22 August, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Aarti V.Raman, #Author of With You I Dance

*** Special Feature - August 2017 ***

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. 

Aarti 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. But she has also worked as a copy editor, social media consultant, commercial content writer-editor while pursuing her goal.
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. Her third book “With You I Dance” (Fingerprint! Publishing) released in April 2016 and debuted on the Amazon India Romance Bestseller list. 

Aarti 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. 

Connect with the Author:

Hello, Debdatta, before I begin this interview I would like to offer my profuse thanks that someone, FINALLY stopped asking me “Where do you get your inspiration from?” The answer, of course, is that I don’t! I wish it were as simple as getting struck by inspiration and putting it all down on paper. It has been a genuine pleasure to answer these hatke questions. Made me think and definitely made me chuckle. I hope they do the same for y’all too!

Welcome to my Blog! Tell me, what is the first book that made you fall in love?
I think the very first books I ever read were Enid Blyton, Champak, Twinkle and Archie Comics. And I pretty much defy anyone to not read The Faraway Tree and not fall in love with books. Moonface was probably my first crush, back then (smiles broadly). The book that made me fall in love with the idea of books was, as I have always maintained Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon, when I was 10. And, now that I recall, mom read a ton of Danielle Steel and Perfect Stranger (Rachel and Alexander, I think are the leads) made me fall hopelessly in love with love. Compounded by every single book I read thereafter.

What is the first book that made you cry?
I am not too sure, but it is a tossup between If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon and Perfect
Stranger by Danielle Steel. I might have been between 10 and 11. It was two decades ago! I also remember weeping quite copiously when Callie, Frank Hardy’s girlfriend dies in one of their novels. Then I remember thinking, ooh I could console him!

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
How would you define under-appreciated? Is it a book that did not get as much attention – making the bestseller lists, adulation - as it deserved? There are so many of those, written by my friends and acquaintances. A series that I felt should have taken off in India is Leigh Bardugo’s Crows’ Duology. I wish everyone here were talking about Kaz Brekker, man. I’d have more people to gush about him to.

What did you do with your first check from your books?
LOL. Mom took it from me before I could do anything with it and deposited it for me! Ok, so pretty sure, being the fiscally responsible woman that I try to be, I immediately placed half the money in savings and felt so, so proud that I was able to do that. And I took my folks out for dinner. I know …I know…you should preserve your first check in Lucite. But I blew it all up and don’t regret it for a second. J

What would you choose as your spirit animal?
Haha! This one is a stumper. But if I had a spirit animal and if it had me, I’d have to be a bunny rabbit. I know, dragons and unicorns abound, but as my favorite author Lisa Kleypas writes, ‘Bunny rabbits are not just warm, fuzzy, energetic, hoppy creatures. They are known to charge a bear or a lion in their time when needed.’ I’d like to think, if it is ever required, my spirit animal would give me the courage to charge a bear. And we could both take cute, adorable naps.

Have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage? Do you plan to?
HAHAHA! God no. It sounds too fancy for the likes of me. But I would like to visit Middle Earth once, in New Zealand. That would be awesome. And New York City. I’d like to visit New York and wander the Public Library to my heart’s content. I do remember spending an entire day at Kinokuniya in Singapore when I’d visited and wait at the checkout line with a basket full of books. I guess that counts as much of a pilgrimage as I’d ever go on.
A literary picnic, on the other hand, count me in.

If you were to turn into a literary character for 1 day, who would it be and why?
Wow! I feel the heat turning up slowly with each question. If I get to choose to be any literary character for just one day, I’d like to be Princess Zoe from The Dreamkeeper. She is perfect, poised, pretty and a powerful mage to boot, in short, the exact opposite of me IRL. And she ends up with the Devil’s Lieutenant, the most dangerous creature on earth. Of course, I’d like to turn into her after the world-saving is done and the apocalypse has been averted and she and Laz are just basically macking out.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
Everything. No kidding. Seriously, every time I sit down and pound one of these babies out I am surprised by the sheer depth and tenacity that is the human condition. It is vast, it is indestructible and it is full of these little nuances that I do not think can be found in writing non-fiction. That being said, I have never attempted to write non-fiction so I could be talking out of my bunny butt.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
You’ve given me something to work on, Debdatta. Maybe I should start placing a few Easter Eggs in my upcoming books so that people read till the very end. Like the Marvel end credits scenes.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Baby, you’re enough and I love you. So, shut up and breathe. In fact, as a former neurotic, I tell myself that every day even now.

Who do you personally favour more and why? Krivi or Abeer?
Do I really, really HAVE to choose? :P But, gun to my head (and pun unintended), I’d go with Abeer because he is a more sorted guy and has his shit together and, as I turn older, I find that that appeals a lot more than a man who has brooding down to a fine art. That being said, I would first send Abeer to Krivi for some serious self-defense lessons (which I would happily watch on the sidelines…all that manly sweat and grunts) so if a gun were pointed at my head, he’d know what to do. Ok, wait. I should switch places with Abeer and do this myself, no? (winks)

What are the most unethical practices in the publishing industry?
Ethics is a particularly interpretive subject, Debdatta. Like, for instance, what might be ethical by my standards might be abhorrent for someone else with a stricter sense of duty, obligation and responsibility.
That being said, it would be nice to have a greater transparency between the publishers and the authors and a stronger dialog between us all. It is important to have a marketing and distribution strategy that was streamlined throughout and properly and easily understood by nervous, creative people. To have a standardized rating system that is not dependent on arbitrary algorithms that can be gamed (machines are not people, people) or even more arbitrary people. Less established authors should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, right along the supply chain so, you know, when you go to sleep at night after the hundredth rejection letter that it wasn’t just blind shit luck that this happened to you. That there is actually a method to the madness.  Or at least, I hope there will be.

Have you ever actually seen the printing process? Do you want to?
I can say that I have. I was in college and we’d visited Goa on an industrial visit. I know what you’re thinking. Beach visit, more like. And it was. But our professor did coral us all to the editorial and print offices of one of the local papers and they showed us how the headlines were typeset each day. I remember touching the ink on the typesetting machine and feeling this immense sense of respect and responsibility that I carry to this day, each time, I commit my thoughts to the written word. Being part of the media elite, especially in today’s polarized times is serious business, even if you’re writing frivolous romance. I, for one, do not take my frivolity lightly. J
Once again, thank you so much for having me, Debdatta.

Till Next Time,
Writer Gal

About the Book:

Meera Sagar had everything—the perfect job as a principal ballerina (for a prestigious New York ballet company) and a man who loved her as much as she loved him. But tragedy struck on the night before her biggest performance, forcing her to do the one thing she never wanted to do—come back home. To Mumbai.

Now, a year later, Meera is still trying to pick up the pieces, while
fending off marriage proposals from her well-meaning but
traditional Gujarati family, and figure life out all over again. By
starting a ballet school in Mumbai. But she has two problems. One, she doesn’t know anything about running a business. And two, she can’t dance. Not anymore.

Enter . . .
Abeer Goswami. Hotshot junior partner at a South Bombay law
firm and a man nursing a broken heart. When he meets Meera
again, the woman who left him, he tries his hardest to be her friend,to help her . . . and not let the past get in the way.

And then . . .
There is the sexy Zoya Sehgal. Meera’s only friend in the city and the woman Abeer is currently seeing. They say triangles have pointy edges, for a reason. 

Will Meera find a new dream in her ballet school? Can Abeer and Meera find their way back to each other again? And, most important, has Meera danced for the last time?

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