22 December, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: How research shaped my book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction by Ruchi Vasudeva

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - December'13 ***

About the Author
Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August '13 with her book 'Bollywood Fiancé For A Day'. Her new release 'You Can't Fight A Royal Attraction' is her second book, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins which will be published in December. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.
She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action! She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas. 

How research shaped my book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction.

Writers live twice 
                            ~ Natalie Goldberg

Authors are privileged people in that. Maybe it should be said that writers live multiple times or as many times as the characters they write. Stepping into the character’s shoes, living out their emotions in that span, does gain you a new perspective. To make the background of a character, to make the character living and breathing and real to the reader, a writer has to find out lots of things the character might know in her life but which don’t appear in the story. To make the history three dimensional you have to explore a lot especially if you envisage characters who are from a different background from yours. Thus researching is both enlightening and educating.

Researching You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction was both hard and a lot of fun! I got to know about a lot of fun facts which didn’t have much use in the book. For instance I found interesting info about the traditional Rajasthani cuisine. The cooking is very labour intensive involving such exotic techniques like khad cooking, which involves digging a pit, burying the meat and surrounding it with hot coal. I came to know of Bina Pani ki Roti, chappati without water literally, made with just boora (similar to caster sugar), ghee, milk and flour and decorated with saffron, cardamom seeds and raisins. 

A funny tradition I came to about is that when the son-in-law visited his in-laws for the first time, a live partridge would be enclosed in a box and set at his place with the usual fork, spoon and knife. The moment he opened the box, fffrrr the bird would fly away! Would love to see that live, especially the look on the poor groom’s face! :)

Then I read about polo, how it is a favourite game with British princes and our own royalty and the sad story of Prince of Jodhpur who fell from horseback on the field and nearly got crushed beneath his horse. Next on the list was finding out about traditional Rajasthani musical instruments. Nowadays they are even played at themed Punjabi weddings. There’s the sarangi, popular in the stringed instruments, the surinda, a smaller version of it. The morchang which adds a plaintive, melancholic twang to music. Matkas are a pair of huge earthenware pots used to add boom, their mouths covered with membrane to produced hollow sound. Poongi of the snake charmers have two tubes, one for the notes and the other for the drone. Anyone remember Saif Ali Khan’s ‘poongi baja ke’ song? :)

I came to know about Mewar and Marwar, the two socio-cultural regions of Rajasthan which are located on either side of the mountain range of Aravallis. While Mewar, hilly and spotted with lakes, is located to the east of the Aravaliis, Marwar, mostly desert, is located to the west. The physical terrain on the either side of the Aravaliis is vastly different and this has given rise to the two different regions which have different dialect and culture.

A few funny lines in Mewari that I want to share: Wana pagtia ni waawri literally meaning ‘go to fruitless fields’. It’s a version of ‘Go to hell!’ Might come in handy sometime! *wink*

Thus, I had lots of fun researching. Rajasthan is a state worth a visit, with its rich heritage, a land of varied landscape, colourful attires, soulful music and exquisite architecture. I couldn’t help being drawn to that background while I wrote. 

So do all those things I’ve delved into so finely appear in the book? You'll have to read it to find out :)
Let me know if you’ve been to Rajasthan? Share your experience. How do you feel about researching? Is it a drag? Or do you get lost in the subject and wind up with lots of unused information like me? *smile*

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter! Good luck :)

Her Latest Release

Playing with fire. Who says it isn't fun?

The last thing Rihaan needs in his life is to play host to a woman who drives him crazy! Saira is gorgeous, yes, but she’s also wildly infuriating. Yet every time she comes within an inch of him he finds his normally iron-clad control slipping further and further away…

Wanting to protect herself from more heartbreak, Saira knows she should keep her distance from Rihaan —but there’s something about him she just can’t seem to resist… Little does she know that Rihaan is hiding a secret! When it comes to light will it tear them apart —or raise their passion to new, more majestic heights?  

Stalk the Author

Here's your chance to win a copy of Ruchi Vasudeva's book for Yourself! Enter the rafflecopter below to try your luck and 'May the Odds be Ever in Your Favour'
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  1. Hi Book Reviews and Ruchi, congratulations on the new book Ruchi. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  2. Yes, I agree that research does shape a book... looking forward to reading the one you wrote.

    Arvind Passey