing and the way social media has basically cannibalized the way we think about it. In the earlier days (say 2005), all you had to do was write a great book and sell it. Now you have to post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, video it on YouTube, talk about it on Goodreads…gosh, just talking about it is exhausting me.
The upside to this is that it’s easier to create a reader base with so many platforms available for everyone to connect in. And I love talking so it’s still a win-win.
What is your best marketing tip?
Be true to yourself. People will only buy what you’re selling if you are genuine about it. So if you’re socially awkward be socially awkward. If you’re chatty (like me) be that. If you are smooth and sophisticated like a vodka martini who always says the right things, well, can I meet your publicist? (laughs)
Why write romance?
Why not? It’s the best thing in the world, isn’t it? Love? So why not write as much as I can about it.
Is there a certain scene you find difficult to write? Eg: Racy or action etc.? Why?
Truth be told, I find EVERYTHING difficult to write in the middle of my draft. And conversely, nothing. Because once the movie starts playing in my head, all I have to do is follow the script and put it down as I see it. I know, it sounds completely kooky…imagine what my family thinks of me!
I don’t find sex scenes or action scenes or dialog hard to write, because, again, it’s all there in my head. All I have to do is write it.
Is your writing character-driven or plot-driven?
It’s a mix of both. First the characters, in the form of hunky heroes make an appearance. But I am always thinking of new and interesting topics to write about (like, my new college romance which I shall begin soon…) and then I see a hot dude and things click. I mutter to myself. Force my mother to sit through narrations (haha) and put it all down as a story outline. So it is both.
But, I cannot make the plot work if the characters don’t work in it, so I do tend to skew my writing toward the people in my stories but never to the detriment of the plot.
Which is the best character you’ve written? Is he or she your favorite? Why?
The best character I have written is the one I am always about to write. This hero or heroine is my favorite because their world is open to me all over again --their choices, the growth arcs and the lovely wonderful ending I dream up for them. I am more attracted to what I CAN write than what I HAVE written, I guess.
Naturally, in part you are all your characters (they come from your head) but which of your characters is the most like you? Or resonates in you the most? Why?
All of them come from a place inside me. They can’t be completely independent of me, particularly the women. For instance, I can never write women who are weak-willed and depend on a man to rescue them from things. But no, apart from Ariana White of White Knight, none of my other characters are really like me. Ariana White is the idealized version of Dana Evans from Sidney Sheldon novels – kickass, war correspondent and stubborn as all hell.
What do you wish to convey through your writing?
I wish to entertain people with my writing. The world is an awful, messed up place. So, if by reading a story written by me, or a blog or a Facebook post for that matter, makes the people escape for a bit than I would have done my job well. For myself (smiles).
What can we expect from you next?
Book 3 from Fingerprint Publishing, as I keep telling anyone who will listen, haha. I also just finished a first draft of a take on The Prince and The Pauper and am attempting to write my first-ever college romance soon. Then there is my not-so secret dream of writing YA Urban Fantasy. So yeah…just this much. LOL.
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: Living, coffee
HERO: Damon Salvatore (I know. I cannot get over him!)
And that wraps it up! Thank you, Aarti, for being here and talking to me. It was fun!
About the author:
Aarti V Raman is an Amazon India bestselling romance writer who dabbles in romantic thrillers and contemporary romance. Happy Ever After are her three favorite words in the English lexicon.
She graduated from Mumbai University in 2007 with a degree in Mass Media focused on Journalism which provided her the perfect background for conducting sound research on any project. She then went on to study Creative and Professional Writing at Deaking University, Melbourne, Australia and is now a copy editor with e27, a tech startup news website that is providing a whole new source of inspiration for her.
Aarti’s ambition of honing her craft and writing stories, particularly romances that have strong characters and stronger plots that remain etched in the reader’s minds, grew when she sold her first novel WHITE KNIGHT (Leadstart Publishing), in 2012.
In 2013, her work was excerpted in the Tamil Edition of Mills and Boon novels. And in 2014, her short story “Post-Coital Cigarette” was chosen to be part of the Rupa Romance Anthology “An Atlas of Love” curated by bestselling author Anuja Chauhan. Her last novel “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA) has enjoyed a brief stay at the bestseller lists in Amazon India. And her next book, a sweet slice of life romance will be out with Fingerprint Publishing, in 2015.
She was chosen to be part of the Goa Arts and Literary Fest 2014 in December 2014 and The Hyderabad Literary Festival in January 2015.
She is represented by Red Ink Literary Agency, India.
You can find her at WEBSITE. She loves to hear from her readers and friends on email at EMAIL, on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER.
BUY HER BOOKS:
White Knight: AmazonIndia