Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

Words – They Don’t Always Come Easy (+ A Birthday Sale!

Well, it’s been a little while since I posted on here, and I apologise for that, to start off with.

Life, over the last eighteen months has been kinda surreal, for us all, and I know it has taken its toll on me, in so many ways.

I’ve been battling through the understanding of remote teaching and learning in school, what with the closures.

I’ve become a master at organising mass covid testing in the house, what with two teens and me needing twice-weekly tests.

I got promoted, which, though is a wonderful boost to the ego, comes with its own fair share of ‘AAAARGH! 😱’ moments. So now, on top of being the class teacher, I am responsible for the whoe EYFS unit, meaning two nursery classes, two reception classes, three other teachers, 8 Teaching Assistants, and four lunchtime supervisors. And we are in the midst of change within the department, due to a new Government Framework change Oh, and the Ofsted threat looms heavily, this year, because we are due!

And my son had his GCSEs this summer, which was a stress in itself.

Then we moved house. You know the score.

What’s this got to do with words?

So much.

Because since I have had all the above to deal with, it has been nigh on impossible to have the energy and time to write what I want to be writing. And, to be honest, the last few months, I didn’t want to.

I seemed to have fallen out of love with my story.

And with reading.

And that was a biggie. Here is me, usually reading 5-10 books a month, barely finishing them because I couldn’t even get into these wonderful fictional worlds.

However, reading was the thing I needed to get my head round. Reading books gives me the inspiration I need, to get back to writing. And the last month has seen me read just shy of twenty books!

One was a book with some content similar to the theme I am writing about, and as I read it, I began to ruminate. Through my mind, thoughts ran, along the lines of “I think I can do better than this. No, I KNOW I can do better than this.”

And I did open my manuscript.

I didn’t write much, but I tweaked, and I also found a whole new sub plot to add to the story.

Then I reread the beginnings of another story I had begun to write in the first lockdown. And a skeleton plan of a third.

And I looked at the cover for this one I am writing now, to spur me on.

Words want to come out now. That’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long while.

Now, it’s just finding that balance, betweem, the new commute (we moved a little further away from my work, and the kids school), work itself, and the kids after school commitments.

I have no excuses. I am even blessed to have a whole writing room now, in the new house, complete with reading nook! Here’s some photos of my special space.

Wish me luck. I hope many more words flow in here!

And on to the sale…

As it’s my birthday week, Marriage Unarranged is discounted for the next five days on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!

Birthday week Sale!

#MarriageUnarranged is 99p/c for the next five days!

Monday 30th August, until Friday 3rd September.

If you fancy a little spice in the end of your summer reading, because, let’s be honest,it’s getting a tad cold out there, be sure to download it, and I’ll consider it a birthday wish from you, to me, too!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

It all started/ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?

A stranger who’s hiding something…

Guest Posts

8 Steps to Side Characters by @sacha_black #BookReview #PubDay

Today, I have the pleasure of being a part of a very special release day!

Our very own, Sacha Black, has done it again with another cracker of a non fiction release, following on from her gems, 13 Steps To Evil, 10 Steps to Hero, and an absolute favourite of mine, The Anatomy of Prose.

This time we welcome 8 Steps to Side Characters!

Now, Sacha has guided us, in her inimitable way, through how to create the most evil kind of villains and those flawed, yet strong heroes, so it stands to reason that we need some guidance about how to handle all those other characters that make up the bones of our books… so here we have it!

Wanna know more about what it’s all about? Here’s the blurb:

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?
In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

+ A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
+ The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
+ The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
+ How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
+ Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
+ Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
+ Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
+ Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
+ Character archetypes and functions
+ The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.

If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories. 

After I read my ebook arc, I was quick to get in there with my request for a signed hard copy of this beaut, too and it will be well thumbed, I can promise you!

My Review

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power by Sacha Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some authors, you just know you are going to read and enjoy.
And one of those, for me, Sacha Black, has done it again with her next writing craft special, 8 Steps To Side Characters. I’ve loved her previous guides to writing Villains, and Heroes, and the Anatomy of Prose was just ENLIGHTENING!
You know you’re reading a real (Sacha) Black beauty when the first chapter in the book is called F*ck The Rules! Her colourful language embodies all that is Sacha, ensuring a read full of laughs, snorts, and ‘A-ha!’ moments!
There is so much in the book to help you craft your side characters into solid people that readers will understand, and how to use them to push the story forward.
Side characters are fantastic literary devices, but you really do need to know the nuances of how to use them, and also, it’s important to know what kind of side character you are writing… yup, there are several types. Sacha has it all covered!
What a fantastic resource that had me questioning all my side characters, past and present – in a good way. You can always count on Sacha for a dose of ‘Real-talk’ writing advice.
And one of my favourite lines, which I can just hear her saying… (I listen to Sacha’s podcast, so her wonderful British lilt is ingrained in my mind!) “Don’t be an @sshole – they’re full of sh!t rather than words”.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

And… she doesn’t just have the Textbook available, as always there is an acompanying Workbook, too. She’s a whip-wielding task master, that Sacha…! But, honestly, if you want to hone your craft, what better way than to work through the exercises designed to strengthen your craft?

Universal purchase link textbook: books2read.com/sidecharacters 

Universal purchase link workbook: books2read.com/sideworkbook

What are you waiting for? Get yourselves out there!

Oh, and if you want more, check out Sacha’s Social Media. There are a whole host of mini tip videos that have been posted over the last few days, and for the next few days, Sacha has some fantastic interviews lined up.

As part of the launch week, I’ll be interviewing nine authors all about their side characters, their favorite side characters from books and films as well as their tips for creating better characters. And I’ll be doing that all LIVE on instagram every night at 8pm from the 30th July to the 8th August.

Sacha Black
  • Friday 30th July – Mark Lefebvre from Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast
  • Saturday 31st July Jeff Adams from Big Gay Fiction podcast
  • Sunday 1st August Katlyn Duncan YouTuber and author
  • Monday 2nd August Daniel Willcocks, my Next Level Authors cohost, book coach and horror authors
  • Tuesday 3rd August Crys Cain, host of Write Away, cohost of TASM and author
  • Wednesday 4th August Kristina Stanley, CEO of Fictionary.co
  • Thursday 5th Helen Scheuerer author of fantasy
  • Friday 6th Miranda Bridges romance author
  • Saturday 7th Elaine Bateman urban fantasy author and staff writer at Indie Author Magazine
  • Sunday 8th August – if I haven’t collapsed, will be a solo show from me.

Find Sacha on the following channels:

Facebook: @sachablackauthor

Instagram: @sachablackauthor

Website: http://www.sachablack.co.uk

Marriage Unarranged

Bookapalooza 2020 with #MyBookTribe & a #BookSale!

Hey there, Peeps!

I’m really excited to announce that I will be a part of a huge event taking place on Facebook, in one of my favourite reader groups, My Book Tribe.

My Book Tribe is run by twelve founding authors, and usually, it is a place to appreciate books of all sorts, share reviews, memes, etc, and get a chance to get to know the founding authors and their work.

This weekend, however, the authors have invited a selection of different authors to take part in Bookapalooza, a huge 24 hour window of giveaways, and a chance to get to know new to you writer, and guess who has been asked to take part?

Me!

So, if you fancy joining a group of readers, and wonderful authors, and get a chance to win new books, head over to My Book Tribe and request to join. Click the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MyBookTribe

Been there, done that. I’ve even got the T-shirt!

I’ve got my book up as a giveaway, and as an additional bonus, Marriage Unarranged is on offer from today to next Thursday, for 99p/c at Amazon for the Kindle version!

https://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Go one, you know you want to!

My Writing Journey

The Importance Of Being Edited

Editing can be a minefield, can’t it?

I wasn’t sure whether to write this post, initially, but after recent experiences, I thought, why not air my views, after all, they are only my thoughts, and not law, after all!

Over the last few years, as I have been, (and continue to), hone my writing craft, I have learned so much about writing, and how words can be written and how that impacts upon how readers interpret them.

It means that when I read books, sometimes the pleasure is not as great as it used to be, as I find my technical head switching on, finding errors, or picking up on rookie mistakes.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no expert, by any means, and I fully live by the thought that there are so many rules to writing a ‘good book’, yet if we all wrote by these rules, books would all be uniform, and boring.

(Who wrote these rules, anyway?)

However, good writing doesn’t have to follow the rules, but it must capture the reader.

I am one of those readers who hates to ‘DNF’ a book or mark it as something I did not finish. I know the blood sweat and toil that goes into crafting a book baby, having done it myself, so if I choose to read something, I try my hardest to give it my best shot, even if I am struggling. But now, I have realised that I need to stop if something is not clicking with me.

Sometimes it is just a genre that is not for me.

Fair enough.

I try and give everything a fair shot, but if the genre is not for me, then I’ll not complain or give a bad review of the book. I’ll just park in under my DNF pile and remember not to pick something like that again.

But, when it comes to genres I love, if I can’t engage with the characters, or follow the story smoothly, I tend to delve deeper into the whys of not being able to finish.

And almost 100% of the time it seems to be due to editing – or lack of.

Several indie authors who requested I read their books for feedback or a general review have admitted, after I ask, that they haven’t had an editor read their work.

Not even a set of experienced beta readers.

And, unfortunately, it shows.

Thankfully, most of the time, my feedback is appreciated, after all, I would never shoot another writer down, but I want them to give the best of themselves to the world of books, but sometimes, the defiance and insistence that they write and edit themselves, because they know it is good, means that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time trying to help!

I understand that editing can be an expensive business, but what authors-to-be should remember is that we are too close to our work to edit it, entirely, ourselves.

Maybe, once you have a few books under your belt, and you’ve had helpful feedback from others on your previous work, you are more able to objectively read, spot mistakes or inconsistencies, and change them.

But as a newbie, when you want to make your name in the world of books, you need to present the best writing possible.

As I said, it can be expensive, but there are ways you can get help without spending the earth.

  • Find a couple of readers, trusted readers that aren’t necessarily friends, but people with knowledge of wordcraft, and ask if they will read your work. Think of them as your alpha readers. They are going to give you that first impression of what a reader thinks of your story and writing. It is amazing how many thoughts, questions and mistakes they can pick up, that can improve your initial work before you have even thought about an editor.
  • Find a critique partner who you can send your work to, and whose work you are willing to read and comment upon, too. This can be a better way, as you send work as you are writing, and you could incorporate corrections or suggestions for improvements as you write.
  • Become a member of a writing group, where you can share your writing with others, and gain valuable critiques. As you read others work, you will also become stronger at picking up weak spots or strong sections in your own work.

And something extremely important to remember, however keen your friends, or family are, to read and help you with your book, they may not be the most objective readers for constuctive feedback. Most will be so encouraging, because they are proud you wrote a book.

Some might not know how to say they found parts hard to read or follow, so give you a false sense of security, but you need to remember that it is the public you want to impress with your words, not just your friends and family, if you want to be a succesful author.

This is why finding your writing people is so important, especially for an indie author.

I would still recommend you find at least a developmental editor, who will give you valuable feedback on your story, and whether everything flows, or if there are holes in your plot.

Beta readers can be your proofreading eyes if they are eagle-eyed. They can spot inconsistencies, spelling mistakes and pick up unclear points, too, when you are nearing the end of editing your manuscript if you can’t afford a copy or proofread.

If you don’t know the best way to find an editor, I would recommend asking among writing groups, like on Facebook, or even on your blog. Research them, yourselves, too, as prices can vary greatly, depending on what you want from the editor.

But the most important thing to remember is that as the author of a piece of work, we are too close to our book baby to be objective, especially at the beginning of our writing career. Either you will feel that nothing you write is good, or you won’t be able to sort the chaff from the wheat. Everything you write will appear key to the story. Or you miss things out because you have been living the story, with the characters for so long, you may omit details that a reader needs to know because, in your head, you already know it.

This is why a fresh set of eyes is so important, be it a paid editor, or a fantastic group of readers. They don’t know the backstory of your characters. They can tell you whether something is unnecessary, or if they felt something was missing. They can explain if something you wrote didn’t make sense, or whether they enjoyed it.

Then you take that feedback and use it, objectively, to improve your writing, and give your book baby the best chance of success.

There ends the sermon on The Importance Of Being Edited by Pastor Ritu!

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Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

You Really Read My Book?

It’s been a while, folks, and I apologise for that.

Life, including home improvements, (an eight week stretch of contractors repairing, tweaking and decorating, to get the house shipshape for putting on the market so we can find our forever home), and starting back to school with a new role under my belt, (EYFS Phase Leader and DSL), has meant that I have had little time to devote to the writing side of my persona.

Lockdown initially gave me a boost in creativity, then it sapped it. I found energy to write for a good three weeks, before #ProjectHome began, and got 40,000 words down, then the stress of having people banging, followed by the beginning of a very strange school year, meant that my poor WIP has lain, unopened for almost eight weeks.

I so dearly want to get back to it but I’ve been mentally, physically, and emotionally, shattered.

So, it was, with surprise, that I received a message from someone I know, a few weeks back. Her boss’s boss wanted to extend an invitation to me to be a guest at her book club, because they were going to be reading my book baby, Marriage Unarranged!

Yup, they read that one, above!

I never thought, in a million years, that my book would get chosen as a book club read. I mean, there are so many books out there… fantastic books… yet they chose mine!

It was with a sense of amazement that I replied that I would love to, followed by dread.

  • What if they hated it?
  • What if they slated it?
  • What if they asked questions I couldn’t answer?
  • What if they ask about the next book?

But, I’m not one to shy away from challenges, and this was an opportunity to speak to total strangers, to get opinions from readers who don’t know me at all.

And so, on Friday 16th October, at 8PM, UK time, I sat, loaded glass of pink gin by my side, waiting for the Zoom meeting to start.

Yup, a virtual book club meet, because this particular book club was in the US. A group of ten women who have been meeting up for over twenty years, to read and discuss books.

It connected, and I can say, with relief, joy and a little pride, that the hour we spent, chatting away, supping our respective drinks, went really well.

I was asked about, among other things, my inspiration, how long the book took to write, (you all know that was a long and winding road…), whether I had been to all the places mentioned in the book, who characters were based upon, why characters did certain things, and what next… Marita, who wasa hosting, even brought her own bangles, brought on a trip to India, to share with the rest of the group, when they asked about my mentioning them a lot in the book. We even posed for a virtual selfie! Here’s me with some of the group members. I’m the blurred one on the screen…

An hour disappeared so fast, and afterwards, I found myself laying on my (newly laid, so fluffy) carpet, alternating between smiling inanely, and supping the rest of my goldfish bowl of gin!

Truly, it made my day, week, month, even.

Total strangers read my book, enjoyed it, and actually wanted to speak to me about it. They were even excited that they were speaking to an author, for the first time, at their book club.

Author – as in ME!

It hit me, last night, that I really am an author, and there are folks out there who don’t know me from Adam, yet they trusted my description, and bought my book.

Honestly, in my mind, the only people who bought and read things with my name on, were friends and family…

Sorry?

What was that?

You want to read it, too?

Well, all you have to do is click below. It’s on Amazon, paperback and Kindle, and it is on Kindle Unlimited too!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

I tell you what, it’s given me a real boost. I want to get back to that book two manuscript, and a short novella I am also writing, so I can offer you a freebie if you sign up to my mailing list…

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Guest Posts

I Have Been Podcasted!

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that I have been featured on a wonderful podcast, Great Writers Share!

Image may contain: Ritu Kaur BP, text that says "NEC THIS WEEK'S GUEST RITU BHATHAL EPISODE #053: MARRIAGE UNARRANGED, SETTING PRIORITIES, FINDING BALANCE, AND POETRY PROSE."

I was honoured to be asked on as a guest, and I hope you have the time to listen.

GWS #53 – Ritu Bhathal

Hello everybody! This week I got to sit down with chick pea lit author Ritu Bhathal!

In this episode we go deep into:

  • • Where Ritu’s journey began
  • • How life can prioritize over writing
  • • Starting a blog on a whim without a plan
  • • Indian family customs
  • • How writing groups and accountability can help lift you up and keep you on track
  • • Publishing Poetry vs a Novel
  • • How having a support system is instrumental in the writing process
  • • Stationary and her vast collection of brush pens
  • • Being realistic when it comes to balancing everyday life and getting words written
  • • What her writing advice is for new writers

Listen now: https://pod.link/1473869415

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says "EPISODE #53 FEATURING RITU BHATHAL GREAT WRITERS SHARE"
Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Encouragement Is A Writer’s Best Friend (+ a Birthday #BookSale)

Some writers are lucky, you know.

They get an idea, and the words just seem to flow.

And when one is complete, the next idea arrives, waiting to be transferred from mind to screen/paper.

But not all of us are that blessed.

Well, I say that, but I have the ideas. They aren’t always fully formed, but they are there, ready to come to life on my MacBook.

For me, time is the hugest constraint. Life as a teacher, as well as a wife and mother, coupled in with Covid-19, the lockdown, and to top it off, a HUGE amount of home improvements, means that sometimes I wonder whether it’s worth it…

Then you get messages like this.

And you find that there are readers out there who have actually taken time and effort to write or post about your book. This post by Jazz of @her_reading_nook on Instagram blew me away, and there was another post filled with more images, too!

View this post on Instagram

It’s all in the details [of Marriage Unarranged] 📖♥️🌺 __ Trendy ethnic jewelry from: @saggiparanda 💎🤩 __ 📖Review continued from previous post: *𝚀𝚄𝙾𝚃𝙴 + 𝚂𝚈𝙽𝙾𝙿𝚂𝙸𝚂* Aashi, the protagonist catches her fiance cheating on her so the big fat Punjabi wedding is cancelled but the India trip originally for wedding shopping becomes an adventure with her best friend, Kiran + brothers, Sunny & Bali: “Sunny was painfully aware of how hard it was for Aashi to forget the original reason for the trip. Dotted around the various shops were reminders of bridal accessories they should have been buying. The ℂℍ𝕌ℝ𝔸, 𝔹ℝ𝕀𝔻𝔸𝕃 𝔹𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝔼𝕊 their mamaji (uncle) would have been slipping on her wrists. 𝕂𝔸𝕃𝕀ℝ𝔼𝕐, 𝔻𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝕀ℕ𝔾 𝕆ℝℕ𝔸𝕄𝔼ℕ𝕋𝕊 he & Bali would have added to her wrists, which as they dropped off, she would give to her single cousins & friends, with the blessing that they would get married soon too” -Marriage Unarranged📖 Swipe: #IndianFashionHistory #PunjabiFashionHistory On the flight to New Delhi, Aashi falls asleep on a stranger, Arjun! Is Arjun about to be her rebound or soulmate? So bollywood. So brown girl! 🙋🏽‍♀️ 𝚃𝙷𝙾𝚄𝙶𝙷𝚃𝚂: Love the brother+ sister relationship portrayed between Aashi & Sunny (eldest bro) + Bali (younger one). Just in time for #happyRakhi / #Rakhri which means “to protect”, a traditional Indian holiday celebrating brother +sister bond where the sister ties a thread on the brother’s wrist signifying the brother’s promise of being there for his sister through thick & thin 🌺 as a token of love, the brother gives money/ gift in return for the thread💓 Grab a copy of this light read, travel to New Delhi, India & add this beautiful book cover to your reading nook for future #sHelfies 🤳🏻💃🏿 Rom com/ Chick lit isn’t my go to genre but this is like reading a bollywood movie & we all could use a little bollywood/ fairy tale during this time🙃 feel me! • • • #MarriageUnarranged #RituBhathal #AuthorAdmiration #☕️andBooks #I❤️TheSmellofFreshPages #BookBehavior #RomCom #ChickLit #IndianAuthor #PunjabiAuthor #Bookstagram #DiverseBooks #DiverseReaders #Bookish #TheBookLook #BookBlogger #bookstagramIndia #PunjabiWedding #IndianFashion #punjabijewellery #indianjewelry #SonjaAndOve

A post shared by Jazz (@her_reading_nook) on

And it makes your effort feel worthwhile.

Then, you get little comments from authors your love and respect like this…

Thank you, Zoe!

It spurs you on to try and write more.

This summer holiday has whizzed by, and I grabbed the bull by the horns. I had time, a little, at least, to devote to my writing.

My aim was 40,000 in four weeks.

I didn’t quite hit that, but I was close, and, considering I’ve spent the last week and a half manically demolishing furniture, having a ma-hoo-sive clear out and stocking the local charity shops with copious amounts of donations, and visiting B & Q many times to buy boxes, choose tiles, and bathroom suites etc, I’m not going to beat myself up over not quite hitting my self-imposed target!

I managed 37, 869 words!

I’ve also had my cover comissioned and more or less designed, ready to go, to spur me on. No, I can’t share that yet. Let me get the book written first!

And, what with my birthday, next week, I decided to have a little sale on Marriage Unarranged, so if you haven’t already, grab a Kindle copy for 99p/99c on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk! From Friday 28th August, to Thursday 3rd September. Go on, make a writer’s day, buy a copy!

https://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Marriage Unarranged

When Your Mum Speaks – Mum Chats about My Book!

This month marks my debut novel, Marriage Unarranged’s six month birthday. And I am excited that it has sold almost 200 copies, and gained nearly 50 reviews on Amazon.

Each comment from a reader is so important, to me. In fact, I recently had an unofficial Book Club meet with some friends of mine, who had read it, and wanted to chat book. That was exciting!

But one of the biggies for me, was knowing what my mother thought.

I attribute my love of words and books to my mum. She surrounded us with books and stories from such a young age. So, when she told me she was reading it, I sat, waiting for her feedback.

I didn’t hold my breath until she finished, because I would have been dead.

One thing my mum isn’t nowadays, is a fast reader, so, it was with great pomp and circumstance that she announced that she had finally finished reading it, a couple of weeks ago.

And her announcement was timed well, as we were coming to visit them, so I thought, why not grab the bull by the horns, and ask her for her frank thoughts on her daughter’s first ever novel?

Me: So, Mum, what did you think?

Mum: It was beautifully written and I think you captured the traditions and culture really well. It’s an eye opener for anyone reading it. I felt an awful lot of nostalgia while reading, remembering our trip to India. At first there was an element of shock, as a mother, with some naughty scenes, but after a while, I got used to it. (Read a bit further down for my Pops’ response to this comment!)

Me: What about the subject matter?

Mum: The book tackles a lot of issues that are there, hidden, within the Indian community. I think you’re quite brave to tackle subjects that are taboo within the community, like Sunny and his questions about his sexuality, and being a single parent, too. As older generation Indians, we tend to sweep things like that under the carpet.

Me: Did you have a favourite part?

Mum: I really enjoyed the end, when the parents discovered where their daughter’s happiness lies. Not many Indian parents would be happy to see their girl with a guy already with a child.

The India bits took me back twenty-odd years, to our trip when we were planning and shopping for your wedding.

Me: Who is your favourite character?

Mum: Aashi, because she is so sensitive to everyone’s feelings, and thoughtful.

Me: Do you want to read more?

Mum: Yes! I want to know what happens, next!

I am so glad she enjoyed it!

I’ll tell you something else… Even my Pops has started reading it! He actually insisted my mum get him his own paperback copy, so he could read it at his own pace (very, very slow!)

I thought I’d ask him what he thought…

Me: So, Pops what are you thinking about the book?

Pops: I read two chapters. But it’s been so long since I read them, I can’t remember enough… I’ll have to read it again. And now, with you writing another, I’ll have to read it soon!

He was listening to Mum and me talking, and when she mentioned the, ahem, naughty scenes, he piped up “Yeah, I was so shocked, that’s why I haven’t read more!” then he laughed!

I loved being able to talk frankly about my writing to them. And even discussing the second book with Mum was fun. She added her spin and ideas to what I am in the middle of writing.

So, what about you? Have you read Marriage Unarranged?

If you have, I’d love for you to leave a review. Reviews are what spur us authors on!

And, if you haven’t, then why not grab your copy now?

Here’s the blurb.

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

https://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

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Marriage Unarranged

Happy Fictional Father’s Day!

As writers, we create characters. And for the most part, those characters are human. They have families too.

Today, I want to celebrate the fathers that I have shaped, within my writing.

When I began writing Marriage Unarranged, I knew there would be a father or two in the book. After all, Aashi is a very family orientated girl, and hers would be a key character.

My characters, generally aren’t based on a specific person, but there may be different elements of people I’ve encountered along the way that make their way into the personailities I create.

Mohinder, Aashi’s father, or Daddy-ji, as his children lovingly call him, is heavily based upon my own dad. There are differences, but the essence of my Pops is embedded within this character.

I loved writing him, and as the book grew, so did his part in it. Mohinder was the elder voice of reason. He was the calm, understanding parent, compared to the more traditional, and often fraught Harjit, a typical Indian immigrant mum.

Ravi’s father, Harpal, is a a rather hen-pecked individual, who is used to his wife Gurmeet, taking over everything. I felt that there needed to be a character who felt the shame of his son’s dishonesty. Had Aashi married into this family, I am sure he would have been a fantastic father-in-law.

Right now, I am creating a rather different father figure, within book two. One who has tunnel vision where his children are concerned. Less emotional, more concerned with his business and how his family come across to the world. Dev Tagore is the father of Milan, an up and coming fashion designer in Delhi. He’ss quite hard for me to write, as he is nothing like the father I have had, and one I wouldn’t wish upon any child. But fathers like that do exist. Here’s hoping he sorts himself out by the end of the book!

So, there you have some of my fictional fathers. I’m sure, in my created world, they are all celebrating father’s day in their own ways.

Is there any literary father that has stayed with you, in any books you’ve read?

If you want to meet Mohinder, as well as many other colourful characters, click here to check out Marriage Unarranged.

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!